Houston District J Councilman Edward Pollard--Who not long ago went to the Southwest Democrats municipal candidate forum--recently stopped by the Southwest Houston Pachyderm Club to tell them he is ready to work with Republicans.
Here is what the Pachyderms said on a Facebook post:
"Edward Pollard, City of Houston Councilman for District J, made a surprise appearance and contributed to our forum. He described himself as a conservative independent. He expressed his intent to work with all Republican candidates elected to Houston City Council."
The picture above is of Mr. Pollard at the Southwest Democrats meeting on August 26th. I was there. It seemed there that he was a Democrat. Maybe he is.
Mr. Pollard has in the past described himself a "conservative Democrat." That's fine. The issue is not ideology. (Though it is confusing because on his website Mr. Pollard says: "I am a centrist." So that's different from the "conservative independent" the Pachyderms reported he said.)
Nor is the concern simply the fact of bipartisanship. Elected officials can cooperate across party lines so long as the Republicans involved agree to accept election results.
The issue is not opportunism. If the issue were opportunism, we'd have few elected officials to support.
The point here is that if you are going to go to the Republican meeting to tell them you are looking forward to working with them, at least you can ask them if they will--as said above--respect election results.
Because whether it is the ongoing lawsuits by defeated Harris County Republicans to undo much of the 2022 Harris County election, or the clear lead held by insurrectionist Trump among Republicans for 2024, the bottom line is that today's Republican Party is not a reliable friend of democracy.
Councilmember Pollard is keeping all options open. Mr. Pollard has just over $1 million in campaign cash on hand as of the July, 2023 reporting deadline. So he must feel he has plenty of options.
I don't understand how a politician can just go about like everything is fine when we are fighting for our most basic freedoms.
Mr. Pollard stands in contrast to his strong District J opponent Ivan Sanchez. Mr. Sanchez has made protection of democracy an issue in his campaign alongside many other topics relevant to District J.
There is little reason to be confident Mr. Pollard will stand with us as authoritarian threats increase. He appears to be looking for a course forward for himself no matter what happens in the challenging days ahead.
The Houston Democracy Project works daily to make democracy a top issue in 2023 Houston politics and to inspire, organize and strengthen pro-democracy coalitions in Houston and Harris County.
Please share word of the Project and support the effort with your contribution. If you have a question about the Project or a suggestion, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm Neil Aquino