From the inbox:
Molly Cook, Emergency Room Nurse and Community Organizer, Announces Second Run for Texas Senate District 15
Molly Cook (she/her) is running again for Texas Senate District 15 in the 2024 Elections. Since the primaries in March 2022, Molly has worked as an ER bedside nurse, continued to be a leader in the fight for multi-modal transportation across Texas, launched and co-led the Fair for Houston campaign, spent time in Austin advocating at the Texas Legislature, and engaged with Democrats across Senate District 15 to help her neighbors understand and participate in the 88th Legislative Session. Molly’s campaign, like her organizing work, will focus on fighting for smart, compassionate policy to improve public health and public safety for all Texans. Molly believes in a bottom-up approach to policy, planning, and leadership that centers the voices of those most affected by our state’s policy decisions. Molly won over 40% of the votes cast in the 2022 Democratic Primaries for Texas Senate District 15.
Here’s a video of her announcement. Cook may or may not be running against incumbent Sen. John Whitmire, depending on the result of the Mayoral race this year, and may or may not have to also run in a special election, again depending on the Mayor’s race. She is also not the first person to announce a candidacy for SD15. Here’s Karthik Soora from mid-April:
I’m also about to be super busy with city candidates for this November. As of a few days ago all of the interesting races were for Mayor, Controller, and Council, but now we have the first challenge to an incumbent in one of the other offices. Raj Salhotra, who ran for City Council At Large #1 in 2019 and lost in a runoff to CM Mike Knox, is running for HCC. From the inbox:
I am excited to announce that I’m running for Houston Community College (HCC) District V Trustee! Education is the key to escaping poverty and achieving the American Dream, and I have seen this firsthand.
My dad came to the US with $42, secured a world-class education, and started a small business. My mom came here when she was 12, earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees, and became a professor at the University of Houston-Downtown. Through education, my family and I have lived the American Dream.
With this privilege comes the responsibility to pay it forward and ensure everyone has the same opportunities. I have, therefore, dedicated my life to education – tutoring middle school students while I was in college, becoming a high school math teacher upon graduating, and creating Momentum Education, a non-profit focused on helping first-generation, low-income students get to and through college and into the workforce. Working with over 1,000 students has shown me the real potential for community college to change lives.
I am running for Houston Community College District V because I believe that HCC should: (1) provide pathways to career through effective workforce training and internships; (2) offer connections to universities via transfer advising and partnerships with four-year institutions; and (3) engage in good governance based in transparency and fiscal responsibility.
Speaking of the city races, there are of course approximately one billion people running for City of Houston offices right now. I’ve generally not followed campaign announcements outside of the Mayor’s race, but I have checked in on who’s running for what, with the January finance reports and a more recent post-SJL announcement check-in post. I’m happy to say now that the Erik Manning spreadsheet is back, baby! You want to keep track of this stuff, there’s your best source. I’ll ask him to add a column for interview links in the future. Thanks to this I now see that former Council member and previous Controller candidate MJ Khan is running for Mayor (!), bringing us to thirteen (!!) candidates for that position, and current HISD Trustee Kendall Baker, who is not up for election this fall, is now running for At Large #1, making him the eighth candidate in that crowd. You can see what I mean by “busy”.
Anyway, this has been your irregular update on Who Is Running For What and In Which Election. Let me know if you have any questions.
UPDATE: I received the following press release from Karthik Soora about the launch of his candidacy after this post was published.
Today, Karthik Soora, a renewable energy developer, Millennial non-profit leader, and award-winning former HISD public school teacher, announced his candidacy for Texas Senate District 15, challenging incumbent John Whitmire in the upcoming Democratic primary. Soora has raised over $100K in donations, drawing support from across Texas and 14 states before officially announcing his candidacy.
As a teacher, Soora witnessed the challenges faced by his students due to a lack of resources, including inadequate school funding, flooding, and lack of healthcare. He is now running to fix a corrupt system by passing real reforms that empower the rising majority of Texans to be heard in Austin.
“I am running for Texas State Senate because we can’t solve 21st-century problems with a 19th-century system. We need real reforms like banning current legislators from simultaneously serving as lobbyists, allowing citizen voices on issues like reproductive freedom and Medicaid expansion to be heard through referendums, and passing bold campaign finance reform to stop billionaires from buying our elections,” said Soora.
“Texas Democrats know the challenges we face – gun violence, attacks on our reproductive freedoms and democracy, underfunded schools, a lack of affordable health care and housing, and the climate crisis – and change starts with passing reforms to ensure that all Texans, not just the ultra rich and MAGA Republicans, are heard in the halls of power.”
The Soora campaign is committed to listening to people in every Super Neighborhood and municipality in District 15, meeting voters where they are, and fighting for them all. Soora plans to kick off a walking tour of the district in the coming weeks and months, drawing attention to gerrymandering and the need for political reform, as he listens and learns from residents of all backgrounds who have been ignored by career politicians in favor of powerful special interests and billionaire donors.
Soora’s historic campaign is backed by a powerhouse team, including media consultants for Sen. John Fetterman, Biden-Harris 2020, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, strategist Myles Bugbee of Persuasion and Pixels, polling firm Data for Progress.
He is one of the first Millennial or Generation Z Democrats, the first Indian-American and Hindu-American in the Legislature, the first in Clean Energy in the Texas State Legislature, the first AAPI in the Texas State Senate, and the first non-white individual to represent Texas State Senate District 15 since the founding of the Texas Republic.
I will as always keep my eyes open for other candidacies of interest.