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January 2nd, 2018:

Judicial Q&A: Gus Saper

(Note: As I have done in past elections, I am running a series of Q&As for judicial candidates in contested Democratic primaries. 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. You can see other Q&As and further information about judicial candidates on my 2018 Judicial page.

Gus Saper

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

My name is Gus Saper and I am running for Harris County Criminal Court 11.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

Harris County Criminal Court 11 handles misdemeanor cases such as simple assault, dwi/dui, possession of some controlled substances, criminal trespass, theft under $1500.00, prostitution and similar types of cases.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

I decided to run for this bench because I was unhappy with the incumbent judge and the way she handled her court. I knew the only way to enact a change was to run for that bench.

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

I am attaching my resume which explains who I am and my qualifications.

5. Why is this race important?

Every political race is important and judicial races more so. Judges need to treat everyone equally regardless of their own personal view and/or bias. Everyone deserves nothing less.

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

People should vote for me as I have the most legal experience. I began practicing law 43 years ago and that was before the other three candidates were born. I have a diverse education and work history and my years of practice handling different kinds of cases and people make me better prepared to deal with the issues a judge would encounter on and off the bench.

Kim Ogg’s first year as DA

I certainly approve of the job DA Kim Ogg has done so far.

Kim Ogg

The accomplishment Kim Ogg is most proud of after her first year as Harris County District Attorney was not implementing a new drug policy, energizing the division that holds police officers accountable or working to ensure victims’ rights.

It’s that the prosecutor’s office was able to stay open round the clock during Hurricane Harvey and in the weeks of the storm’s aftermath. More than 50 inches of water flooded courthouses and displaced the 24-hour intake division, the critical group which decides whether to accept charges presented by police officers and keeps track of who was arrested and why.

“I’m proudest of my employees because they maintained constant operations, 24/7, throughout the biggest natural disaster in Houston’s history,” she said earlier this monthin a wide ranging interview about her first year as district attorney. “We survived the storm surge.”

Ogg, a 56-year-old native Houstonian, became Harris County’s third female district attorney Jan. 1 after besting incumbent Devon Anderson in the November 2016 general election. The Democrat is Houston’s first openly gay DA although it rarely comes up. Unlike Annise Parker, Houston’s mayor from 2010 to 2016, who was well-known in politics because of her LGBT activism, Ogg was known for her criminal justice work, including running the city’s first gang task force, then helming CrimeStoppers of Houston. Ogg’s sexual orientation came up during last year’s campaign when Anderson labeled her a “liberal, pro-choice, lesbian” in an interview.

It was during that campaign that Ogg promised an administration that would champion drug reform, diversion courts and holding police officers accountable, all of which seem to be moving forward.

And that’s the key – Ogg promised a lot of changes, and she has made measurable progress on the things she has promised. Nowhere in the story is there a question about or exploration of something she hasn’t gotten around to yet. Some things will inevitably go wrong, and there will be issues on which her office faces stronger resistance from groups like the police and the bail bondsmen, and when that happens she and her crew will be tested in new ways. But at this point I can’t think of anything I’d have wanted her to do differently. Go read the rest, and to Kim Ogg and the DA’s office I say keep up the good work.