Since Monday night, I have heard of three people who are interested in running for HD144, the State Rep district that was drawn to favor the election of a Democrat by the San Antonio court. For the record, the 2008 numbers in HD144 are as follows:
President: Obama 53.16%, McCain 45.92%
Senate: Noriega 59.25%, Cornyn 38.89%
Supreme Court, Place 7: Houston 59.01%, Wainwright 38.87%
Supreme Court, Place 8: Yanez 59.57%, Johnson 38.43%
CCA, Place 3: Strawn 58.06%, Price 39.79%
Two candidates have filed for this seat and a third announced that he was running, though his announcement came before the two filings were announced. The first to announce a filing was Kevin Risner, son of George Risner, the Democratic JP in Precinct 2. The second was Pasadena City Council Member Ornaldo Ybarra, whose statement is beneath the fold. Finally, there is Cody Wheeler, who made an announcement and put out this statement, but as of last night had not filed. I look forward to meeting and interviewing these gentlemen, and may the best person win, including any others who may yet be looking at this district.
In other Harris County news, Erica Lee, daughter of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, has filed to run for HCDE Trustee in Precinct 1. She is the first Democrat to file for this position, the single easiest pickup opportunity for Democrats in Harris County next year, and whoever wins the primary will be virtually guaranteed to win in November. That person will not face incumbent Roy Morales, however, as he has undoubtedly done the math and will head off to the sunset and future opportunities to run for something. He wasn’t on the ballot this year and he may not be on it next year – I have no idea what this world is coming to. I am aware of at least one other person who had expressed an interest in this seat, but so far Erica Lee, whom I met briefly at the petition signing event the week of Thanksgiving (though I did not make the connection to her mother), is it. Stace has more.
I should note that we have two candidates for the at large HCDE position currently held by the ridiculous Michael Wolfe – Diane Trautman and David Rosen have both filed. There is also a Precinct 3 position for HCDE that does not have a Democratic challenger. I have heard that incumbent Republican Louis Evans is not running again, so while this would not be a likely pickup opportunity it seems to me that it deserves a candidate, since who knows what kind of candidate will emerge on the R side. For that matter, it would be nice to have a serious challenger to County Commissioner Steve Radack. Yeah, I know, I’d like a pony, too. Hey, wishes are still free.
Meanwhile, over in Fort Bend County, attorney Vy Nguyen has announced her candidacy for HD26, the multi-cultural district that was drawn to be nearly 50/50 by the court. Her statement is here. It’s fair to say that the Democratic road towards a House majority will go right through that district.
Finally, a semi-comprehensive list of Democratic filings from around the state can be found here. I see that Sylvia Romo has made it official, so we will have that contested primary over there. If you’re aware of any filing news I’ve missed, please let us know in the comments.
UPDATE: According to Robert Miller, HCC Trustee Mary Ann Perez is also interested in HD144, while incumbent Rep. Ken Legler has not decided if he will file for re-election.
Statement of Ornaldo Ybarra
Candidate, for the Texas House of Representatives, District 144
December 6, 2011
For more information contact 713-861-2244.
It is an honor today that I announce that I will be a seeking the Democratic Party nomination for the redrawn Texas House of Representatives, District 144. During the last legislative session, my fellow Texans witnessed first hand that public education, health care and higher education funding was drastically cut and the budget was balanced on the back of the working class.
During the last 2 ½ years, while serving as a council member for the City of Pasadena (District A), I have built a reputation for being a strong supporter of the two most important groups that should matter to all elected official, our taxpayers and our public employees. While on council, I have opposed all city increases on various fees that have been brought before council due to its adverse effect on the working class. I have advocated for pay equality among the lower paid employees and have even proposed amendments to reward our lower paid employees, against the wishes of our Republican Mayor and administration.
The upcoming legislative session is going to face many of the budget constraints that the prior legislative session faced and it’s important that District 144 elect a representative that understands the basic principles of all the revenue sources and expenditures. While it’s easy to file for any office, understanding the dynamics of how government works is something that requires experience. I understand how it feels to be in the minority of any governmental body, but that hasn’t stopped me from fighting for the people and our public employees while being a council member in Pasadena.
I was born in Houston, Texas, 33 years ago and have been a resident of Pasadena and District A my entire life. I reside in the same home that I grew up in and still walk the same neighborhoods that bring me close to the day-to-day concerns of the people. I am honored to have attended Kruse Elementary, Jackson Intermediate, and graduated from Pasadena High School. I am proud to say that I attended the public schools of the Pasadena Independent School District.
Upon graduating from Pasadena High School, I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps (1996-2000) and was assigned as an infantryman with 1st Battalion 7th Marines at 29 Palms, California. While in the Marine Corps, I was the recipient of many awards such as the Navy Achievement Medal, Marine of the Quarter 1998, Meritoriously Promoted from Lance Corporal, Letters of Appreciation, Certificates of Commendations and the Good Conduct Medal.
After receiving an Honorable Discharge from the United States Marine Corps, I returned back to Pasadena and attended San Jacinto College. I received an Associates of Applied Science from San Jacinto College and was recognized for my academic achievements on various occasions by being placed on the Dean’s List.
Upon receiving my A.A.S from San Jacinto College, I applied and was selected to be a Police Officer with the Pearland Police Department. I have worked all three patrol shifts and I am a member of the Pearland Police Department SWAT Team and Honor Guard Detail.
In December 2010, while working full time as a Police Officer, I received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science from the University of Houston (Main Campus).
I believe that I have the political and work experience that distinguishes me from other potential candidates. My background as a police officer allows me to understand how various laws enacted impact not only our residents, but the law enforcement community. Currently being assigned to a school campus, I have witnessed first hand the consequences of the public education budget cuts and have first hand knowledge of the concerns of teachers, parents and students.
Prior to working as a police officer, I worked in the emergency room at one of the local hospitals, and I witnessed first hand the medical needs of the community. I observed first hand the positive effects that Medicaid and CHIP had on the children of the underprivileged. As a veteran, I understand the medical, educational and personal attention that our veteran community needs.
While on city council, my record speaks for itself. I have worked for the construction of over 5 miles of brand new sidewalks, various new concrete and overlaid street improvements, speed bumps, splash pads built in parks, and water/sewer line replacements. Although, I can point to major infrastructure accomplishments during my tenure as a council member, I am most proud of the level of energy and involvement that my constituents have provided since I was first elected.
I ask for the support of my fellow residents of Texas House of Representative District 144, as I embark on the journey to be your representative. I am a middle class American who understands the needs of the district and who has been in the trenches fighting for the rights of taxpayers and our public employees. No other candidate seeking the Democratic Party nomination has a proven track record when compared to mine.