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, July 29, 2013

Multi-Millionaire Businessman, Award Winning Author Edwin Haynes signs on as "Title Sponsor" of the "2013 Leadership Series"

THE TITLE SPONSOR OF OUR "2013 LEADERSHIP SERIES" -- Edwin Haynes our "TITLE SPONSOR" is pictured here with his wife Andrea. As a motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, award winning author, and "TITLE SPONSOR" of our "2013 Leadership Series" Edwin Haynes continues to dominate his industry as a multi-million dollar earner while empowering individuals worldwide to advance on both personal and professional levels. As a Trainer and International Business Consultant, he continues to make an indelible impression on those who he encounters daily. In an effort to satisfy an overwhelming demand for his knowledge and plan for success, Haynes has penned the first installment of a series of motivational publications entitled: "You Have Permission to Succeed". Edwin Haynes is also looking to coach and mentor 10 new individuals in his current business venture. If you are serious about the secrets of a millionaire; creating real wealth for yourself and your family; and would like to know how Mr. Haynes can help you achieve financial freedom click here to connect with this successful entrepreneur!

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THIS ISSUE OF YOUR THOUGHT MATTERS NEWSPAPER




Multi-Millionaire Businessman Edwin Haynes Signs on as "Title Sponsor" of the “2013 Leadership Series” 

The “2013 Leadership Series” is published as a series of special editions by Aubrey R. Taylor Communications, publisher of Your Thought Matters Newspaper. The purpose of this (Six-Part) series is to inspire individuals to actively participate in the process of electing leaders. The mission of this (Six-Part) series is to encourage individuals to pursue their personal and professional dreams and ambitions. And as a motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, award winning author, and "TITLE SPONSOR" of our "2013 Leadership Series" Edwin Haynes is one of the people helping to make it possible for us to inspire, encourage, inform and empower the readers of Your Thought Matters Newspaper. Aubrey R. Taylor Communications, the publisher of Your Thought Matters Newspaper would like to publicly thank Edwin Haynes and all our other supporters for finding value in this endeavor!

WHO IS EDWIN HAYNES?

A successful entrepreneur, international business consultant, motivational speaker, best selling author, and multi-millionaire, Edwin Haynes, has experienced the highs and lows of success. After a successful 13 year career as an Entertainment Executive, Haynes experienced a devastating setback that crippled him personally, professionally and financially. He hit rock bottom, Edwin fell from millionaire status into foreclosure, bankruptcy and repossession. When everything seemed to be crashing down around him including emotional and physical health, ironically, at his worst moment, Haynes would not let his circumstances consume him. He knew that he innately possessed the mindset of a millionaire and tools that would lead him to his true purpose.

Although Edwin’s journey on the road to success was paved with obstacles that would normally sideline the average person, Haynes prepared for change and climbed his way back up the ladder by utilizing the “nine mile markers to success” outlined in his current book, You Have Permission to Succeed.”

Blessed with the gift of captivating audiences with his seemingly effortless down to earth and honest style, Edwin Haynes positively changes the lives of thousands daily through powerful messages of faith, encouragement and empowerment. Today, he continues to dominate his industry while empowering individuals worldwide to advance on both personal and professional levels.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Remarks by President Barack Obama on Trayvon Martin

A 2013 LEADERSHIP SERIES THOUGHT FROM AUBREY: "You and I both have personal experiences that we draw upon and use to help us make important decisions. It doesn't matter whether we're sitting on a jury; trying to determine who to vote for in an election; or deciding what neighborhood we're going to raise our children in. So to this end, not being able to relate to someone because you haven't experienced the same things in life as they have is understandable. However, denying the fact that you just can't relate to a person isn't. Once we can admit that; we can then enter into a broader discussion about race relations in our nation. I applaud President Barack Obama for taking a leadership role in opening up the discuss on this very important matter that has been swept under the rug for far too long. And I furthermore thank you in advance for accepting my call for us to become more actively involved in the process of choosing those who govern over us! And I'm of the belief that there is no better place to start than in the upcoming 2013 Mayoral Election to be held on Tuesday, November 5, 2013 in Houston, Texas. And by all means, please peruse Your Thought Matters Newspaper as a tool to help you make a more informed voting decision."

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA 
Remarks by the President on Trayvon Martin

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

THE PRESIDENT: I wanted to come out here, first of all, to tell you that Jay is prepared for all your questions and is very much looking forward to the session. The second thing is I want to let you know that over the next couple of weeks, there’s going to obviously be a whole range of issues -- immigration, economics, et cetera -- we'll try to arrange a fuller press conference to address your questions.

The reason I actually wanted to come out today is not to take questions, but to speak to an issue that obviously has gotten a lot of attention over the course of the last week -- the issue of the Trayvon Martin ruling. I gave a preliminary statement right after the ruling on Sunday. But watching the debate over the course of the last week, I thought it might be useful for me to expand on my thoughts a little bit.

First of all, I want to make sure that, once again, I send my thoughts and prayers, as well as Michelle’s, to the family of Trayvon Martin, and to remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they’ve dealt with the entire situation. I can only imagine what they’re going through, and it’s remarkable how they’ve handled it.

The second thing I want to say is to reiterate what I said on Sunday, which is there’s going to be a lot of arguments about the legal issues in the case -- I'll let all the legal analysts and talking heads address those issues. The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries were properly instructed that in a case such as this reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. And once the jury has spoken, that's how our system works. But I did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling.

You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.

There are very few African American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me -- at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.

And I don't want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. And it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear. The African American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws -- everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.

Now, this isn't to say that the African American community is naïve about the fact that African American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system; that they’re disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. It’s not to make excuses for that fact -- although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context. They understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history.

 And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African American boys are more violent -- using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.

I think the African American community is also not naïve in understanding that, statistically, somebody like Trayvon Martin was statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else. So folks understand the challenges that exist for African American boys. But they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it and that context is being denied. And that all contributes I think to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.

Now, the question for me at least, and I think for a lot of folks, is where do we take this? How do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction? I think it’s understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests, and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through, as long as it remains nonviolent. If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family. But beyond protests or vigils, the question is, are there some concrete things that we might be able to do.

I know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there, but I think it’s important for people to have some clear expectations here. Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government, the criminal code. And law enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels.

That doesn’t mean, though, that as a nation we can’t do some things that I think would be productive. So let me just give a couple of specifics that I’m still bouncing around with my staff, so we’re not rolling out some five-point plan, but some areas where I think all of us could potentially focus.

Number one, precisely because law enforcement is often determined at the state and local level, I think it would be productive for the Justice Department, governors, mayors to work with law enforcement about training at the state and local levels in order to reduce the kind of mistrust in the system that sometimes currently exists.

When I was in Illinois, I passed racial profiling legislation, and it actually did just two simple things. One, it collected data on traffic stops and the race of the person who was stopped. But the other thing was it resourced us training police departments across the state on how to think about potential racial bias and ways to further professionalize what they were doing.

And initially, the police departments across the state were resistant, but actually they came to recognize that if it was done in a fair, straightforward way that it would allow them to do their jobs better and communities would have more confidence in them and, in turn, be more helpful in applying the law. And obviously, law enforcement has got a very tough job.

So that’s one area where I think there are a lot of resources and best practices that could be brought to bear if state and local governments are receptive. And I think a lot of them would be. And let's figure out are there ways for us to push out that kind of training.

Along the same lines, I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if it -- if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than diffuse potential altercations.

I know that there's been commentary about the fact that the "stand your ground" laws in Florida were not used as a defense in the case. On the other hand, if we're sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there's a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we'd like to see?

And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these "stand your ground" laws, I'd just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened? And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.

Number three -- and this is a long-term project -- we need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African American boys. And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about. There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?

I'm not naïve about the prospects of some grand, new federal program. I'm not sure that that’s what we're talking about here. But I do recognize that as President, I've got some convening power, and there are a lot of good programs that are being done across the country on this front. And for us to be able to gather together business leaders and local elected officials and clergy and celebrities and athletes, and figure out how are we doing a better job helping young African American men feel that they're a full part of this society and that they've got pathways and avenues to succeed -- I think that would be a pretty good outcome from what was obviously a tragic situation. And we're going to spend some time working on that and thinking about that.

And then, finally, I think it's going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching. There has been talk about should we convene a conversation on race. I haven't seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have. On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there's the possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can? Am I judging people as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin, but the content of their character? That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy.

And let me just leave you with a final thought that, as difficult and challenging as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, I don’t want us to lose sight that things are getting better. Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. It doesn’t mean we’re in a post-racial society. It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated. But when I talk to Malia and Sasha, and I listen to their friends and I seem them interact, they’re better than we are -- they’re better than we were -- on these issues. And that’s true in every community that I’ve visited all across the country.

And so we have to be vigilant and we have to work on these issues. And those of us in authority should be doing everything we can to encourage the better angels of our nature, as opposed to using these episodes to heighten divisions. But we should also have confidence that kids these days, I think, have more sense than we did back then, and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did; and that along this long, difficult journey, we’re becoming a more perfect union -- not a perfect union, but a more perfect union.

Thank you, guys.



 







1). Annise D. Parker -- Click here to visit her website!
3). C.O. "Brad" Bradford -- Click here to visit his website!
4). Helena Brown -- Click here to visit her website!
5). Ellen Cohen -- Click here to visit her website!
6). Ed Gonzalez -- Click here to visit his website!
7). Brenda Stardig -- Click here to visit her website!
8). Assata Richards -- Click here to visit her website!
9). Ben Mendez -- Click here to visit his webiste!
10). Jack Christie -- Click here to visit his website!
12). Dave Martin -- Click here to visit his website!
13). Melissa Noriega -- Term-Limited -- Open Seat!!!
14). James G. Rodriguez -- Term-Limited -- Open Seat!!!
15). Andrew C. Burks Jr. -- Click here to visit his website!
16). Jerry Davis -- Click here to visit his website!
18). Larry V. Green -- Click here to visit his website!
19). Stephen C. Costello -- Click here to visit his website!
20). Ronald C. Green -- Click here to visit his website!
21). Mike Laster -- Click here to visit his website!
22). Don Sumners -- No website connection as of today!
23). Travis McGee -- Click here to visit his website!
24). Wanda Adams -- Term-Limited -- Open Seat!
25). David Robinson -- Click here to visit his website!
26). Roy Morales -- Click here to visit his website!
27). Bill Frazer -- Click here to visit his website!
28). Georgia D. Provost -- Click here to visit her website!
29). Michael Kubosh -- Click here to visit his website!
30). Ronald Hale -- Click here to visit his website!
31). Leticia Ablaza -- Click here to visit her website!
32). Mike Knox -- Click here to visit his website!
33). Eric Dick -- Click here to visit his website!
34). Rogene Gee Calvert -- Click here to visit her website!
35). Roland Chavez  -- Click here to visit his website!
36). Robert Gallegos -- Click here to visit his website!
37). Jenifer Rene Pool -- Click here to visit her website!
38). Dwight Boykins -- Click here to visit his website!
39). Keith Caldwell -- Click here to visit his website!
40). Chris Carmona -- Click here to visit his website!
41). Graci Garces -- Click here to visit her website!
42). Oliver Pennington -- Click here to visit his website!
43). Brian Taef -- Click here to visit his website!
44). Trebor Gordon -- Click here to visit his website!
45). Lana Edwards -- No website connection as of today!
46). Victoria Lane -- No website connection as of today!
47). Al Edwards -- No website connection as of today!
48). James "Joe" Joseph -- No website connection as of today!
49). Larry McKinzie -- No website connection as of today!
50). Carolyn Evans Shabazz -- No website connection as of today!













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, Victoria Lane, Michael Fitzsimmons, and Eric Dick. 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 MAYOR ANNISE PARKER



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, Don Sumners 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: Here are a few of the names you could see on the 2013 Mayoral Election ballot in the race for Houston City Council District B: Jerry Davis and James "Joe" Joseph. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.

POSSIBLE CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR DISTRICT C: Here are a few of the names you could see on the 2013 Mayoral Election ballot in the race for Houston City Council District C: Ellen Cohen and Pedro "Pete" Sosa. If you are a candidate running for this seat email your biography and campaign photo to: yourthoughtmatters@gmail.com.
 


HOUSTON CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT D
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, Larry McKinzie, Lana Edwards, Anthony T. Robinson, 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
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
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
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
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
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, Carolyn Evans-Shabazz 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
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
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
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.