Editorial note: This is the first in our series of electronic interviews with City Council, City Controller and Mayoral candidates. We have sent 10 questions based on seven different templates: (1) incumbent City Council, (2) challenger City Council, (3) open seat City Council, (4) challenger Controller, (5) incumbent Controller, (6) challenger Mayoral and (7) incumbent Mayoral. The following are verbatim copies of the questions sent out and the answers received.
Graciana Garces, Candidate for Houston City Council District I
Texpatriate: What is your name?
GG: Graci Garces.
T: What is your current occupation?
GG: Chief of Staff for Houston City Council District I Office.
T: Have you run for or held public office before?
T: What is your political affiliation? We understand that City Council elections are nonpartisan, but this is a point many voters find important. If you are not comfortable currently identifying with a political party, what was the last Political Party’s primary election you voted in (a matter of public record)?
GG: I am a proud Democrat.
T: Open seats typically attract countless candidates. Why are you specifically running for this seat?
GG: I have served as Chief of Staff for six years and have worked in the District I office for ten years. We have proud accomplishments including economic development projects that have created good paying jobs, have built relationships with neighborhood leaders results in quick turnaround of city services, and a keen insight of the issues that are important to the community. In our term limited municipal governance structure it is imperative that you have council member that can hit the ground running from day one.
T: Are you in contact with the incumbent Councilmember for this position? Would the two of you have a good relationship for a possible transition?
GG; Of course and have his active support in this campaign.
T: What do you hope to get out of serving on the City Council?
GG: Helping to create smart economic development initiatives that create good paying jobs, make all communities safer, and removing blight.
T: What is an ordinance you would introduce in your next term?
GG: There are some neighborhoods in District I that have an overpopulation of animals. I would work on an ordinance deal with this issue.
T: Obviously, an officeholder strives to maintain a diverse core constituency and political base, but all candidates have interest groups they have been traditionally strong with and traditionally weak with, respectively. For you, what would be one example of each type of group?
GG: District I neighborhood activists are a constituency I have worked with and have their support.
T: What has been the most important thing you have learned in your campaign?
GG: The fact that voters can sense your commitment and sincerity.