The following was sent to the SEIU Screening Council by Rick Noriega in response to a request that he screen with them for SD06. He shared it with me for publication here:
December 8, 2012
SEIU Screening Committee
SEIU Texas State Council
The untimely loss of our colleague, Senator Mario Gallegos, is more than the loss of a brother–it creates a huge hole in representation for the southeast portion of Harris County. With his passing, there is a void of voice and leadership. Where do we go now?
At the same time, change in leadership also is a chance for a new direction. The constituents of Senate District 6 have a unique opportunity to chart a new path for the future. Over the past few weeks, I was asked to consider whether I would enter the race to replace the late Senator.
The reasons given by my supporters were many–there was concern that the urgent and pressing issues of the district were not being adequately addressed in the conversation. In addition there was a concern that the current debate did not look at the larger challenges of the entire state.
Senators are responsible for Texas, not just their small district. The current voices need to rise to the level of the issues we face as Texans. It is not enough to just “vote right” for the district or ﬁght the current establishment. The debate needs to be bigger; the debate needs to be more.
Senate District 6 serves as a microcosm for nearly every negative socio-economic trend that Texas witnesses. In this time of change, the position demands innovative thinking, the skills to work the process and the focus to get things done. No issue in the state stands alone, and it takes complex problem-solving skills and creativity to begin to address the level of complexity of the problems we face.
The constituents need to expect more–the debate truly needed about education, health care, infrastructure, revenue, economic development and jobs has not been on display.
Senate District 6 needs leadership, not a bitter battle for a plum elected ofﬁce. You, as leaders, need to challenge the candidates to rise above self-interest and put forth plans that create real change, real opportunity in SD6.
I just returned from an amazing trip to the the Holy Land. The experience gave me the opportunity to give this matter much thought and prayer. In addition I have discussed it at length with my family.
The time is not right to take on this race, and the fundraising needed, for the Noriega family. We are dedicated to public service, and tell you this with much regret–this seat is a true opportunity for leadership, one with which great things could be accomplished.
I would encourage you, and all those interested in this race, to demand the very best Texas has to offer. There is too much at stake here, for the region and the state.
Thank you for offering me the chance to speak with you about this. I am honored and humbled by your consideration.
A copy of the letter is posted here. I may have more to say about this later, but for now I’m just going to let that speak for itself.