When Edward Pollard decided to run to be a member of the Houston City Council back in 2019, he knew he had his work cut out for him.
Traditionally, Black elected officials are voted into office in areas where the majority of the residents who are eligible to vote are African American. In most cases, candidates appeal to businesses, churches, schools and neighborhoods that cater to a Black demographic, making it somewhat easier to win their bid for office.
In Council Member Edward Pollard’s case, his district – District J – did not have a Black majority. In fact, of the approximately 200,000 people in the district, a whopping 63 percent of residents are Hispanic, and the strongest voting bloc in the district are older, White and conservative, with practically zero predominantly Black neighborhoods.
Some folks in the political world have looked at Pollard’s victory and are using it as a case study to better understand exactly how he pulled it off.
“I have a bipartisan ideology, and I take an open-minded approach to leadership,” said Pollard, who assumed office on January 2, 2020. “I reached out to every community and every person no matter their party affiliation, ethnicity, culture, or circumstance. I believe in unifying people because, although we are different races, there is so much more that we have in common.”
Pollard was able to garner support from a broad cross section of District J residents, which is the southwest Houston areas of Gulfton, Sharpstown, Braeburn, and a slice of Alief.
As he begins his second year in office, the promises he made on the campaign trail of being a voice and advocate for all people in his district has consistently been on full display. One glimpse at his social media pages or monthly newsletter and you can quickly see that he engages each community and works to address their issues, putting an extra focus on public safety, trash removal and illegal dumping, minority businesses, housing, employment, and direct outreach of services and resources to aid residents in need during the pandemic.
Pollard is no stranger to District J, as he is a proud product of the Southwest Houston area.
Pollard attended all HISD schools (Lovett, Johnston, Lamar), before accepting a basketball scholarship to Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. While in college, he was recognized as an NCAA Academic All American and graduated with honors earning his BA in Political Science. After playing professional basketball overseas in the Republic of Singapore and Chile, South America, Pollard returned to the City of Houston to pursue his law degree. He attended Thurgood Marshall School of Law where he graduated with honors, earning his Juris Doctorate with a concentration in Government and Policy. Pollard also received his Certificate in Negotiation Mastery from Harvard Business School.
Professionally, Pollard is the principle owner of Pollard Legal Group, LLC, a boutique civil litigation law firm located in District J. He is also the founder of Suits for Success, a 501c3 organization that mentors teen boys on life skills at District J high schools. The semester long program focuses on public speaking, etiquette training, personal finance, resume building, interview techniques, and how to tie a tie. At the completion of the program, each student receives a free suit, shirt, and tie for high school graduation and life beyond.
In his role as Houston City Council Member, Pollard currently serves as Vice Chair of Budget Fiscal Affairs, and serves on the committees of Economic Development, Ethics, Elections and Council Governance, Public Safety and Homeland Security, and Childhood and Youth.
So, as the nation celebrates Black History Month, along with the many contributions of past Black history makers, Pollard hopes people will reflect on how the many sacrifices, moments, and movements of yesterday have provided an opportunity for progress today.
Pollard believes it was the spirit of the many Black people who came before him and broke down barriers that gave him the inspiration to do the same thing for those coming behind him.