Although Councilmember Costello failed to disclose his partisan affiliation in his interview with this board, it is a well-known fact that he is a registered Republican. The Harris County Republican Party claims him as one of their own, citing his membership in a “Republican Leadership Council.” The Harris County Democratic Party notes that Costello has voted without fail in the three most recent Republican primary elections.
In his interview with this board, Costello cited the non-partisan nature of the City Council as his reason to conceal partisan affiliation. While Costello is absolutely correct in that the Houston City Council is a non-partisan institution, the excuse is rarely valid as officeholders continue to tow the party line on most city issues. Fortunately, Costello has proved to be a great exception to that rule.
In his first term in office, Costello became a tremendous ally of the Mayor, as the two worked together for a solution to the city’s drainage issues. Proposition 1, now known pejoratively by some as the “drainage tax,” was passed by City voters in November of 2010. The bill was incredibly unpopular among Republicans, leading some to speculate it was the reason for Councilmember Brenda Stardig’s defeat in the following election. Costello, for his part, saw a populist challenger in the next election strongly against the drainage measure.
This board, however, is supportive of the drainage measure and saw the push by Costello as evidence of the Councilmember’s lurch to the left. In his second term, this board witnessed the realignment continue as Costello became a key partner of Parker’s administration, leading the powerful City Council Committee on the Budget. Costello has gone on to receive support from many liberal organizations, including the Houston Stonewall Young Democrats and Planned Parenthood, indicating a progressive stance on both LGBT rights and abortion.
The only opponent Councilmember Costello has this election is Michael “Griff” Griffin. This board remembers Griffin as a perennial candidate, now on his eleventh election, who has never run a serious campaign. Given that Mr Griffin lacks a website, we are not inclined to take his candidacy especially seriously.
This board, therefore, endorses Stephen Costello for another term on the Houston City Council, At-large position #1.
The Texpatriate Editorial Board is comprised of Olivia Arena of Austin, George Bailey & Noah M. Horwitz of Boston and Andrew Scott Romo of New Orleans.