Houston Mayoral candidate Gilbert Garcia has released a series of pledges for his campaign.
To my understanding, Mr. Garcia is a Democrat. Though his party affiliation is not on his website.
Republicans don't view local races as non-partisan. We shouldn't either.
You can be certain that Democrats who end up in a runoff with a Republican in Houston in 2023, will make clear voters know they are a Democrat.
The part of Mr. Garcia's pledges that got the attention of the Houston Democracy Project was under the section called "Repair Government Relations."
Mr. Garcia says he will "Improve relations between Austin and Houston."
How does the most diverse city in America improve relations with a white supremacist and authoritarian state government? What could we do as a city to appease the state? Be more white? Start voting Republican?
Mayor Turner told us when he ran for Mayor in 2015 that his years in the legislature would smooth things with the state. How did that work?
2023 Houston Mayoral candidate John Whitmire says his collaboration with outright fascists in today's Texas Republican Party will benefit the city. But there sure was no evidence of that benefit in the recently concluded legislative session.
Mr. Garcia also says he will "Engage with the TEA to understand the pathway for HISD's success."
Again--What in the TEA's conduct so far in running HISD suggests meaningful partnership is possible? Where is mention by Mr. Garcia of the loss of our elected school board in what just 60 years ago was a Jim Crow city?
Here is how Mr. Garcia could improve his platform as it relates to democracy:
Make democracy a top issue in his campaign. Discuss democracy on campaign literature and on his website.
Speak up on the loss of our elected school board and continuing Republican efforts to reverse 2022 Democratic wins in Harris County.
Announce a plan to increase turnout and involvement in Houston city elections.
Make a pledge to help the Democratic ticket in Harris County in 2024.
Use campaign funds and influence to help develop and train non-white and progressive organizers in Houston.
Insist that police unions always support free and fair elections in Texas and that they step away from elected officials and candidates seeking to restrict democracy and overturn elections.
Openly identify as a Democrat on campaign materials and in public appearances.
Every day is a new day for Mr. Garica to commit to protecting and expanding democracy in Houston.
The Houston Democracy Project is working to change the culture of how municipal elections are conducted in Houston. We can't fight for our freedom in low-turnout, special-interest funded, police union focused elections. We can't protect ourselves that way. There is no public safety without democracy.
Please keep up with the project, share word of this effort, reach out with your thoughts and suggestions at email@example.com and consider donating.
I'm Neil Aquino