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Endorsement watch: Three Senators for Locke

Via email from the Gene Locke campaign, the three Democratic State Senators who serve in Houston have all endorsed Locke’s candidacy for Mayor.

“At a time when Houston needs a strong, accomplished leader at City Hall, the right candidate has come forward. We are committed to seeing Gene Locke elected Mayor of Houston,” declared John Whitmire, Dean of the Texas Senate and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice; Rodney Ellis, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Organization and a member of the far-reaching Committee on State Affairs; and Mario Gallegos, Chairman of the Senate Sub-committee on Flooding & Evacuations and Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Jurisprudence. The declaration came in the form of a joint statement issued from Austin where the Texas Legislature is in the final weeks of its biennial session.

I’ve reproduced the email beneath the fold. I wasn’t following endorsements very closely during the 2003 Mayoral campaign, but my recollection is that there weren’t too many of them being given this early on. The campaign cycle starts a lot earlier these days, thanks to things like early voting and a greater emphasis on social networking, but this is still a nice catch for Locke. With the three main contenders all being Democrats, I suspect there will be more of a push for endorsements like these. There’s video of the three statements at Locke’s web page if you want to hear what they say instead of reading it, which you can do by clicking on.

“At a time when Houston needs a strong, accomplished leader at City Hall, the right candidate has come forward. We are committed to seeing Gene Locke elected Mayor of Houston,” declared John Whitmire, Dean of the Texas Senate and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice; Rodney Ellis, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Organization and a member of the far-reaching Committee on State Affairs; and Mario Gallegos, Chairman of the Senate Sub-committee on Flooding & Evacuations and Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Jurisprudence. The declaration came in the form of a joint statement issued from Austin where the Texas Legislature is in the final weeks of its biennial session.

“The next few years may be difficult for Houston,” said Whitmire, pointing to shortfalls in city revenues already being discussed at City Council. “We’ve seen Gene Locke in action before, bringing both sides together in complex negotiations as City Attorney under Mayor Bob Lanier. Locke has a disciplined way of solving problems, listening and focusing on producing the best outcome for citizens.”

Ellis, a Houston City Councilmember in the 1980s, believes Locke would compare well with the Mayors he has worked with during his quarter century as an elected official, “Gene was a leader stepping off the train heading for UH. He has never stopped leading. He has an enormous interest in public safety and once he is elected I would expect to see a lot of improvements in training, equipping and managing Houston law enforcement and emergency service departments.”

Senator Gallegos, a former Captain with the Houston Fire Department, agreed, “Gene Locke knows police and fire services are a priority 365 days a year. He realizes more than others that state-of-the-art communications and protective devices will save lives.”

Gene Locke responded, “Having the support of such seasoned, successful leaders sends a great message to all Houstonians. I am proud to accept the support of each of these fine elected officials with whom I have worked in the past and with whom I look forward to working in the future as Mayor of Houston. I promise to work doubly hard to earn their support and that of all voters.”

All three Senators vow to walk door-to-door with Locke in their Districts, which make up many of the precincts in the City. Click here to listen to the Senators comments about why they are endorsing Gene Locke’s candidacy. The trio were interviewed in Austin this weekend and clips from those interviews are now available on line.

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