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Thursday, May 14, 2015

FEATURED PEOPLE: Attorney Alfred Benoit, 2015 Mayoral Candidate Stephen Costello, 2015 Mayoral Candidate Adrian Garcia, Mayor Allen Owen, 2015 Mayoral Candidate Ben Hall, and Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman



CONGRATULATIONS: Attorney Alfred Benoit Has Been Elected President-Elect for the (HLA) Houston Lawyers Association

Attorney Alfred “Al” Benoit was elected President-Elect at HLA's last general body meeting of the 2014-2015 bar year. The meeting took place on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law on the campus of Texas Southern University. 

Alfred Benoit is the Owner and Principal Attorney of Benoit Law, PLLC. His practice focuses on corporate and business restructuring, private company acquisitions and dispositions, investor immigration issues, and Business Litigation issues.

Benoit has worked with clients in a wide range of industries including energy, technology, finance, franchise, and waste and recycling.

He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. He received the degree back in 2004.

Benoit also graduated with honors from Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 2008 where he earned his Juris Doctorate degree. He is admitted to practice law in the State of Texas and in the United States District Court in the Southern District of Texas. During law school, he honed his advocacy skills by participating and winning many oral advocacy competitions. He also studied International Law at the prestigious Cambridge University in Cambridge, England.

Benoit previously worked as an attorney for Haynes and Boone, LLP, a major Texas law firm, where he was surrounded by some of the brightest legal minds in Texas. This environment cultivated Alfred’s dedication to excellence.




CITY HAPPENINGS: Houston City Council At-Large Position 1 Member Stephen Costello Recently Sent Us This Update on Mayor Annise Parker’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget

Greetings,

The mayor released her administration's proposed fiscal year 2016 budget on May 12, 2015. The tax-supported General Fund budget is $2.4 billion. Combined with self-supporting enterprise funds (airport, water and sewer) and other special funds, the city's overall budget is $5.1 billion. The General Fund budget increased $130 million over last year-over 90 percent of this increase due to contractually-mandated obligations (pensions, salaries) and required transfers. Property tax relief for seniors is included in the proposed budget as well as $2.8 million for body cameras for Houston police officers, salary increases for police, an additional $2 million for maintenance and renewal of city-owned facilities, and a $128 million transfer to street and drainage capital projects.

The Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee, which I chair, will hold a series of budget workshops open to the public beginning Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Department directors will review their budgets and answer questions from council members and interested citizens. The budget outlines the city's plan to spend your tax dollars, so please let me know your priorities. Plan to attend a workshop or email your questions to atlarge1@houstontx.gov

It is an honor to serve you on City Council.

Sincerely,
Stephen C. Costello
Chair, Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee



UPCOMING EVENTS: 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Candidate Adrian Garcia Recently Sent us This Invitation to Attend His Upcoming Grassroots Rally Taking Place on Sunday, May 17, 2015

Aubrey --

Last Wednesday, I announced my candidacy for Mayor. I know there are many challenges facing our city, but I am willing to roll my sleeves up to address them. I hope you will join me.


What: Grassroots Kickoff
When: Sunday, May 17th, 2:00 pm
Where: Moody Park Community Center
3725 Fulton
Houston, TX 77009




CONGRATULATIONS: Missouri City, Texas Mayor Allen Owen is Now a Member of the FBI Family According to A Recent Facebook Status Update He Posted

Mayor Allen Owen never stops working for the people of Missouri City, Texas. This week he was in Washington D.C., attending the FBI Academy. And now, according to him, he's a member of the FBI family.

ABOUT THE FBI ACADEMY

The FBI Academy is a full-service national training facility—with conference rooms and classrooms, dorms, firing ranges, a gym and pool, a library, a dining hall, even a mock town.

The FBI Academy is located on 547 acres on a Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia about 40 miles south of Washington, D.C. Much of the FBI’s training takes place at this location —from minting new agents and analysts to grooming law enforcement leaders from around the world. The Academy also serves as a premier learning and research center, an advocate for best practices throughout the global criminal justice community, and a place where lasting partnerships are forged among law enforcement and intelligence professionals worldwide.



FEATURED PHOTO: 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Candidate Ben Hall Was Recently Spotted Worshiping At New Life Church in Houston Texas as His Support Throughout the City of Houston Continues to Grow

Attorney Ben Hall is making his rounds. As you may already know, support for Ben Hall's 2015 candidacy for Mayor of Houston continues to grow -- especially in the Acres Homes area of Houston, Texas. Hall recently garnered the highly coveted endorsements from two well-known prominent ministers from the Acres Homes area. Dr. F.N. Williams, Sr., a legendary Acres Homes leader who walked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights struggle, and Reverend Charles Ingram are both standing with Ben Hall.

Dr. Williams said: “I have been impressed with Ben Hall for more than 20 years. He is a husband, father and great businessman. He is an excellent lawyer and will fight for the citizens like he does in court. I am confident he will make a superb Mayor and will continue to fight for all the people of Houston.”

Hall is also endorsed by Rev. Charles Ingram who insists that Ben Hall is the best choice for Houston. “He is independent enough to do the right thing and bring improvements, growth and businesses to the Acres Homes area that have been missing,” says Rev. Charles Ingram.

BEN HALL: “Thank you so much for the prayers, I am committed to move Houston forward.”

REV. CHARLES INGRAM: “We need more than good speeches. We want to see a mayor who wants to help the entire community. I believe Ben Hall is that person. That is why I am supporting him!.”

Attorney Ben Hall isn’t the only candidate in the race for mayor of Houston this year. However, he’s one of only two candidates asking for our vote, prayers and support at this time. The other candidate who is also asking for our vote, prayers, and support is Victoria Lane, a businesswoman with more than 40 years of experience. Other candidates expected to be in the Tuesday, November 3rd race for City of Houston Mayor are: Adrian Garcia, Sylvester Turner, Bill King, Marty McVey, Stephen Costello, and Chris Bell. Early voting will start on Monday, October 19, 2015 and end on Friday, October 30, 2015. You are strongly encouraged to consider the candidates who value and respect us when you go to the polls.




CONGRATULATIONS: Republican Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman Named Harris County Sheriff; As Former Democratic Sheriff Adrian Garcia Runs for Mayor of Houston



The current Harris County Commissioner’s Court is mostly Republican, by a (4-to-1) margin. So appointing a Republican to serve as the new Harris County Sheriff should not have come as a surprise to anyone. Heck, if the commissioner’s court was governed by Democrats we may have very well seen a Democrat appointed as the new sheriff. But the good news is that Harris County Constable Ron Hickman is qualified, experienced and capable to serve as the highest ranking law enforcement officer for Harris County. But if you don’t like the choice, well, you can do something about that by voting him out of office in the Tuesday, November 8, 2016 Presidential Election. But for now, he’s the new Harris County Sheriff.

THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THE DECISION

The County Judge for Harris County is Judge Ed Emmett a Republican. The Harris County Commissioner for Precinct 1 is Commissioner El Franco Lee a Democrat. The Harris County Commissioner for Precinct 2 is Jack Morman a Republican. The Harris County Commissioner for Precinct 3 is Steve Radack a Republican. And the Harris County Commissioner for Precinct 4 is R. Jack Cagle a Republican. Again, if Sheriff Garcia runs for mayor of Houston, these individuals will be charged with selecting his replacement.

HOW WE GOT HERE

The moment Democratic Sheriff Adrian Garcia officially announced his intention to seek the mayor’s office he had to relinquish his position as Harris County Sheriff. Why? Well, based on Article 16, Section 65 of the Texas Constitution, certain officeholders are required to resign from their current office if they choose to run for another. 

As it stands today, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, and Texas are the only states in the nation with a resign-to-run-law on the books.

Article 16, Section 65 of the Texas Constitution states:

(a) This section applies to the following offices: District Clerks; County Clerks; County Judges; Judges of the County Courts at Law, County Criminal Courts, County Probate Courts and County Domestic Relations Courts; County Treasurers; Criminal District Attorneys; County Surveyors; County Commissioners; Justices of the Peace; Sheriffs; Assessors and Collectors of Taxes; District Attorneys; County Attorneys; Public Weighers; and Constables.

(b) If any of the officers named herein shall announce their candidacy, or shall in fact become a candidate, in any General, Special or Primary Election, for any office of profit or trust under the laws of this State or the United States other than the office then held, at any time when the unexpired term of the office then held shall exceed one year and 30 days, such announcement or such candidacy shall constitute an automatic resignation of the office then held, and the vacancy thereby created shall be filled pursuant to law in the same manner as other vacancies for such office are filled.

ABOUT SHERIFF HICKMAN

The information below will help you get to know Ron Hickman, the newly appointed Harris County Sheriff a little better. This information was pulled from his website.

Constable Ron Hickman, recognized for his leadership qualities, innovation, and commitment to public service has recently been awarded the "National Constable of the Year" for his second time. On March 15th 2013 in a ceremony held in Sugarland Texas representatives from the board of directors from the National Constables and Marshals Association recognized Constable Hickman with their most prestigious awarded. He had previously won the National Constable of the Year award in 2007 and had also been recognized as Texas Constable of the Year in 2006 by the Justices of the Peace and Constables Association of Texas and in 2005 was recognized with their T. A. Vines Award.

Constable Hickman has been a leader in law enforcement technology and in deeply involved in providing these advancements for police officers across the county. He has been a pioneer in implementing laptops in patrol vehicles and is now developing applications for officers to use iPads and tablets as well. These additions increase the efficiency of officers in the field while leveraging the technology provides cost recovery and time savings to improve budgetary effectiveness.

Beginning with the Precinct 4 Constable's Office in 1983, he was quickly promoted to Sergeant over the Communications Office. The absence of computerization initiated a challenge that drove the search for serious improvements in automation for both the Constable's Office and the remainder of law enforcement in Harris County. Since that time, Constable Hickman has been an integral part of the leadership for technical advances in law enforcement and is constantly looking for new opportunities to enhance crime fighting technologies.

Attending the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute at Sam Houston State was a pivotal opportunity and immediately upon graduation in 1995 was asked to return as an instructor in Information Technology. Constable Hickman says, "Sharing experiences and offering guidance to other agencies is important as a participant in the brotherhood of policing." He taught from 1995 through 2000 as a faculty member for the Institute, sharing his technical experience with officers from across the State. More recently in 2010, Constable Hickman attended the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Development seminar (LEEDS) designed to provide senior law enforcement executives the opportunity to network and obtain instruction in legal issues, strategic planning, and employment law and police programs.

Active in supporting advances in technology in criminal investigations, Constable Hickman serves as Chair of the Local Executive Board for the Greater Houston Regional Computer Forensics Lab. He also serves as a member of the FBI’s National Advisory Committee for the regional computer forensics lab program out of its National Program Office in Quantico Virginia.

With a strong emphasis on the use of technology and progressive policing practices, Constable Hickman continues the practice of two way communication with community leaders and members of local neighborhoods. He also believes strongly in increasing professionalism through training and advancing educational opportunities for police officers. Ron graduated cum laude from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and encourages his command staff and supervisors to constantly seek more leadership training.

Ron was elected as Constable of Precinct 4 in November of 2000 and took Office January 1st, 2001. His goal is striving to meet the community’s needs while exceeding their expectations. He is most proud of being accessible to the community and actively involved in numerous community organizations. His wife Connie Hickman, also a part of the justice community, is a Justice of the Peace in another county and both have been active in the Justices of the Peace and Constables Association of Texas for many years.



AUBREY R. TAYLOR: "We must become more active participants in the process of choosing the people who govern over us on the local, state, and federal level."

FINAL NOTES: Our "CELEBRATING FREEDOM AND LIBERTY" edition of Houston Business Connections Magazine will be released on Friday, June 19, 2015. This edition will highlight "JUNETEENTH" and "THE FOURTH OF JULY" holidays.

WE ARE STILL LOOKING FOR MORE PEOPLE TO FEATURE INSIDE THIS EDITION. A few of the key advertisers already signed up are: Attorney Ben Hall, Attorney Keryl L. Douglas, Attorney Farrah Martinez, Judge John Schmude, and Judge Loyd Wright.

CALL (832)212-8735 TO ADVERTISE!

Call Aubrey R. Taylor Communications at (832)212-8735 if you would like to be included in the next edition of Houston Business Connections Newspaper.