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Reginald McKamie

Endorsement watch: Ogg for DA

The Chronicle endorses a change in thew Harris County DA’s office.

Kim Ogg

Kim Ogg

Houston has changed since the hang ’em high days of Holmes’ tenure. Our region has grown more diverse, our mentality more mature. While some may look back with nostalgia, for many people – minority communities, taxpayer watchdogs, the wrongly convicted – the old days weren’t that good. The Harris County Criminal Justice Center needs a new direction, and Democratic candidate Kim Ogg is the woman to lead the way.

Devon Anderson has done an admirable job as district attorney, appointed to the position after her husband died of cancer less than a year after his election. She has made important progress in the way the office handles mental health treatment and human trafficking. In spite of these improvements, her eyes are still firmly fixed on the past. As Anderson told the Houston Chronicle editorial board, she wants to restore the office to what it was in the 1990s. Those may have been the best days to be a prosecutor. They weren’t the best days for everyone else in the judicial system. The Criminal Justice Center needs someone who will look to the opportunities of our future. We need someone who understands the big picture. We don’t need a chief prosecutor; we need a CEO.

As a candidate for district attorney, Ogg, 54, already seems better prepared to discuss the office’s policies than the incumbent. This challenger understands that her decisions can have an impact far beyond the courtroom, and she plans to rely on empirical data to direct county resources (and taxpayer dollars) to their best and highest use. Instead of wasting time and money on minor offenders, Ogg will refocus on serious crimes. These may seem like obvious policy solutions, but it is hard to move forward when you’re looking backward.


When she met with the Chronicle editorial board, Ogg said that her job would be to run one of the largest law firms in the country. It is a job of developing strategy for the future and directing funds to support that strategy. It is a job of setting an attitude that is right for our time, the way Holmes set an attitude for his. It is a job for Kim Ogg.

It’s a good, solid recommendation, for good reasons. The Chron had previously endorsed Mike Anderson in 2012 as the obvious choice over the idiot Lloyd Oliver, and they endorsed Pat Lykos in 2008. I’d thought this might be their first nod to a Democratic DA candidate since the pre-Johnny Holmes era, but an archive search reminded me that they did endorse Reggie McKamie, Chuck Rosenthal’s 2004 opponent. Rereading that article, I see that the Chron was calling for a change in direction for the DA’s office ten years ago as well. Maybe this is the year they’ll get it. Here’s my interview with Kim Ogg if you haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet.

In other recent endorsement news, the Chron went with incumbent County Commissioner Jack Cagle in a race where I didn’t realize he had an opponent, and they recommended five more incumbent Civil District Court judges in their second round of Civil Court endorsements. As was the case in round one, they had nice things to say about the Democratic challengers, most notably Barbara Gardner, whose Q&A responses will run next Tuesday. Finally, they tout a Yes vote for Proposition 1, the sole constitutional amendment on the ballot, which will allocate some rainy day funds for road construction. The Chron has done a good job so far getting these done in a year where there’s a full ballot. They have three more weeks before early voting starts to keep getting it done.

Judicial Q&A: Reginald McKamie

(Note: I am running a series of Q&As for judicial candidates in contested Democratic primaries. There are a lot of judicial races on the ballot in Harris County this election, and so this is intended to help introduce the candidates and their experiences to those who plan to vote in March. I am running these responses in the order that I receive them from the candidates. I will also be conducting some in-person interviews of candidates who will be involved in contested primaries for non-judicial offices. Please see my 2010 Election page for a full list of Q&As and interviews.)

1. Who are you and what are you running for?

I am Reginald McKamie. I am a proud father of two sons, Board Certified Attorney, Decorated retired military officer (I am a recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal as well as other military honors), philanthropist (I have given at least $50,000.00 in scholarships to students throughout the United States for college and graduate school students through a foundation I created), union member of Marine Engineers Beneficial Association AFL-CIO for 31 years, experienced merchant marine captain, national and international Continuing Legal Education speaker, Certified Public Accountant, caregiver to my 85 year old father and I am running for the 295th Civil District Court.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

Civil disputes.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

I believe all citizens, if given the opportunity and the skills, should provide public service and give back to the community that they live in. I think public service is the price we pair for the privilege of being a citizen. I have been blessed in many ways and this is an area where I believe I can serve my community at this time. I served my nation for 30 years as a Naval Officer and retired as a Captain (O-6) and now I want to serve the people of Harris County as a judge on this civil bench. While I may also have extensive experience as a criminal defense attorney on both the state and federal level I believe my business and civil trial experience make me better suited for a position as a civil district court judge.

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

Law degree from the University of Houston Law Center. Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Attorney. Twenty three years as a trial attorney in private practice. Certified Public Accountant. Business experience in human resources and finance in an oil and gas company. Business training with a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Southern California. Intensive trial litigation training for representation of people against corporate or government abuse from reknown trial attorney Gerry Spence at the Trial Lawyers College.

5. Why is this race important?

First, all of the civil benches are very important because of the decisions that are rendered that affect the lives of Harris County residents and other citizens who may be doing business in Harris County and have disputes in Harris County or who are injured in Harris County. Second, this race is important because we have the rare opportunity to put a Democrat on the bench at this time. The long term incumbent Republican on this bench has been appointed to an appellate bench and the Republican running for the bench will not have the advantage of incumbency in the general election that the former judge on the bench would have had. Finally, the judge on this bench can help the District Clerk achieve some of his objectives of a more transparent judiciary by joining with him in his fight to place more courthouse records on line and to make the on line access to the courts more open and cost efficient for the public users.

6. Why should people vote for you in the primary?

I am the most experienced and qualified candidate in this race. I have practiced law for 23 years as a solo practitioner. I am a Board Certified Attorney. Only 10% of attorneys have met the rigorous practical trial experience and academic qualifications to be Board Certified and to be considered a specialist in their particular area of the law. I have tried the tough cases in court for those that no one else would represent or against those that others feared to go against because they were percieved to have more money or more power than a regular citizen, therefore, I know how important it is to have a judge with an even temperament that respects all parties that enter the courtroom no matter their economic status. I believe a persons value is not determined by his net worth but rather by his self worth. I have management experience to run the courtroom in a professional and efficient manner. Perhaps most importantly, I am the true Democrat in this race. I stood up for Democratic principles and ran for public office as a Democrat when others who are now running as Democrats were voting in Republican primaries and working for Republican Justices. No one will have to wonder whether I am running as a Democrat for convenience or whether I will change my philosophy when I am elected or whether I will change parties when it is popular to be a Republican again because I have always been a Democrat and I have always supported Democratic candidates with my time and my money. I think it is important that in the primary we support known Democrats and not those who try to buy their way in to our party or try to get close to leaders in the Democratic party who might be able to influence voters by them ingratiating themselves and showing up at events that a Democratic leader may support or sponsor because they believe our party may be popular at this time and it might be personally advantageous for them to get a job on the bench. While I welcome former Republicans to our party I think they should be required to prove their allegiance to Democratic principles over time and not be allowed to step in to party leadership positions such as a position as a candidate in the general election against a Republican until it is clear that they are true Democrats and that is why I believe Democrats should vote for me in the Democratic primary.