The Houston Democracy Project is sending the letter below to every Democrat running for Houston City Council. Next up after this letter will be a similar letter to Democrats running for Mayor, Controller & the Houston Community College Board. Any responses to the letters will be detailed here on the Houston Democracy Project Blog.
Democracy is under assault in Harris County and the nation.
In Harris County, defeated Republicans have filed 21 lawsuits to undo 2022 Harris County Democratic election wins.
In Houston, we’ve lost our elected school board in what was just 60 years ago a Jim Crow city.
In response, I’ve started the Houston Democracy Project. I’ve served the Democratic Party as staff on campaigns and as an active volunteer. I’ve championed our candidates and am an organizer of the weekly protest at Senator Cornyn’s Houston office now in its sixth year.
The website for the Houston Democracy Project and the HDP blog can be found here:
The steady volunteer, the person involved in Democratic clubs and orgs, the small donor and the voter who never misses an election are the backbone of the Harris County Democratic Party.
We’ve done the work. We are demoralized by the Texas Legislature and the ceaseless attacks on Harris County elected officials including our judges. We are deeply concerned by the erosion of democracy.
But we are not always supported by candidates we boost, we don’t see Houston municipal candidates addressing the crisis, and Houston City Council members are often missing in action in even-year elections.
Candidates for all city offices, Mayor, Controller, City Council and the HCC board, must fully join the fight, speaking and acting. There is too much on the line in the most diverse city in America for municipal candidates to hide behind the tired and failed model of low-turnout elections often funded by special interests. Republicans don’t treat these races as non-partisan. Neither should we.
This approach to city campaigns is sometimes termed pragmatic or moderate. It’s neither. At best, it is a blind eye at political and racial extremism. At worst, it is collaboration with that extremism.
Discussing democracy is the right thing to do and a vote winner. That was the case for President Biden in 2020 & Democrats nationally in 2022. President Biden and Vice President Harris have made democracy a center point of their 2024 re-election campaign. U.S. Representative Collin Allred is focusing on Ted Cruz’s support of the January 6 insurrection in his 2024 U.S. Senate race.
It is moderate and mainstream to insist freedom be protected. Without democracy, there is no public safety. It is extremist to look the other way. Here is what the Houston Democracy Project asks:
Will you make democracy a top issue in the 2023 campaign?
Will you make clear you are a Democrat on the campaign trail and on campaign literature and websites?
What will you do if elected to increase turnout in Houston city elections?
Will you pledge to be active part of the 2024 Harris County Democratic campaign?
What efforts will you make to develop new Black and brown organizing strength and political talent in Houston?
If seeking police union endorsements, did you insist that any such union stop supporting people trying to overturn our elections like Dan Patrick and Alexandra Mealer. Do you see protecting democracy as a top of issue of public safety?
Through Election Day and into the runoffs, I’ll be working alongside active Democrats and all Houstonians concerned about the fate of democracy. After city elections, I’ll adapt the effort for the 2024 Harris County Democratic primary.
We’ve lost Roe. We’ve lost most of the Voting Rights Act. We’ve messed up the weather. We’ve lost our Houston school board. Free elections are not a given. What we are doing isn't working.
Whether out of conviction or simply self-interest, we must fight for a future rooted in an open and free society. Please join this fight.
Please feel free to reach out if you’d like to discuss the Houston Democracy Project.
Houston Democracy Project
The Houston Democracy Project is committed to empowering rank & file Houstonians to fight to expand and protect democracy. Holding our candidates and elected officials accountable is an essential part of this mission. Please support the Houston Democracy Project.
I'm Neil Aquino