Endorsement watch: Succeeding Sylvester

The Chron makes its choice for HD139.

Kimberly Willis

Kimberly Willis

We encourage Democratic Party voters to look for a candidate who will emulate Turner’s successful model of connecting constituents’ interests with the levers of state power in Austin. We believe that Kimberly Willis will be that candidate.

Willis’ experience as a former staffer in the Legislature and as a social worker in Houston gives her a comprehensive view of the ways in which government programs can impact neighborhoods.

“I understand what good public policy does for a community,” she told the Houston Chronicle editorial board.


Also running for the position are Randy Bates, 66, a former Lone Star College trustee; Jerry Ford Jr., 23, a student activist; and Jarvis Johnson, 44, a former member of Houston City Council.

Ford has an impressive passion and said he is running to spark a movement of youth involvement in politics, but he could use a little more experience. Bates and Johnson both have that experience as elected officials. However, Bates relied too much on vagaries when he talked with the editorial board. Johnson faced allegations of unethical and illegal behavior while on City Council, including allegations of trying to direct city contracts and being charged with evading arrest. He was never indicted or convicted, but too many questions still remain about Johnson’s political ethics.

Here are my interviews with Willia, Ford, and Bates. I’ll just note that Jarvis Johnson had no online campaign presence as my last check, and did not file a January finance report. He does almost certainly have the most name recognition among the foursome, and came dangerously close to winning a seat on the HCDE in 2012, so don’t count him out.

Meanwhile, since I happened to come across it, here are some primary legislative recommendations from San Antonio:

In Texas House District 116, three Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination to replace state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, who is vacating the post to run for the Texas Senate.

The three contenders are Diana Arévalo, Martin Golando and Ruby Resendez. All three have the potential to be solid public servants, but Golando has far more relevant experience than the others. And for that reason, we recommend that voters cast their ballots for Golando.

Serving as Martinez Fischer’s chief of staff for almost 10 years, Golando has a vast amount of experience in the legislative process that will enable him to hit the ground running. A lawyer, Golando has served as the general counsel of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, which was led by Martinez Fischer.


We strongly urge Democrats to nominate [Gabe] Farias [in HD118], who has served as president and CEO of the West Side Chamber of Commerce since 2012. Farias has an understanding of business issues that will be helpful in the Legislature. He also has served on the staff of two City Council members and worked in the office of state Rep. Roland Gutierrez.

Additionally, Farias demonstrates a superior knowledge of key legislative matters, advocates expanding Medicaid and is a strong supporter of public education.


We recommend that voters cast their ballots for Byron Miller, an Edwards Aquifer Authority board member who has been elected to the EAA District 2 post three times. Miller’s EAA experience gives him a strong foundation to be a voice for Bexar County on water policy, which is a crucial issue in the state.

Miller is a lifelong resident of District 120 and has a long record of civic involvement, ranging from being a Boy Scoutmaster to serving on the Carver Cultural Center and Witte Museum boards. Miller also served on the Bexar County Coliseum Advisory board.


In District 124, we strongly recommend Ina Minjarez, who last spring was elected to the post formerly held by Sen. José Menéndez with only weeks remaining in the legislative session.

Starting at the bottom, Minjarez was the E-N’s preferred candidate in that special election last year, and all the things I’ve heard about her so far have been positive. I don’t know Martin Golando, but people in San Antonio and with connections to the Lege that I respect are all high on him, and that’s good enough for me. The stakes may have been low in that HD118 special election, but Tomas Uresti lost it, and that sure seems like a good reason to support Gabe Farias (also the E-N choice in round one of that special election). Finally, I don’t know the candidates in HD120 (Art Hall ran for Railroad Commissioner in 2008 but finished out of the money in a three-way primary), so I welcome any input from the locals in that race.

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8 Responses to Endorsement watch: Succeeding Sylvester

  1. Joe says:

    Jarvis filed his report:

    He loaned himself $30k and put a bunch of signs in the right of way in the district

  2. Joe says:

    Also Marty Golando would be one of the most thoughtful, knowledgeable and effective members on the floor of the House on his first day in office. You can count on one hand the number of people in the world with similar levels of Texas parliamentary, legislative and legal knowledge. If he were elected it would be huge boon to Democrats across the state, not just in his district.

  3. john says:

    Is it me or does Bates seem really confused in his interview.It is telling that the Chronicle decided not to endorse him. He will win because he has money and Turner support but this should throw up a red flag.

  4. LaTeshia Harrell says:

    I’ve seen Bates live and he clearly doesn’t understand the issues. All he can say is how he is endorsed by so and so and has so much money. I found him to be bouncing all over the place. He’s a shady character, that one.

    I also heard he refuses to debate Kimberly Willis. But after listening to his interview, I see why.

  5. LaTeshia Harrell says:

    oh and John, if we all refuse to vote for someone who is bought and paid for like Bates, we might actually get something done around here.

  6. john says:

    I like Willis and Ford. Jarvis should be banned from running for office. He has to be the most corrupt politican in Houston. Willis is impressive and Ford’s energy just makes you excited.

  7. Chris says:

    Randy Bates’s interview is terrible. I heard Willis at the GLBT endorsement meeting and she didn’t really stand out but this interview tells me she is ready. Ford had some really good moments in his interview and I agree with John. It is time for Jarvis to go away.

  8. Pingback: Overview of two Bexar County legislative primaries – Off the Kuff

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