Art Hall for Railroad Commissioner

Meet former San Antonio City Council member Art Hall, who is planning to run for Railroad Commissioner against incumbent Michael Williams.

Hall, born in Hempstead, Texas, and raised in Lubbock, represented San Antonio’s District 8 for two terms. He was the youngest person to represent the district and the first African-American council member elected outside of the city’s East Side. Hall said he was an advocate for environmental issues as a city councilman and does not plan to shift his priorities.

“I’ve been an advocate for water quality issues and energy conservation issues in San Antonio,” he said. “It was a natural fit for me.”

Hall said the district he represented is a Republican-majority district, proving he has the ability to work with people of different political ideologies to serve his constituents.

“The experience of having…been elected in a Republican district and the potential to work with either a woman, a Hispanic or an African-American on the Railroad Commission is something that I would embrace,” Hall said.

Hall acknowledges running as an African-American Democrat in a statewide election may be an uphill battle, but he is confident his experience and his platform will draw voters toward his side.

“For some people it will be something that they will support,” he said. “In my district, I’ve had people slam the door in my face, so you’re going to expect some reaction from both sides…I think for the most part, you’ll have some open-minded folks that will like what they see. I’m a realist. I know that people are going to be scared and vote against that possibility. Our goal is to make sure that we focus on the issues and we encourage people that are like-minded, whether it be partisan or otherwise, to go out and vote.”

Hall cites the fact that 30 percent of Texas Republicans do not vote straight ticket as proof it is possible to bring his progressive ideology to the commission. He acknowledges that he has worked hard to obtain his success, but said he still holds the same values that helped him achieve it.

“Values are something that are deep within a person,” he said. “I’d like to continue to be down to earth and focus in on the grassroots issues and values. I don’t think I’ll ever lose that.”

I like what I’m hearing so far. As I said before, I know that Dale Henry has some passionate supporters, but I’m going to need to see some evidence that he’ll run a more visible campaign before I let go of the skepticism about a repeat performance by him that I currently have. No matter what, I think it’s a great and encouraging sign that Democrats, especially young and ambitious Democrats like Art Hall, are looking at statewide runs next year. Link via The Walker Report.

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