The Houston Democracy Project recently had a conversation at a community event with Republican At-Large #1 candidate Julian Ramirez.
Above is Mr. Ramirez with a Houstonian.
Mr. Ramirez was courteous and continued the conversation after it was clear he and I had differing outlooks.
When I walked over to Mr. Ramirez, one of the first things said is he is endorsed by current Houston Councilmember Mike Knox.
I told Mr. Ramirez that Mr. Knox had testified before a Texas Senate committee about voters supposedly getting food and water in the voting line and how civic-minded election workers should be punished.
I asked Mr. Ramirez if he had voted for Biden or Trump. I didn't expect him to answer and he did not. But on the other hand, wouldn't anyone take the chance to say they'd not voted for Trump?
(At-large #1 candidate, the same race as Mr. Ramirez, Conchita Reyes added democracy to her website after talking to the Houston Democracy Project.)
Mr. Ramirez said city races are non-partisan. He might believe that and hope to serve all Houstonians.
At the same time, many Republicans do not treat Houston municipal elections as non-partisan.
I asked Mr. Ramirez if he saw democracy as a matter of public safety. He seemed open to the concept. Democracy as a public safety is a central idea of the Houston Democracy Project.
And so on with a few other exchanges.
Mr. Ramirez said he had come close to winning a Harris County judgeship in 2022. He said he did not join the 21 election-redo lawsuits from sore-loser Harris County Republicans because the evidence was not there to make the case.
I don't know Mr. Ramirez outside our ten minute exchange. He might indeed be competent to help administer the city as a council member. It is good he stayed out of the phony election re-do lawsuits. But a bottom line remains that even if you are in your heart not on board with the anti-democratic Trump agenda as a Republican, you have an obligation to publicly distance yourself from it & to be working within the Party to affirm a commitment to democracy.
It does not appear that Mr. Ramirez meets this standard.
The Houston Democracy Project is working everyday to make democracy a top issue in 2023 Houston city politics & to help inspire, build and strengthen pro-democracy coalitions in Houston and Harris County.
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I'm Neil Aquino