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January 8th, 2018:

Interview with Jason Westin

Jason Westin

Today we kick off interview season for the 2018 Democratic primaries. There are a lot of races and a lot of candidates, and I will bring you as many as I can. This week is all about CD07, with seven candidates in seven days, beginning with Jason Westin. Westin is an oncologist and cancer researcher, and has received a fair amount of national press in the year of trying-to-repeal-Obamacare as one of a group of Democratic doctors trying to take back Congress. Westin, whose wife is also an oncologist, interned in the Senate in 1998 and worked on health care policy while there. Here’s the interview:

You can see all of my Congressional interviews as well as finance reports and other information on candidates on my 2018 Congressional Election page.

Judicial Q&A: Stanley Santire

(Note: As I have done in past elections, I am running a series of Q&As for judicial candidates in contested Democratic primaries. This is intended to help introduce the candidates and their experiences to those who plan to vote in March. I am running these responses in the order that I receive them from the candidates. You can see other Q&As and further information about judicial candidates on my 2018 Judicial page.

Stanley Santire

1. Who are you and what are you running for?

I am Stanley Santire, former line officer in the U.S Navy, former chief legal counsel for Lockheed Aircraft International, a trial lawyer of three decades, a mediator for two decades, and currently a declared Democratic candidate running for Harris County Civil Court at Law No 2.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

This is a statutory county court at law court.

The jurisdiction of this court in Harris County is the same type of cases heard by District Courts in Harris County except that the controversy cannot exceed $200,000 excluding interest, statutory or punitive damages and attorney fees. This is not as severe a limit as might appear. For example, in workplace discrimination cases under Texas Chapter 21 which covers situations of harassment and discrimination in race, color, sex, national origin, religion, and age, the economic damages are almost always under $200,000 yet the substantive amounts in such cases are primarily punitive, exemplary, and attorney fees, none of which are excluded from County Courts at Law by the cap.

The statutory County Courts at Law also takes appeals from Justice of the Peace Courts as well as workers’ compensation claims regardless of amounts involved.

These Courts in Harris County also have exclusive jurisdiction in certain eminent domain proceedings.

These courts also have jurisdiction to:

    1. i. Decide issues of title to real or personal property,
    1. ii. Hear suits for enforcement of liens on real property,
    1. iii. Hear suits for forfeiture of a corporate charter,
    1. iv. Hear suits on right to property valued at $200 or more that has been levied on under a writ of execution, sequestration, or attachment,
    1. v. Hear a suit for recovery of real property.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

Commitment to justice for each and every individual that appears in the court without regard to race, color, gender, orientation, financial status, or any other characteristic other than a sincere striving for fair and equitable treatment under the law.

As an experienced trial lawyer and mediator, I have the qualifications and devotion to justice that will enhance the reputation of this court for having the highest standards of a jurist.

The Civil County Courts at Law need a higher caliber of jurist than have sometimes been the case. Someone of my experience will address that.

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

I have:

    1. i. Over three decades of trial experience in State and Federal District Courts, the vast majority of my cases being tried to a jury. My cases have primarily dealt with civil rights, employment law, construction, trade secrets, non-compete covenants, and business transactions.
    1. ii. I have been lead counsel in appeals in both State and Federal Appellate courts. I have also handled cases in arbitration, including international arbitration
    1. iii. I have two decades of experience as a mediator and recently recognized as a Distinguished Mediator by the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association. As a consequence I have a proven record for dealing with lawyers and their clients in an even-handed, respectful manner. This is vital in maintaining a proper environment for justice in a court.
    1. iv. My dedication to the legal profession has gone beyond trying and mediating cases. I have had numerous professional published articles and frequently been honored by the State Bar of Texas and the Houston Bar Association as well as other professional organizations to be a presenter at continuing legal education programs.
    1. v. I was been honored by a request from the University of Houston to appear in a University produced video dealing with sexual harassment and affirmative action. That video is in the public domain and can be seen on YouTube under the title “Stanley Santire Public Service Talk on Employment Law.”
    1. vi. I have been, and continue to be, active in various professional organizations such as the Texas Bar College for whom I have been a presenter at Statewide programs, member of the Board of Directors of the Harris County Democratic Lawyers Association, Board of Directors and former President of the Houston Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, and member of the Trade Secrets Committee of the Intellectual Property Section of the State Bar of Texas.
    1. vii. In addition I have long served the County as a volunteer mediator for the Harris County Dispute Resolution Center and served the State such as when I was Chairman of the State appointed Economic Development Committee that drafted the legislation for the Texas Coastal Zone Management Program which continues to play a vital role in protecting the Texas coastline.

5. Why is this race important?

All judicial positions are important as the bulwark of a democratic republic. At this time, due to the stresses impacting our society, we need a qualified, experienced judiciary at every level that stands for fairness and integrity.

6. Why should people vote for you in the primary?

I am the most qualified candidate for the position in regard to any other candidate as well as the incumbent in this court. I have tried a wider range of cases in both State and Federal Courts as well as been lead counsel in State and Federal appeals. I have also been lead counsel in arbitrations both in the United States and Geneva, Switzerland. I have also been an arbitrator. In other words I have vastly more experience than the incumbent judge even considering her time on the bench. If I ascend to the bench it will be because of my legal experience and not due to an initial political appointment. Incidentally, in addition to being an experienced trial and appellate lawyer, I was recently designated a Distinguished Mediator by the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association.

Lots of female candidates running this year

It’s that kind of year.

Inside a classroom at a community college in downtown Dallas, a group of two dozen women took turns sharing their names, hometowns and what they hoped would be their future titles: Congresswoman. Dallas County judge. State representative.

It was part of a training held by EMILY’s List, an organization dedicated to electing women at all levels of government who support abortion rights. During the presentation, one of the PowerPoint slides flashed a mock advertisement on the projector screen: “Help Wanted: Progressive Women Candidates.”

A record number of women appear to be answering that call, fueled largely by frustration on the Democratic side over the election of President Donald Trump and energized by Democratic women winning races in Virginia in November. Experts say 2018 is on track to be a historic year, with more women saying they are running at this point than ever before.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List. “Every day, dozens more women come to our website, come to our Facebook page and say, ‘I am mad as hell. I want to do something about it. What should I do now?’”

[…]

One hundred women, Democrats and Republicans, have filed to run for Texas legislative seats this year, compared with 76 women in 2016, according to Patsy Woods Martin, executive director of Annie’s List, whose mission is to recruit, train, support and elect progressive, pro-choice female candidates in Texas.

Woods Martin said that in 2017, 800 women participated in the organization’s candidate training programs, up from 550 in 2013.

As of now, Annie’s List has endorsed two candidates — Beverly Powell and Julie Johnson. Powell is seeking to beat state Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, in Senate District 10, for the North Texas seat formerly held by Wendy Davis, who surrendered it in 2014 to run for governor. Johnson is looking to oust state Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, one of the most conservative members of the House, in House District 115.

While the statewide slates of both parties will be dominated by men, Kim Olson, a retired Air Force colonel, with a ranch in Mineral Wells, is the lone Democratic candidate for agriculture commissioner, and Republican Christi Craddick is seeking to keep her spot on the Railroad Commission.

There are also quite a few Texas women running for seats in Congress, including Mary Jennings Hegar and Christine Eady Mann, two of the four candidates seeking to win the Democratic nomination to take on Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, in U.S. House District 31.

Because I’m a numbers kind of guy, I went back through the SOS candidate filings page and did a little count. Here’s what I came up with, including incumbents who are running for re-election:

For Democrats, there are 37 female candidates for Senate and Congress, in a total of 23 districts. There are 7 female candidates for State Senate, and 78 for State House. On the Republican side, there are 12 female candidates for Senate and Congress, with 7 for State Senate and 24 for State House. That adds up to 116 for state legislative office, with the proviso that I may have missed a name or two here and there.

For comparison purposes, there are currently three Texas women in Congress (Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, Eddie Bernice Johnson, and Kay Granger), eight female State Senators (only half the Senate is up for election this cycle), and 29 female State Reps. Bearing in mind that some of these candidates are competing for the same office, and some of them are running against female incumbents, it seems likely that there will be more women in these offices overall next year. Gotta run to win, and this year that’s less of an issue than in other years.