Please don’t forget that the Early Voting Period for the Democratic and Republican Runoff Elections is Only Five Days; Election Day Voting Will Take Place on Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Early voting for the Tuesday, May 22, 2018, Democratic Party Primary Runoffs, and Republican Party Primary Runoffs will take place from Monday, May 14, 2018, through Friday, May 18, 2018. A few of the people featured in this edition of Houston Business Connections Newspaper are: Attorney William “Bill” McLeod, Attorney Carroll G. Robinson, Attorney Germaine Tanner, Attorney Beau Miller, Attorney Ronnisha Bowman, Attorney Scot “Dolli” Dollinger, Attorney Erica Hughes, Attorney Dedra Davis, Attorney Sandra J. Peake, Attorney Sedrick T. Walker II, Attorney Shannon Baldwin, and Tuesday, May 22, 2018 Candidate for Harris County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 7, Place 2 Sharon Burney. Mayor Allen Owen, the Mayor of Missouri City, Texas will be seeking the vote of every registered voter in “The Show Me City,” on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Texas Democratic Party Gubernatorial Runoff Candidate Andrew White and 2018 Texas Democratic Party Gubernatorial Runoff Candidate Lupe Valdez are also pictured on the cover of this edition of Houston Business Connections Newspaper. However, neither candidate is seeking your vote in the Tuesday, May 22, 2018, Democratic Party Primary Runoff Election for Governor of Texas at this time. Houston Business Connections Newspaper is published by Aubrey R. Taylor Communications. Call (832)212-8735 for more information. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

2015 HISD ELECTION: Darlene "Koffey" Smith and Jolanda Jones Must Both Defeat Incumbents to Become HISD Trustees

2015 CAMPAIGN WATCH: Attorney Jolanda Jones, Businesswoman and Gospel Recording Artist Darlene “Koffey” Smith Both Intend to Unseat HISD Incumbents in the Tuesday, November 3, 2015 General Election for the Houston Independent School District


Over the past few years there have been countless meetings, discussions, and pleadings for members of the HISD Board of Trustees to do the right thing as it concerns minority students. “In some cases, it seems like the cries of the people have fallen on deaf ears. I mean, school closures have been an all-too-often occurrence in minority neighborhoods – and I believe people are just tired of it,” says Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections Newspaper.

“I think that’s why Trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones, the trustee for District II is being challenged by Businesswoman/Gospel Recording Artist Darlene "Koffey" Smith for her seat. And the same is so when it comes to Trustee Paula Harris who has also drawn an opponent. And as it relates to Harris, she could perhaps be facing the toughest challenge of her political career when she faces off against attorney Jolanda Jones on Tuesday, November 3, 2015,” states Taylor.

“Jolanda Jones is a battle-tested veteran when it comes to politics. She’s won some tough battles; but she also knows what it feels like to come up short. However, through it all, she almost always seems to be unfazed or unmoved, whether she wins, or loses. She’s a former Houston city council member, and a self-employed lawyer, and could very well be the most experienced campaigner on the 2015 HISD General Election ballot.” says Taylor. 

The deadline for candidates to get into one of the four races scheduled for the Tuesday, November 3, 2015 General Election is Monday, August 24, 2015.


This year there are four seats that will be up for grabs. The seats currently held by Paula Harris (District IV), Rhonda Skillern-Jones (District II), Manuel Rodriguez Jr. (District III), and Juliet Stipeche (District VIII) are up for election.


Trustee Wanda Adams (back-row from left), Trustee Manuel Rodriguez, Trustee Micheal Lunceford, Trustee Harvin C. Moore, Superintendent Terry B. Grier, Trustee Greg Myers (front-row left), Trustee Paula Harris, Trustee Juliet Stipeche, Trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones, and Trustee Anna Eastman.

Board of Education

The Board of Education is the official policy-making body of the Houston Independent School District. The nine trustees, elected from separate districts, serve staggered four-year terms. The board holds public meetings at 5:00 p.m. on the second Thursday of every month in the HISD Board Auditorium, 4400 West 18th Street. Printed agendas are available from the Board Services office and the HISD Information Center—both located at 4400 West 18th Street. Agenda summaries are available online.


Anna Eastman’s involvement as parent leader in public education and her passionate advocacy for the arts, public health, and social justice led to her election to the HISD Board of Education in 2009 and re-election in 2013. 

An HISD parent since 2002, she spearheaded and led the William Travis Elementary School Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Ad Hoc Transition Committee in 2003, which facilitated the move of students to temporary buildings while the school was closed for major renovations. From 2005 to 2007 she served as PTA president at Travis.

A product of public schools in Richardson, Texas, Ms. Eastman graduated from the University of Texas in 1992 with a bachelor of fine arts degree in art history and earned a master of social work degree in 1993 from Our Lady of the Lake University. After receiving her degree, Ms. Eastman worked as a lead social worker for Communities in Schools in San Antonio.

In 2002, Ms. Eastman and her husband, Brad, cofounded the 11½ Street Foundation, which has recognized outstanding veteran teachers with monetary awards. Today, the foundation provides college scholarships to at-risk children who have graduated from HISD’s Reagan and Jefferson Davis high schools.

As a trustee, she has consistently been involved in board leadership, and has held each leadership position: president, second vice president, secretary, and assistant secretary.

In addition to her commitment to public education, Ms. Eastman currently serves on the advisory boards for Holocaust Museum Houston and the Recipe for Success Foundation, is a member of the Undies for Everyone Board of Directors and serves on the Houston Grand Opera HGOco Committee. Twice, she has been nominated as Ally Grand Marshal for the Houston Gay Pride Parade because of her support of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues. She is an American Leadership Forum Senior Fellow.


Rhonda Skillern-Jones was elected to the Board of Education in 2011. She was sworn in as Trustee in January 2012 and served as board secretary in 2012 and 2013, and First Vice President in 2014. She also represents HISD on the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Board of Directors.

Ms. Skillern-Jones, a wife and mother of five children, is a native Houstonian. She earned both a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in clinical sociology from Texas Southern University.

In recognition of her community and district efforts to enhance the lives of Houston children and citizens, she has received numerous achievement awards and honors, and holds membership in several civic and community organizations, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated.

Ms. Skillern-Jones has a strong faith in God and cites her parents as her heroes and role models. She served HISD in a volunteer capacity for 20 years before joining the school board. She has a passion for education and children, and believes that all children deserve an equitable and quality education for a fair start in achieving their life goals.


Manuel Rodríguez Jr. was first elected to the Board of Education in 2003 and reelected in 2007. He served as assistant secretary in his first year as a trustee, second vice president in 2005 & 2013, first vice president in 2006, and president in 2007.

A graduate of Stephen F. Austin High School, class of Jan. ’70, he received an associate of arts degree in social sciences from Solano Community College and studied organizational behavior management and marketing at the University of Houston. He served as a part-time community-relations specialist in the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department's Office of Neighborhood and Community Relations from 1998 through December 2004.

A computer specialist in the U.S. Air Force from 1970 to 1977, he served the Air Training Command in Lubbock, Texas. The 601st Tactical Command Wing and was attached to NATO in Lindsey Air Station, in Wiesbaden, Germany and finished his tour at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, Calif. Rodríguez’s primary carrier responsibility was as a computer programmer and operation specialist; he was also the Airman Training NCO and was the EEOC/Drug & Alcohol Relation Liaison.

Trustee Rodríguez is also the founder and President of the MARVAA Corporation, which provides assistance in education, housing, and community involvement. Rodríguez served from 2008-2011 as the HISD Director for Houston on the Board of Directors of the Texas Association of School Boards and in 2010 he was elected President of the Mexican American School Board Members Association. In 2013 he was inducted in the “National Hispanic Institute Hall Of Fame,” and was the recipient of the Houston East End Chamber “2008 Education Impact Award.” He has been awarded an HISD Commendation for Meritorious Service as well as a Community Service Award from the Texas House of Representatives for his long-time dedication in working with Houston youth. He was named a James Deady Middle School Volunteer of the Year and been named one of the Outstanding Young Men of America.

In 1997 Rodríguez served on HISD's task force to review the state comptroller's audit of the District, and he has been a member of Parents for Public Schools and a national board member for the organization from 2000 through 2005. He was a board member for the Gulfgate Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone and the Hispanic Housing Education. Rodríguez was also alumni president for Austin High School and is a lifetime member, he is currently serving as the SFA Alumni Association Newsletter Editor, and is an active member of the Pecan Park Civic Association and St. Christopher Catholic Church.

Rodríguez and his wife, Virginia, celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in May 2013 and have four children. Rodríguez, his wife and all four of their children graduated from HISD schools.


Paula Harris was elected to the Board of Education in November 2007 and re-elected in 2011. She served as Board president in 2011.

Ms. Harris is a graduate of Texas A&M University and holds a degree in Petroleum Engineering. In her 20-plus year career with a large oilfield service company, Ms. Harris has held a variety of positions, from field engineer where she managed operations on offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, to sales engineer and North American recruiting manager. As worldwide training manager, Ms. Harris developed business opportunities and teams in Europe, Africa, the Soviet Union, China, South America, and Australia.

She currently holds the position of Director of Community Affairs at Schlumberger. In this role, she is responsible for the corporation’s community and civic involvement and educational initiatives, which focus on math, science and engineering programs for children.

Ms. Harris wrote the book For Sister: The Guide for Professional Black Women, published in 2003. She formed her own publishing company, MadisonHouse Publishing, and in 2007 published her children’s book When I Grow UP I Want to Be an Engineer.

Ms. Harris is a recipient of the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Woman of Distinction Award, and was a state appointee to the Texas Energy Planning Council. She serves on the Board of Di rectors for Space Center Houston, where she chairs the education committee. Ms. Harris has been profiled in a number of publications including Money Magazine, Black Engineer, Graduating Engineer, Houston Style Magazine, Houston Women, Houston Defender and Forward Times.

Ms. Harris and her husband Dwayne are the owners of DPM Investments. They have one daughter who attends an HISD school.


Michael Lunceford was elected to the HISD Board of Education in November 2009, and served as president in 2012. He is a longtime volunteer with HISD, having held leadership positions within the district for the past 17 years. He served on the HISD Bond Oversight Committee, the HISD District V Leadership Team and the HISD Parent Visionaries. He also served on the school building committees for Henry Longfellow Elementary, Pin Oak Middle and John Pershing Middle, and he chaired the Master Plan Building Committee for Paul Horn Elementary School.

Mr. Lunceford received a Bachelor of Science degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1981 and is currently the vice president of engineering for Pedernales Energy. He built a career in the field of energy with Mobil Oil, Montex Exploration, Metfuel, and Penwell Energy prior to accepting his current position

Mr. Lunceford’s two children attended Horn Elementary and Pershing Middle Schools and are graduates of Bellaire High School. As a parent volunteer, Mr. Lunceford served as the Horn Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) treasurer and auction co-chair. He was also a member of the PTO Auction Committee and the sports Booster Club at Pershing Middle School and the football and volleyball Booster Clubs at Bellaire High School.

A native Texan, Mr. Lunceford is a product of HISD schools, having attended Ila McNamara and Horace Elrod Elementary Schools, Walter Fondren Middle School, and Westbury High School. He and his wife, Erin, reside in Bellaire and are members of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church.


Greg Meyers was elected to the Board of Education in 2004 and reelected in 2009. He served board president in 2010. In his first year of service, he was appointed to chair the Board Monitoring Committee, which developed an expanded system for district accountability that was adopted as policy in August 2005.

Mr. Meyers is active in many areas of community service. He has been the honorary chairman of the Boy Scouts of America Scout Fair, chairman of the board of directors of the Houston West Chamber of Commerce, and chairman of the governmental affairs committee as well as a board member of the Joint City/County Commission on Children. He received the HISD Apple Pin Award for extraordinary service to schools, and served on his neighborhood association board and as a Cub Scout den leader. Today, he serves as a board member of the Gulf Coast School Board Association, and also coaches youth soccer, basketball, and baseball.

Mr. Meyers earned a bachelor of business administration degree from Texas A&M University, with a double major in management and marketing, and a master of business administration degree from St. Mary’s University, with an emphasis in finance. In 1999, after 12 years in the dental-products industry, Mr. Meyers founded his own company. Currently Mr. Meyers works on the leadership team at Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School of Houston.

The son of an Air Force veteran, Mr. Meyers grew up in several U.S. cities, as well as in Okinawa, Japan. A Houstonian since the age of 15, he has developed a tremendous pride in and an understanding of the diversity and people that make Houston great. Mr. Meyers has two sons who attend HISD schools.


Harvin Moore was elected to the Board of Education in November 2003 and reelected in 2005 and 2009. He served as a board president in 2008.

Mr. Moore grew up in Houston’s Briarcroft and River Oaks neighborhoods and attended HISD’s Henry Grady Elementary School. He also attended River Oaks Elementary School and Sidney Lanier Junior High School during their first years as Vanguard schools. Active in scouting, Mr. Moore attained the rank of Eagle Scout in 1980. After graduating from St. John’s School in 1982, he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in business administration from New York University. A former national bank examiner for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Mr. Moore has worked in finance, marketing, and consulting in Houston for the last 20 years. He now serves as senior vice president for finance and operations at Sentinel Satellite, Inc., a Houston aerospace company.

Mr. Moore, who began volunteering his time and expertise on behalf of public education in the mid-1980s, has tutored and taught at-risk students in the East Harlem Tutorial Program in New York City and in HISD through Communities in Schools, Junior Achievement, and Kids Hope USA. From 2004 to the present, he has served as a Kids Hope Mentor at River Oaks Elementary School. He has served on the board of directors or advisory boards of Teach for America–Houston, KIPP Academy, the Houston Teachers’ Institute, the Neuhaus Education Center, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Reading Institute for Teacher Excellence, Preschool for ALL, the Texas Lyceum, the HISD Foundation, and the Powell Foundation. Mr. Moore has also served as grant director for public education at the Powell Foundation, where he led a six-month research project on reading curricula and teacher training for at-risk elementary students. After that review, he completed teacher training in four of the largest reading methodologies used in HISD. He currently serves on the board of the Texas Education Reform Foundation.

Mr. Moore is the publisher of The Transformation Times, an electronic newsletter which provides current news and opinion on educational issues, trends and initiatives. 

Mr. Moore and his wife Janet have a eight-year-old son and an thirteen-year-old daughter and are active members of the Church of St. John the Divine, which Moore has attended since he was a child.


Juliet K. Stipeche was elected to the Board of Education in November 2010 to complete an unfinished term. She was re-elected in 2011 and currently serves as board president. She believes that public education is a human right, is the great social equalizer, and is the foundation for a prosperous community.

Ms. Stipeche was born and raised in Houston and is the daughter of immigrant parents from Argentina and Mexico. She grew up in the diverse East End neighborhood of Houston where she continues to reside today. She was the valedictorian of her graduating class at HISD’s High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. She received an academic scholarship to Rice University, earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science, policy studies, and religious studies, graduating magna cum laude, and was awarded the Joseph Cooper Prize as the most outstanding policy studies student in her graduating class. Ms. Stipeche received her law degree from The University ofTexas School of Law and is a civil litigation attorney and a certified mediator. 

In 2013, Ms. Stipeche joined Rice University as Associate Director for the Richard Tapia Center for Excellence and Equity where she serves as project manager for various programs including the XSEDE Scholars Program, iAAMCS, and Empowering Leadership Alliance – Rice. She remains of counsel at the law firm of Nagorny & Stipeche, P.C.

Ms. Stipeche is a member of various professional organizations including the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Hispanic Professional Organization, and Houston Hispanic Bar Association. Over the years, Ms. Stipeche has also mentored, tutored, and volunteered at HISD schools. She has been active in her community, serving on the IdylwoodCivic Club, volunteering for organizations such as YaEsHora, the Human Rights Campaign, the American Heart Association, Barbara Jordan Ambassadors’ Program for Disabled Youth, the American Red Cross, TalentoBilingüe de Houston, and the Urban Souls Dance Company. In 2013, she was nominated and admitted as a Fellow in the Texas Bar Foundation -- an honor reserved only for the top 1/3 of 1% of Texas attorneys – based on her dedication to the administration of justice and her high professional standing among her peers. Ms. Stipeche is also a Fellow for the American Leadership Forum – Houston/Gulf Coast Chapter’s Core Class XXXI.


Wanda Adams was elected to the HISD Board of Education in 2013 after serving the limit of three two-year terms as Houston City Councilmember for District D.

Ms. Adams is a native Houstonian and product of HISD, graduating as a basketball standout from Kashmere High School. She received an athletic scholarship to Texas Southern University, where she earned her bachelor of science degree in public affairs and a master’s degree in public administration.

She is a professor of political science at her alma mater, bringing to her classroom not only experience as an elected official but a long career in public service for organizations and agencies including the Houston Housing Authority, Harris County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Association, and the Mayor’s Assistance Office.

The HISD trustee has traveled throughout the world – Africa, Europe, and South America – as an international ambassador for the City of Houston.

As a public servant, Adams has been committed to support for the homeless, veterans, the disabled, and mentally ill, and is a strong advocate for breast cancer awareness. Among the organizations for which she volunteers are the Houston Area Women’s Center, YMCA, YWCA, Keep Houston Beautiful, and Meals on Wheels in the Sunnyside community.

She serves as a trustee for the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and a national officer for the Social Action Commission for Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Ms. Adams is also a member of Leadership Houston Class 30.

Ms. Adams is a Sunday school teacher and international missionary for the Fountain of Praise church, through which she participated in a mission to Cape Town, South Africa, in 2013.

Among her honors are being featured in Houston Woman’s magazine’s Top 50 Women in Houston, the Houston Area Association for the Education of Young Children’s Elected Official of the Year Award, selection to’s Top 25 Women, and the Award of Distinction from the National Forum of Black Public Accountants.


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."