Two term-limited Council members are the first to toss their hats into the ring.
Houston City Council members Dave Martin and Michael Kubosh on Tuesday confirmed their plans to run for city controller in November.
As the city’s independently elected financial officer, the controller certifies the availability of funds for the budget and all spending. It also processes payments, manages the city’s $4.5 billion investment portfolio, audits city departments, conducts the sale of municipal bonds and produces an annual report of the city’s finances.
Having served the maximum two terms, current Controller Chris Brown will step down at the end of this year.
District E Councilmember and Mayor Pro Tem Martin and at-Large Councilmember Kubosh previously had indicated their interest in the city controller position. They have not been able to announce their campaigns until now due to Texas’s resign-to-run law, which bars city council members from running for another office more than a year and 30 days before their term ends.
Martin, who has been on council since 2012, cited his decades of experience in finance and accounting in the private and public sectors. Having worked for “Big Four” accounting firms earlier in his career and currently leading the Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee at City Council, he said he is equipped to help Houston optimize its finances.
“I know more about city finance and general accounting and finance than any candidate that’s going to pop up in this race,” Martin said. “I’ll put my credentials up against anyone’s.”
Kubosh, who has served as the at-large position No. 3 council member since 2014, touted his experience running in city-wide elections. Calling himself an outsider and a political activist, he highlighted his successful effort to advocate for the removal of red-light cameras in Houston prior to his time in office. He said he would not shy away from confrontations if elected.
“I have a cross-section of voters throughout the city. (Martin) hasn’t run citywide. He’s only run in District E,” Kubosh said. “And I am very aggressive. I’ll speak up for the people.”
I’ve heard talk about CM Martin as a Controller candidate for some time now. CM Kubosh had been mentioned as a possible Mayoral candidate in the past but that had died down. For what it’s worth, as of the July finance reports, Martin had $151K on hand to $60K for Kubosh. The January reports will be out soon and we’ll see what they look like. There’s plenty of time to raise more money, though the Controller’s race usually doesn’t attract the big bucks.
I say these are the first two candidates for Controller because there’s just no way that they’re the only two. Given the demographics and politics of Houston, it would be mind-boggling in the extreme for there not to be at least one candidate of color in the race. In 2015 the field included MJ Khan, Jew Don Boney, Carroll Robinson, and Dwight Jefferson. Khan also ran in 2009; he and Pam Holm lost to Ronald Green. Just a stray, idle thought, but maybe this would be a good opportunity for a Latino candidate. Anyway, this is the time of the cycle where we start seeing a bunch of candidate announcements. I’m sure there will be plenty more soon enough.