January 29, 2009
Election date set for District H

City Council has officially set the date for the District H special election. As noted in Item 42 of the Council agenda, the special election date is Saturday, May 9, which is the next uniform election date. If there are any other potential candidates out there, expect them to emerge soon.

It's been a week of formal declarations by candidates. Jeffrey Downing made an official announcement of his intent to run for District A on Tuesday, and Ed Gonzalez and Maverick Welsh made theirs yesterday in District H. I've got their press releases beneath the fold. I've also been informed of three potential candidates in District G, one of whom I was asked not to name yet on the blog. Houtopia mentioned two of them in the comments to the earlier post, HCC Trustee Robert Mills Worsham, and attorney Oliver Pennington. I can confirm the latter's candidacy thanks to the following message I received on Facebook from his daughter, Sarah Pennington Tropoli:

Oliver Pennington, who is a now an of counsel attorney with Fulbright and Jaworski - he has been a partner there and worked there since the 70's - will be running for District G. Penny Butler will be his treasurer.

Tropoli mentioned that Pennington's website, OliverPennington.com, will be up in the next few weeks. Jeff Downing also has a website in the works, but it's not ready yet, either. Welsh's website is MaverickWelsh.com.

We can also remove two names from consideration. In the same message to me that confirmed Pennington's candidacy, Tropoli said "George Hittner will not be running for Council - he has accepted a job in another state". That's one less possibility for At Large #4. And despite my fond wishes, HCDE Trustee Roy Morales left a comment in that previous entry stating that he will not be a candidate for Houston City Council this year. Ah, well, maybe next time.

I wish I could tell you just who exactly has filed their Treasurer's report for District H, or any other race for that matter, but according to the Houston City Secretary's office, you have to come downtown and ask them for the list in person. They don't give it out over the phone, and it's not available online. I do not care for this policy, and plan to do some complaining about it.

Finally, just as a reminder to District H residents, tonight is the CIP meeting at the West End Multi Service Center on Heights Boulevard. Go see what's in the works for the district, and scope out some hopefuls for the open seat.

Downing release:

Jeff Downing, a local attorney and native Houstonian, announces his candidacy for Houston City Council District A. The office is currently held by Councilwoman Toni Lawrence, who is term limited after six years of service to the District.

Jeff Downing is a lifelong resident of District A. He attended Aldine ISD schools; namely Ermel Elementary, Hoffman Middle School, and Eisenhower High School. Jeff then attended Texas A&M University, obtaining a BS in political science and a minor in religious studies. Jeff then furthered his education by attending South Texas College of Law, earning a Juris Doctorate. He began his law career in the Harris County District Attorney's Office, and then Jeff opened his own successful general practice firm, The Downing Law Firm.

"We have come to a time of change in our country; everywhere you look there is hardship and strife. As a city, the people of Houston must face these hardships head on with strong leadership...I feel that I can be that strong leader for District A," Jeff said. "I know that we, as Houstonians, can make a difference and usher in confidence and pride to our great city."

Jeff looks forward to the campaign and the opportunity to reach out and talk to all members of District A.

Jeff currently lives in Oak Forest.

Gonzalez release:

With today's announcement by the City Council that the special election to fill the vacancy caused by Adrian Garcia's election as sheriff will be held on May 9th, Ed Gonzalez officially entered the race for City Council District H.

"As a native Houstonian born and raised in the district, I know the community and am deeply committed to its continued success for our families and children," Gonzalez stated. "I was educated in area schools, I have proudly served in the Houston Police Department for the past 18 years, and for the past five years I have been Adrian Garcia's volunteer Community Liaison for District H. As the District H councilmember, I will use my law enforcement and business experience to build upon the relationships I have with district civic organizations and leaders to improve public safety, neighborhood protection, historic preservation, education and quality of life for all residents."

The first in his family to both go to college and receive an advanced degree, Gonzalez has served with honor and distinction in the Houston Police Department, rising to the rank of Sergeant in the Homicide Division, and was selected for its elite Hostage Negotiation Team.

Ed Gonzalez is the chair of the Crime and Public Safety Committee of the Houston Heights Association and is a member of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Committee (JDAI), a project co-sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Harris County to identify alternatives to incarceration for troubled youths. He also sits on the board of the MD Anderson-YMCA which serves District H families and young people. And Gonzalez was a Gulf Coast Community Services Association (GCCSA) board member, helping families by administering Head Start and Early Head Start programs in the area.

Ed, his wife Melissa, and their family live in Lindale Park.

Welsh release:

Dear Friend,

Today, I'm honored to say that I am a candidate for Houston City Council. District H faces real challenges that will require strong leadership and bold ideas. The issues we face today -- inadequate historic preservation and neighborhood protection, crumbling roads and sidewalks, soaring electricity prices, crime, and a tough economy -- are issues that affect everybody in District H. We need a candidate who understands the needs of the whole district, and who will represent everybody.

All my life, I've been called to service -- from teaching high school History and Government, to volunteering with my neighborhood, and to working at City Hall. I firmly believe that everybody counts and nobody should be left behind, and with your help, we can make District H an even better place to live.

To get elected, I will need your help. So, please go to my website: www.MaverickWelsh.com. You can sign-up to volunteer and receive campaign updates, and, of course, make a financial contribution.

Remember to vote in the special election Saturday, May 9. Thank you so much for your consideration and support.


Maverick Welsh

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 29, 2009 to Election 2009
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