Editorial note: This is the thirty-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.
David Robinson, Candidate for the Houston City Council At-large position #2
Texpatriate: What is your name?
DR: David W. Robinson
T: What is your current occupation?
T: Have you run for or held public office before?
DR: This is my second time running for the At-Large Position #2 on City Council, having run in 2011. While I have not held elected office, I have previously been appointed a Planning Commissioner by both Mayor White and Mayor Parker.
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)?
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?
DR: I believe the incumbent lacks the insight that my professional and governmental experience has given me. Houston’s rapid growth poses many challenges to neighborhood and city leaders. We must preserve the unique character of our neighborhoods while ensuring healthy and robust city infrastructure and responsible growth. As a licensed architect and former planning commissioner, I have worked extensively with builders, residents, and stakeholders to develop this city’s public and private infrastructure while balancing commercial and residential interests.
T: Why are you specifically running against this incumbent?
DR: The incumbent holds a seat that must represent Houston At-Large; however, I do not believe he has the experience and understanding to truly be an advocate for all of Houston. My professional work and volunteer activities have given me the opportunity to work with dedicated people across this city who share my commitment to making Houston an even greater place. Building on the strong foundation of our many unique neighborhoods, I believe that this diversity is our greatest cultural asset. This is a city of neighborhoods, built by visionaries and risk-takers, and by a growing mix of people who are committed to making this an even better place to live and work for this generation and for all that follow.
T: What do you hope to get out of serving on the City Council?
DR: I am committed to the on-going vitality of our city. I plan to do my part by listening to Houstonians about what could be improved in all of our communities. And I will listen to concerns about what hasn’t been working in these places, and do what I can to improve upon those things that need to change. We need to make Houston work even better. Being a part of this dynamic city’s leadership is why I’m running for Houston City Council and asking for your support. It is my hope to be an advocate for the following issues:
Safe Neighborhoods: We need to be sure that our communities are safe for everyone, by supporting the police, the fire department and our other first responders who assure that there is adequate and appropriate protection for all our citizens and neighborhoods.
Capitalizing on Our Opportunity: We need excellent schools all across this great city. Everyone living in Houston must have access to high quality education and learning opportunities. Everyone has a stake in the development of our next generation, and we need better collaboration between school districts, the City of Houston, community colleges, and the private sector.
Wise Investments: We need to use our resources wisely and carefully, to get full value for every dollar that we spend on public things. The arteries, roadways, highways, bayou trails, and all public transportation are part of the system that we must develop in balance.
T: What is an ordinance you would introduce in your next term?
DR: I would encourage the adjustment of the Chapter 33 of the Code of Ordinances to further define the relationship between the Super Neighborhood Alliance and the City of Houston. The Super Neighborhoods provide valuable insight to the City of Houston and empower local residents and stakeholders to be active participants in relevant municipal decisions.
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?
DR: I think my “core constituency” consists of all of Houston’s neighborhoods. Indeed, I have represented and advocated for neighborhoods across the City of Houston as Chairman and President of the Super Neighborhood Alliance.
In terms of interest groups, my candidacy has been endorsed by the Greater Houston Builders Association, Democracy for Houston, the GLBT Political Caucus, the Houston Stonewall Young Democrats, and the Houston Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies. We expect more endorsements to be forthcoming.
T: What has been the most important thing you have learned in your campaign?
DR: While travelling throughout the City of Houston I have had the opportunity to meet Houstonians from diverse walks of life. From young and recent arrivals to seniors and long term residents, Houston is comprised of individuals as diverse as our city’s neighborhoods. I have learned to treasure the opportunities I have had to engage in meaningful conversation with my fellow citizens. Most of all it is their concerns and hopes that have informed my candidacy for City Council.