Last week, I took in a Mayoral debate and a Mayoral candidate forum. Between the two, I was able to see the full slate of contenders for Mayor.
The Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce hosted a forum on Thursday and Houston Public Media (KUHT and KUHF) hosted a debate on Monday evening in conjunction with the League of Women Voters. They also assisted with the Women’s Chamber forum.
We previously discussed the debate last week. At the Women’s Chamber, it was an actual forum with a much shorter format. Two candidates who had not participated in the debate were in attendance.
This field of candidates is truly interesting. There are genuine grass-roots people running for Mayor. Some are not so well spoken. Some have a specific agenda they are espousing. One is just downright funny and one is very angry. When Mayor Parker and Ben Hall are in the mix of the field, they shine. Mayor Parker has refused to meet Ben Hall one-on-one and insists that all candidates be invited when they have accepted forums.
Personally, I have enjoyed this exposure to the “also-rans” as they are often called in politics. It makes me feel so much better about our democracy. The guests at our table for the Women’s Chamber were not so enamored and were a little stunned. Several of them pointed out that “anyone can run for Mayor”. EXACTLY! We live in a democracy and isn’t it great?
When I look at what is happening in Washington and I see the collapse of respected dialogue between elected officials, I am sad for democracy. But when I look at a field of 9 Mayoral contenders, I feel better.
One of the problems with D.C. is the lack of competition in our system. Most Members of Congress are elected from such lopsided partisan districts that they are answerable only to the most extreme loyalists of their party. Sure, there is competition in the primary process but less than 15% of voters usually participate. General election competition has dissipated completely and thus, we have a Congress that only talks to those who will re-elect them and not do what is in the best interests of the American public.
So rejoice! Study up on the multiple candidates seeking office in Houston this year. You can access the League of Women Voter’s Guide by clicking here.
Early voting starts on October 21 so prepare yourself to participate in genuine democracy.