ALDINE – State Representative Armando Walle and two other Democratic legislators, Ana Hernandez and Garnet Coleman, returned from their hiatus in Washington to the state Capitol in Austin last week. Their absence, along with about 50 others, had kept the Texas House from having a quorum and unable to pass controversial Voter Restriction legislation that the Democrats said would disenfranchise many minority voters.
However, with all Republicans plus these three Democrats and a few others who never left, the Speaker of the House Dade Phelan declared they had a Quorum, and would proceed to act on legislation.
The three returning Democrats received a great deal of criticism for allowing this to happen, from labor unions, minority voter groups, and their colleagues that were still in Washington.
Walle’s office issued the following statement in defense of the return:
WASHINGTON, DC – More than 50 Texas Democratic legislators remain holed up in a Washington, D.C. hotel, blocking an effort by Republicans to pass more restrictive voting laws during the present special session since state law requires at least 100 reps to have a quorum.
The legislators have been meeting with national Democratic leaders, such as Vice President Kamala Harris, but also dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 among its members. At least a half dozen legislators, who say they were already vaccinated, have tested positive for the virus while in the nation’s capital.
The legislators are pushing for federal voting legislation, called the For the People Act, which has already passed the U.S. House but remains bottled up in the Senate. Without changes to the Senate filibuster rule, passage seems unlikely. The special session in Austin ends Aug. 7, but Abbott has vowed to call another one if the Democrats remain absent, effectively stopping any legislation from passing.
WASHINGTON, DC – More than 50 Democratic members of the state House fled Austin for Washington, D.C., last Monday, paralyzing the House just as the GOP was advancing sweeping changes in elections during a special session. Under the Texas Constitution, the Legislature requires a quorum of two-thirds of lawmakers to be present to conduct state business in either chamber.
The Texas Democrats plan to spend the week meeting with national voting rights advocates and labor leaders, election officials and other Democrats as they seek to keep the pressure on Congress to pass federal voting legislation.
WASHINGTON, DC – Last week a group of Democratic state legislators met with Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss the ongoing fight to protect voting rights in Texas and to urge the US Senate to pass H.R. 1 and H.R. 4 to combat coordinated voter suppression efforts taking place across the country.
Sen. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston), the chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus, released the following statement after the meeting:
“Today the members of the Texas delegation had a productive conversation with Vice President Harris about the fight against voter suppression in the Texas Legislature and the importance of H.R. 1 and H.R. 4.
“We are grateful for Vice President Harris’ partnership and support in our nation’s capitol as Democrats aim to preempt Jim Crow style laws from every level of government. As we look toward the next special session in Austin, the Texas Senate Democrats will continue to do our part in the fight to ensure that our sacred right to vote is not taken away by blatant Republican voter suppression tactics.”
After the Deep Freeze and subsequent Power and Water outages of early February, many individuals and organizations contributed to help those needing water, food and heat. In East Aldine, on February 20, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) joined with State Representative Armando Walle, Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, State Senator Carol Alvarado, BakerRipley CEO Claudia Aguirre, and many others to distribute water to local residents that were unable to get water in their homes or stores. In addition, AOC raised $5 million to help in the Relief effort.
Early voting started Tuesday, Oct. 13 in Harris County, and will continue through Friday, Oct. 30. Election Day is November 3rd. Voters can go to any polling location, which can be located at www.harris votes.com. This year you will not be able to vote a straight ticket, so it will take longer to choose each candidate by name.
Important races include President Trump versus his challenger Joe Biden. Also Texas Senator John Cornyn is running against MJ Hegar, a war-wounded veteran.
U. S. Representatives that face challengers include Dan Crenshaw, Sheila Jackson Lee, Sylvia Garcia, and Brian Babin. All of these represent some part of local districts.
In state races, incumbents Dan Huberty and Briscoe Cain face challengers. Armando Walle, Senfronia Thompson, and Ana Hernandez are running unopposed in their districts.
Sylvia Garcia, County and City leaders hold Census Caravan
HARRIS COUNTY – U.S. Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia has organized an intense public effort to count as many residents of the area as possible, stating that federal dollars that are sent to the state, county, and city are dependent upon the number of people counted and living in the area.
To draw attention to the need to sign up in the Census, Garcia and other community leaders have organized “Census Caravans” that drive through neighborhoods and urge residents to complete their census forms. Garcia says it only takes 5 minutes to complete the questionnaire, and can be done in several different ways.
Last Saturday the Census Caravan drove through the streets of East Aldine. Authorities have noted that this is one of the areas where only a small percentage of the residents have registered.
Recovery Czars Rep. Armando Walle and Marvin Odum Launch Effort to Reduce Evictions and Maintain Affordable Housing
Harris County, Texas – Thursday, June 11, 2020 – County and city recovery leaders on Thursday announced the formation of a task force to prevent evictions while bridging gaps in housing stability that have been exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Housing Stability Task Force, which will include stakeholders with deep experience in the community who touch all points of the housing stability cycle, will align resources to address evictions while developing strategies and recommendations to strengthen the region’s housing delivery system. Although the city and county each have independent czars leading their respective COVID19 recovery efforts, city and county leadership decided to unify their efforts to deal with the unprecedented housing crisis through the creation of a joint task force.
“Evictions were a serious issue before the COVID-19 pandemic, and they will continue to be of great concern throughout the course of the economic downtown. We unfortunately anticipate a substantial increase in the volume in the weeks and months ahead, and we are determined to make our best attempt at proactive planning to reduce as many as we can. The Houston region had systemic barriers to affordable housing before COVID, and the current crisis has exposed in plain sight the underlying system shortcomings,” said State Rep. Armando Walle, Harris County Recovery Czar. “With key players at the table, working together toward the same end goals, we will structure our efforts to be responsive to the immediate crisis, even as we maintain a firm resolve not to lose sight of the importance of future work required to make housing stability a reality for more people.”
HARRIS COUNTY – April 20, 2020, County Judge Lina Hidalgo on Monday selected State Representative Armando Walle to lead the COVID19 pandemic relief and recovery effort on her behalf. As Harris County COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Czar, Rep. Walle is tasked with leading the effort to drive the region’s economic recovery. He will join the Houston relief and recovery Czar in this effort and jointly they will convene community and government stakeholders as necessary.
“State Rep. Walle is uniquely positioned to build consensus across Harris County’s diverse communities to help our region emerge from the COVID-19 disaster. As a leader in the state Legislature on issues of health, safety, and the economic well being of families, he’s a champion for the important priorities that we want to make sure are in the forefront of this relief and recovery effort,” Judge Hidalgo said. “Like the rest of the world, Harris County will not be the same when this crisis abates. But with inclusive, fast and coordinated planning, we will build an economy and a social services network that gives every resident the tools they need to thrive once again.”