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January 30th, 2020:

Judicial Q&A: Grant Harvey

(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.)

Grant Harvey

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

My name is Grant Harvey, and I am running for judge of the 164th Civil District Court in Harris County. I have practiced law for nearly 30 years and currently serve as a volunteer Special Prosecutor for the Harris County DA’s office where we’re working to prosecute environmental crimes. I am married to Elizabeth Marroquin Harvey. We have an incredible 13-year-old daughter, and I have a wonderful 31-year-old stepson who teaches music in public school. We also have two other family members—a German Shepherd-mix rescue puppy and a Yorkshire Terrier that thinks he is a German Shepherd.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

As a Texas civil district court, the 164th is the highest-level state trial court. In Harris County, we have a number of specialized district courts including family courts, criminal courts, and probate courts. The 164th is a non-specialized court of general jurisdiction for matters that would not otherwise be filed in the specialized courts. Examples of the types of cases heard in the 164th include medical malpractice, personal injury, contract disputes, disputes with insurers, disputes with homebuilders and many more. In addition, major disputes between or involving local branches of government are filed in courts like the 164th. For instance, when the Fire Fighter’s Union sued the City of Houston in 2017, that case was handled by a civil district court like the 164th. Because of its wide-ranging jurisdiction and potential impact on every Houstonian, this is a very important court, and it is critical that we have the best judge possible on this court.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

Having practiced for almost 30 years and appeared in front of 100+ judges, I understand how critical to our judicial system it is that we select only the best of the best to be judges. “Just okay” isn’t good enough. Great judges excel at understanding and applying the law, working hard, being impartial and fair, being respectful, and ensuring that the courthouse doors are open to everyone regardless of their race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or the size of one’s bank account. Great judges understand that being a judge is not a job—it is a commitment of service to one’s community—a community that is entrusting the fair and impartial administration of justice to the judges it elects. That is an awesome responsibility to shoulder. I am qualified for this position, I am committed to public service, and I am running because I want to restore integrity and respect back to this important position.

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

I have practiced law for almost 30 years. I attended law school at the University of Texas where I graduated in the top 10% of my class. I “graded on” to the Texas Law Review. I clerked for Judge David Ebel who sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit immediately upon graduating from law school. Next, I started as an associate with the Gibbs & Bruns, LLP law firm, was promoted to partner in five years, and then worked as a partner and senior partner for nearly twenty. Gibbs & Bruns is recognized throughout the United States as one of the best trial law firms in the country. Throughout my legal career, I have represented hundreds of clients before 100+ judges in courts throughout Texas and in on other states. I have represented plaintiffs and defendants, individuals and corporations on all sorts of cases—medical malpractice, personal injury, complex commercial litigation, partnership disputes, oil and gas disputes, eminent domain, employment litigation etc. My extensive background includes litigation, trial work and appellate work. I’ve been fortunate enough to have received recognitions from various legal ratings groups including Chambers Leadings Lawyers; World’s Leading Litigators; Leading US Trial Lawyers by Legal 500; Expert Guide’s “Best of the Best USA;” Thomson Reuters Texas Super Lawyer’s Top 100 List;” and others.

Today, I hold an of-counsel position with my law firm and spend my time practicing law on a pro bono, volunteer basis. I currently am serving as a Special Counsel for the Harris County DA’s office as we work on behalf of Texans on a criminal case involving a pollution event that took place during Hurricane Harvey. I also serve on the Board of Directors and the executive committee for Today’s Harbor for Children, a home for abused and abandoned children. I have served on the board for nearly twenty years (three of which was spent as Chairman), and I led a volunteer legal team that obtained a $5+ million settlement from a city that was interfering with the charity’s ability to use its land. In sum, I have been preparing for more than thirty years to serve my community at the highest level and am ready to serve my community as judge of the 164th Civil District Court.

5. Why is this race important?

Today, with the concern over how our executive and legislative branches are functioning, it is more important than ever that we have complete confidence in the third branch of government—the judicial branch. This race is critical not only because the 164th District Court is an important court but because the role of a judge is crucial to the administration of justice. The incumbent judge for 164th District Court has been suspended from serving by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. That makes it all the more important that voters do their research and that they make an informed decision before selecting the person they want to entrust with the weighty responsibility of administering fair and impartial justice in the 164th.

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

Both because of their impact on Houstonians and their role as pillars of free and fair governance, it is vitally important that we elect only the best of the best to serve as judges. Not only should our judges have an established track record of professional success at the highest level—but they should also demonstrate a commitment to public service. I have an established track record of professional success and public service beginning with law school, continuing through my tenure as an associate and partner at one of the best law firms in the United States, and culminating today in my present position as a volunteer Special Prosecutor for the Harris County DA’s office. I have received endorsements from the AFL CIO, Area 5 Democrats, Bay Area New Democrats, and the Greater Heights Democratic Club. If I am elected judge, the 164th District Court will once again be a court of which the citizens of Harris County be proud.

Andrea Duhon would like you to vote for someone else in her HCDE primary

Andrea Duhon

As you may recall, Andrea Duhon has been appointed to the HCDE Board of Trustees to replace Josh Flynn. As you may also recall, Duhon had filed for a different position on the HCDE Board in the March primary. If that sounds a bit confusing, it is, but don’t worry, I’m here to help. I had a conversation with Duhon about this, and we had the following question-and-answer exchange to clarify the situation:

1. What is your current status with the Board?

I was appointed to the Precinct 3, Position 4 seat on December 18th and took my first vote that day. This is the same seat I ran for in 2018, receiving 49.7% of the vote. Josh Flynn, who had won the election, resigned from his position in order to run for State Rep in HD138, leaving a vacancy which could be filled based on a board vote. The term will be up in 2024.

2. Why are you still on the Primary ballot?

The deadline to have my name removed from the primary ballot was December 17th, the day before my appointment to the board. I was unable to have it removed before the deadline.

3. What should voters do?

I’m asking voters to choose a different candidate in Democratic Primary for HCDE Trustee At-Large, position 7. I look forward to being able to affect change while in my current position and am excited about the diverse group of Trustees that will make up the HCDE board after the 2020 election.

Me again. The bottom line is that once the short window to withdraw from the primary has passed, you’re on the ballot (barring death or some other disqualification) whether you want to be or not. See the Jerry Garcia situation for another example of this. The reason why you should vote for one of the other candidates is that Duhon doesn’t want or need to be the nominee in Position 7 At Large now that she is already the Trustee in Precinct 3 Position 4. The best way to ensure that someone other than Andrea Duhon is the nominee is to vote for one of the other candidates. Your choices are:

David W. Brown
Obes Nwabara
W. R. “Bill” Morris, who does not have any campaign presence I can find, but who does have a questionable voting history.

So make a good choice this March for HCDE Trustee Position 7 At Large, and make sure that choice is not Andrea Duhon, because Andrea Duhon is already on the HCDE Board of Trustees. Thanks very much.

Crunch time for I-45

The rubber is meeting the road, as it were.

Three Houston Planning Department meetings scheduled for this week, days prior to a key state deadline, could prove pivotal in shaping how Interstate 45 is rebuilt — with ramifications for years to come.

The meetings, which start Thursday, will be the first chances for residents opposing the $7 billion-plus project to realign and widen I-45 from downtown north to the Sam Houston Tollway to view the city’s proposed adjustments, which Houston will convey to the Texas Department of Transportation this spring.


Mayor Sylvester Turner tasked Houston planning officials to develop a set of recommendations to TxDOT aiming to address community complaints and how the projects can overcome them. Those recommendations and TxDOT’s response, city officials said, will determine their next steps.

“He is prepared to say ‘thanks but no thanks if that is what the decision is,’” District H Councilwoman Karla Cisneros said of Turner.

In the meantime, TxDOT is moving ahead in its environmental process on the project, releasing 641 pages of its draft environmental report outlining community impacts along the roughly 18-mile route, including the removal of 1,079 homes — including 433 apartments and 486 units deemed low-income or public housing — 344 businesses, 58 billboards, five churches and two schools.

The two reports, available for public comment until Feb. 7, are the final two pieces of the draft environmental analysis TxDOT must complete before a final environmental report is released.

As state officials proceed, however, there is a growing sense that opponents — who have spent the past year vocally urging changes — are transitioning from improving the project to opposing it.

“I have come to the conclusion talking to TxDOT is a waste of time,” project critic Michael Skelly told the Jan. 11 gathering, encouraging people to lean on city and state officials to apply pressure.

Well, lots of people have concluded that the I-45 project is more bad than good, though the TxDOT plan is supported by Metro because of HOV capacity increases, which factor into its mobility plan. I would encourage you to review those city recommendations and try to attend one or more of these meetings – you can find the time and place information at either the city link or the story link. I still don’t think there’s any stopping this behemoth, but there’s still time to try to change it.

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 27

The Texas Progressive Alliance double checked the calendar and can confirm that it is in fact still January as it brings you this week’s roundup.