Here’s the Full List of Endorsements for the 2015 Houston Municipal Elections. The Hyperlinks take you to the full-length endorsement page. For more information on the candidates, check out the Questionnaire Responses, and be sure to also visit Off the Kuff’s 2015 Elections Page.
Houston City Council At-Large Races
Position 1: Tom McCasland
Position 2: David Robinson
Position 3: Doug Peterson
Position 4 Amanda Edwards
Position 5: Philippe Nassif
District A: Brenda Stardig
District B: Jerry Davis
District C: Ellen Cohen
District D: unopposed (Dwight Boykins)
District E: unopposed (Dave Martin)
District F: Richard Nguyen
District G: Greg Travis
District H: Roland Chavez
District I: Robert Gallegos
Distrcit J: Mike Laster
District K: unopposed (Larry Green)
Like Dallas, Austin, Ft. Worth, New Orleans, hundreds of other cities and 17 states across the county, all Houstonians deserve to live in a city that does not condone discrimination. Please vote yes to uphold the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. Don’t believe the lies!!
Early Voting runs now until October 30th, and Election Day is November 4th.
The 2015 Houston Mayor’s race is marked by a strong and diverse list of candidates. At its outset, this close contest may be of some frustration to voters, but ultimately this is a good problem to have. Former Sheriff Adrian Garcia brings a record of executive experience and a positive outlook, but has remained a lackluster on charting new solutions to the city’s issues. Former Congressman Chris Bell has demonstrated strong progressive values on the campaign trail, but little insight of how to encourage and inspire Houstonians which do not share his views. Council Member Stephen Costello has proven himself invaluable during the Parker Administration, but also has not left the strongest impression for how he would advance the pension negotiations much further than the current status quo. Bill King‘s view as both former elected official and media observer has been a welcomed perspective, but his fickle positioning on contemporary issues like HERO and ReBuild Houston reveal that he is behind the times to lead Houston forward.
In another time, it’s easy to see why any of the above candidates could execute the job of Mayor. But for this time and the contemporary issues that Houston faces, one candidate seems best equipped to lead Houston’s municipal government in the next era. That candidate is Sylvester Turner.
Mayor Annise Parker’s time in office has been truly extraordinary. She led the city through the uncertain times of economic crisis, helped to basically re-write Houston’s perception within the rest of the country, and set her sights on long-term solutions with little regard to potential political risks. Her pragmatic, details-oriented approach has served the city well, and many of the seeds planted during her tenure will bear fruit for years to come.
After such intense focus on details, it’s time for Houstonians to broaden our vision, and seek the “big idea” approach once again. With challenges like the pension battle and growing economic disparities, Turner is well-suited to lead the city through its next phase. His years in Austin have (hopefully) given him the right levers to solve many budgetary issues where Parker could not. His background, growing up in Acres Homes and eventually graduating from the University of Houston and Harvard Law School, fosters the ability for Turner to build the right coalitions and keep the city moving in a positive direction.
The one quality which Turner has brought to the table that other candidates can’t quite match?? Big ideas. Everyone knows that employment for under-served communities and a crumbling infrastructure are two the areas largest hurdles. But only Turner sees the possibilities that could be achieved if we bring together our city’s under-employed workforce and train them to fix our streets while they gain valuable skills. This is his Road to the Future initiative, and it’s the type of thinking that Houstonians need right now.
The pick for Mayor of Houston is Sylvester Turner.
Position 1— With several noteworthy candidates in this race, it is an admittedly tough decision to go with one over another. Jenifer Rene Pool‘s decades of experience in the construction industry would be of great benefit as a new Mayor and Council continue to tackle the city’s massive infrastructure needs. Lane Lewis is a proven public servant with a record of producing extraordinary results during his tenure as chairman of the Harris County Democratic Party. Either would be an excellent addition to the Council table. But the time in which Houstonians live points to yet another candidate… Tom McCasland. Recent years have seen a nearly inconceivable proliferation of area property values, the result of which has left Houston in an affordable housing crisis. Along with finding a path forward on the city’s pension obligations, affordable housing is sure to be one of the next challenges faced by the local government. His successful time as head of the Harris County Housing Authority would bring necessary expertise to the people of Houston. The pick for At-Large Position 1 is Tom McCasland.
Position 2— Incumbency is by no means an automatic ticket to reelection, as was seen two years ago, when David Robinson defeated then Council Member Andrew Burks. But if any incumbent in the At-Large races deserves another term, it is certainly Robinson. His wealth of knowledge and experience has helped to guide responsible solutions for the city’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Robinson also understands the importance of planning for the future of a rapidly-growing city, and has been a constant advocate for implementing the right solutions, not just those for “right now”. The pick for At-Large Position 2 is David Robinson.
Position 3— Even if one disagrees with Council Member Michael Kubosh, it’s tough not to like him on a personal level. He is a charismatic and kind-hearted individual, always entertaining and often engaged with people in the community. But among all of the Council Member’s many God-given political gifts, listening doesn’t seem to be one of them. Time and again, he has made irresponsible statements, and fluctuates on his positions from one audience to the next. This was apparent during the fight surrounding Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance. Unlike Council Member Brenda Stardig, who opposed HERO while at least maintaining a respectful posture to both sides, Kubosh preached “respect” to the public, but then fell in line with those spreading unnecessary hate and lies when the cameras were off. Rather than continue the chain of divisiveness, voters should instead consider Doug Peterson for this race. With a strong record of community activism, Peterson understands that diversity and equality are necessary elements of Houston’s success. As a Clear Lake resident, he also pledges to work towards bringing better quality of life for residents outside of the inner loop. Another 1st-time candidate, John LaRuehas run a respectable campaign and would bring many positive attributes to the seat, but in this year Peterson is the better choice. The pick for At-Large Position 3 is Doug Peterson.
Position 4— This race is yet another open seat with two very strong candidates… Laurie Robinson and Amanda Edwards. Either would serve the people of Houston with extraordinary commitment and common-sense pragmatism. But for this election cycle, Amanda Edwards proves to be the best choice. Though Robinson holds a wealth of experience in municipal government, Edwards’ time as a staff member for U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee shows that she understands the intricacies of constituent service. Her experience in municipal finance law is also timely in light of the city’s fiscal challenges. The pick for At-Large Position 4 is Amanda Edwards.
Position 5— Like Kubosh, there’s no denying that Council Member Jack Christie is personally a likeable guy. But once again, personality cannot make up for a host of irresponsible comments and questionable positions around the Council Table. This year, the clear choice is candidate Philippe Nassif. He may not have the advantage of incumbency, but Nassif’s impressive experience working for The White House, Mayor Annise Parker and one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations will ensure that he brings a needed global perspective to one of the world’s emerging global cities. In particular, his expansive work in helping to combat poverty and encourage affordable housing will prove necessary attributes to solve Houston’s upcoming challenges. The pick for At-Large Position 5 is Philippe Nassif.
As the nation’s 4th largest city (or is it the 3rd??), what happens in Houston does not just stay in Houston, but is serious business for the state of Texas and the United States. In the coming years as Americans chart a new future in energy production, medical care, societal diversity and creative endeavors, it is Houston that will be on the cutting edge of those national experiments.
For all of these reasons, the persons Houstonians choose to lead their municipal government have very important work ahead of them.
DISTRICT A— In 2013, Council Member Brenda Stardig made a triumphant return to the District A seat, defeating incumbent Helena Brown. Since coming back to Council she has generally been a voice for accountability, pragmatic leadership and thoughtful stewardship of the public’s resources.
However, the Council Member’s vote against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance was a notable exception to these established character traits. Stardig’s initial assertions that HERO would do “nothing more than duplicate existing laws, add bureaucracy, and highlight the city’s endless overstepping of their jurisdiction”were proven categorically false. In the few months that HERO was in effect, the 135 complaints filed with the Office of Inspector General demonstrated the city’s undeniable need for local protections against discrimination. It’s also important to note that Stardig’s only opponent in the race, Iesheia Ayers-Wilson has publicly stated that discrimination should be allowed by Houston businesses… a position which should give all reasonable Houstonians pause. Texas Leftist sincerely hopes that Council Member Stardig continues to learn the facts about discrimination in the city she represents, and eventually reconsiders this misguided position. The pick for District A is Brenda Stardig.
DISTRICT B— For a true example of Public Service, Houstonians can continue to look to Council Member Jerry Davis. His work to improve the quality of life for his constituents can be evidenced through increasing infrastructure repairs, a constant commitment to clean up dilapidated properties and illegal dumping sites, and a fight to invest funding for after school employment and educational programs in an ever-tightening budget. Davis has also worked hard to put under-served residents into Houston’s massive economic pipeline. Announced at the beginning of this year, the Council Member helped to create an innovative new Job Training Partnership between local Community Colleges and the Houston Airport System, which will connect workers with vital skilled labor opportunities. It is yet another example of showing leadership in ways that build a better future for Houston. The pick for District B is Jerry Davis.
DISTRICT C— Focus on Houston’s future has also been an important goal for Council Member Ellen Cohen. Over her two terms in office, she has been a constant champion for the rights and protections of minorities and those in under-served populations. She’s made the lives of District C residents better through support for projects like Buffalo Bayou Park, and helped to guide the dizzying amount of development that’s been under her watch. With more Civic Clubs than any other District, Cohen has done her best to be responsive and attentive to her constituents’ many diverse interests. She has earned a final term in office. The pick for District C is Ellen Cohen.
DISTRICT D— Council Member Dwight Boykins is running unopposed.
DISTRICT E— Council Member Dave Martin is running unopposed.
DISTRICT F— Few local politicians can compare with the story of Council Member Richard Nguyen. After an unexpected win in 2013, Nguyen quickly emerged as a leader that is well-attuned to the needs of his diverse community. A strong supporter of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance and a proven fighter for his constituents, Nguyen deserves a second term on Council. Don’t be fooled by “Anti-HERO” candidate Kendall Baker in this race. The pick for District F is Richard Nguyen.
DISTRICT G— Though fellow candidate Sandie Mullins Moger has the more established record of public service through her time on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees, District G voters should consider the more measured style of Conservatism from candidate Greg Travis. His goals on Council are to be a watchdog for all Houstonians, and improve the plethora of infrastructure issues for his constituents. While Mr. Travis may share some different views than this blog’s author on many issues, the fact that he understands how critical infrastructure repairs are now if Houston is to succeed in the future. The pick for District G is Greg Travis.
District H— An open seat and one of this year’s most hotly-contested races, The residents of District H need a leader that can be ready to fill the shoes of current Council Member Ed Gonzalez on day one. The area is home to both poverty and opportunity, so the right leader will be someone that can relate to both issues and connect them for the betterment of all residents. Candidate Karla Cisneros comes highly recommended by the Houston Chronicle, but this blog believes that a wealth of public service experience and local government activism give Roland Chavez the edge in a very close contest. Chavez is both a lifelong resident of the District, former Firefigher and former President of the Houston Professional Firefighters’ Association. Given the challenges that the next Mayor and Council will face around pension obligations, Chavez has the ability to move this conversation forward in a positive direction. The pick for District H is Roland Chavez.
District I— As a longtime resident and activist for improvement, Council Member Robert Gallegos knows well the needs of his constituents in District I. But even more important than knowing what needs to be done in the present, Gallegos is also preparing the area for a bright and prosperous future. Filled with a rich and diverse history and with amenities like an International Airport and rail line, this District needs a leader that can guide new development while respecting and improving neighborhoods for current residents. In his first two years on Council, Gallegos has proven that he is the right person for the job, and deserves a second term. The pick for District I is Robert Gallegos.
District J— Faced with the unique challenges of both an under-served multifamily communities and a plethora of prominent single family neighborhoods, the residents of District J needs a forward thinker that can at times have a bifurcated approach to constituent service. Council Member Mike Laster has done a good job listening to both groups in his District and worked very hard to meet the diverse needs of both. He understands that success of Houston depends on the many issues that can be resolved in his District. Infrastructure improvement and creating economic opportunities have been central and recurring themes for Laster, and they are exactly why he deserves another term on Council. The pick for District J is Mike Laster.
DISTRICT K— Council Member Larry Green is running unopposed.