The Houston Democracy Project attended the recent Meyerland Area Democratic Club John Whitmire Mayoral forum. Senator Whitmire was asked questions by local attorney Noah Horowitz.
(Mr Horowitz's father, Judge James Horowitz, is one of the Harris County 2022 election winners being sued by sore loser Republicans to undo last year's rightful results.)
(Above is a picture I took at the event.)
Mr. Horowitz asked Senator Whitmire questions about threats to democracy and his relationships with Republicans.
Senator Whitmire said Republicans in Austin have the power and you need to work with them to get anything done.
Senator Whitmire seems powerless to stop the far-right excesses of the Texas legislature and our statewide officials. What bipartisan cooperation can he be certain to obtain in exchange for his unconditional relationships with far-right extremists?
To what extent do you work with authoritarians? If you are going to maintain a good relationship with Dan Patrick, as Senator Whitmire appears to have, shouldn't a condition of that relationship be at least that Lt. Governor Patrick will respect election results.
Is it pragmatic to conduct affairs with people looking to take away our most basic rights? A political class might seek accommodation among itself, while leaving rank & file citizens out in the undemocratic cold. And then these far-right Republicans will turn on the officials who thought they could be reasoned with.
Senator Whitmire has the endorsement of many law enforcement unions. These unions continue to support politicians and candidates calling for Harris County 2022 elections to be done over and who have taken away local control of our Harris County elections.
How is there public safety when law enforcement unions support election deniers? There is no public safety without democracy.
The law enforcement unions and tough on crime crew in Houston and Harris County have been silent on lawless Ken Paxton as Texas Attorney General and on likely Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump calling for the hanging of generals and the shutting down of media outlets. They appear to have a selective and dangerous concept of law and order.
Houstonians deserve protection from threats to democracy.
Senator Whitmire said at the Meyerland forum that people who oppose the senator's support of Texas Department of Public Safety troopers patrolling Houston streets are part of the "defund the police" crowd.
This is simply not so. It is fully reasonable to have civil rights concerns about police under the control of an authoritarian state government patrolling the streets of the most diverse city in America.
This is a state government banning books, attacking trans folks, defying the federal government and that has removed the democratically elected school board in Houston. It makes plenty of sense to not want Greg Abbott's police in Houston to help enforce these terrible policies.
Senator Whitmire has been in office for 50 years. He's dedicated his career to systems that have lost Roe, lost most of the Voting Rights Act and messed up the weather. Faced with the real and increasing threat of authoritarianism in Texas and the nation, he tells us to talk without condition to extremists, invites their police into our city & then mocks those concerned about his course.
We don't need a Houston run by John Whitmire and law enforcement unions. How would freedom prevail in such circumstances with Ken Paxton as Texas Attorney General and under a second term Trump Justice Department?
John Whitmire puts our most basic rights at risk. He can't grasp the seriousness of the moment. Reject him at the polls to make loud and clear that you imagine a future firmly rooted in democracy for Houston and Harris County.
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.
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I'm Neil Aquino