The Chron makes its second runoff endorsement in a race where its original endorsee failed to make it out of the first round.
Whoever wins the race for Texas House District 137 will have big shoes to fill, replacing longtime Rep. Scott Hochberg. The results from the Democratic primary on May 29 cut an impressive slate of candidates down to two, Jamaal Smith and Gene Wu, who will compete in the July 31 runoff. Of these candidates, we believe Jamaal Smith has the greater potential to rise to the level of experience, focus and know-how that this district has come to expect from its representative in Austin.
Before running to be the Democratic nominee for this seat, Smith served as policy advisor and community liaison for state Sen. Rodney Ellis, acting as a link between Austin and Houston and helping to craft the legislation that would eventually come to the floor of the Texas House. This background gives him experience with the local issues that face Houston, but also the ability to navigate the often byzantine processes of the state legislature.
If elected in the fall (the Democratic primary winner will face Republican M.J. Khan), Smith is also well positioned to represent the large Hispanic population in his district. Before working for Sen. Ellis, Smith held various senior positions within the Harris County Democratic Party, where he was known for actively seeking the advice of Houston’s Hispanic establishment. Smith also began his political career serving as legislative director for the late state Rep. Joe E. Moreno, the East End Democrat from District 143.
We live in a diverse city, and it needs representatives who can build coalitions out of our multifaceted makeup. Smith promises to be that sort of representative.
Unlike their previous runoff endorsement, this one was a choice between two good candidates. I’m neutral in this race precisely because of that – both Smith and Gene Wu would make excellent representatives, and I’ll be happy whoever wins. You can listen to my interview with Smith here, and read the guest post he submitted; Wu’s interview is here and his guest post is here. Stace has more.