Texpatriate endorses in Congressional elections

Editorial note: Separate endorsements from the Editorial Board will be written at a latter date for the elections in Congressional District 2 and Congressional District 7, respectively. We will only endorse in Harris County & Statewide elections.

The 113th Congress has been among the most unpopular in American history. Heck, it might be –without exception– the single most unpopular. Most Congresses can muster the passage of a few hundred bills, and this one will be lucky if it can accomplish even a third of that (most of the ones that did pass named post offices). From the debt ceiling to government shutdowns to basic dysfunction, there is a very compelling case to be made to clean house in Congress. “Vote them all out,” is a common recurring theme. But are all members of the House equally culpable for the epic cluster that has occurred within the lower chamber?

This board believes you would be hard pressed to not admit Republicans are significantly more at fault for the dysfunction than Democrats. Since regaining control of the House in 2011, Republicans have immediately held invaluable legislation, such as the budget or the debt ceiling, hostage in exchange for ludicrous demands. They waste sporadic committee time launching witch hunts against the President for imaginary reasons, and they spend a disgusting amount of time on vacation instead of working to solve just one of the plethora of problems the United States faces.

The three Democratic incumbents in Harris County –Al Green (TX-9), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) and Gene Green (TX-29)– are not perfect, but we sincerely believe that they are immeasurably superior to their opponents. We endorse all three, all Democrats.

Congressman Al Green was first elected in 2004, after mid-decade redistricting created a new opportunity district for African-Americans. In the decade since, he has been a strong and capable representative for his community. We have been particularly impressed by the strong stand that he has taken in support of gun control. Furthermore, as the Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Green has helped to lead the charge on holding those who wrecked the economy responsible.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, first elected in 1994, follows in the footsteps of some incomparable predecessors in the 18th District. Barbara Jordan, Mickey Leland and Craig Washington all honed fame countrywide for being national leaders on important issues. We believe that Jackson Lee has effectively continued this legacy. She is possibly more active than any other member of Congress from Texas in the amount of bills that she introduces to sessions, and is essentially omnipresent in her desire to have her voice heard on important issues.

Jackson Lee, unlike the other two Congressmen, actually has a major opponent in November. Sean Seibert is running for the post as a Republican, though he is heavily disfavored. Our hesitations with Seibert hinge not only on his lack of any political experience whatsoever, but on political positions that are far out the mainstream. His “issues” page on his Facebook reference broad platitudes, with a couple of especially bad ideas such as requiring a balanced budget amendment and eliminating the estate tax.

Jackson Lee, on the other hand, has taken some bold stands, specifically on civil liberty topics. She continues to fight against unnecessary government intrusion into our lives, such as the abhorrent NSA spying program or the malevolent Patriot Act. While she certainly has a penchant for putting her foot in her mouth all too often, this board sincerely believes that Jackson Lee –overall– is a strong advocate for the people in her district.

Lastly, we have Congressman Gene Green. A 22 year incumbent, Green represents a a heavily-Hispanic district, though he himself is Caucasian. Green is a very active in constituent services, but when it comes to taking a bold stand on issues, he is still holding up the rear of the Democratic Party. Green is a very vehement opponent of even the slightest amount of gun control, namely a ban on assault weapons. Last time he went on the record about it, Green was even an opponent of same-sex marriage. Most importantly, we believe Green is remiss in not pushing more stringently for action on immigration control. He needs to actually listen to his constituents.

Still, Green is overall a good Congressman, and he is on a whole different level than his opponent, a Libertarian. Voters would still be wise to support him.

Accordingly, this board endorses Al Green in US House District 9, Sheila Jackson Lee in US House District 18 and Gene Green in US House District 29.

The Texpatriate Editorial Board is comprised of Noah M. Horwitz & Olivia Arena in Austin, George Bailey in Boston, Luis Fayad in College Station and Andrew Scott Romo in New Orleans. Editorials represent a majority opinion of the voting board.

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In re Redistricting Hearing

Last Saturday, I attended the Senate Redistricting Hearing. Perhaps something of a misnomer, the committee was not only considering the approval of Senate district maps, but also both the State House and U.S. House district maps. The Congressional maps were by far the most contentious, and the one I testified on.

The ratio of supporters to opponents of these interim, court-ordered plans was roughly 1-to-9. The vast majority of those who spoke did so critically, challenging the allegedly discriminatory elements of the map.

The most controversial aspects of the plan, and those two which I personally testified upon, were the butchering of Lloyd Doggett’s district and the horrendous gerrymandering of Blake Farenthold’s district such that he could remain in office.

Among the politicians I saw at this hearing, besides those on the Committee, were Sheila Jackson Lee, Al Green, Ronald Green, Mike Sullivan, Gene Wu and Larry Green. Numerous candidates were also in attendance.

My opinion on all this is that it will mean zilch when all is said and done. The Republican majority in both Houses of the legislature enjoy the current situation, which obviously benefits the GOP. Perhaps they are motivated by racism, but that isn’t important, because the Supreme Court will probably kill off the Voting Rights Act in the next couple days.

In re CISPA

This is a few days old–oh well. On Thursday, the US House voted 288-127 to pass the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, also known as CISPA. The bill is more or less an even worse version of SOPA/PIPA. Most of my readers are in that small niche demographic who grew up their entire lives surrounded by technology, so, us Millennials by and large opposes any effort to have the government intrude into our personal lives on the internet.

Unfortunately, we cannot say the same of the octogenarians who dominate the halls of Congress (ok, they aren’t THAT old, but I couldn’t help to take a cheap shot at LaTourette), specifically from this great State. Of the eight or so Congressmembers who arguably represent part of Houston, Jackson Lee and Stockman were the only Representatives to oppose this Orwellian measure.

I wouldn’t expect any less from Gene Green but to support this crooked legislation, but I was deeply disappointed to see Al Green support the measure. Jackson Lee has always been a good liberal bastion, sometimes being one of the only Texas Democrats to vote against both DOMA and the PATRIOT ACT. It was refreshing, however, to see some of the other TXDEMs who voted nay. First and foremost, Lloyd Doggett, who has a sad history of voting for both DOMA and the PATRIOT ACT, voted against CISPA. Good for him.

Next, I was happy to see the young voting against this bill. Both Joaquin Castro and Beto O’Rourke, youngens with obvious high officer ambitions, voted against the act.

Again, not much of a point to make here, no commentary on the bill itself (you can tell my personal feelings), just wanted to emphasis how few of our Reps are from the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

Hall lists his supporters

Perhaps I missed this, but it is news to me that Ben Hall now has a gigantic list of his supporters on his website. Many of these names stood out to me. I have taken the liberty of creating a Wikipedia page for this year’s mayoral election, which lists most of this info, but I would like to go over some of the more surprising supporters.

It is no surprise that Dr. Hall would receive the bulk of his politician endorsements from the African-American community, but it did catch me off guard how pervasive his support was. There were rank-and-file politicos like Jarvis Johnson and Carol Mims Galloway who were listed, which is almost expected. However, the three African-American politicians who were on the list, and three who were off the list, which I would like to talk about a little bit. C.O. Bradford, Lee Brown and Al Green were all listed as supporters of Dr. Hall’s candidacy. However, Dwight Boykins, Ronald Green and Sheila Jackson Lee are all conspicuously absent.

Now, Bradford did support Parker in 2009, but got into a somewhat high profile feud with her before the 2011 elections, during which rumors actually floated about him challenging the Mayor in the election. I cannot remember if he ever came around to Parker’s candidacy in 2011 after nobody feasible ran against her, but it makes some sense that he would immediately jump on the bandwagon to endorse Parker’s opponent. Ronald Green, on the other hand, never really had a rocky spell with Parker, and, by all accounts, the two still get along pretty well. However, Ronald Green and Bradford have something in common: they both have higher ambitions. Personally, the first time I met both of them, I felt a very strong inkling that they wanted to be the Mayor, sort of like when one meets the Castro brothers, you know they want to be Governor/Senator/President. Accordingly, I find it interesting that Bradford would endorse Hall, who will probably lose, if he might be interested in running in 2015.

Second, I find it very intriguing that Dwight Boykins,who is running for the City Council with some very high profile support, is not listed among Hall’s supporters, but his honorary campaign treasurer, Lee Brown, is. For that matter, some of Boykin’s supporters, like Borris Miles, have also stayed out of the race. I am going to assume it has something with the fact that as someone who is probably getting elected, Boykins won’t want to be on the Mayor’s bad side.

Third, Al Green is a public supporter, while Sheila Jackson Lee is not. Green, if you might remember, was the one who made Hall stand down and endorse Locke back in 2009. I guess Green felt obligated to help Hall this time around. I suppose that Jackson Lee is more tepid to support Hall as some of her former political opponents (e.g., Jarvis Johnson and Craig Washington) are in Hall’s column.

Another point I would like to make is that Bob Lanier is quoted and prominently featured on Hall’s website, as providing a testimonial that reads “He is exactly what Houston needs at this time.” However, Lanier is not mentioned among Hall’s official list of supporters, and the quote isn’t dated, leading me to think that, maybe, he said this back in 2009.

Finally, I was surprised by how many people in the Jewish community support Hall. Alan Rosen, the recent Constable for Precinct 1, and Alvin Zimmerman, his campaign strategist, aren’t really surprises, but I saw a few names of the parents of people I went to Hebrew School with (PLEASE NOTE: The “Hurwitz”s that endorsed Hall are not related to me, I have an “o” in my last name).

Just as an aside and a blast from the past, Rod Paige, Bush’s 1st term Secretary of Education, is listed as a supporters. Also, someone is listed with the name “Drayton McClane,” which may or may not be a typo for Drayton McLane, as in the former Astros owner.

Parker doesn’t have a supporters page, but I assume it will be a priority now. Can’t wait to see who I find on her list!

Endorsements: Yellow Dog

Endorsements: Yellow Dog

This is Tilly, my yellow dog. She isn’t very bright but I would vote for her over quite a few candidates for political office this year. Some of these candidates have formidable Democratic opponents, but the common denominator is that I would vote for the Democrats in these elections even if it were a yellow dog.

**President**
I endorse the incumbent, Barack H. Obama, for re-election. Yes, I support the President on most issues, but with Romney on the other end, it was a pretty easy choice.

**US Senate**
I endorse former State Representative Paul Sadler. As opposed to a few of the sorry fellas that the TXDEMs have put up over the years, I actually do really like Sadler. It does help, however, that he is running against the guy that makes Dewhurst look sane.

**US Representative 2**
I endorse the Democrat, Jim Dougherty. Congressman Poe, as much as he had previously garnered a good deal of respect from me, lost it all last term as he made fictitious statements about voter fraud, skirted on the edge of birtherism, and played the “Obama-is-an-anti-Israel-anti-semite” card, which I take very personally.

**US Representative 7**
I endorse the Democrat, James Cargas. In 2010, I had to pick Tilly because there were no opponents to Culberson. Culberson is my congressman, and such, we have had a very special relationship ever since his office blocked my email address when I was in the 9th grade. From making garbage up to try and destroy the METRORail, to more extremism, to only proposing one bill over the last few years, I hold a particularly disdain from the honorable Congressman from Texas, and such I am happy he has drawn good enough of an opponent in Cargas.

**US Representative 9**
I endorse the incumbent, Al Green.

**US Representative 10**
I endorse the Democrat, Tawana Cadien. Congressman McCaul, as the richest member of Congress, has done nothing to refute the presumption that he is out of touch, in fact he has exacerbated it.

**US Representative 14**
I endorse the honorable former Congressman, Nick Lampson, for reasons stated in previous posts.

**US Representative 17**
I endorse Tilly. The district formerly held by Chet Edwards, a Democrat, as late as 2010, is now held by Republican Bill Flores. Flores did not draw a Democratic opponent.

**US Representative 18**
I endorse the incumbent, Sheila Jackson Lee.

**US Representative 22**
I endorse Tilly, again. Congressman Olson is just as far right as Tom DeLay, and his Democratic opponent belongs to the LaRouche cult (I didn’t even know that still existed).

**US Representative 29**
I endorse the incumbent, Gene Green.

**US Representative 36**
I endorse the Democrat, Max Martin. He was the only Democrat to sign up for the primary that twelve Republicans duked it out for. That takes chutzpah.

For further reference, I endorse all the Democrats in the Houston area running for the State Legislature. However, I try to endorse a few Republicans when it comes to county jobs. Stay tuned.