For another year, I had the honor of emceeing the Kingwood Area Democrats Spring Brunch and Candidate Meet-n-Greet. It’s probably the only time you’ll catch this lowly blogger at a country club, but I must say, the staff at Kingwood Country Club did a great job–great bacon!
Dems in the northern reaches of the county had the opportunity to shake hands with and listen to candidates for everything from Houston Mayor to Humble ISD trustee, and even a couple of 2016 candidates.
Candidates in attendance included: Mayor – Sylvester Turner and Marty McVey; Council At Large 1 – Lane Lewis and Chris Oliver; Council At-Large 4 – Laurie Robinson, Larry Blackmon, and Amanda Edwards; Council At-Large 5 – Durrel Douglas and Philippe Nassif. For Humble ISD Pos. 7 – Nancy Morrison and Robert Scarfo; and Pos. 6 – Dr. Johnny O’Connor. For 2016, Judge Mike Engelhart who is seeking re-election; Steven Kirkland who will run for the 334th; and Joe Stephens, a Galena Park trustee running for JP Pct. 3.
Obviously, not all candidates showed, but as I told the crowd about the importance of Kingwood area Democratic votes to candidates’ bottom line at the end of election night, I also stated that decisions are made by those who show up. Like any group, voters enjoy retail politics and want to get to know their candidates. That said, the club does invite all candidates to visit KAD at their regular meetings since we’ve got seven months to go.
State Rep. Turner spoke a little bit about his work in the Texas Legislature, while also highlighting his years of leadership in various committees. Beyond his political work, he has also built businesses, such as a law practice and a title company. He gives credit to his hard-working employees for allowing him the time to serve in Austin. Marty McVey also highlighted his business experiences and how he would be able to bring that to the horseshoe to address issues like transportation and infrastructure.
Lane Lewis put on his Democratic Chairman hat to give a short update on the Party’s happenings. Needless to say, the Party is busy! Wearing his candidate hat, though, he concentrated some of his remarks on drainage as the evening before the rains caused his elderly parents’ home to flood.=Lewis stated that Houston needs someone who will advocate for the people on Council. He also hit on other issues regarding transportation and infrastructure. In fact, those seemed to be the issues of the day. Chris Oliver stated he wanted to bring his policy-making and budget-making experience on the HCC Board of Trustees to Council. He stated his experience in this regard would easily transfer to the tough decisions that need to be made on Council.
Larry Blackmon highlighted his experience as a teacher and in life. That he wanted to bring the peoples’ voice to Council. One issue he brought up was the need for Council to award contracts to the best bids, rather than the lowest bid as a means of ensuring a longer-lasting infrastructure. Laurie Robinson launched an impressive speech in which she spoke about her experiences about being called to action after Katrina. She led the way in finding housing for 16,000 folks who were at the Dome, and that when Ike hit, she was among those ensuring water and ice stations were available throughout the city. She also touched on her DC experience with helping write the Medicare prescription plan law. Finally, touching on her project management experience, Robinson feels she can utilize that experience to solve the city’s challenges. Amanda Edwards touched on her experiences in law school, New Orleans, and her return to Houston to a life of public service. A public finance lawyer, she stated she already helps to build cities and infrastructure and that that experience is needed on Council.
Philippe Nassif touched on his experience working in the nonprofit world, at the White House, and in the community. After stating that City Council needed a community organizer, his opponent Durrel Douglas agreed, and then provided his own experience with various community groups, such as TOP. While Nassif touched on his diverse background, Douglas offered his idea of a municipal ID for the undocumented to ensure people can come out of the shadows–at least locally. Both are running energetic campaigns with the hopes of unseating a over-funded right-wing incumbent Jack Christie.
I wish I could write more on all the candidates’ statements, but I was busy emceeing and not live-blogging or live-tweeting–or even taking notes. Still, I can’t say these candidates made my November decision any easier. I urge all to start paying attention now and not a few weeks before the election. So, stay connected to DC for the latest.
Check out the photos of the event here.
Thanks to the Kingwood Area Democrats for inviting me back. KAD will always be my second family and the Dem club which started up my local political involvement. Best of luck in 2015-2016.