Category Archives: 2012 Profiles

DC-Voice ~ Joaquin Martinez, Democrat for SD-6 attended the Power of the Community Rally in support of SD-6 candidate Joaquin Martinez. Martinez, a Democrat and community activist, has been running a grassroots campaign powered by volunteers and shoe-leather. I took an interest in this campaign because he was saying something different, plus he was attracting young voters who are seldom targeted in local campaigns. A crowd of over 125 was in attendance at Talento Bilingue Houston for this event. Here’s his stump speech from the evening.

Update:  I just noticed that some mobile apps may not be seeing the link to the Soundcloud file, so, here’s the link where you may connect.

{There’s an error in the embedding that I’m checking out, but click on the link  to directly access the recording.}

The Dos Centavos SD-6 Unscientific Poll

Yes, I’m doing an unscientific poll to see what and new readers are thinking. Voting will take place between 7AM and 7PM TODAY only. Have fun!  Feel free to share the post.

Joaquin Martinez Announces for Senate District 6

Joaquin Martinez, Democrat for SD-6

As the deadline for filing comes to a close, a post by a Facebook friend caught my attention. Joaquin Martinez, a community advocate who has spent the last decade working for Neighborhood Centers, Inc., announced he would be seeking the position of State Senator for District 6. Here’s his post.

For those who may not know, the filing date for the Senate District 6 race is Thursday, December 27th. I plan on filing for candidacy for this race. I need community support and backing in order to reach some of these goals. I am setting a stage for “new,” motivated and engaged individuals that want to be a part of the conversations that affect us all.

In addition to being a father, I strive to fulfill my role as productive citizen. I understand that it is important that we find a balance in family, finances and service in our community. We work to provide paths to success for our children through education, hoping to enhance their lives with opportunities our parents did not have.

We hope to one day own homes and build a community that is a true “home” where safety and health are values upheld for function and principle. If we attain these dreams, we must realize our successes were supplemented by the guidance, love, and support of our mentors and role models; we should look to find ways to give back in the same manner they have.

I am running for office with faith that I can find common ground with current leaders through new conversations about how we can build communities from the ground up. Over the years, I have come to realize that my responsibility as a parent and community leader is to not only inform families about our civic process, but to also connect families with this process. I have had numerous discussions with individuals that are eager to take part in this social responsibility, but no one has been around to cultivate and mentor these potential leaders.

The people of Texas Senate District 6 are in a pivotal position to empower themselves in this city and this county once we have grassroots leadership willing to take on this responsibility. I want to be a part of this new conversation. I am asking those that want to become more knowledgeable with this process (while becoming more engaged) to support me during this race. If you are interested in getting involved, then please contact me at your earliest convenience. You can start by liking my page, Joaquin Martinez.

On his Campaign facebook page was this bio.

Joaquin Martinez, father to Joaquin Edward Martinez, is a native Houstonian and has been a silent community leader in the East End. Joaquin has worked for one of Houston’s oldest and largest non-profits, Neighborhood Centers, for over 10 years within the Community Based Initiatives department. Joaquin’s continued perseverance and personal values have allowed him to continue his education at the University of Houston – Downtown as he pursues a B.A. in Political Science.

Joaquin’s previous role as a Youth Manager has been to build youth programs in the East End, Sunnyside, Independence Heights, Pasadena and La Porte communities in order to build upon the skills of the youth in these communities. Joaquin also took on the role of Program Coordinator in the Pasadena and La Porte communities, where civic engagement and education were fundamental in creating an community environment. Joaquin has seen many youths become successful; he continually challenges parents to remain involved their children’s lives. Joaquin also worked as Staff under Council Member John Castillo, in which he visited several civic club meetings and was committed to assure that community member’s needs were met.

Joaquin Martinez has a strong commitment to public service. Joaquin has been a little league coach for both East End Little League and Dixie Little League for over 6 years and continues to provide a leadership role as the Vice President of the Board with Dixie Little League. Joaquin has also been active at Mason Park as a coach for the Magnolia Park Sharks for 2 years. Joaquin shall continue his involvement because he believes that these activities are not only important to the mental, physical, and social development of his child, but also to the children in his community. As a father, Joaquin has continued to be engaged in his son’s education by taking on a leadership role with the Parent Teacher Organization board. Joaquin recognizes that community involvement and genuine conversations are fundamental to the growth and development of a vibrant community.

Joaquin has attended Blessed Sacrament Church for over 20 years were he is also a member of the Knights of Columbus Council #7230. Joaquin is also member of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity and graduate of the National Hispanic Professional Organization were he has cultivated his leadership and service values that has given him a conviction to serve his community in a leadership role.

From what I’ve seen of Joaquin, he’s an energetic community leader who can build a grassroots base on a strong foundation. Will the fast run-up to the January 26 election date be a challenge against some well-financed candidates? Obviously, but it is good to see a “new” leader put his name out there for consideration.

Contact information:

Phone (832) 278-2186


Website (Up and Running))

Best Story in Latino Politics 2012

Beyond the fact that Latinos helped re-elect President Obama in several battleground states, one of the best stories that hits hearts and minds is the election of Dr. Raul Ruiz in California’s 36th District. And Politico has a neat story on the guy.

The son of poor farmworkers, he lived in a trailer for a time as a boy and left home at 17 for UCLA. To help pay for college, he went store to store asking business owners to invest in their community by investing in his education. He raised $2,000 — enough to pay for books for two years — promising he would eventually return to the area to give back.

“Ruiz went on to earn three degrees from Harvard, including his M.D., before working as an ER doctor at a nonprofit hospital. He organized free health education for poorer communities, helped start a free clinic for the uninsured, launched a mentorship program for aspiring doctors and became a senior associate dean at UC-Riverside…”

It’s the story of an exceptional individual who beat the odds on a personal level, and especially at a political level–defeating a 14-year entrenched incumbent. Granted, the incumbent was not only out of touch with Americans, but especially with Latinos.

“I pledge that after November, I will try my hardest to speak to Latino voters,” Bono Mack said. “This election, I’m a little bit hamstrung. But I will do my best. Because I think that they deserve the attention that we need to give them.”

The incumbent even attacked Ruiz for his student involvement while in college. Ruiz made sure that voters found out just how disconnected the incumbent was. And now, it’s all about going to work for those who sent him to Congress.

“The idea that where I come from, from my humble beginnings, and now, I find myself in the Capitol around the most influential people in the country and being able to sit at the table and really serve my communities,” he said, “is very empowering.”

We don’t get many of these stories of struggle–and from leaders who will not run away from their involvement as students–but whenever you get a good one like this, well, we just need to celebrate it.

Sylvia R. Garcia Announces for SD-6

From the Inbox:

Houston, TX — Houston community advocate and longtime public servant Sylvia Garcia announced today she will run in the coming special election to represent Texas Senate District 6.

“I’ve been fighting for our community and our families for years in Houston and Southeast Harris County,” said Garcia, “and now I am ready to take our fight to Austin.” “Our neighborhoods need a State Senator who understands our priorities and our values,” Garcia continued.

“Rick Perry and his Tea Party allies have already cut nearly six billion dollars from public schools and fired thousands of teachers. Now Perry’s opposition to the new health care law means four hundred thousand people in Harris County could continue to be without health insurance. That is why I am running for Senate — to protect our schools, our jobs, and our families,” concluded Garcia.

“I have worked with Sylvia to improve the availability of health care in East Harris County,” said Representative Ana Hernandez Luna (Dist. 143). “She understands the issues, has the ability to work with others to achieve the goal, and the passion and energy to stay in the fight until the battle is won.”

“Sylvia has never stopped working for us,” said House Democratic Caucus Leader Jessica Farrar. “Serving as a social worker, attorney, city controller and county commissioner has provided her broad experience and solid relationships at all levels of governent. She is well equipped to fight against the special interests in Austin putting people first. Sylvia’s priorities of education, healthcare, and jobs are what strengthen families most.”

“You can trust Sylvia Garcia to say what she’ll do and do what she says,” said State Representative Armando Walle (Dist. 140). “Throughout her years of public service you have always been able to count on Sylvia’s word.  She has the intellect, honesty, maturity professionalism and integrity we want in our representative in the Texas Senate. Someone our children can be proud of”.

“Make no mistake, Rick Perry and his cronies are not going to give up their disrespectful opposition to our President,” said Representative Garnet Coleman (Dist. 147).  “They may have lost the election, but our community knows Perry will keep fighting our President’s efforts to improve our schools and health care. We need Sylvia Garcia to stand with us.”

“I have worked with Sylvia on community projects for many years, both when she was an elected official and when she was a community activist,” said Yolanda Navarro, “Whether it was neighborhood improvements, redistricting or better schools she was always a leader we could count on to lead the charge.”

Garcia will announce her campaign team in the coming days, and plans to begin campaigning immediately.

Are We Obamatinos Now?

According to Latino Decisions, 75% of Latinos voted for Obama, breaking a previous high-point. In Texas, Latinos are said to have given President Obama 70% support.

3/4 of Latino voters thought Romney didn’t care for Latinos or was hostile toward Latinos. Obama gave Latinos a positive vibe at a 66% rate. Romney’s immigration stances led Latinos to move toward Obama, and his move on Deferred Action gave Latinos more enthusiasm for Obama.

Ultimately, anti-Latino forces have Latinos to blame for Obama’s re-election.

The Latino vote share numbers across key states were even more pronounced, with Latinos exceeding the national average of 75% in most of the battleground states, including a remarkable 87% in Colorado and 80% in Nevada. The 66% of Latinos who voted for Obama in Virginia, 58% in Florida, and 82% in Ohio were also critical to the overall outcome of the race. At the end of the day, we estimate that the Latino vote led to a net margin gain for President Obama of +5.4%, and a +2.3% bump in the national popular vote. Consequently, if Latinos had split their vote evenly (50/50) in this election, President Obama would have lost the national popular vote. For the first time in American history, the Latino electorate has a legitimate claim of being nationally decisive!

So, there!

For President Obama, though, the promise of a 1st term CIR now becomes a priority in term 2. One dislikes thinking this way, but as nice as the numbers looked nationally, Democrats and Republicans really do only have this window of opportunity to get CIR done before the 2014 midterms.  Democrats need to grow a backbone and push CIR and defend wholeheartedly, while Republicans need to get off this Obama-hate and help pass a humane, sensible reform–without hateful racially-tinged debate, and without politically-driven excuses.

And you all do know that this is on top of the rest of the jobs agenda.

To answer the question, no, we are not Obamatinos. But we did vote for the guy we had more confidence in to move an agenda that is good for Latinos, especially if it includes CIR. The Republicans, obviously helped, and not just Romney.

I’m looking forward to a better Texas breakdown, particularly here in Harris County, if at all possible. Texas had some significant wins in South Texas, especially the election of Pete Gallego in CD-23. According to the Texas Democratic Party, Dems gained 7 seats in the Texas House and 3 in our Congressional delegation. So, the ball moved forward with great hopes of reaching the goal line sooner than later.

With a right-winger like Ted Cruz as the GOP poster-Latino, they stand to lose more ground by 2014 (when Cornyn’s seat is up).

Some Initial Thoughts on November 2012

The unofficial tally is at 100%, and I’m thinking they await some overseas and provisional ballots to be counted, but it seems that Dems had a so-so night. Here are some thoughts, and, of course, I’ll start with the obvious one.

Julia Maldonado for 14th Court (and the others). Given 2008’s results, my thoughts were that appellate court candidates would need to get upwards of 55% in Harris County to win in a climate in which they would lose the other nine counties (badly) in the area served. We all hoped for Fort Bend to be closer or a win, too. Ultimately only two of the appellate candidates managed to cross the 50-yard line in Harris County, with Maldonado’s 50.55% and Barbara Gardner garnering over 51% in the latest count. Both were quite active on the trail, and I personally witnessed Julia putting up 4 x 8 signs down the block from me and around the ten counties. She’s as good with a mallet (for the big posts) as she would have been with a gavel. As far as Julia is concerned, she was out-raised and outspent by an organized multi-candidate effort, but that didn’t stop her from finishing the race at full gallop. She fell 86,000+ votes short, but we really enjoyed “winning” Harris County by almost 13K votes.

One upsetting point in this one is the undervote of 63,000. I sort of expected it after hearing a voter at a poll ask for assistance in only voting for Obama and the Sheriff. Was this a common occurrence? If so, it may speak to the Sheriff’s race only having an undervote of 43,000. Color me annoyed.

Sheriff Adrian Garcia – Obviously, I (and my pro-migrant colleagues) have been critics of Garcia’s continued support of 287(g) and SCOMM as a source of money for his department. At some point, one realizes that the alternative is the devil incarnate and one just shuts up and roots for Garcia as I did. (Plus, he’s a good person, and you can’t go too wrong with that.) That said, the criticism can now continue and I hope he continues to be receptive, especially as the debate for Comprehensive Immigration Reform hops up sooner than later in Washington, DC. Otherwise, Sheriff Garcia earned this re-election because of a successful first term that brought some sanity and good management to the HCSO. So, congrats to him!

Diane Trautman for HCDE – Diane seems to have enjoyed some crossover appeal, which is not surprising given the fact that Republicans were abandoning Diane’s opponent much like they abandoned Sheriff Garcia’s opponent. Along with Erica Lee, Democrats will have a majority on the board, and that’s a good thing. Congrats to Diane and Erica!

The County Judicials – As the numbers were slowly coming in, there’s no doubt that many of us were worried about the ultimate outcome regarding our Judges. Those last precincts put most of our incumbent Dems ahead; although, I am worried about some of my favorites, like Judge Josefina Rendon and Hazel Jones. The varied margins tell us some of our Judges had better crossover appeal than others, too. The reasons? Well, that’s up for debate, I’m sure.

Gene Wu for HD-137 – It’s been a long time since I voted for a Texas House candidate that actually won! This may take some getting used to; and not just the fact that he’s a Democrat, but the fact that he’ll be responsive to his constituents (Joe Crabb sucked at that up in Kingwood). Good job, Team Wu!

Obviously, we have a waiting game. Ann Harris Bennett is 2500 down and any ballots left to be counted may provide a clearer picture. Is it enough? It’s hard to tell from what Stanart told News 92 this morning–there’s thousands of overseas and provisionals, whatever that means.

I’ll be working up some more thoughts later; especially on the oft-credited for Obama’s victory Latino vote.

Fun stuff!

Cargas Gets Nod From Medical and Science Leaders (CD-07)

The following statement was released by 40 renowned scientists and physicians seeking a new direction in Congress.  They have found that new direction in James Cargas, the challenger in Congressional District 7.

Cargas has been a long-time advocate of returning federal science funding to levels similar to that of the Clinton Administration as a way to support our Texas Medical Center and keep good knowledge-based jobs in Houston.  Sustainable funding of research will also allow America to regain its lead in science and innovation, and develop new medicines, new treatments, and new medical technologies.  The endorsements have been primarily in response to Cargas releasing his plan.

Even more scientists, researchers and physicians and members of the medical center community have shown their support of James Cargas through an on-line petition. 

Statement by Houston Scientists and Physicians in Support of James Cargas

Voters must decide: Should we continue to defund our nation’s scientific and biomedical research programs, or should we restore the longstanding policies that have been an economic success and made Houston a world leader in science and biotechnology?

Our endorsement of James Cargas for Congressional District 7 is based on a simple choice: Houston deserves someone that will protect and strengthen vital research funding.

Throughout their crusade to “starve the beast” and reduce the size of government, Congressional Tea Party extremists, including John Culberson, have cut funding for scientific and medical research. A few “earmarks” to pet projects do not make up for the jobs or millions lost. Federal grants are awarded based on tough peer review; they are not handouts to political favorites. We have witnessed the disastrous consequences of highly rated research projects going unfunded and labs getting closed.

By failing to even allow for inflation adjustments to federal funding, the Tea Party puts their ideological goals ahead of common-sense policies that save lives, create jobs and support the economy. In Texas, every $1.00 spent on research generates $2.49 in economic development – including good knowledge-based jobs.

James Cargas understands all this. Cargas’ proposal is to restore funding to the previous Clinton administration levels and increase funding by 7.5 percent annually thereafter. This proposal will get the Texas Medical Center off life support, reverse the layoffs, and allow it to maintain its world-class status. Therefore, we as Houston scientists and physicians, strongly support James Cargas. Please be sure to vote.

Dr. Michael S. Beauchamp, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy
Dr. Eric Bershad, Assistant Professor of Neurology
Dr. Melissa Bondy, Professor of Epidemiology
Dr. William Brinkley, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Dr. Suncica Canic, Professor of Mathematics
Dr. Charles Cleeland, Professor of Cancer Research
Dr. Steven Cox, Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics
Dr. Robert Curl, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Professor of Natural Sciences Emeritus
Dr. J. David Dickman, Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Manolis Doxastakis, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Dr. William Doyon, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Fabrizio Gabbiani, Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Andy Groves, Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Joanna Jankowsky, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Kresimir Josic, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Dr. Ioannis Kakadiaris, Professor of Computer Science
Dr. Weiji Ma, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Mirjana Maletic-Savatic, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Dr. Stephen McCauley, Assistant Professor
Dr. Nicholas Mitsiades, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Molecular and Cellular Biology
Dr. Mary Newsome, Assistant Professor
Dr. William Ott, Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Dr. Emmanuel Papadakis, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Dr. Claudia Pedroza, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Dr. Robert Raphael, Associate Professor of Bioengineering
Dr. Peter Saggau, Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. David Shine, Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Harel Shouval, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy
Dr. Stelios M. Smirnakis, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and Neurology
Dr. Jose Suarez, Professor of Neurology
Dr. Andreas Tolias, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Kimberley Tolias, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Dr. Nikos Tsekos, Associate Professor of Computer Science
Dr. Eroboghene E. Ubogu, Associate Professor of Neurology
Dr. Chethan P. Venkatasubba Rao, Assistant Professor of Neurology
Dr. Xin Shelley Wang, Associate Professor of Cancer Medicine
Dr. Elisabeth Wilde, Assistant Professor
Dr. Anthony Wright, Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy
Dr. Marwan Yared, Professor of Pathology
Dr. Jokubas Ziburkus, Assistant Professor of Biology and Biochemistry

Houston Deserves Better!

James Cargas offers substantial public service experience. He has served in the U.S. House of Representatives as a deputy press secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as a law clerk, Clinton White House as an aide, and U.S. Department of Energy under Secretary Bill Richardson as a political appointee. He is currently the Senior Assistant City Attorney for Energy for the City of Houston. James and his wife, Dr. Dorina Papageorgiou, a neuroscientist are members of the Greek Orthodox Annunciation Cathedral.

Make a contribution to the Cargas campaign!

Image of the Day: Cody Pogue and No-Debate Dan

All year, current HD-127 guy Dan Huberty has avoided Democratic candidate Cody Pogue. Pogue and his supporters have called on Huberty to debate his record in public:  voted to de-fund public schools, joined Rick Perry’s attack on Women’s rights, cutting higher education, etc. My friend Egberto Willies caught this image of Cody and No-Debate Dan at the Kingwood Library.

Cody(brown jacket)  sure seems like a personable, upstanding guy. The other guy seems _______.  (Your caption here)

Endorsement: Julia Maldonado for Justice, 14th Court of Appeals, Place 8

Since Day 1, Julia Maldonado has been taking her campaign to the ten (10) counties which are served by the 14th Court while offering to change the make-up of the court to one that is ideologically balanced, diverse, and above all, fair to all Texans. The people of Texas deserve a shot at equal justice, whatever the outcome, and Julia Maldonado is ready to take her experience of working with a diverse cross-section of Texans to the bench.

A Wise Latina

We’ve heard that term before, haven’t we? Much like the Supreme Court Justice, Julia Maldonado is just as wise. A proud mother of two sons, she worked her way through her days at Thurgood Marshall School of Law, opened a solo law practice after becoming a licensed attorney, and built a highly successful small business. Along the way, whether serving as a baseball mom or as a community volunteer, Julia has served our community well. And now, she wants to take her experiences to the 14th Court. In fact, depending on where you live, Julia’s name will be the first or second Latina on your ballot.

We Need Julia on the 14th Court

Julia has the experience and the judicial temperament to serve the people of Texas on the 14th Court, but she cannot do it alone. She needs your vote today! Vote Early! And tell your friends and family to VOTE JULIA MALDONADO FOR JUSTICE.