The 2018 Midterm Election will take place on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, in Harris County, Texas. Early voting for the 2018 Midterm Election will begin on Monday, October 22, 2018, and end on Friday, November 2, 2018. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: "It is imperative that we make it our business to elect the "BEST QUALIFIED CANDIDATES" who value us when we go to the polls to cast our vote in 2018. Houston Business Connections Newspaper is published by Aubrey R. Taylor Communications. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to call 832-212-8735 for all media inquiries, and (281)788-3033 for advertising or outreach support.

Monday, June 15, 2015

2015 CAMPAIGN WATCH: Georgia Provost to Serve As Treasurer for the Darlene “Koffey” Smith for HISD District II Campaign

2015 CAMPAIGN WATCH: Georgia Provost Will Serve As the Treasurer for the Darlene “Koffey” Smith HISD District II Campaign against HISD Board Trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones


On Tuesday, November 3, 2015, Businesswoman/Gospel Recording Artist Darlene “Koffey” Smith will challenge one-term HISD District II Board Trustee Rhonda Skillern Jones for her seat. 

Trustee Rhonda Skillern Jones was elected to the Houston Independent School District II seat with no one opposing her; after the Honorable Carol Mims Galloway made the last minute announcement that she would not be running for re-election back in 2011. Mims Galloway had held the District II seat for four consecutive years prior to relinquishing it. And prior to that, she’d held the seat for two four-year terms back in the 1990s.


Getting businesswoman Georgia Provost to sign on as treasurer for her HISD District II campaign is a major early accomplishment for Darlene “Koffey” Smith. “What this amounts to in my opinion is a major endorsement for Darlene "Koffey" Smith. But I wouldn’t stop there; for this is much more than that. I think Smith knows that she’s going to have a real fight on her hands in her quest to take the HISD District II seat from Trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones. And the appointment of Provost as her treasurer tells Skillern-Jones, and other political pundits/operatives, that she’s a serious and viable candidate for the District II seat in 2015,” says Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections Newspaper.


AUBREY R. TAYLOR: “I can’t imagine any scenario where, Georgia Provost, a businesswoman with more than 55 years of experience, would put her name behind someone whom she didn’t believe could win. I truly think that she (Provost) believes in Smith. And the fact that she’s signed on as Smith's treasurer tells me that she’s standing firmly behind this young lady in the fight for the HISD District II seat.” 


Darlene “Koffey Smith is proud of the fact that she’s an active member of Windsor Village United Methodist Church, where Kirbyjon Caldwell is the senior pastor. She’s also proud to be a product of HISD’s District II -- the district she's seeking to represent. And not being a career politician could be a plus for Smith; as she doesn’t appear to be beholden to any special interest groups, political action committees, or contractors doing/seeking to do business with the Houston Independent School District.


According to Smith, she wants to be: “A VOICE FOR THE PEOPLE.” And she wants to make sure that the people of HISD’s District II are granted the leadership they deserve. “I am a “PROUD PRODUCT” of Houston ISD District 2. (Nathaniel Q. Henderson Elementary, Lamar Fleming Middle School Fine Art's Academy and Barbara Jordan High School for Careers - Class of '91). I am married with one child. My husband Art Smith and son Arthur J. Smith, III are “Proud Graduates” of Phillis Wheatley High School. (Class of 1988 and Class of 2015 respectively),” says Smith.

DARLENE “KOFFEY” SMITH: “I am asking for your VOTE so my VOICE can be your VOICE to IMPROVE, PROTECT and SERVE on the School Board at Houston ISD for our Students, Parents, Teachers and School Campus Administration according to Policy and Procedures, the Education Code, State and Federal Law for the Progression of our children to receive a FAIR and QUALITY Education.” 

AUBREY R. TAYLOR: “Whether Darlene “Koffey” Smith can seal the deal by defeating Trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 remains to be seen. However, having witnessed the work ethic of Smith and her husband, long-time businessman Arthur J. Smith, I can assure you that we’re about to witness a competitive, grassroots-styled campaign driven by fresh ideas and out-of-the-box thinking.”


Darlene and Arthur Smith recently took a dilapidated barbershop and converted it into a “VOTER REGISTRATION DEPOT”, and themed it “Vote & Live”. They’ve also come up with a catchy (and very true) motto for this project titled: “My vote -- gives my hope life.” 

The “Vote & Live” registration headquarters is located at 5307 Sonora in Houston’s Fifth Ward right across the street from the historic Finnigan Park, which offers a playground, lighted tennis courts, lighted sports field, swimming pool, indoor gym, weight room, 0.65-mile hike and bike trail, and a meeting room. “What we want to do is empower our people to become active participants in the process of putting people into office who value us,” says Smith.

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW, the Fifth Ward area is northeast of Downtown. It’s a historic area with a rich history, and bordered by the Buffalo Bayou, Jensen, Liberty Road, and Lockwood Drive.

According to published information, the Fifth Ward, one of the six wards of Houston, was created partly from two other wards, the First Ward, which ceded the area to the north and east of White Oak Bayou and Little White Oak Bayou, and the Second Ward, which ceded all land within the Houston city limits to the north of Buffalo Bayou.


According to information published on Wikipedia, after the American Civil War, newly freed slaves (freemen) began settling in the sparsely settled area. In 1866, it became the Fifth Ward and an alderman from the ward was elected to Houston's City Council. By the mid-1880s, it was virtually all black, home to working-class people who made their livings in Houston's eastside ship channel and industrial areas or as domestics for wealthy Houstonians. Mount Vernon United Methodist Church, founded in 1865 by a former slave, is the oldest church in the ward. Five other churches are over a hundred years old. Also home to the famous "Island of Hope (Anderson Memorial Temple) COGIC" the oldest Pentecostal church in Fifth Ward. Over the years it had been home to the city's minority and immigrant population. Although it had always been a mostly black area, Latinos, Filipino Americans, Pakistani Americans, and Italian Catholics have migrated to the area as well.


AUBREY R. TAYLOR: “The last competitive race we’ve seen for the HISD District II seat took place back on Tuesday, November 6, 2007. In that race Carol Mims Galloway, Reginald Adams, Michael Yarbrough, and Larry Williams locked horns. However, Carol Mims Galloway and Michael Yarbrough proved to be the two top vote-getters on Election Day. Carrol Mims Galloway finished the night with 3,192 votes, or 37.67% of the vote to Michael Yarbrough’s 2,177 votes or 25.69% of the vote. However, the runoff was all about Carrol Mims Galloway as she went on to soundly defeat Yarbrough in the Saturday, December 8, 2007 runoff.


The candidate filing deadline is on Monday, August 24, 2015 if you plan to run for an HISD Board Trustee seat in the Tuesday, November 3, 2015 General Election.

Thursday, June 25, 2015 is the deadline to post notice of candidate filing deadline.

Saturday, July 25, 2015 is the first day to file for place on general election ballot.

Monday, August 24, 2015 is the last day to file for place on general election ballot.

Friday, September 4, 2015 is the first day for registered voters to apply for ballot by mail.

Monday, October 5, 2015 is the last day for voter registration with the Harris County Clerk.

Monday, October 19, 2015 is the first day of early voting for the 2015 General Election.

Friday, October 23, 2015 is the last day to apply for ballot by mail for the 2015 General Election.

Friday, October 30, 2015 is the last day of early voting for the 2015 General Election.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 is Election Day for all registered voters in the City of Houston. 

AUBREY R. TAYLOR: “Please make an informed and empowered decision when you go into the voting booth to cast your vote on Tuesday, November 3, 2015.”

Election Day is Tues., Nov. 3, 2015 

CAMPAIGN NEWS: Mary Benton is the Moderator for the "Houston Mayoral Candidate Forum 2015" to be hosted by Council Member Dwight Boykins and the Presidents of District D Super Neighborhood Councils on Monday, June 29th, 2015


On Monday, June 29, 2015 the “Houston Mayoral Candidate Forum 2015” hosted by Dwight A. Boykins, District D City Council Member and current presidents of various District D Super Neighborhood Councils will be going down. This forum will be moderated by Mary Benton at Greater Grace Outreach Church located at 10800 Scott Street in Houston, Texas 77047.  Bishop E.L. Usher, D.D. is the pastor of Greater Grace Outreach Church.

The 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Candidates invited to participate in this forum are: Ben Hall, Adrian Garcia, Chris Bell, Sylvester Turner, Bill King, and Stephen Costello. 

*Victoria Lane, a businesswoman (has not been invited yet) with over 40 years of experience is also a candidate running for mayor of Houston in the Tuesday, November 3, 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election. Early voting will begin on Monday, October 19, 2015 and end on Friday, October 30, 2015. 


A few of the topics to be discussed are: Streets and the ReBuild Houston Program; Future Development in District D (Commercial/Residential); Crime Reduction Plan; 2nd Chance Jobs Initiative Program; Funding for Senior Citizens Programs; City of Houston Pensions; and After School Programs.


A few of the District D Super Neighborhoods are: Greater OST/South Union, Mac Gregor, Greater Third Ward, Greater Hobby, Astrodome Area, Medical Center Area, Midtown, Minnetex, Museum Park, South Acres/Crestmont, South Belt/Ellington, South Park and Sunnyside.


Dear Neighbor,

I am Ben Hall and I want to be Mayor of this great city! Many of you probably know me, but for those of you who don’t, I am a husband, father, businessman and attorney. I left the private sector during Mayor Bob Lanier’s term, to lead the City Attorney’s office. During that time, I gained the skills and knowledge to move our city forward, by using private sector experience to solve problems. I learned from Mayor Bob that in order to lead this City it requires a focused and committed leader.

Saundra and I love Houston and the opportunity it has given us to be a positive force in the lives of others. We want to continue that by giving back to a city that has given so much to us.

Our streets need to be repaired; our neighborhoods need to be protected; Houstonians need jobs; and our city debt must be addressed. We can’t do this if we don’t work together. As your next Mayor, my focus will be on our City’s basic needs, and to make sure that businesses can flourish without the harsh penalty of more taxes and fees.

I am asking you to join Saundra and me in moving our city forward.

Join us in focusing on the things that matter to ALL Houstonians. I am asking for your prayers, your votes and your thoughts on how we can move Houston forward.


Benjamin L. “Ben” Hall, III


Ben is a husband and father so he knows the importance of protecting Houstonians. Ben will work with our law enforcement agencies and first responders to keep our families and city safe. As former City Attorney, he understands safety of our citizens is priority.


Houston is a first class city and we deserve first class streets. As Mayor, Ben will make fixing our streets in a timely manner a priority; synchronizing our traffic lights; and working with regional partners to improve traffic conditions. Sitting in traffic means spending less time with your family. Houstonians deserve much more than we have received from city government.


In tough economic times, we must do more with less. Ben will work to rein in wasteful spending that has occurred at City Hall and work to fix our city’s pension problem. Ben is a business owner and understands the city must be run like a business. He will protect your hard earned tax dollars.


Ben Hall is a husband, father, and business owner who understand the challenges Houstonians face each day. Ben has been married to Saundra Turner Hall for 33 years. They have two sons, Ben IV and Zachary Hall.


University of South Carolina (B.A.) 
Duke Divinity School (M. Div.)
Duke University Graduate School (Ph.D.)
Harvard (J.D.)


Ben is the founder and owner of The Hall Law Firm where he fights for average citizens every day. Ben and Saundra are also the owners of KOCH Radio, the oldest black owned radio station in the Greater Houston Region. They are also owners of KOCH TV and several other businesses.


Life Member, NAACP
Sustaining Member Harris County Democratic Party
City Attorney, City of Houston (1992-94)
Former Board Member, Red Cross, Houston Chapter
Board Member, Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

BEN'S RESOLUTION: "My commitment to you as mayor will be to improve our streets, improve public safety, and protect our neighborhoods...That is the way that our city can move forward. I am Ben Hall and I'm asking for your vote."