Editorial note: This is the ninth 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.
Mike Knox, Candidate for Houston City Council District A
Texpatriate: What is your name?
MK: Mike Knox
T: What is your current occupation?
MK: Street Gang and Youth Violence Consultant
T: Have you run for or held public office before?
MK: This is my first general election campaign.
T: What is your political affiliation?
T: Typically, this board will defer to incumbents unless we are convinced the incumbent has failed in some way. Do you believe the incumbent has failed at her or his job? If so, why?
MK: I do believe the current incumbent City Council Member has failed to represent the interest of the residents of the District A and has focused more on her political ideological agenda than on representing the District. The current incumbent is very proud of her record of conflict with the Mayor and other members of Council and seems unwilling to recognize that her activities in this regard have eliminated the voice of District A from serious consideration on matters coming before City Council.
T: Why are you specifically running against this incumbent?
MK: I am running in this race because we, the residents of District A, deserve to have an effective voice at City Council. District A is poised on the brink of a cycle of revitalization. To promote this revitalization we need someone at city council who can advocate for the district and focus the city’s attention on public safety, infrastructure, and provision of city services to District A.
In short, we need someone who can effectively communicate with people of differing ideologies and who can use logic and reason to persuade others to support beneficial projects in District A. I believe I am this person.
T: What do you hope to get out of serving on the City Council?
MK: I hope to leave District A in a better situation than when I took office. I would hope that reasonable, conservative values will be demonstrated to be a successful model for other city office holders to adopt to help this city overcome some of its serious financial issues and I expect to get some personal satisfaction from knowing that I have done my part to make District A and the City of Houston a better, more productive, and prosperous place in which to live, work, and raise a family.
T: What is an ordinance you would introduce in your next term?
MK: Generally, I believe we have enough regulation at present. However, for the sake of this discussion, I would like to see Mobil Food Vendor ordinances change to require mobile food vendors to actually be mobile and limit their time in one spot to three or four hours within a twenty-four hour period. Exceptions of course for those mobile food vendors contracted for specific private or public events which might last longer than four hours.
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?
MK: I have a strong affinity for groups that operate with a vision of a strong, independent, and prosperous America based on the Conservative / Judeo-Christian values which founded our nation; and with those groups who revere the founding documents of our country.
I am obviously less attractive to groups that believe the salvation of the individual or society can be provided by a large and over abundant government.
T: What has been the most important thing you have learned in your campaign?
MK: The most important thing I have learned to date in my campaign is that there are a lot of really smart people with many great and creative ideas about ways to solve city problems who live and work in District A. These people are an untapped resource which I plan to utilize often as the Council Member for District A.