By Gilbert Hoffman
HARRIS COUNTY – Voters face a momentous and important task on Election Day, November 8, when they must select candidate and propositions on the longest ballot in Texas and the longest in recent memory. In addition, they must navigate the new voting machines which have a combination of electronic ballot casting, and a paper record to be scanned and archived.
Candidates have been ferociously campaigning, with personal appearances, social media, email campaigns, and ads on TV and newspapers.
Most political observers feel this is one of the most important elections in many years, with the Supreme Court overturning longstanding judgements, and an evenly split Congress deadlocked on many life-altering issues.
Important races on the ballot include Texas Governor and other state offices, Harris County Judge and commissioner, and many candidates for U.S. House and State Legislature.
In addition, there are bond propositions for massive amounts of money, and school districts wanting to fund expansion.
Dozens of judges will be elected, both family, district, civil and criminal judges fill several pages of the ballot.
At a more local level, school board trustees will be voted on in Channelview, Crosby, Huffman, Sheldon, and Lone Star College.
Bond issues for MUD districts are slated in Newport and Crosby.
Bond Issues include Harris County Propositions that would raise $1.2 billion for Public Safety, Roads and Drainage, and Parks, a City of Houston Proposition that would raise over $478 for a multitude of improvements, and Sheldon School District Bond proposals totaling over $247 million for facility expansion.
Some well-known office holders that are being challenged this election cycle include Congress persons Dan Crenshaw, Lizzie Fletcher, Sheila Jackson Lee, Troy Nehls, Sylvia Garcia, and Brian Babin.
Also challenged are Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and the Attorney General Ken Paxton.
State Senators facing a challenge include Brandon Creighton, John Whitmire, and Joan Huffman. State Representatives challenged include Briscoe Cain.
Harris County office holders that are challenged include District Clerk Marilyn Burgess, County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth, County Commissioners Pct. 2 Adrian Garcia, Pct. 4 Jack Cagle, and Justice of the Peace Pct. 3 Place 2 Lucia Bates.
CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR CAMPAIGN IN HOUSTON
Both Governor candidates made personal appearance in the Houston area in the last week, attempting to garner more votes in this urban area.
Beto O’Rourke appeared at a rally in a community center gym in the North Forest area on Saturday, October 8th, and then again in Bellaire Chinatown area on Saturday, October 15th. His campaign message was extremely personal, and at North Forest he related stories that were aimed at persons in the audience that he seemed to know quite a bit about.
Beto talked about creating great jobs that pay a living wage, investing in world-class public schools, expanding health care so that more people can afford to access a doctor, restoring a woman’s choice of reproductive care, and lowering living costs within the state.
Beto said, “Texans will overcome Abbott’s extremism — from the total ban on abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest, to defunding public schools, driving up inflation, and blocking commonsense measures to keep kids and communities safe from gun violence.”
The rally or town hall in North Forest was attended by several hundred people, and the press and other politicians and Super Neighborhood officials.
The rally in Bellaire Chinatown was meant to address another demographic segment of the voters, the Asian community. The rally was held on the lawn in front of the Southern Chinese News building on Bellaire Boulevard. Beto’s message was similar, but tailored to a different ethnicity and included comments in immigration policy and economic programs from the federal government.
In contrast, Greg Abbott’s recent meeting in Houston was with business leaders, Port officials, and leaders of the Energy industry, in a conference room at the offices of the Port of Houston. Abbott spoke about Texas’ “surging economy and jobs growth in the energy industry.”
Abbott said, “Texas is proud to be the nation’s number one exporting state for 20 years in a row, and we’re beating our competitors in other states because of the efficiency and effectiveness of Port Houston.” He continued, “Texas’ economy is booming, but our state— and Port Houston—could unleash its full economic potential if the federal government would get out of the way and rollback unnecessary regulations.”
In a roundtable discussion that followed, with energy leaders present, Abbott touted Texas’ continued dominance in U.S. exports and highlighted Port Houston and its many companies’ significant role in achieving that distinction. His message seemed to indicate that despite environmental threats to the industry, Abbott backed full support of practices.