Kingwood Area Democrats
After months of exploring his political chances of beating Gov. Greg Abbott, Beto O'Rourke has made his long-anticipated announcement to run for the Democratic Party nomination for governor.
Meanwhile, the race for lieutenant governor has become more crowded with the addition of Michelle Beckley, state representative from Carrollton. She joins Mike Collier and Matthew Dowd vying for the Democratic Party nomination.
December 15 @ 7 p.m.
"This must be the first time a major presidential candidate has conducted a political assassination via a thriller. State of Terror, written with best-selling crime writer Louise Penny, is part entertainment, part roman à clef and all payback." The Washington Post
Read the humorous Post review here.
The book club welcomes new members! For more information or to sign up, please email us here.
We are using the Webex app for meetings until further notice.
Wendy Davis Speaks Out About Texas Abortion Law SB8
Wendy Davis was the guest speaker at a special online event November 15 when several Harris County Democratic Clubs joined forces to host the former state senator and gubernatorial candidate.
Davis touched on many topics, beginning with her support for Beto O'Rourke who had earlier in the day announced his candidacy in the race for governor. She predicted he would bring excitement to the race.
Turning to the topic of the evening, a woman's right to choose, Davis said SB8 is a result of years of antagonism toward women's reproductive freedoms, depriving women of autonomy. She expressed fear that Abbott would go as far as his base pushed him, even pondering whether that could lead to banning contraception.
Davis discussed the intricacies of SB8, which allows any individual to sue anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion. The hefty financial penalties of the law have effectively shut down abortion access in Texas. She also paraphrased Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, saying, "It is an injustice every single day that this law continues to be in existence."
The event was initiated by Meyerland Area Democrats and co-hosted by Kingwood Area Democrats, Humble Area Democrats, ROADWomen, Democratic Club of the Woodlands, Houston Black American Democrats, TDW Harris, BAD Women, Bay Area New Democrats, Spring Branch Democrats, Spring Democratic Club, Greater Heights Democrats, and Swing Left.
Wendy Davis, former Texas state senator and gubernatorial candidate
Dan Huberty, who represents Kingwood, Humble and Atascocita, has announced he will not seek re-election in the Texas House of Representatives. He was first elected to the House in 2010 and began his term in 2011. Prior to that, he served for five years on the Humble I.S.D. Board of Trustees.
Two Democratic Candidates for TX Lieutenant Governor
Kingwood resident and KAD member Mike Collier now has a Primary Election ahead of him. He has been challenged by Matthew Dowd, a Democrat turned Republican turned Democrat.
Dowd was in recent years an ABC News commentator, but he was George W. Bush's strategist and, prior to that, helped elect Gov. Ann Richards, a Democrat.
Collier ran as the Democratic candidate for the same position in 2018, coming close to defeating Dan Patrick. Last year, he was Texas advisor to the Biden Campaign.
President Biden's plan seems tailor-made for Harris County
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo enthusiastically supports the Biden Agenda. She calls it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to strengthen "the physical and social foundation of American society." In an opinion column in the Houston Chronicle, Hidalgo urges the Congressional delegation from our area to support the Build Back Better Agenda after decades of underinvestment.
KAD August Meeting with a Trans Activist
Asher Giotis playfully calls himself a guy who looks like a Texas redneck, but his journey began quite differently -- as a baby girl. Years passed until, at the age of 30, Asher made the decision to become the person he knew he should be, and he began the process of transitioning. He was KAD’s guest speaker at the August membership meeting.
Today, Asher is an activist for the transgender community and a patient liaison. "I help provide resources and tools for the gender diverse community in order to guide them through the healthcare process, understanding insurance plan exclusions and legal rights to appeal based on medical necessity." He often helps parents who are navigating the complex world of medical care for children with gender dysphoria, a mismatch between an individual's biological sex and gender identity.
Asher discussed the legal challenges of transitioning, such as making the official changes through the courts and Social Security Administration, and obtaining a driver's license or voter registration. Texas does not have laws that explicitly protect people on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 does include workplace protections for gay and transgender individuals.
Freedom and Fireworks Celebration
Democrats came out in force for Independence Day in a Freedom and Fireworks Celebration in Kingwood. The lakefront event was hosted by four Democratic clubs: Kingwood Area Democrats, Humble Area Democrats, Meyerland Area Democrats and the Democratic Club of The Woodlands.
Special guests included Lina Hidalgo, Harris County judge; Marilyn Burgess, Harris County district clerk; Odus Evbagharu, newly-elected chair of the Harris County Democratic Party; and many judges and candidates.
County Judge Lina Hidalgo gave an impromptu speech and mingled with other guests. She is pictured with Clarence Miller, candidate for commissioner, Harris County Precinct 4. Miller is hoping to unseat Jack Cagle (R), who has represented Precinct 4 on the Commissioners Court for the last ten years.
County officials, judges and 2022 candidates attended the Freedom and Fireworks Celebration. Front row, center, is Harris County District Clerk Marilyn Burgess, a former member of the Kingwood Area Democrats Club.
(left to right) Odus Evbagharu, newly-elected chair of the Harris County Democratic Party; Art Pronin, pres. of Meyerland Area Democrats; Ellie Porras, pres. of Kingwood Area Democrats; and John Cotter, pres. of Humble Area Democrats.
Marilyn Burgess Re-Election Campaign Kick Off
Pictured l. to r., Pam Spivey, Maggie Wickwire, Deborah Mowrey, Marjie Landry, Marilyn Burgess, Barbara Madera, Jane Leckey and Elizabeth Stern.
Friends of Marilyn Burgess helped celebrate the official start of her re-election campaign for Harris County District Clerk. Marilyn was previously a member of KAD and our area's Liberal Ladies Who Lunch group.
Marilyn was elected to the position of district clerk in 2018 and took office in January 2019 while the jury assembly rooms were still under repair after Hurricane Harvey's massive floods. That disaster was followed a year later by the COVID pandemic shutdowns. However, neither crisis prevented her plans for the office from moving forward.
Judge Jason Cox is working to change the lives of people with mental illness.
With the help of a $2.7 million federal grant, he is directing people to treatment through a newly created program in Harris County, the Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program.
Cox was one of many Democratic judges elected in 2018, and he immediately partnered with The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, UTHealth Harris County Psychiatric Center, and the University of Houston. Together, they successfully applied for the grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and were awarded the grant in July 2020.
Cox, presiding judge of Probate Court 3, was KAD’s guest speaker at the June 2 General Membership Meeting where he discussed how the new program is being implemented and evaluated. It is not a voluntary program, but it is an alternative to inpatient care.
In addition to a treatment plan, some patients in AOT receive housing, transportation, medication, and,
KAD June Meeting
Judge Jason Cox
sometimes, even clothing. Counselors call them to make sure they are taking their prescribed medications and adhering to their treatment plans. “Housing is a big help,” said Cox. “It provides stability.”
“AOT is different (from other programs) in that it is a highly individualized,” said Cox. “It is also unique because it contains a court component: patients meet with the court for status conferences with their case managers to make sure that their needs are being met and that they’re adhering to the program. If the patient falls out of compliance with the treatment plan, the court can require them to return to inpatient treatment until they’re stabilized and able to return to the program.” The University of Houston, meanwhile, is collecting data.
“Elected officials such as Judge Jason Cox are the reason it is important to vote all the way down the ticket,” said HCDP County Chair Lillie Schechter, “Individuals who are working to improve the judicial system, advance the health care system, and increase access to mental health care.”
Mike Collier is Gearing Up
Mike Collier and his Exploratory Committee are testing the waters of another run for political office. His goal is to launch a full campaign within a few months and take on Dan Patrick, Texas' lieutenant governor, in the 2022 Elections.
In 2018, Mike ran an aggressive campaign against Patrick, but Texas wasn't quite ready to turn blue. Will 2022 be the year?
Mike was our guest speaker at the March 3 KAD Membership Meeting, where he shared his outrage over the latest follies of the Abbott government: the rescinding of the COVID mask mandate and the lack of leadership in the chaos of power outages during the February winter storm.
As a longtime Kingwood resident and KAD member, Mike is a familiar face. We know he's a smart and impressive candidate. In 2018, he
received endorsements from around the state, including many like the following:
“Unlike incumbent Dan Patrick, Collier, 57, is a facts-and-figures guy who deep-dives into complex policy in ways that command the respect of intelligent voters, regardless of party inclination.”
Mike earned an M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, and he's had a career that includes being an auditor and, later, partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, one of the world's largest accounting firms. In addition, he helped establish a successful oil company and served as its chief financial officer.
New Voting Machines for Harris County
Harris County introduced new voting machines for the May 1 Election and Early Voting, April 19 - 27. The county made an initial purchase of 12,000 of the new model, which has a touch screen for making selections but also produces a paper ballot for additional verification.
How to use the new voting machines.
Watch this Facebook video.