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Your Thought Matters Newspaper Is Here to Inspire, Empower, Inform, and Increase Voter Participation in 2013
By Aubrey R. Taylor, President
Aubrey R. Taylor Communications
Publisher of Your Thought Matters Newspaper
As the Saturday, May 11, 2013 General Election in Fort Bend County draws nearer; and the November 5, 2013 Mayoral Election in Houston heats up, we are hearing a lot of talk about diversity, ethnicity, and the role it could play in 2013 elections in Houston and Fort Bend County. Because of this, Aubrey R. Taylor Communications, the publisher of Your Thought Matters Newspaper is urging the people of Fort Bend County and the City of Houston to become more informed and empowered in 2013.
HOUSTON’S 2013 MAYORAL RACE IS COMING
ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5TH
It may seem a little early to be talking about the November Mayoral Election in Houston. However, the Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Mayoral Election in Houston involving Annise Parker, the current Mayor of Houston, and former City of Houston Attorney Ben Hall, is shaping up to be a race with a huge potential to polarize Houston -- but we can’t allow this to happen!
We are not going to place a lot of emphasis on the race involving Parker, Hall and others seeking to be mayor of Houston in this particular article. However, after the Saturday, May 11, 2013 General Election in Fort Bend is completed, we are going to open up dialogue with community leaders from across Texas on this potentially polarizing contest; and continue to focus on it up until Election Day.
WHAT WE’RE WORKING ON AT THIS MOMENT
Right now, we are talking to business, community, and political leaders from across the state of Texas and asking them to share their thoughts on what measures they use to decide which candidates to support in elections. We are also asking them what role a candidate’s ethnicity plays in their decision making process – if any. The information we’re gathering will be published in a “Special Edition” we’re going to publish leading up to the 2013 Mayoral Election in Houston.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Aubrey R. Taylor Communications, the publisher of Your Thought Matters Newspaper does not endorse political candidates. However, trying to help our readers identify candidates who value and want their vote is a very important part of our mission, and our goal to inform our readers. By opening up dialogue with business, community, and political leaders from across Texas, we believe their very valuable non-partisan opinions and thoughts can help our readers to make more informed and empowered decisions when voting in elections.
-- CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON MAYOR ANNISE PARKER
MAYOR ANNISE PARKER SHARES HER THOUGHTS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF VOTING IN ELECTIONS
Recently we asked Mayor Annise Parker and several other city leaders to share their thoughts and insights on the importance of participating in local elections. Mayor Parker, currently only the second woman to serve as Houston's Chief Executive jumped at the opportunity to share her thoughts with our readers on this very important subject.
Here is what Mayor Annise Parker had to say:
"I remember voting as a kid with my parents. That was back in the days when you walked into a voting booth, pulled a red curtain behind you, picked your candidates and pulled a lever to cast your ballot. My parents took me every November, and I’ve gone every year as an adult. It’s important to vote for many reasons, but I’ll focus on three.
1) It’s the only opportunity we have, as citizens, to hold our elected officials accountable to the promises they make to us when they’re running for office. I’ve been elected eight times now, so I know that when I make a promise on the campaign trail, voters are listening, and voters will remind me of my promises when I come back in two years.
2) Someone said to me recently – if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. Elected officials make very important decisions about how your money is spent and what limits are placed on your life. It’s important that your elected officials know that you care about your rights and your money – and the best way to show them that you care is to vote.
3) And finally, 150 years ago, voting was reserved for a privileged few. African Americans and women risked their lives fighting for the right to vote. They won in 1870 and 1920, respectively. That isn’t very long ago, and every election I am proud to honor those brave civil rights activists by heading to the polls and casting a ballot."
The 61st Mayor of Houston, Texas
|CLICK HERE TO SEE SPOTLIGHT|
A FEW OTHER SHARED THOUGHTS FROM LEADERS:
-- Houston’s Mayor Pro-Tem -- (Ed Gonzalez)
-- Houston’s At-Large Position 2 City Council Member -- (Andrew C. Burks, Jr.)
-- Houston’s District C City Council Member (Ellen Cohen)
-- Houston’s District D City Council Member (Wanda Adams)
-- Houston’s District J Council Member (Mike Laster)
-- Houston’s District K Council Member (Larry V. Green)
A LOOK AT KEY 2013 RACES IN FORT BEND COUNTY
Fort Bend County does not have any Mayoral contests on the ballot in the 2013 General Election. From what we are hearing, most people in the county are talking about the FBISD School Trustee races taking place on Saturday, May 11, 2013 in the General Election.
Fort Bend County uses an at-large system where voters from across the county will have two races to vote on in this election cycle. Voters can vote in both races listed below.
Here are the races:
FBISD POSITION #3: JIM RICE VERSUS VANESIA R. JOHNSON
The Fort Bend County School Board for Position #3 contest features incumbent Jim Rice, and his challenger Vanesia R. Johnson on Saturday, May 11, 2013. The early voting period for this race is: Monday, April 29th through Tuesday, May 7th.
JIM RICE IS ASKING FOR YOUR VOTE AND SUPPORT IN THE 2013 GENERAL ELECTION IN FORT BEND COUNTY
At this time, Jim Rice is the only candidate in this race asking for your vote. Click this link to see more information on Jim Rice on this blog.
-- CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT TRUSTEE JIM RICE
FBISD POSITION #7: DAVE ROSENTHAL VERSUS LENTON-GARY, AND OTHERS
The Fort Bend County School Board for Position #7 contest features incumbent FBISD Board Trustee Dave Rosenthal, who is being challenge by Cynthia Lenton-Gary, Rodrigo Carreon, and Kiciena Enaochwo for his seat on Saturday, May 11, 2013. The early voting period for this race is: Monday, April 29th through Tuesday, May 7th.
CYNTHIA LENTON-GARY IS SEEKING YOUR VOTE AND SUPPORT IN THE 2013 GENERAL ELECTION
At this time, Cynthia Lenton-Gary is the candidate who has valued our request to help us urge, inspire, encourage, and inform Fort Bend County citizens from all over the county about the importance of voting in the 2013 General Election to take place on Saturday, May 11, 2013. Aubrey R. Taylor Communications, the publisher of your Thought Matters Newspaper does not endorse political candidates; but for more information on Cynthia Lenton-Gary, please check her out inside this issue of Your Thought Matters Newspaper.
MISSOURI CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT A: MARSHALL VERSUS RODNEY L. GRIFFIN, AND FORD
The race for Missouri City Council for District A is going to be very interesting this year. Only 33 votes stood between incumbent Bobby Marshall, and Rodney Griffin, back in the last matchup between the pair, in the 2011 General Election. However, this year, Councilman Marshall is facing two African Americans on Saturday, May 11, 2013. The early voting period for this race is: Monday, April 29th through Tuesday, May 7th.
-- CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON RODNEY L. GRIFFIN
ASIAN OUTREACH IN FORT BEND AND HOUSTON MUST BE CONSIDERED A MAJOR PART OF EVERY CAMPAIGN STRATEGY
The Asian population in Houston and Fort Bend County has really grown by leaps-and-bounds over the years. However, you just do not hear a lot of talk publicly about political candidates trying to tap into this strong, loyal, and consistent voting base. However, a recently published study from Rice University that analyzed the transformation of the Houston area’s Asian community declaring Fort Bend County as the most diverse county in the nation could change this going forward. According to the study, Fort Bend County is now the single most ethnically diverse county in the entire nation. Based on numbers included in the 2010 Census, Fort Bend County was 19 percent Asian, 24 percent Latino, 21 percent Black, and 36 percent Anglo. Our entire region seems to be at the forefront of this growth, as the Houston region is widely considered the most ethnically and culturally diverse large metropolitan area in the United States. However, one of the problems with Houston is that, even as the area is growing more diverse, Houston is still highly segregated, and you have a bunch of folks who want it to stay that way.
RECENTLY RELEASED REPORT SHOWS HOUSTON IS STILL SOMEWHAT SEGREGATED IN MANY AREAS
Even though the Houston region has grown much more racially and ethnically diverse, there’s only been small declines in segregation in the Houston area according to a Joint report analyzing census data from 1990, 2000, and 2010 by the Kinder Institute for Urban Research & the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas. This particular report was authored by Michael O. Emerson, Jenifer Bratter, Junia Howell, P. Wilner Jeanty and Mike Cline.
A CLOSER LOOK AT A KEY SECTION OF THE REPORT
The growth of racial/ethnic diversity has occurred throughout the region. The City of Houston is more diverse in 2010 than it was in 1990. So too is every other city analyzed in this report (all of those in the region with 2010 populations greater than 50,000), and every county analyzed in this report. Yet, for the first time, as of 2010, the City of Houston is no longer the most diverse city in the region. Missouri City and Pearland are now the region’s most racially/ethnically diverse cities. As the region has grown in racial/ethnic diversity, what has occurred to levels of segregation between the racial/ethnic groups? The overall trend is a slight decline in segregation between groups over the 20-year period. There are exceptions, and these are explored in the report. The analysis also finds that (1) the City of Houston is substantially more segregated than other areas of the region, (2) African American-Latino segregation in the region has declined most rapidly, (3) African Americans are most segregated where they represent the largest absolute and relative numbers, (4) the smaller the percentage Anglo in an area, the greater their segregation from other groups, and (5) Asians live closest to Anglos, and continue to be significantly segregated from African Americans and Latinos. Harnessing the region’s burgeoning racial/ethnic diversity is a central challenge for the Houston region. Future research that investigates the underlying factors contributing to the increased diversity and continual segregation has the opportunity to illuminate how Houston can lead the nation in the transition to a fully inclusive, unified multiracial/multiethnic region.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE ASIAN COMMUNITY
-- Kinder Institute release Houston Area Asian Survey report
Asians (about 60 percent) are much more likely to be college-educated than Anglos (under 40 percent), according to Rice University’s Kinder Institute Houston Area Asian Survey, the first systematic look at the local Asian population based on three surveys conducted over a 16-year period. The findings were released resenty by Stephen Klineberg, Kinder Institute co-director and Rice sociologist, at an event hosted by the institute at the Asia Society Texas Center. The surveys, conducted in 1995, 2002 and 2011 in conjunction with the annual Kinder Institute Houston Area Survey, directed questions about demographics, life experiences and societal issues to all of Houston’s varied Asian communities. The surveys explored the similarities and differences among the Houston area’s four largest Asian communities: the Vietnamese, Indian/Pakistani, Chinese/Taiwanese and Filipino populations. “Houston has become the single most ethnically diverse large metropolitan region in the United States, and the three Houston Area Asian Surveys provide a rare look at this rapidly growing population over time,” Klineberg said. “Houston’s Asian communities will play increasingly important roles in all aspects of our city’s life as the 21st century unfolds.”
The rise of the second generation
The surveys found that growing proportions of Harris County’s Asian adults are now the U.S.-born children of Asian immigrants, and they are even better educated than their parents. In the 2011 survey, 31 percent of the Asian respondents were born in America, compared with only 10 percent in 1995, when the first Asian survey was conducted. U.S.-born Asians are more likely than the Asian immigrants to be college-educated (58 percent of first-generation Asians and 61 percent in the second generation). In sharp contrast, only 37 percent of Harris County’s U.S.-born Anglos have college degrees. The American-born Asians are earning higher incomes than their first-generation counterparts: 42 percent of the U.S.-born Asians aged 25 and older are making $75,000 or more per year, compared with 29 percent of first-generation immigrants. U.S.-born Asians (91 percent) are also more likely than first-generation immigrants (79 percent) to have close personal friends who are Anglo, and 84 percent of U.S.-born Asians are more likely than first-generation immigrants (60 percent) to have close friends who are African-American. Moreover, 61 percent said they had been in a romantic relationship with someone who was non-Asian, compared with just 32 percent of the Asian immigrants.
The demographic revolution, education and earnings
The 2010 U.S. Census counted 280,341 Asians in Harris County, accounting for 6.9 percent of a population numbering more than 4 million. The Vietnamese are the largest Asian community in Harris County, followed by the Indians, Chinese, Filipinos and Koreans. “The ‘model minority myth,’ which purports to explain the success Asians have achieved in the United States, overlooks the upper-middle-class backgrounds of so many Asian immigrants, as well as the many others who are far from prosperous,” Klineberg said. “The stereotype also diverts attention from continuing discrimination, and it lumps together people from 27 different countries, with different religious and cultural traditions, who came to America under contrasting circumstances, for divergent reasons and with vastly different resources,” he said. When asked what led them or their parents to come to this country, the Filipinos were most likely to say they immigrated for work opportunities, whereas the Chinese/ Taiwanese and the Indian/Pakistani populations were more apt to say they came for education. In contrast, most of the Vietnamese (56 percent) said they immigrated because of war and politics or in search of freedom. Despite levels of education that are much higher on average than those of Anglos, Asians generally have lower household incomes. Thirty-six percent of Anglos report household incomes of more than $75,000, compared with only 28 percent of all Asians. “Part of this difference may be due to being younger and having arrived as immigrants with educational credentials that may be difficult to transfer into a new society,” Klineberg said. “Part of it also may reflect the impact of continuing discrimination that makes it harder for Asians to reach the top positions in the American economy.”
The Filipinos, who are overwhelmingly Catholic (75 percent), are more likely than other Asians to be strongly religious. Seventy-one percent report attending a religious service in the past 30 days, and 88 percent say that religion is very important in their lives. The Indians/Pakistanis are generally either Hindu (37 percent) or Moslem (33 percent), and the Vietnamese either Catholic (35 percent) or Buddhist (45 percent). At 35 percent, the Chinese/Taiwanese population is more likely than any of the other Asian communities to have no religious attachments; 59 percent report that they had not attended a religious service during the preceding month. Overall, 40 percent of all Asians in the Houston area have a non-Christian religious affiliation, and 18 percent report no religious preference.
In 1995, the Vietnamese (60 percent) and Chinese/Taiwanese (60 percent) were predominantly Republican, whereas the Indians and Pakistanis were more likely to be Democrats (53 percent). In the years since then, support for the Republican Party has waned; only 40 percent of the Vietnamese and 37 percent of the Chinese/Taiwanese identified as Republican in the 2011 survey. “Anti-communism is less of an issue, while concerns about restrictive immigration policies, economic inequalities and perceived discrimination have increased,” Klineberg said. Asians share with Latinos and African-Americans strong support for government initiatives designed to strengthen the safety net and to moderate economic inequalities – issues on which Anglos differ sharply from the three other ethnic communities. This may help explain why, across the country, 60 percent of Anglos voted for the Republicans in the last election, whereas more than 70 percent of Asians and Latinos voted for the Democrats. “The ability of Republicans to broaden their appeal to Asians and Latinos and of Democrats to boost turnout among these rapidly growing communities will determine the political positioning of Harris County and the state of Texas in the years ahead,” Klineberg said. “Houston’s Asian-Americans are largely middle-class professionals who are moving rapidly into leadership positions,” Klineberg said. “Asians also are people of color, with friendship networks spanning all ethnic communities, and they are more committed than Anglos to strengthening government initiatives to expand opportunities and reduce the inequalities. They will be indispensable partners in the efforts to build a successful, inclusive, equitable and united multiethnic future for Houston and America in the years ahead.”
The Kinder Institute Houston Area Asian Survey
Since 1994, the Kinder Institute’s Houston Area Survey has been expanded to reach large representative samples from Harris County's Anglo, African-American and Hispanic populations. In 1995, 2002 and 2011, generous additional contributions from the wider Houston community made it possible to include equally large representative samples of the region's varied Asian communities. In each year of the expanded survey, a random sample of approximately 500 Asians from across Houston were contacted by phone, with a quarter of the interviews being conducted in Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin or Korean.
-- CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON MAYOR ALLEN OWEN