For 145

Nor­iega has ex­pe­ri­ence and skill.

Houston Chronicle - - NATION | WORLD -

While the leg­isla­tive ses­sion started in Austin last week, early vot­ing be­gins to­day to select a rep­re­sen­ta­tive for House Dis­trict 145. That’s not the usual or­der of things.

This spe­cial elec­tion has been de­layed be­cause Repub­li­can Gov. Greg Ab­bott dragged his feet in sched­ul­ing the Se­nate Dis­trict 6 spe­cial elec­tion to re­place now-Con­gress­woman Sylvia Gar­cia. The win­ner was then-state Rep. Carol Al­varado, who now has to be re­placed as well.

On the los­ing end of these po­lit­i­cal shenani­gans are the vot­ers in this largely His­panic, Demo­crat­i­clean­ing dis­trict, which strad­dles In­ter­state 45 from down­town to Pasadena. They may see their po­lit­i­cal power di­luted this year as the Leg­is­la­ture starts with­out their new rep­re­sen­ta­tive in place. The vic­tor in this eight-way race will need the skill and ex­pe­ri­ence to ef­fec­tively ad­vo­cate for con­stituents de­spite a trun­cated time­line. Luck­ily, vot­ers have that can­di­date in Melissa Nor­iega.

The for­mer city coun­cil­woman ac­tu­ally held this seat in 2005 while her then-hus­band, Rick Nor­iega, was on ac­tive mil­i­tary duty in Afghanistan. She then ran for the at-large po­si­tion 3 seat on City Coun­cil, which she held un­til term-lim­ited out in 2013. Dur­ing that time she de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion as a well-in­formed con­sen­sus­builder and rou­tinely earned our en­dorse­ment. Since then she has worked as a vice pres­i­dent at Baker-Ri­p­ley, fo­cus­ing on dis­as­ter re­sponse after Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

Ap­pear­ing along­side four op­po­nents at the ed­i­to­rial board’s en­dorse­ment meet­ing, Nor­iega, 64, spoke with speci­ficity about the chal­lenges fac­ing this dis­trict, in­clud­ing over­bur­dened schools, dis­as­ter re­cov­ery, flood­ing and the planned re­design of I-45 and In­ter­state 69.

On all is­sues she speaks like a true Demo­crat — “we have a lot of peo­ple work­ing re­ally hard to be poor” — yet pointed to Jerry Pat­ter­son, a Repub­li­can for­mer land com­mis­sioner, as a po­lit­i­cal model. That’s be­cause they both un­der­stand how to build and main­tain re­la­tion­ships within the Leg­is­la­ture with­out com­pro­mis­ing ideals.

We were also im­pressed with Christina Mo­rales, 50, a busi­ness­woman and city plan­ning com­mis­sioner whose fam­ily has been a long­time fix­ture of east Hous­ton’s His­panic com­mu­nity. Mo­rales is prob­a­bly run­ning the strong­est cam­paign in this race.

Also run­ning are Clay­ton Hunt, a young lib­er­tar­ian who wants to abol­ish ICE and also gun con­trol reg­u­la­tions; Os­car Del Toro, a Mex­i­can-born ad­vo­cate for re­dis­trict­ing re­form who has twice run un­suc­cess­fully for Pasadena City Coun­cil; and Elias De La Garza, a lo­cal busi­ness owner. Can­di­dates Al­fred Moreno, Ruben Dario Gon­salez and Martha Elena Fierro, the only Repub­li­can, did not meet with the ed­i­to­rial board.

Early vot­ing runs un­til Fri­day, Jan. 25. Polls will be closed Mon­day, Jan. 21, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Elec­tion Day is Tues­day, Jan. 29.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.