The newest star of Texas politics gets a nice profile in the Chron.
[Mike] Floyd’s stunning victory made national headlines. While school boards have had student representatives for decades, Floyd is the youngest person in recent memory elected to a school board in Texas.
His candidacy also reflects the increasing competitiveness of school board races in Houston’s suburbs as the districts become more diverse, as well as the rising political engagement of millennials since Donald Trump’s election in November.
“It is kind of funny to think about it – an 18-year-old just got a spot on the school board,” Floyd said. “I think people are excited to see a change here in Pearland.”
Much of Floyd’s platform focused on making Pearland ISD’s school board more transparent by live-streaming meetings and scheduling public-comment periods after traditional work hours. He also staked out a strong position on transgender issues, insisting that such students be able to use the restroom of their gender identify. That put him at odds with Superintendent John Kelly, who has been outspoken in arguing that students use the restroom that corresponds to their birth certificates.
Floyd described himself as someone who could better represent students’ and teachers’ interests because he had seen firsthand how district-level decisions affect local classrooms.
Deep dimples add to his youthful appearance, but Floyd speaks with the maturity of someone older, gesturing to emphasize nuances in the district’s 2016 bond package or Texas’ reviled school funding formula. Both of his parents are attorneys, his mother with the Department of Veterans Affairs and his father with his own firm. He has four siblings.
He said he ran in an effort to close the gap between district policies and classroom realities. He was also upset by Kelly’s stance on transgender issues. Kelly was unavailable for comment, and a district spokeswoman said it does not comment on school board election results.
Pearland ISD, by most measures, is a prototypical Texas suburban school district. It serves about 22,000 students between Beltway 8 and the yet-to-be-completed Grand Parkway, about a 30-minute drive south of Houston’s downtown.
While it used to be a Republican stronghold, voting trends are beginning to shift, particularly on its east side.
Pearland ISD has gone from a predominately white, semi-rural area to an ethnically and economically diverse suburb on the edge of an ever-expanding urban core.
Jay Aiyer, an assistant professor of public policy at Texas Southern University, said the area’s changing population has brought a fundamental shift to the left in Brazoria County, and in Pearland specifically.
“Often we think of that profile as an urban phenomenon,” Aiyer said. “But now we’re seeing places like Fort Bend County – and now in Brazoria County – with an increased diversity that has led to profound political changes.”
Those changing attitudes and demographic shifts apparently helped lift Floyd, a self-described liberal, to victory.
See here for an earlier story on Floyd. Aiyer is right that this is a big deal in a place like Pearland, and we saw a few hints of the change in voting patters last November. In this case, we have a candidate who worked really hard and clearly impressed a lot of people with his grasp of the issues and his ability to speak about them. A late-breaking controversy involving some stuff Floyd’s opponent posted on Facebook didn’t hurt his chances, either. Floyd ran a great campaign, he had a lot of people believing in him, and from all I’ve seen he’s got his priorities straight. I look forward to seeing what Mike Floyd can do as a Pearland ISD Trustee, and I strongly suspect we’ll be hearing a lot more about him going forward.