Endorsement watch: Kamin for C, Jackson for B

The Chron gets to two more endorsements, both for incumbents, the first being in District C.

CM Abbie Kamin

Abbie Kamin was the city’s first pregnant council member, a title she wore proudly and that informed her own advocacy around the horseshoe at City Hall.

“That really opened my eyes to a lot,” she told us. She faced her own challenges trying to figure out how much time off after the birth of her child she would get as someone who’s not officially a city employee but is eligible for city benefits. And she realized city employees, meanwhile, had no paid leave, just unpaid leave guaranteed through the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

As a result, Kamin, 36, helped champion paid parental leave for city employees. She also led Houston’s first women’s commission, looking at health and economic disparities. That’s on top of representing District C, the busiest-body district of them all if measured by 311 calls and civic clubs, which has kept Kamin busy, whether it’s handing out rain barrels to constituents or smoothing out the Washington-Westcott roundabout.

She’s not afraid of bumps, either. Her district includes the Heights, Meyerland and the historic epicenter of gay Houston, Montrose. That’s part of what prompted her to vote against hosting the Republican convention in 2028. And when a $4.2 million contract to retread the city’s truck tires came across her desk, Kamin along with Councilmember Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, sent it back to the administration when they realized that the reason that particular bid, from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, had done so well is because the state agency would be using the unpaid labor of inmates. Now, thanks to Kamin’s advocacy in part, the city has a policy that requires subcontractors to pay for labor.

This time around, the civil rights attorney is running a campaign on safety, women and families, economic opportunity and affordable housing – something her prohibitively expensive district desperately needs. We share these goals and think Kamin is by and large up to the task.

My interview with CM Kamin is here. I don’t live in District C but it’s literally just a couple of blocks from me, so I’m there a lot. I’d vote for her if I lived in that district.

Next, we move to District B:

CM Tarsha Jackson

For decades, residents in northeast Houston watched flooding get worse. A heavy rain could overflow the open ditches that are prevalent in the neighborhoods there. The city had been responsible for maintaining those ditches but it had long ago left it up to residents such as Carolyn Rivera in Settegast and Malberth Moses in Trinity Gardens. Both longtime residents are part of a grassroots effort, pressuring City Hall to invest in their neighborhoods. So when City Council approved a $20 million budget amendment in June to fund local drainage and allow the city to once again take responsibility for maintaining open ditches, it was an emotional day.

“Never before has a city budget dedicated this level of funding to improving our drainage infrastructure,” said Tarsha Jackson, the council member who represents the area and whose amendment set the stage for the historic policy reversal and the city’s adoption of the plan in late September.

Jackson, 52, has been focused on mitigating flooding since before taking office in December 2020 after a delayed runoff victory. As an organizer with Texas Organizing Project, she helped navigate the recovery process after Hurricane Ike. Once in office, she says, one of the first things she did was submit a list of 14 flood mitigation projects to the city’s Storm Water Action Team.

Of course, this work takes time, to Jackson’s frustration and that of her opponent, Alma Banks-Brown, who is a Swiss knife of community involvement, running a foundation, conducting workshops in local schools and serving as a precinct judge.

“Flooding is still happening,” Banks-Brown told us in a candidate screening.

“The flood projects are moving forward,” Jackson countered.

It’s understandable both that people would be tired of waiting for improvements and that progress wouldn’t be immediate, especially considering Jackson hasn’t even had a full term in office. That’s part of the reason we believe she deserves a second one.

In her limited time, she’s had a big impact. On illegal dumping, for example, she helped keep the city trash depositories open for more days and hours and championed the mayor’s roughly $18 million One Clean Houston campaign. She says her behind-the-scenes prodding is paying off, too: the city’s anti-litter team recently spent a whole month working in District B.

My interview with CM Jackson is here. As with CM Kamin, I don’t live in her district, but I think she’s done a good job and if I did live in her district, I’d vote for her.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Election 2023 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.