Category Archives: Endorsements

Endorsements: Vote the Democratic Slate

After going through the entire ballot of races, I have decided to endorse the Democratic slate in 2012, while encouraging voters to leave blank the race for District Attorney. I will also skip a couple of other races

If you’re in my neck of the woods, please support:

  • James Cargas for Congress, District 7
  • Gene Wu for Texas House, District 137

I think we have a great slate of candidates, for the most part. Each in their own way has offered themselves up for consideration, all are progressive thinkers, and the bottom line is, Republicans will only put us on a backwards path on civil rights, voting rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, etc. We cannot move backwards. And the Democratic slate at all levels will ensure effective representation and an effective defense of those issues we have worked hard for.

Finally, for my friends in Senate District 6, I encourage them to once again, and for one last time, vote and re-elect the late Senator Mario V. Gallegos, Jr. There is no doubt that he had earned re-election, and posthumously re-electing him will send a message to Republicans that SD 6 is a forward-thinking district.

Have fun voting. There are 37 locations all over Harris County for your convenience. Get it done early, then get your friends and family out to vote!

LEUV Mixer an Educational Experience

Latinos. Engaged. United. Voting. held a mixer and dinner on Tuesday to discuss  the various referendums on the 2012 ballot. Over 30 community leaders, including educators, school principals and counselors, higher education professionals, public servants and business owners attended and engaged in a lively discussion.

LEUV co-founder, Stace Medellin, provided a “lightning round” overview of the ballot, briefly describing the individual races and bond referendums. Touching on the METRO referendum, Medellin stated that voters have an important choice:  Support the current way of providing 25 cents of every METRO tax dollar to the county and cities in its service area or allow METRO the keep its tax dollar to use as they see fit. All in the room thought it fitting that a METRO train passed by during the presentation. Stace reminded those in attendance that educating themselves and others is of the essence, and that if voters want to find out what is on their ballot, that a great resource is, where a personal sample ballot can be generated.

HISD Trustee Juliet Stipeche gave a powerful presentation on the Houston ISD Bond referendum, which would authorize the investment of $1.89 Billion to build and improve most of HISD’s high schools, improve technology, and other facility improvements. Stipeche gave the background on the need for new facilities, given that the average age of the high schools is 50 years, way above the national average of 42 years. Add to that issues with plumbing, mold, and structural problems and one sees the need for major investment that would put the district back on track and set for the next couple of decades.

During his presentation, Medellin touched on LEUV’s evolving support for the HISD bond. What began with questions over the contracting process and a push for ethics and campaign finance reform for trustees turned into support for the bond once the reform package was passed unanimously in its first reading in September. HISD will bring the ethics reform package up to a final vote at their October meeting.

Community activist Michael Espinoza made a brief presentation on the Houston Community College bond which would authorize the investment of $425 million to build new facilities across all of HCC’s campuses. Espinoza provided background on his own history as an organizer, and found that whether it was janitors, students, immigrant children, or members of a church, that the one issue that seemed to impact these communities was education, and that Houston Community College played a major role in this process. Specifically, the bond would pay for a new health care education and early college facility in the Medical Center, workforce facilities in Stafford and North Shore, and a new campus in West Houston (Westheimer/Eldridge area).

David Cisneros, a recent graduate of Tulane University who recently returned to  Houston, represented Parks by You. Speaking to City of Houston’s Prop B, which would authorize the investment of $166 million to be spent on parks, Cisneros spoke about Houston’s history and interest in providing its residents with green spaces. $100 million of the bond would be invested in uniting the various bayous through the development of green space and parkland. Parks by You is matching that investment, and has raised $20 million, thus far.

The question and answer session allowed those in attendance to truly engage the presenters. One comment made by Trebor Gordon, an announced candidate for City Council At-Large 3, was that he arrived with plenty of questions, but that he felt all of the questions were answered by the presenters. Others asked questions to bring some clarification to the difference between infrastructure investment through bonds and annual budget investment in education and policy-making.

There were also 2012 candidates who attended to do some good ol’ retail politicking, including Diane Trautman for County Trustee-At-Large, Erica Lee for County Trustee, Pct. 1, and Gene Wu for Texas House District 137.

LEUV is committed to developing various events and campaigns in the near future. According to Dr. Rey Guerra, a LEUV Co-Founder, “We are excited about how far we have come in just six months and we know that the best is yet to come, including continuing the Tacos and Votes program during Early Vote weekend in October.”

LEUV would like to thanks all those who showed their support, the candidates who attended, and those who provided a wealth of information on the bonds and the 2012 election. A very special thanks to Julia’s Bistro on Main and Alabama who provided a beautiful venue with the METRO rail as a nice backdrop.

Harris County Latinos on the Ballot

Someone asked me about the Latino line-up on the 2012 ballot, so, I figured I’d make a post with a list of them–at least from the Democratic side of things. So, here we go (incumbents in bold):

Mario V. Gallegos, Jr. – Texas Senate District 6

Armando Walle – Texas House, District 140

Ana Hernandez-Luna – Texas House, District 143

Mary Ann Perez – Texas House, District 144

Carol Alvarado – Texas House, District 145

Jessica Farrar – Texas House, District 148

Julia Maldonado – 14th Court of Appeals, Place 8

Michael Gomez – Judge, 129th District

Josefina Rendon – Judge, 165th District

Ruben Guerrero – Judge, 174th District

David L. Mendoza – Judge, 178th District

Adrian Garcia  – Sheriff

Jo Ann Delgado – JP Pct 2 – 1

Richard Vara – JP Pct 6 – 1

Chris Diaz – Constable Pct 2

Victor Trevino – Constable Pct 6

Silvia Mintz – County School Trustee Pos 4, Pct 3

And if anyone else asks about other political parties, I will say there are four Spanish-surnames on the “right-wing” of the ballot. And if I counted correctly, there are also three running “green.”

This answers questions from a few readers regarding the number of Latinos on the ballot. Enjoy!

Houston, We Have A Run-Off!

Today is the Democratic Primary Run-Off Election Day! Polls are open until 7PM. Find your location on the site.

As of Friday’s early voting tally, less than 20,000 Dems had voted around the County, including over 7,000 returned ballots-by-mail. I won’t bother with any predictions, but I know the campaigns are pulling out all the stops to get their voters out.


The secret is out! I voted for Jamaal Smith for HD-137 and I’ve supported him since he told me he was in it to win it. What has been a very low turnout race, despite some good ground game from all of the candidates, reminds me that my Texas House District needs a lot of help when it comes to civic engagement. And not just registering voters and getting them to the polls. But actually getting them involved in their neighborhoods. And this includes the 80% of people who reside in apartments. I think Jamaal is the candidate who can best be a catalyst for increased excitement and activity, so I urge folks to support him.

In the race for the Dem nomination for U.S. Senate, it has become very important for folks to support Paul Sadler. Unfortunately, Sadler’s lack of fundraising has not been a big help. If anything, the whole “name” thing blamed for support of Sadler’s opponent has left me a bit freaked out. Anyway, VOTE SADLER! You’ll thank me later.

If you reside in Constable Precinct 1, please vote for Cindy Vara-Leija. Over the last half a year, I’ve gotten to know Cindy and she’s real. Cindy is someone whose feet are on the ground and knows how to serve the people in a precinct she has already served for three decades. She has run a hard-fought campaign against a well-funded opponent, and we all know the best campaigns run on people-power. So, support Cindy Vara-Leija!

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m rooting for Erica S. Lee for Harris County Department of Education, Pos. 6 (Pct. 1). Erica is highly qualified as a former educator, but mostly as someone who is policy-savvy. Erica would be an amazing advocate for kids, and we need her, along with Diane Trautman and Silvia Mintz, on the November ballot to drive our message home.

So, VOTE! Make your voices heard! And make a difference. Your vote really does matter.

I don’t think I’ll make it to any of the celebrations tonight, but Congrats to all those I support for running some good campaigns. Heck, congrats to all those I don’t support, too!


The Democratic Primary Run-Off early voting period is this week only. So, get your voter registration card or your ID out (or some other acceptable form of ID) and get to your nearest early voting location. You can find your location here (PDF). Polls are open Monday thru Friday, 7AM to 7PM.

And for the first time in a long time, I get to vote in a run-off for positions within my district. And here are my picks:

U.S. Congress – District 7:  James Cargas

State Representative – District 137:  Jamaal R. Smith


U.S. Senate – Paul Sadler

Other County Races:

Constable, Pct. 1:  Cindy Vara-Leija

County School Trustee, Pos. 6, Pct. 1: Erica S. Lee

Constable, Pct. 2:  Christopher “Chris” Diaz

And even if you do not have a “local” race on your ballot, it is very important that you go out and vote in the race for U.S. Senate–and vote for Paul Sadler.

Now, get out there and vote!

DC Run-Off Endorsement: CD-7 – James Cargas

After a decade of living in Kingwood, and most of that under the bad representation of Ted Poe, I decided I needed more of a challenge. Now, I’m in SW Houston under the even worse representation of Tea Party John Culberson. Bottom line:  District 7 needs a Congress Member who will serve the entire district, and not someone who talks big and delivers nothing for the District. So, when my friend of almost a decade, James Cargas, informed me he was going to run, let me tell you, anyone else in the running immediately fell off the radar. Jim was going to be my candidate, without reservation.

The Houston Chronicle recently endorsed James Cargas, and they had this to say:

Currently working for Houston’s city attorney, Cargas has an extensive background in oil and gas, from the private sector to the Clinton White House. And his experience as a congressional press secretary provides important background on navigating Congress. In fact, it is that experience that drove Cargas to run, hoping to provide a voice of common-sense collegiality to a system now seemingly dominated by tea party extremism.

This self-proclaimed energy lawyer for the energy corridor refuses to get bogged down in partisan wedge issues, but instead emphasizes Houston’s position as a national leader in the medical and energy industries.

In the midst of our natural gas boom, this founding member of the Oil Patch Democrats could be a strong voice for the Houston economy, showing that the oil and gas industry isn’t merely a Republican institution, but a broad and important economic driver that deserves attention from the entire political spectrum.

Some may call him a “moderate,” but in a place like District 7, I would call James Cargas practical. He has some strong positions on what Republicans have made wedge issues to divide us in the Democratic Party, as well as strong and practical positions on every other issue Democrats support. Call him what you want, but he is the exact opposite of John Culberson and then some, and has the ability to not only deliver a message, but the ability to make that message stick with non-Democratic voters.

As someone with family members who have made a nice living in the oil and gas industry, as well as family members and friends who are making a living off of the fracking boom in South Texas, I would much prefer an oil and gas professional like James Cargas who believes in responsible energy exploration and the development of renewable resources serving us in Congress.

And when it comes to the issue of comprehensive immigration reform, it is James Cargas who has come out way ahead of the competition with a sensible and humane approach, rather than the usual “moderate” who would throw the immigrant community under the bus for a vote.

Ultimately, District 7 voters must decide if we want a Democratic challenger who will bring this race some attention and needed discussion among all of the voters of District 7. And ultimately, we must decide if we need a Democratic challenger who will bring the people of District 7 together. The choice for me is obvious…Jim Cargas.

But if you won’t take my word for it, take it from some people I’ve had the privilege of knowing, and even working with on some of the most crucial Democratic causes. Leaders, such as Jessica Farrar, Juliet Stipeche, Debra Kerner, Jim Henley, among others who have made a difference for Harris County, and especially within our Democratic Party. Most of all, these are folks for which most of us Democrats have fought.

My good friend, Former Commissioner Sylvia Garcia had this to say:

I don’t need to remind you that Republicans and their Tea Party allies vote time and again against your best interests as women and are proud of it.  They vote against women making our own choices about our own bodies, vote against public education, vote against equal pay, vote against protecting Social Security, and vote against protecting Medicare.   James has stood up for women and will continue to stand up for women in the United States Congress, for us to control our own bodies, for education, for equal pay, and against the Ryan Budget’s cuts to Social Security and Medicare.  James stands with us.

Finally, as a staunch Democrat who hasn’t missed a Democratic Primary in all of my voting life, I believe in James Cargas. It’s just that simple. And our November ballot is strongest when we have the strongest candidates at the top of the ballot. James is one of those candidates that would help propel the rest of the ballot to Victory in November, but he needs our vote.

And while James is a great candidate, what makes him strongest is his partner on the campaign and in life, his wife, Dr. Dorina Papageorgieu. Dorina has been a great messenger for the campaign and for all things in which we Democrats believe. Much like James, she not about talk, she is about delivering, as is exhibited in her community volunteerism. Together, they will make a great team for District 7.

I’m proud to be among a great list of Democratic leaders who support  James Cargas. I’m even prouder to be a part of a Democratic family who will vote for James Cargas. In fact, my momma, Flora Medellin, already mailed in her ballot in support of James, and that’s probably the biggest endorsement James can get, in my book.

The Chron Is Nodding…

There have been a few Dem endorsements in local races from the Chron, all in which I am pretty much in agreement.

Today’s big endorsement was in my side of town–HD-137’s Jamaal Smith. One knows I can’t say enough good stuff about my friend, Jamaal, but if you must see his stance on various issues, then check out this post.

We live in a diverse city, and it needs representatives who can build coalitions out of our multifaceted makeup. Smith promises to be that sort of representative.

These skills are particularly important for Smith’s district, which includes areas of dense immigrant population such as Gulfton and Sharpstown. While these areas face problems such as gang crimes, they also have rising potential, with unique businesses and ethnic restaurants attracting an elite clientele, and immigrant neighborhoods setting the groundwork for the next generation of Americans.

Another big endorsement, although the race may be in limbo because of a massive screw-up by Harris County, is for Erica Lee for County School Trustee, representing Precinct 1.

For the job, we endorse Lee, who combines real-world teaching experience with an impressive policy background. She taught first grade at HISD’s Lantrip Elementary before studying public policy at Duke University. After that, she served on a team that helped New York’s Gov. Eliot Spitzer prepare a $21 billion education budget – a budget that brought universal pre-K classes to New York kids.

Another good endorsement is that of Paul Sadler for the U.S. Senate. We need a strong candidate to take on DewCruz (I can’t tell the difference between the two), and Sadler knocked it out of the park during the Texas Democratic Party’s Convention here in Houston on most of the issues that I push here on the DC.

I’m sure there is at least one more, but I’m hoping for two more endorsements, from the Chron. Stay tuned.

DC Inbox: Ann Harris Bennett Pledges to Restore Faith in VR Process

All I can say is that I’ll be voting for Ann Harris Bennett for Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar in November. And you should, too. This should be a no-brainer if you really want to protect Democracy in Harris County.

Here’s a statement from Bennett as the County finally releases voter registration certificates:

(Houston) This Monday, April 30th is the deadline to register to vote for the May 29th Texas party primaries, which are expected to have particularly low turnout.

Media reports since at least 2008 have consistently covered controversies within the Harris County Voter Registration Office including reports of improper rejections of voter registration applications, a senior staffer moonlighting as a Republican consultant, and a joint press conference with the Republican group known as the King Street Patriots made national news in 2010 after voter intimidation reports associated with their “poll watcher” program.

Further complicating this year’s voter registration process, are the discriminatory redistricting proposals put forth by Republican legislators led to a drawn-out legal battle which threw our entire election process into disarray.

“The continuous reports of problems with our voter rolls are unacceptable,” said Ann Harris Bennett, candidate for Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar. “These controversies are particularly atrocious at a time when so many voters are looking to express their outrage over cuts to public education and women’s health programs.”

Ann Harris Bennett is a plaintiff in the ongoing lawsuit against the King Street Patriots, who are holding a National Summit in Houston this weekend.

“Harris County seems to have been the testing ground for vote suppression tactics used against minorities and that cannot continue. Restoring faith in the integrity of the voter registration process will be a priority of my campaign and my administration when elected,”concluded Harris Bennett.

Ann Harris Bennett is unopposed in the May 29th Democratic Primary for the position of Harris County Tax Assessor Collector & Voter Registrar.

Chron Endorses in New Latino Opportunity District…

…and they didn’t pick the Latina candidate…or even the Latino candidate in the race for the new Houston City Council District J.

Don’t get me wrong, Mike Laster is a good candidate and I appreciate his work in the community and in politics, but when given the opportunity of a Latino-opportunity district, one would think that there would be a community consensus (including the media) gathering around the Latina or Latino; especially if they are progressive-minded. (I don’t support just any Hispanic candidate, now.)

I had the opportunity to help moderate a radio forum featuring candidates Criselda Romero and Rodrigo Cañedo, both whom were impressive in their presentations and responses. Unfortunately, because of a scheduling conflict, Mr. Laster was unable to participate; but, I have no doubt that he would have been as impressive. As the Chron states, all are “capable candidates.”

Although the Chron gives the district its due as the most diverse area of the City, it failed to even mention how this district was created, the actors involved in its creation, the population changes that lead to its creation and the process of cooperation between activists and the Mayor’s office. And that is what bothered me most, I think.

Ultimately, a Chron endorsement does not constitute a “win;” if anything, those not endorsed, basically, did not get something to put on a push card, or if they can afford it, a direct mail piece. This election is far from over for all of these candidates, and it is common campaign knowledge that the path to victory is on the streets, door to door.

Let’s see what happens as we inch closer to Early Voting.

Juliet Earns Hispanic Chamber Endorsement

Juliet Kathy Stipeche is on a roll with another important endorsement from an organization that serves the community.

And here’s a link to a blog post on the candidate in the race who wants to close down schools–the very hubs that serve our neighborhoods. Juliet believes in common sense solutions to the challenges our schools face. And that’s why Juliet has been able to put together a coalition of supporters which make up the various sectors of the community.

For Immediate Release

Contact:            Juliet Stipeche  713-520-6667


Juliet Kathy Stipeche, candidate for Houston ISD Trustee-District 8, is pleased to announce that she has earned the endorsement of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce PAC.  Stipeche issued this statement:

“I set out to earn the support of individuals and organizations that are connected to District 8, and the Houston Hispanic Chamber is one of those groups who have proven themselves as a hub for strengthening the economic viability of our community, while wholeheartedly supporting our schools.

I strongly believe that public schools and the business community must work together to create a cooperative environment in which students, teachers, and all stakeholders can thrive, while developing opportunities to prepare students for the real world.”

The daughter of immigrant parents, Juliet Kathy Stipeche is an accomplished attorney and community leader. A graduate of the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice where she graduated at the top of her class, Juliet received her undergraduate degree, with honors, from Rice University and her law degree from the University of Texas. A product of the East End, Juliet resides in the Idylwood community with her husband and law partner Wesley Nagorny, III.