LOCAL ELECTIONS MATTER -- EARLY VOTING FOR THE TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2017 GENERAL ELECTIONS BEGINS ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017 AND ENDS ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017

A few of the people featured in this edition of Houston Business Connections Magazine© are Governor Greg Abbott, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Mayor Allen Owen, Dr. Letitia Plummer, Sheriff Troy E. Nehls, Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert, Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, Manny Berrera, Daniel "DC" Caldwell, Robert Glaser, Victoria Bryant, Eugene "Gene" Pack, David Jaroszewski, Pretta VanDible Stallworth, Monica Flores Richart, Elizabeth Santos, Gretchen Himsl, Carlos Perrett, Sergio Lira, Rodolfo (Rudy) Reyes, Jesse A. Rodriguez, Susan Shafer, Sue Deigaard, Kara DeRocha, Sean Cheben, Daniel Albert, Robert Lundin and Holly Flynn Vilaseca, Anne Katherine Sung, John Luman, Wanda Adams, Karla Brown and Gerry W. Monroe. Houston Business Connections Magazine is published by Aubrey R. Taylor Communications. Call (832)212-8735 for more information.

Monday, June 17, 2013

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE: Join Your Thought Matters Newspaper at 7:00 p.m. at The Museum District Bistro & Lounge located at 1112 Southmore Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77004 to recognize Stephanie Boutte-Phillips for her work with Veterans and the Homeless

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THIS ISSUE OF YOUR THOUGHT MATTERS NEWSPAPER

SEND YOUR HIGHLIGHT PHOTOS TO: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com


Houston Businesswoman Stephanie Boutte-Phillips, the founder of Houston's Training and Education Center, Inc.., is being recognized for her commitment to Houston-area veterans and others seeking to better themselves. 

"You Are Invited To Attend This Event"

COME JOIN US ON SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 2013: Houston Businesswoman Stephanie Boutte-Phillips, the founder of (H-TEC) Houston's Training and Education Center is being recognized for her (more than 17) years of service provided to veterans, the homeless, and those oftentimes overlooked (deemed under-served) in the Houston community. This event will be held at 7:00 p.m. at The Museum District Bistro & Lounge located at 1112 Southmore Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77004.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND THIS EVENT: Community Leaders, Corporate Leaders, Public Servants, Small Business Leaders, and friends of Stephanie Boutte-Phillips.

WHAT YOU SHOULD BRING: There will be a networking session, so bring plenty of business cards and a current biography and professional photo. You can also email these items to us at: yourthoughtmatter@gmail.com to have a blog post done to promote your attendance at this event.

WHAT YOU SHOULD WEAR: Attendees will have action photos taken during this event. So business attire is required. The photos taken will be published as part of the “2013 Leadership Series” inside the July 2013 issue of Your Thought Matters Newspaper at no charge to invited attendees.

COST TO ATTEND THIS EVENT: There is no cost to attend this event. However, some of the veterans and other students who attend Houston Training & Education Center are homeless and need assistance with supplies -- so we are asking attendees to donate a minimum of $20 dollars at the door.

Stephanie Boutte-Phillips Cares about Our Veterans, The Homeless & The Houston Community At-Large

By Aubrey R. Taylor
Publisher of Your Thought Matters Newspaper

Stephanie Boutte-Phillips, the founder of (HTEC) Houston’s Training & Education Centers knows a thing or two about what it means to fight battles. She’s been fighting to beat the odds all her life. You see, Boutte-Phillips was born and raised in a little town called Opelousas, Louisiana to a teenage mother and father who pretty much left the responsibility of raising her on the shoulders of her elderly grandmother and grandfather. “As a child growing up I can remember starving at the end of the month because of a lack of food. But not having enough was a normal thing, because most of the kids I went to school with either lived alone with their grandparents or with (their parents) who were also living with their grandparents,” Boutte-Phillips explains.

“But one of the things I remember the most about growing up with my grandparents was that they were honorable people. My grandfather, would say, “It doesn’t matter who much money you have, if your name and word doesn’t mean anything, then you’re nothing,” says Boutte-Phillips.

Stephanie Boutte-Phillips Is Opening Doors

"At Houston's Training and Education Center, Inc., we not only equip you with training that meets and exceeds the standards set by the business community, but we also teach you how to make your personal and professional lives work together...we teach you to maintain a balance.” -- Call us at: (281)219-3305 to get enrolled. 


SEND YOUR HIGHLIGHT PHOTOS TO: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com


In addition to his appointment as Chair, Dr. Rudley is leading the NCAA's Advisory Group that is assisting with academic challenges that impact Limited Resource Institutions (LRI). The formation of this advisory group represents a collaborative and proactive effort between HBCU institutions and the NCAA to serve as a conduit to communicate issues and concerns that may impact LRIs collectively within the Academic Performance Program (APP).


TSU President named Chair of the SWAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors

NEW ORLEANS – Texas Southern University President Dr. John M. Rudley has been named Chair of the Southwestern Athletic Conference Council of Presidents and Chancellors for 2013-2015.

As the new Chair of the Southwestern Athletic Conference Council (SWAC) of Presidents and Chancellors, President Rudley has shared his vision for the conference during his term. Branding of the SWAC and assuring that student athletes graduate on time head the top of his list of priorities.

"We must do a better job of telling the many stories of our successes," Rudley says. "Our student athletes have made significant accomplishments both on the fields of play and in the classrooms and have achieved in various arena's post graduation including: entrepreneurship, the music and entertainment industry, research, science and technology, politics, and from classrooms to boardrooms. Highlighting these accomplishments will serve to further the mission of each individual institution."

In addition to his appointment as Chair, Dr. Rudley is leading the NCAA's Advisory Group that is assisting with academic challenges that impact Limited Resource Institutions (LRI). The formation of this advisory group represents a collaborative and proactive effort between HBCU institutions and the NCAA to serve as a conduit to communicate issues and concerns that may impact LRIs collectively within the Academic Performance Program (APP).

Prior to joining Texas Southern University, Dr. Rudley served as interim chancellor of the University of Houston System and interim president of the University Of Houston. He also served six years at that institution as vice chancellor/vice president for administration and finance.

SEND YOUR HIGHLIGHT PHOTOS TO: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com

First place winner Jeremy Chapman echoed the sentiments of Lumpkins and Ceccanti. He began his pitch for GMEX.com, a company that matches industrial metal sellers with buyers, by comparing it to Autotrader.com, a company and concept that investors and the general public are already quite familiar with. He said the competition challenged him to create a crisp presentation, portraying a business model that “covered every spoke of the wheel.” His successful pitch netted GMEX.com a whopping $11,250 and in-kind gifts that included $5,000 in branding and marketing strategy from BrandExtract. “We’re really hoping to use the winnings for sales and marketing help,” he says. “We want to be the loudest person in the room, so everyone knows we’re here.”
Second place winner Craig Ceccanti ’08 pitched Tee’d Off, an entertainment-focused restaurant and bar concept in which patrons can play rounds of golf on some of the world’s most famous golf courses via simulated golf hubs. According to Ceccanti, whose pitch netted his business idea $1,750 in addition to in-kind gifts, “The most challenging thing about Owl Tank was preparing for questions from sophisticated investors. Learning to speak their language and understand what is truly important to them is incredibly useful in evolving our message for future investor presentations.”
Third prize winners, Paul Lumpkins ’14 and Cameron Hatch ’14, gave the pitch for Modern Hunting, a hunting service conceptualized in one of the students’ MBA classes. According to Lumpkins, the need to compress their pitch into six minutes, “forced us to really think about the essential product story that we were trying to tell and convey our idea in a more succinct manner.” The essential challenge, he says, “is figuring out how to quickly sell your idea to someone who might not have any background in your industry.”

JGSEO’s Rousing Second Annual Owl Tank Competition Builds Momentum

Recently, the Jones Graduate School Entrepreneur Organization (JGSEO) at Rice University held its second annual Owl Tank Competition. Inspired by the popular television show Shark Tank, Owl Tank offers competitors the valuable opportunity to pitch their business plans to a panel of successful Houston-area business leaders and venture capitalists who serve as judges.

This year, 11 teams, each with a “small idea that doesn’t require a patent or millions of dollars in funding,” competed for the top spots by distilling their idea into a six-minute pitch compelling enough to gain the judges’ interest and enthusiasm. After the pitch, the judges provided valuable feedback, often volleying pointed questions to team members about the viability, sustainability and originality of their plan.

The competition began rousingly, when Michael Tatz ’14, team member for Patriot Family Housing, began calling cadence and jogging military-style across the expanse of Anderson Family Commons. The following teams kept up the energy of the competition, which lasted nearly two hours.

Owl Tank’s Future

“I received a great deal of feedback on the quality of the presentations and pitches, as well as involvement of judges in terms of tougher questions,” says JGSEO President Gene Brieck ’10, when describing the success of this year’s event. “More teams applied, more teams presented, and we more than doubled the prize money in total and gained more sponsors in general.”

The JGSEO hopes to keep the momentum going for next year’s Owl Tank, slated for spring 2014

— M. Yvonne Taylor


SEND YOUR HIGHLIGHT PHOTOS TO: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com

Board of Education Award recipient Sara Jamison, right, gets a hug from Booker T. Washington magnet coordinator Kathleen Moreland, left, after commencement.
2012-2013 Annual Board of Education Student Awards

Each year the Board of Education recognizes distinguished seniors from HISD high schools in recognition of their total accomplishments exemplified by their character, academic achievement, leadership, and service. Selection is made by a school committee appointed by the principal and the award is presented by the board trustee during commencement exercises. An outstanding young man and young woman are selected as well as up to five honorable mention students from each high school. Click this link to see who this year’s recipients are.


SEND YOUR ANNOUNCEMENTS TO: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE FROM AROUND THE STATE


Joanie Haley, Alison Meador, Melissa Pardue, and Brenda Swinney have been appointed to OneStar Foundation

AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry has appointed four members to the OneStar Foundation. The foundation furthers volunteerism and community service in Texas.

Joanie Haley of Houston is executive director of the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation. She is a member of Women in Philanthropy and the Neuhaus Education Center Advisory Board, membership committee chair of the University of Texas College of Education Advisory Council, and a volunteer with the Houston American Cancer Society. She is also a past board member of the Texas Business and Education Coalition and Texas Association of Partners in Education. Haley received a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She is reappointed for a term to expire March 15, 2016.

Alison Meador of Austin is a private special events coordinator and fundraiser. She is a member of the Texas Conference for Women Advisory Board and Helping Hand Home for Children. She is also a past board member of Hospice Austin, the Elizabeth Ann Seton Board and the Capital of Texas Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, and past president of the Good Shepherd Episcopal School Board of Trustees. Meador received a bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama. She is appointed for a term to expire March 15, 2014.

Melissa Pardue of Austin is a part-time private public policy consultant, former deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and former associate director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. She is a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta Alumnae Group of Austin, and a past member of the National Association of Christians in Social Work and National Council on Family Relations. Pardue received a bachelor's degree from the University of Oklahoma and a master's degree in social work and public policy from Columbia University. She is reappointed for a term to expire March 15, 2016.

Brenda Swinney of Paige is owner and trustee of the Son Dau Trust in Bastrop County. She is a member of and volunteer for Texas Alliance for Life, and a past member of Altrusa International Inc. She is appointed for a term to expire March 15, 2016.



Brigadier General William "Len" Smith has been named Assistant Adjutant General for Army

AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry has named Brigadier General William "Len" Smith of Austin as the Assistant Adjutant General for Army effective June 16, 2013, for a term to expire at the pleasure of the governor.

Smith is director of joint staff and commander of domestic operation for the Texas Military Forces. He is commander of the Joint Counterdrug Task Force and the Homeland Response Force, a member of the United States and Texas National Guard associations and the United States and Lone Star Chapter of the Armor Association, and a distinguished knight of the Order of Saint George. He previously served in the 36th Infantry Division G3 and as deputy commander of Kosovo Forces 7, as chief of staff of the Texas Army National Guard, and as deputy commanding general-maneuver of the 36th Infantry Division and the United States Division in Iraq. He has received a Bronze Star Medal, Legion of Merit award, Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo and Iraq Campaign medals, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Army and Overseas Service ribbons, the NATO Medal, Adjutant General's Individual Achievement Award, and the Texas Faithful Services Award.

Smith received a bachelor's degree from Southwest Texas State University, now Texas State University, a Master of Business Administration from Touro University, and a master's degree in strategic studies from the United States Army War College.


Steven J. Austin, Kirby Bunel Jr., Tim O'Hare, Louis Palermo, and Lewis White have been appointed to Texas Board of Dental Examiners

AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry has appointed five members to the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners for terms to expire Feb. 1, 2019. The board oversees licensing and regulation of dental care providers in Texas, and enforces Texas laws regulating the practice of dentistry.

Steven J. Austin of Amarillo is a dentist in private practice and past adjunct faculty member at the Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry. He is a member of the American and Texas Dental associations, Panhandle District Dental Society and Western Regional Examination Board, and a member and past president of the Panhandle Academy of General Dentistry. Austin received a bachelor's degree from West Texas State University, a master's degree in theology from the Dallas Theological Institute, and a Doctor of Dental Surgery from the Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry. He is reappointed to the board.

Kirby Bunel Jr. of Texarkana is president of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons of Northeast Texas. He is a member of the American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and American Dental Society of Anesthesia, and a diplomat of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. He is also a member and past president of the Texas Dental Association and Texas Dental Society of Anesthesia, and a board member and past president of the Texas Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. He is a volunteer dentist for Texas Mission of Mercy in Texarkana and Atlanta, and a member of the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce. Bunel received a bachelor's degree from Baylor University and a Doctor of Dental Surgery from the Baylor College of Dentistry, and completed his oral and maxillofacial surgery residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Tim O'Hare of Farmers Branch is an attorney in private practice and owner of O'Hare Real Estate. He is former mayor and former city councilman for the City of Farmers Branch. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, Dallas Bar Association and Alliance Defense Fund Honor Corps, and president of the Christian Legal Society of Dallas. He is also a member of the Farmers Branch Chamber of Commerce, a founding board member of Reclaiming Texas for Christ, and past president of the Rotary Club of Farmers Branch. O'Hare received a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas and a law degree from the Southern Methodist University School of Law.

Lois Palermo of League City is a dental hygienist at Castille and Castille PC. She is chair of the Dental Hygiene Advisory Board, an examiner for the Western Regional Examination Board, board member and past president of the Texas Dental Hygienists Association, and a member and past board member of the Bay Area Dental Hygienists Society. She is also a past board member of the Space City Aquatic Team and a volunteer for the Bay Wind Village Convalescent Center. Palermo received an associate degree in dental hygiene from Del Mar College and a bachelor's degree from the University of Houston.

Lewis White of Humble is an attorney and corporate counsel for Innovative Paradigm Solutions. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, past president of the Fort Bend and Ector County Texas Young Lawyers associations, and a past member of Safer Dallas Better Dallas. White received a bachelor's degree from McMurry University and a law degree from the Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law. He is reappointed to the board.


Henry Borbolla III, Amanda Davis, Valerie Ertz, Tom Fordyce, Jess Laird, David Leonard, Jim Neale, Amir Rupani, Ana Laura Saucedo, Dudley Skyrme, and C. Dwayne Somerville have been appointed to Trinity River Authority Board of Directors

AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry has appointed eleven members to the Trinity River Authority Board of Directors. The authority oversees development and conservation of surface water resources for the Trinity River Basin.

Henry Borbolla III of Fort Worth is vice president of BB&T. He is a board member of the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau, Community Hospice of Texas, Downtown Fort Worth Design Review Board, University of North Texas Health Science Center Foundation, Tarrant County Housing Partnership Inc., Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation and Fort Worth Casa Mañana Theatre. He is also a member of the Fort Worth Rotary Club and a committee member of Catholic Charities Fort Worth. Borbolla received a bachelor's degree from Texas Christian University. He is reappointed to the board for a term to expire March 15, 2019.

Amanda Davis of Buffalo is a retired school administrator in the Buffalo Independent School District. She is a member of the Texas Association of School Administrators, Texas Association of Secondary School Principals, Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association, and Texas Association of Mediators. She is also a member of the State Bar of Texas Alternative Dispute Resolution Section, Texas Mediation Trainers Roundtable and Texas Farm Bureau. Davis received a bachelor's degree from Sam Houston State University and a master's degree in educational leadership and conflict resolution from Abilene Christian University, and completed her superintendent certification from the University of Texas at Tyler. She is appointed for a term to expire March 15, 2017.

Valerie Ertz of Dallas is owner and president of VEE Services. She is a member of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Society of St. Vincent DePaul, Military Order of St. John's, Texas Women's Initiative and the Southern Methodist University Alumni Association. She is also a past member of the Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regents. Ertz received a bachelor's degree from Southern Methodist University and a master's degree in management from Troy State University. She is appointed for a term to expire March 15, 2015.

Tom Fordyce of Huntsville is a retired director of the Texas Criminal Justice Agribusiness Department. He is vice president of the Lone Survivor Foundation and a board member of the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the Texas Assistive and Rehabilitative Services Council, Kick Start for Kids and Huntsville Veterans' Affairs Advisory Board. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps and is a Vietnam War veteran. Fordyce received a bachelor's degree from Sam Houston State University. He is reappointed to the board for a term to expire March 15, 2019.

Jess Laird of Athens is president and CEO of First State Bank in Athens. He is a member of the Independent Bankers Association of Texas and Texas Bankers Association, and a board member of the Athens Economic Development Corporation and Trinity Valley Community College Foundation Board. He is also a member and past president of the Athens Rotary Club, a past board member of the of the Region VII Education Service Center, Athens Chamber of Commerce and East Texas Medical Center Board of Managers, and past chairman and past board member of the Cain Center. Laird received a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Tyler, and is a graduate of the Southern Methodist University Graduate School of Banking. He is reappointed to the board for a term to expire March 15, 2019.

David Leonard of Liberty is co-owner of Liberty Dayton Chrysler. He is a member of the Liberty and Dayton chambers of Commerce, a director of the Liberty Knights of Columbus, and a director and past president of the Liberty Lions Club. He is also president of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Parish Council and treasurer of the Magnolia Ridge Country Club. Leonard attended Lee College. He is reappointed to the board for a term to expire March 15, 2019.

Jim Neale of Dallas is president of Quorum Energy Co. He is a member of the North Texas Commercial Real Estate Association, a board member of the Dallas Police Athletic League, and a past member of the Dallas Blue Foundation Executive Committee. Neale received a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He is reappointed to the board for a term to expire March 15, 2019.

Amir Rupani of Dallas is president and CEO of Texas Prince Properties Inc. He is a board member of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth and the Dallas Foundation, an executive committee member of the Pakistan Society of North Texas, and past chairman and current executive committee member of the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce. Rupani attended City College of Karachi in Karachi, Pakistan. He is reappointed to the board for a term to expire March 15, 2019.

Ana Laura Saucedo of Dallas is a retired real estate investor. She is past president of the Pike Park Preservation League, and a past member of the Dallas Mexican American Historical League and Socorro Independent School District Board of Trustees. Saucedo attended Eastfield Community College. She is reappointed to the board for a term to expire March 15, 2019.

Dudley Skyrme of Palestine is a retired sales and construction manager for United Bilt Homes LLC. He is a volunteer for the Palestine Community Food Pantry. He served in the U.S. Navy. Skyrme received a bachelor's degree from the University of Central Arkansas. He is appointed for a term to expire March 15, 2019.

C. Dwayne Somerville of Mexia is president and owner of Natural Alternatives Inc., Henderson RV Sales, Palestine RV Center, Eagle Ford RV Park, South Texas Family Housing and Wash Mart Laundry. He is a member of the Coin Laundry Association, assistant scoutmaster for the Mexia Boy Scouts of America, and a youth group leader at First Baptist Church of Mexia. Somerville attended Kilgore College. He is appointed for a term to expire March 15, 2019.


William "Bill" Brod Jr., Conrith W. Davis, Pat Mizell, and Linda Russell have been appointed to Judicial Compensation Commission

AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry has appointed four members to the Judicial Compensation Commission. The commission was created by the Texas Legislature in 2007 to recommend the salaries of state judges.

William "Bill" Brod Jr. of Pasadena is a certified public accountant (CPA) and commercial director of AES Corp. He is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, Texas and Houston societies of CPAs and Pasadena Chamber of Commerce. He is also a past board member of the Private Sector Prison Industries Oversight Authority, and a deacon and finance and building committee member of First Baptist Church of Pasadena. Brod received a bachelor's degree from Tarleton State University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston. His term expires Feb. 1, 2017.

Conrith W. Davis of Sugar Land is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He is president of the SW59 Sunrise Rotary Club, and a member of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce, City of Sugar Land Bond Committee and Sugar Land City Manager's Multicultural Advisory Team. He is a graduate of Leadership Sugar Land, a volunteer for Second Mile Food Bank and SW59 Rotary Imagination Library Program, and a past board member of the Fort Bend Education Foundation. He is also a past board member of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and a past member of the Texas Corrections Association and Association of Paroling Authorities International. Davis received a bachelor's degree from Fayetteville State University, a Master of Public Administration from Pepperdine University, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix at Houston. He is appointed for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2017.

Pat Mizell of Houston is an attorney and partner at Vinson and Elkins LLP, and a former judge of the 129th Judicial District Court in Harris County. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, Houston Bar Association and American Board of Trial Advocates, and a board member and past chairman of the San Jose Clinic. Mizell received a bachelor's degree from Southern Methodist University and a law degree from the University of Houston Law Center. He is reappointed to the commission for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2019.

Linda Russell of League City is CEO of the Woman's Hospital of Texas. She is member of the American and Texas Hospital associations, a board member of the Houston March of Dimes, and a board and executive committee member of the Gulf Coast Blood Bank. Russell received a bachelor's degree and master's degree in nursing from Northwestern State University. She is reappointed to the commission for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2019.

SEND YOUR ANNOUNCEMENTS TO: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE FROM AROUND THE NATION

The Corporation for National and Community Service has announced the appointment of MICHAEL SMITH as director of its Social Innovation Fund. Smith is senior vice president for social innovation at the Case Foundation, where he recently led the effort to launch the Startup America Partnership. Before joining the Case Foundation, Smith worked for the Beaumont Foundation of America, PowerUP: Bridging the Digital Divide, the Family Center Boys and Girls Club, and the National Crime Prevention Council, and served on the staff of Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA).

The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation has announced the appointment of LAURA MITCHELL as executive director. Mitchell, former chief financial and operations officer for Make-A-Wish Arizona, began her career in accounting and finance and later worked as an audit and business advisory manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers. She will continue her association with Make-A-Wish as a member of its finance committee.

The John R. Oishei Foundation has announced the appointment of KAREN LEE SPAULDING as vice president of philanthropic support, effective October 1. Spaulding, who has worked at the Albright Knox Art Gallery for over thirty years, most recently as interim director, began her career at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in curatorial and public affairs work.

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation has announced the appointment of SHAUN ADAMEC as director of strategic communications. Adamec, formerly vice president of communications at City Year, earlier served as press secretary for Maryland governor Martin O'Malley and director of communications and campaign outreach for Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, currently mayor of Baltimore, when she was city council president.

The Arcus Foundation has announced the appointment of JANET MOCK to its board. Mock, a writer and activist in the LGBTQ arena, worked as a staff editor for People.com and helped develop programming for transgender youth at the Hetrick-Martin Institute. She founded the social media project #GirlsLikeUs and travels the country speaking about intersectional gender justice.

The California Endowment has announced the appointments of STEPHEN BENNETT, HECTOR FLORES, SHAWN A. GINWRIGHT, and WINSTON F. WONG to its board. Bennett, a lifelong champion for the civil rights of people with disabilities, is president and CEO of United Cerebral Palsy. Flores co-founded and serves as medical director of the Family Care Specialists Medical Group in East Los Angeles and is chair of White Memorial Medical Center's department of family medicine as well as co-director of its family medicine residency program. Ginwright is director of community thriving at the Institute for Sustainable Economic, Educational and Environmental Design. Wong is director of Kaiser Permanente's Disparities Improvement and Quality initiatives and medical director of Kaiser's Community Benefit Program.

The Foundation for the National Archives has announced the appointment of PATRICK MADDEN as executive director, effective June 25. Madden, currently executive director of the United Nations Association of the United States of America, has more than fifteen years of nonprofit leadership experience at a variety of organizations, including Sister Cities International, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, and the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. He currently teaches graduate seminars on fundraising at George Mason University.

The Washington Area Women's Foundation has announced the appointment of CAROLYN BERKOWITZ as board chair, effective July 1. Berkowitz, who has been on the foundation's board for seven years and previously served as vice chair, is the president of the Capital One Foundation and managing vice president of community affairs at Capital One. The foundation also announced the election of ROSIE ALLEN-HERRING, managing director of Fannie Mae's Office of Community Investment and Engagement, to its board.

The Women's Impact Fund has announced a new slate of directors for 2013-2014. Outgoing and incoming chairs are JEANETTE SIMS of the University of North Carolina, Charlotte and CAROLYN MEADE of Moore & Van Allen. Officers include JANE RATTEREE of Robinson Bradshaw, AMY OWEN of the Coniston Group, DEBBIE PROFFITT (an independent CPA), MARGARET SWITZER of the Monaghan Group, MARY GALLIVAN of the Foundation for the Carolinas, BARBARA REIN of Smart Start, DEBORAH MAJEWSKI of Bank of America, JOAN LORDEN of UNC-Charlotte, ANNA MCLELLAND of Knoll, Inc., and PAMELA HARRIS of the ViSight Association. The fund also welcomed eight community volunteers to its board: KATHY MANSFIELD, AMY LOVETT, SONJA NICHOLS, JILL DINWIDDIE, LEIGH GOODWYN, PAM JOHNSON, LISA MILLER, and CHARLENE SLAUGHTER.

In other news, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced the appointment of SUSAN SELLERS as head of its design department, while theSmithsonian Institution has named CAROLINE BAUMANN as director of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design museum. Sellers, founding creative director of design consultancy 2x4 in New York City and a senior critic in graphic design at the Yale School of Art, will join the Met on June 24. Baumann, who has worked at the Cooper-Hewitt since 2001, previously led development efforts for the Museum of Modern Art's Yoshio Taniguchi building project and the Calhoun School, and was an art book editor at George Braziller Publishers.


SEND YOUR ANNOUNCEMENTS TO: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com

PEOPLE YOU SHOULD CONSIDER GETTING TO KNOW 


1). Annise D. Parker -- Connect with her campaign!
2). Ben Hall -- Connect with his campaign!
3). C.O. "Brad" Bradford -- Connect with his campaign!
4). Helena Brown -- Connect with her campaign!
5). Ellen Cohen -- Connect with her campaign!
6). Ed Gonzalez -- Connect with his campaign!
7). Brenda Stardig -- Connect with her campaign!
8). Assata Richards -- Connect with her campaign!
9). Ben Mendez -- Connect with his campaign!
10). Jack Christie -- Connect with his campaign!
11). Amy Peck -- Connect with her campaign!
12). Dave Martin -- Connect with his campaign!
13). Melissa Noriega -- Term-Limited -- Feature Race!
14). James G. Rodriguez -- Term-Limited --Feature Race!
15). Andrew C. Burks Jr. -- Connect with his campaign!
16). Jerry Davis -- Connect with his campaign!
17). Al Hoang -- Connect with his campaign!
18). Larry V. Green -- Connect with his campaign!
19). Stephen C. Costello -- Connect with his campaign!
20). Ronald C. Green -- Connect with his campaign!
21). Mike Laster -- Connect with his campaign!
22). Don Sumners -- Is Not Running for City Controller!
23). Travis McGee -- Click here to connect!
24). Wanda Adams -- Term-Limited -- Feature Race!
25). David Robinson -- Connect with his campaign!
26). Roy Morales -- Connect with his campaign!
27). Bill Frazer -- Connect with his campaign!
28). Georgia D. Provost -- Connect with her campaign!
29). Michael Kubosh -- Connect with his campaign!
30). Ronald Hale -- Connect with his campaign!
31). Laticia Ablaza -- Connect with her campaign!
32). Mike Knox -- Connect with his campaign!
33). Eric Dick -- Connect with his campaign!
34). Rogene Gee Calvert -- Connect with her campaign!
35). Roland Chavez  -- Connect with his campaign!
36). Robert Gallegos -- Connect with his campaign!
37). Jenifer Rene Pool -- Connect with her campaign!
38). Dwight Boykins -- Connect with his campaign!
39). Keith Caldwell -- Connect with his campaign!
40). Chris Carmona -- Connect with his campaign!
41). Graci Garces -- Connect with her campaign!
42). Oliver Pennington -- Connect with his campaign!
43). Brian Taef -- Connect with his campaign!
44). Trebor Gordon -- Connect with his campaign!


 





 MAYOR ANNISE D. PARKER

POSSIBLE CANDIDATES IN THE RACE FOR MAYOR: Here are a few of the names you could see on the 2013 Mayoral Election ballot in the race for mayor of Houston: Annise ParkerBen HallDon Cook, and Eric Dick. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.




CONTROLLER RONALD C. GREEN

POSSIBLE CANDIDATES IN THE RACE FOR CONTROLLER: Here are a few of the names you could see on the 2013 Mayoral Election ballot in the race for City Controller: Ronald C. Green, and Bill Frazer. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.


POSSIBLE CANDIDATES IN THE RACE FOR DISTRICT A: Here are a few of the names you could see on the 2013 Mayoral Election ballot in the race for Houston City Council District A: Helena BrownBrenda StardigAmy PeckRonald Hale, and Mike Knox. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.


CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON AMY PECK


HOUSTON CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT B
POSSIBLE CANDIDATES IN THE RACE FOR DISTRICT B: At this time we have not heard of anyone challenging Houston City Council (District B) Member Jerry Davis in the 2013 Mayoral Election. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.


HOUSTON CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT C

SEE IF YOU LIVE IN HOUSTON CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT C
POSSIBLE CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR DISTRICT C: At this time we have not heard of anyone challenging Houston City Council (District C) Member Ellen Cohen in the 2013 Mayoral Election. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.
 


HOUSTON CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT D
Houston City Council Member Wanda Adams is currently serving her third and final term as the Houston City Council District D representative. Council Member Wanda Adams cannot run for re-election due to term limits. The District D Houston City Council seat will be one of the open seats in the Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Mayoral Election.
POSSIBLE CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR DISTRICT D: Here are a few of the names you could see on the 2013 Mayoral Election ballot in the race for Houston City Council District A: Georgia ProvostTravis McGeeDwight BoykinsAssata-Nicole Richards, and Keith Caldwell. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.

HOUSTON CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT E
POSSIBLE CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR DISTRICT E: At this time we have not heard of anyone challenging Houston City Council (District E) Member Dave Martin in the 2013 Mayoral Election. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.


HOUSTON CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT F
POSSIBLE CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR DISTRICT F: At this time we have not heard of anyone challenging Houston City Council (District F) Member Al Hoang in the 2013 Mayoral Election. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.


HOUSTON CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT G
POSSIBLE CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR DISTRICT G: Here are a few of the names you could see on the 2013 Mayoral Election ballot in the race for Houston City Council (District G) Council Member: Oliver Pennington and Brian Taef. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.


HOUSTON CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT H
POSSIBLE CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR DISTRICT H: At this time we have not heard of anyone challenging Houston City Council (District H) Member Ed Gonzalez in the 2013 Mayoral Election. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.


HOUSTON CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT I
Houston City Council Member James G. Rodriguez is currently serving his third and final term as the Houston City Council District I representative. The District I Houston City Council seat will be one of the open seats in the Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Mayoral Election.
POSSIBLE CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR DISTRICT I: Here are a few of the names you could see on the 2013 Mayoral Election ballot in the race for Houston City Council District I: Graci GarcesLeticia Gutierrez AblazaRobert Gallegos, and Ben Mendez. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.


HOUSTON CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT J
Houston City Council Member Mike Laster is currently serving his first term as the Houston City Council District J representative. Council Member Laster will be running for re-election in the Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Mayoral Election in Houston.
POSSIBLE CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR DISTRICT J: At this time we have not heard of anyone challenging Houston City Council (District J) Member Mike Laster in the 2013 Mayoral Election. . If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.


HOUSTON CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT K
Houston City Council Member Larry Green is currently serving his first term as the Houston City Council District K representative. Council Member Green will be running for re-election in the Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Mayoral Election in Houston.
POSSIBLE CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR DISTRICT K: At this time we have not heard of anyone challenging Houston City Council (District K) Member Larry V. Green in the 2013 Mayoral Election. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.


CITY COUNCIL AT-LARGE POSITION 1
Council Member Stephen Costello is currently serving his second term as the Houston City Council At-Large Position 1 representative. Council Member Costello will be seeking to voter approval to serve his third and final term in the Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Mayoral Election.
POSSIBLE CANDIDATES FOR AT-LARGE POSITION 1: At this time we have not heard of anyone challenging Houston City Council (At-Large Position 1) Stephen Costello in the 2013 Mayoral Election. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.


CITY COUNCIL AT-LARGE POSITION 2
Houston City Council Member Andrew C. Burks, Jr. is currently serving his first term as the Houston City Council At-Large Position 2 representative. Council Member Burks will be seeking voter approval to serve a second term in the Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Mayoral Election.
POSSIBLE CANDIDATES FOR AT-LARGE POSITION 2: Here are a few of the names you could see on the 2013 Mayoral Election ballot in the race for Houston City Council (At-Large Position 2) Council Member: Andrew C. Burks, Jr.Trebor Gordon and David Robinson. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.


CITY COUNCIL AT-LARGE POSITION 3
Houston City Council Member Melisa Noriega is currently serving her third and final term as the Houston City Council At-Large Position 3 representative. The Houston City Council At-Large Position 3 seat will be one of the open seats in the Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Mayoral Election.
POSSIBLE CANDIDATES FOR AT-LARGE POSITION 3: Here are a few of the names you could see on the 2013 Mayoral Election ballot in the race for Houston City Council (At-Large Position 3) Council Member: Chris CarmonaMichael KuboshRoy MoralesRoland ChavezRogene Gee Calvert, and Jenifer Rene Pool. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.


CITY COUNCIL AT-LARGE POSITION 4
Houston City Council Member C.O. “Brad” Bradford is currently serving his second term as the Houston City Council At- Large Position 4 representative. Council Member Bradford will be seeking voter approval to serve his third and final term in the Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Mayoral Election.
POSSIBLE CANDIDATES FOR AT-LARGE POSITION 4: At this time we have not heard of anyone challenging Houston City Council (At- Large Position 4) C.O. “Brad” Bradford in the 2013 Mayoral Election. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.


CITY COUNCIL AT-LARGE POSITION 5
Houston City Council Member Jack Christie is currently serving his first term as the Houston City Council At-Large Position 5 representative. Council Member Jack Christie will be running for re-election in the Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Mayoral Election.
POSSIBLE CANDIDATES FOR AT-LARGE POSITION 5: At this time we have not heard of anyone challenging Houston City Council (At- Large Position 5) Jack Christie in the 2013 Mayoral Election. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.





MAYOR ANNISE PARKER - CONTRIBUTOR

Mayor Annise Parker has spent many years in service to the people of Houston, with six years as a City Council member and six years as City Controller. She is the first person in Houston's history to hold the offices of council member, controller and mayor. This is her second term as mayor; and she is seeking re-election to a third in the 2013 Mayoral Election to be held on Tuesday, November 5, 2013 in the City of Houston.


Mayor Annise Parker and her life partner Kathy Hubbard have been together for more than 20 years and are advocates for adoption, with two adopted daughters and a son.

Mayor Annise Parker Shares A Few Thoughts About How She Goes About Selecting The Best Candidate

AUBREY R. TAYLOR: “As a voter, how do you go about selecting the person who is the best candidate in any given election? And what are a few of the characteristics you look for in a leader?”

MAYOR ANNISE PARKER: “It is wrong to run for office just to be in politics; elected officeholders should want to work toward change that will improve the lives of those they represent. I have often said that my job is the best job available because I have the opportunity everyday to truly impact our great city and its residents for the better. When I am personally deciding which candidates to support in an election, obviously, I look for someone who shares my views and positions on the issues. I also look for someone who is passionate, exhibits leadership qualities and is motivated to serve.

Leadership is not simply taking the reigns and getting the job done. A leader also has to be willing to listen to different points of view, flexible enough to change course when the original path proves unworkable or will create an undesirable outcome. And a leader must be willing to compromise. They need to be genuinely concerned about their constituents, and about improving the area they will represent. Ultimately, however, a leader needs to be able to generate consensus through a cooperative approach and stand strong even when the final decision may not be politically popular.”


Annise Parker
The 61st Mayor of Houston, Texas



MAYOR PRO-TEM BRADFORD - CONTRIBUTOR
Vice Mayor Pro-Tem C.O. "Brad" Bradford 

Vice Mayor Pro-Tem C.O. Bradford at a “Community Partnership Breakfast” at the South Union Church of Christ. Bradford is currently serving his second term in office. He will be on the Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Mayoral Election ballot seeking re-election to his third and final term as the At-Large Position #4 Council Member for the City of Houston. 


Vice Mayor Pro-Tem Bradford Shares a Few Thoughts on How He Goes About Identifying The Best Candidate
AUBREY R. TAYLOR: “As a voter, how do you go about selecting the person who is the best candidate in any given election?”

VICE MAYOR PRO-TEM BRADFORD: “Who is the best candidate will surely, and properly so, vary from voter to voter. As a voter, I am concerned with someone who brings experience, training and education to the arena. Many of the issues facing our city, state and nation today are complex and multifaceted. The demand for services constantly increases and public resources seem to dwindle. Our population is more and more diverse with high, varied expectations. Therefore, it is my belief that managing the financial and human resources, along with capital assets entrusted to public officials today requires in-depth knowledge and skills.”

AUBREY R. TAYLOR: “What are a few of the characteristics you look for in a leader?”

VICE MAYOR PRO-TEM BRADFORD: “Leaders need to be able to inspire! Transforming a vision into a plan and subsequent implementation is no easy task. Leaders understand that reward is attached to performance and that anything worth having isn’t easy to get. Leaders demonstrate that it is nice to be important, but more important to be nice. And, at the end of the day, when it is all said and done, it is not going to matter how many degrees we have, what titles or what positions we’ve held. The question is going to be, ‘what have you done to help others?’ Leaders have a love for humanity and a passion to make a difference for the greater good of all.”

C.O. “Brad” Bradford
Vice Mayor Pro-Tem
Houston City Council, At Large Position 4



COUNCIL MEMBER BURKS - CONTRIBUTOR
Andrew C. Burks, Jr., is the Position 2 At-Large Houston City Council Member

Council Member Andrew C. Burks, Jr. Shares A Few Thoughts About How he Goes About Selecting The Best Candidate & What He Looks For In A Leader

AUBREY R. TAYLOR: “As a voter, how do you go about selecting the person who is the best candidate in any given election? And what are a few of the characteristics you look for in a leader?”

COUNCIL MEMBER BURKS: “Our leaders should share our goals and values. When I am personally deciding who to vote for, I look for the candidate who best understands my needs and the aspirations of the community. Strong leaders listen to the people they represent, understand their concerns and aspirations and form a plan to deliver a solution. Successful candidates should be able to empathize with their voters and proactively work to solve the problems brought to their attention. Our neighbors who are hands-on and involved in the community make the best leaders.

Leadership is about more than just making decisions and giving speeches – it is about listening. Selecting a candidate who takes time out of their schedule to visit with you or an organization you are a part of goes a long way. I look for candidates who can roll up their sleeves and accomplish their goals. This takes hard work, perseverance and a willingness to find common ground. On Election Day, the candidate who understands the needs of the community with a plan to improve the lives of all he or she represents earns my vote.”


Andrew C. Burks Jr.
Houston City Council At-Large Position 2




COUNCIL MEMBER COHEN - CONTRIBUTOR

Ellen Cohen is the District C Representative on Houston's City Council


Council Member Ellen Cohen Shares A Few Thoughts On How she Identifies the best Candidate

AUBREY R. TAYLOR: “As a voter, how do you go about selecting the person who is the best candidate in any given election? And what are a few of the characteristics you look for in a leader?”

COUNCIL MEMBER COHEN: “As both an elected official and a long-time voter, I have become familiar with both sides of the coin when it comes to choosing between political candidates. The question of who will represent you at the local, state, and federal level of government could not be more critical, so it is important to be well-informed about the candidates and the issues.

I believe all politics is local, so when selecting a representative, my first step is to research the issues the elected official will actually be voting on, and find out what each candidate’s views are on those specific issues. I am drawn to leaders that are passionate about these local issues and pragmatic about problem-solving. Grandstanding about challenges is no substitute for a solid plan of action, so the ability to think critically is also imperative to me.

As a Council Member and a former State Representative, I have found that another trait essential to good governance is the ability to work with those whose opinions differ from your own. Without the ability to build a consensus, a lawmaker will come to a stalemate in office.

Ultimately, I vote for candidates who share my viewpoint, are passionate about local issues, and are able to implement effective solutions for bettering their community.”


Ellen Cohen
Houston City Council District C


SEND YOUR CAMPAIGN PHOTOS TO: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com

Above: On the Campaign Trail with 2013 Candidate for Houston Mayor -- Ben Hall 

Above: On the Campaign Trail with 2013 Candidate for Houston Mayor -- Ben Hall 

Above: On the Campaign Trail with 2013 Candidate for Houston Mayor -- Ben Hall 

Above: On the Campaign Trail with 2013 Candidate for Houston Mayor -- Ben Hall 

Above: On the Campaign Trail with 2013 Candidate for Houston Mayor -- Ben Hall 

Above: On the Campaign Trail with 2013 Candidate for Houston Mayor -- Ben Hall 

HERE'S A LITTLE ABOUT BEN HALL

Born into a family of meager financial means, Benjamin Hall, III has experienced firsthand the struggle that accompanies difficult economic times. Ben also encountered challenges in the academic world, where teachers doubted his ability to rise above his humble beginnings and achieve higher education; however, he knew he had the potential to succeed and refused to compromise his goals. In 1975, Ben enrolled at the University of South Carolina, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1977, with honors. His thirst for knowledge and desire to help others led him to continue his education at Duke University; obtaining a Master of Divinity degree in 1979 and a Ph.D. in 1985. Others might have stopped at that point, but Ben saw a real opportunity to help underrepresented communities as an attorney. In 1986, Ben earned a law degree from Harvard Law School and began working at the Vinson & Elkins law firm in Houston, Texas. He went on to serve as the City Attorney for the City of Houston in Mayor Bob Lanier’s administration.

Through his legal practice, Ben has applied the principles of courage, tenacity and justice that he learned as a young man; speaking out on behalf of those who need a strong voice to champion their causes. In 2000, Ben founded the nationally recognized Hall Law Firm. Additionally, Ben has served the Houston community through his numerous pro bono efforts on behalf of groups, corporations and individuals in need of representation.

Ben is grateful for his professional successes, but also recognizes his personal blessings. He describes his family as his greatest treasure. Ben and Saundra, his wife of 31 years, have two sons. The entire Hall family remains committed to serving the Houston community.

Leadership with Vision

Houston is a great city – rich in diversity, talent and potential. Our collective future can be brighter than our past.

Houston needs a mayor who is more than a manager; it needs a world-class leader with vision. We also need a leader with the energetic ability to tackle broad issues and implement meaningful change. Rome was not built in a day, but it also was not built by tinkering with food carts and small matters. We have a choice to make in November between mere management and leadership with vision.

Houstonians believe in fair play for all. This is one of our great strengths. We also believe in the power of fresh ideas and forward-looking policies. We believe that government should not act as a barrier to success, but as a catalyst to achieve it. Government must be business-friendly, while still protecting our prized individual liberties. Through the application of new technologies, entrepreneurial governance, and innovative leadership, Houston can expand its position as a global business capital.

Ben Hall on Crime

Criminal conduct will not be tolerated in Houston! Criminals will be arrested and punished to the fullest extent of the law. For those offenders convicted of non-violent crimes, I will seek to have them give back to our community by mowing overgrown lots and cleaning illegally dumped trash from streets and waterways. Those non-violent criminals should actively pay their debt to society, rather than sit idly in jail, watching television at the additional expense of taxpayers.

Ben Hall on Education

Our future as a world-class city depends on a superb educational system and no one – especially not a mayor – can remain silent on this pressing issue. As mayor, I will use my office to set a tone of excellence in education and will work to achieve that goal through collaborative efforts with area school districts. We have the teachers, staff and civic leaders to turn around any real or perceived issues with educating the next generation of Houstonians. I believe city government has a responsibility to assist school districts in increasing the number of educational opportunities for students. As mayor, I will work with Houston’s school districts to help them create the best educational experience for our students, advancing pragmatic city/school district initiatives to integrate education with real world business experiences. This will be a top priority item for my administration.

Ben Hall on Transportation

Houston’s transportation issues can only be fully addressed through a combination of planning and transit options. Automotive travel is here to stay, but we must also promote shared transit ridership through expanded high-occupancy vehicle lanes, better bus access, smart rail options, and other transit innovations. Additionally, Houston’s city government must plan and work with TXDOT to coordinate travel patterns through and around the city. Better transportation practices and policies do more than reduce congestion on the highways; they also assist with air quality issues, making Houston safer and even more enjoyable.

Ben Hall on Downtown

Our downtown is a vibrant business district with an impressive array of world-class companies, restaurants, and hotels. I envision an active downtown where more people will want to live, work and play. At the same time, I hope to channel the energy of that bustling city center to attract a greater number of international conventions and increase the level of downtown tourism. My administration will actively encourage the development of a thriving downtown shopping and entertainment center by fostering innovative public-private partnerships. In that way, we will work to encourage the development of a larger retail business footprint downtown.

Ben Hall on Infrastructure/Road Repairs

Houston’s roads must be repaired and upgraded immediately! A Hall administration will implement the latest technologies available to allow citizens to self-report road problems and track the city’s response and repairs in real-time on your computers or cell phones. We will also explore new technologies to fortify roadway repairs and end the costly practice of repeatedly refilling the same potholes. Repairing city roads will be job-one-on-day-one of the Hall administration.

Ben Hall on Drainage

As a city that has always stood at the forefront of engineering and science, Houston has the capacity to develop a cutting-edge drainage system that can handle surface water. Flooding should not be a recurring problem in this world-class city. By challenging the current approach and employing innovative drainage solutions, we will dramatically improve the way we handle storm water and flooding in our city.

Ben Hall on Diversity

In Houston, we find people from every continent, ethnicity and belief system. We applaud our respective heritages and are all made better by the great span of our cultures and diversity. As Mayor, I will continue the proud tradition of showcasing the impressive intercultural acceptance that has made Houston strong.