“Round Two” of the Houston City Council runoff election has begun, as early voting kicked off last week, and each candidate is doing their best to get their base voters out to the polls.
This election is not like any other in Houston’s rich history.
After the November election, Council Members Jerry Davis (District B), Dwight Boykins (District D) and Larry Green (District K) were all re-elected to council. With Council Member C.O. “Brad” Bradford being term-limited, that reduces the number of African American council members to three. As a result of the general election results, however, Houstonians now have an opportunity to vote to have seven African Americans serving on Houston City Council at the same time, by voting for candidates in four At-Large city council races.
In the At-large Position 1 race, entrepreneur Georgia Provost faces Mike Knox; in the At-Large Position 2 race, Rev. Willie R. Davis squares off against incumbent David Robinson; in the At-Large Position 4 race being vacated by term-limited C.O. “Brad” Bradford, attorney Amanda Edwards faces Roy Morales; and in the At-Large Position 5 race, Sharon Moses faces incumbent Jack Christie, who defeated two-term incumbent Jolanda Jones, who fell short in her quest to complete her final term.
Not only would there be seven African Americans serving on Houston City Council, but in the race to replace outgoing Mayor Annise Parker as mayor of the city of Houston, Sylvester Turner also has a chance to be the 2nd African American mayor in Houston’s history. That would make a total of eight African Americans around the horseshoe at Houston City Council.
Accomplishing this feat will not be an easy task, however, especially if base voters fail to come out and cast a ballot for the candidates. History shows us this.
Back in December 2011, Houstonians had the opportunity to make their vote count and be a part of history. During that election cycle, there were several interesting and dynamic things that came out of it. Not only were two new district seats added to city council, but during the runoff election, on Saturday, December 10, 2011, it was the first time ever that the City of Houston could have had six Black elected officials serving on Houston City Council at the same time.
At the time, Wanda Adams (District D), C.O. Bradford (At-Large Position 4) and Larry Green (newly created District K) had already cemented their place on Houston City Council. However, in three of the four races that were being contested, only two out of three of those candidates came away victorious. Jerry Davis won his District B runoff race, which automatically took the
Houston City Council number to four, which was already the number of Black elected officials that had been currently serving on council at that time. Andrew Burks, Jr. came out victorious in a tough race against Kristi Thibaut for the At-Large 2 seat, where he not only had to defeat Thibaut, but also had to fend off an unlikely opponent – the endorsement of his opponent by other Black elected officials. Two-term incumbent Jolanda Jones lost a tough, hard-fought re-election battle for the Houston City Council At-Large 5 seat to current City Council Member Jack Christie – the same opponent she squeaked out a runoff election victory against in 2009.
The results of that 2011 election yielded five African American City Council members, but not the historic number six that had been hoped for.
This week, Houstonians have a chance to turn that hope into a reality.
Another important element in this election is the opportunity to have at least one African American woman to serve on the Houston City Council.
With the departure of Wanda Adams from council due to term-limits, the city of Houston, for the first time since Carol Mims Galloway was elected to office for District B in 1999, did not have an African American female serving on Houston City Council. Currently in the city of Houston, women make up a little over 50 percent of the population, but will only account for less than 1/5th of the representation on Houston City Council since last election. With the results of this runoff election, three African American women are poised and positioned to significantly change that dynamic – Provost, Edwards and Moses.
The Houston Forward Times (HFT) will be sure to share the results of this historic Dec. 12 runoff election, and the HFT encourage all voters to exercise this extremely important tool to bring about change in our communities, businesses and personal lives.