You can Vote Early for Martha Castex-Tatum at the Harris County Administration Building, Fiesta Mart on Kirby, Hiram Clarke Multi-Service Center, and The Platou Community Center in the Race for District K
The Harris County Administration Building is located at 1001 Preston, 4th Floor in Houston, Texas 77002; The Fiesta Mart Grocery Store is located at 8130 Kirby Drive in Houston, Texas 77054; The Hiram Clarke Multi-Service Center is located at 3810 W. Fuqua Street in Houston, Texas 77045; and Platou Community Center is located at 11655 Chimney Rock Road in Houston, Texas 77035. In case you don't already know, Martha Castex-Tatum is the only candidate in the race for Houston City Council District K who is asking for our vote, prayers, and support at this time! Martha Castex Tatum, Rodney Ellis,Dwight Boykins, Ellen Cohen, Pretta VanDible Stallworth, Jerry Davis, Addie Heyliger, Jolanda Jones, May Walker, Ronald Green, Rhonda Skillern Jones, Wanda Adams, Sharon M. Burney, Germaine Tanner, Dedra Davis, Linda Dunson, Ronnisha Bowman, Latosha Lewis Payne, Erica Hughes, Andrew White, Lupe Valdez, and Greg Abbott are a few of the featured people in the edition of Houston Business Connections Newspaper. All Rights Reserved! Houston Business Connections Newspaper is published by Aubrey R. Taylor Communications. Call (832)212-8735 for more information.
Houston Business Connections Newspaper© Would Like to Congratulate All 2018 Democratic and Republican, Candidates Who Have Earned their Respective Party's Nomination to Appear on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, Midterm Election Ballot in Harris County, Texas
ANALYSIS BY AUBREY R. TAYLOR
There’s a lot of talk about Texas being a red state floating around. Sure, traditionally that has been the case. But after the historic showing put on display by Texas Democrats on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, reasonable minds would have to agree that the aforementioned distinction could possibly be on the verge of becoming a hue of a different shade in the very near future – if Democrats have anything to say about it in the fall. But Tuesday, November 6, 2018, the day when Democratic hopefuls and Republican hopefuls are set to face off is still a little way’s off. Before we get there, we must first take care of a little unfinished inter-party business. So, let’s not forget about Tuesday, May 22, 2018 a day when Democrats and Republicans who failed to capture a majority of the vote back on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, must square off once more against their fellow inter-party rival in hopes of earning the “HIGHLY COVETED DISTINCTION” of “PARTY NOMINEE” for the Tuesday, November 6,, 2018 Midterm Election! Cosme Garcia, Dylan Osborne, Danyahel "Danny" Norris, Prince E. Bryant, II, Diane Trautman, Gayle Young Mitchell, Fran Watson, Rita Lucido, Jeff Williams, Mike Wolfe, Josh Wallenstein, Richard Cantu, Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, Laura Moser, Lupe Valdez, Andrew White, Marilyn Burgess, Rozzy Shorter, Michelle Fraga, Richard Risinger, Phillip Aronoff, Carmen Maria Montiel, Sandra G. Moore, Marty Schexnayder, Sharon M. Burney, Cheryl Elliott Thornton, Sri Preston Kulkarni, Letitia Plummer, Tawana Walter Cadien and Mike Siegel are the key candidates who need you to return to the polls on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 to cast a vote for them. In case you don’t already know, Monday, April 23, 2018, is the last day to register to vote in the Tuesday, May 22, 2018, Runoff Election in Texas. The first day of early voting is on Monday, May 14, 2018; and the last day to vote early in the Runoff Election is on Friday, May 18, 2018 – so don’t forget to vote early. Once the runoff business is taken care of, we must make it our business to elect the "BEST-QUALIFIED" candidates who value our vote in the midterms. Houston Business Connections Newspaper is published by Aubrey R. Taylor Communications. All Rights Reserved! For additional information call (832)212-8735 for editorial, press releases, or to schedule us to cover your upcoming event. You can reach the publisher directly at (281)788-3033 to discuss your advertising, branding, strategy, or ground-game needs!
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Judge Maria T Jackson, Our "Trailblazer of the Year" Has Her Sights Set on Making History in Texas in The 2018 Midterm Elections
Judge Maria T. Jackson could possibly become the first Democrat to win a statewide race in Texas since 1994. She's running for Presiding Judge for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Place 1. Judge Jackson has secured the 2018 Democratic nomination already. Now she must await the winner of the Tuesday, March 6, 2018, Republican Primary to see who she must defeat to become the first African American woman to ever serve on the highest court for criminal appeals in the state of Texas. This court consists of a Presiding Judge and eight other Judges. These honorable judges are elected by the voters of the entire state of Texas, and they hold their offices for terms of six years. Harris County is the "GOLDEN PRIZE" in statewide elections in Texas politics with over 2,234,671 registered voters – think Houston area. Bexar County has well over 1,045,357 registered voters – think San Antonio area. Dallas County has well over 1,287,082 registered voters – think Dallas area. Tarrant County has well over 1,077,598 registered voters – think Fort Worth area. The aforementioned numbers are from 2016 and were found on the Texas Secretary of State’s website.
Judge Maria T. Jackson, Judge David Bridges, and Presiding Judge Sharon Keller are the key candidates running for Presiding Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Place 1 in 2018
HBC MAGAZINE ©REPORTS
Now that the race for the United States Senate in Alabama between former U.S. attorney, Democrat Doug Jones, and Judge Roy Moore, the embattled former chief justice for the state of Alabama is settled – let’s turn our attention to a key statewide judicial race that’s going down in the Lone Star State in 2018. A race you can bet your bottom dollar many Texans will undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on is the one for Presiding Judge for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Place 1 involving three duly-qualified and capable Texas Judges. Democrat Judge Maria T. Jackson currently sits in the catbird seat (unchallenged in the 2018 Democratic Party Primary) awaiting the winner of the Tuesday, March 6, 2018, Republican Party Primary contest between Judge David Bridges who currently serves on Texas’ 5th District Court of Appeals -- and Presiding Judge Sharon Keller. Judge Bridges is seeking to unseat Presiding Judge Sharon Keller who will be in for the fight of her political life to gain her party’s nomination in the 2018 Republican Party Primary in Texas. In case you don’t know, Judge Sharon Keller is the judge who has faced more than a few issues in the past pertaining to ethical matters dating back to the 1990s. Perhaps the most notable of which, is when she blocked the last-minute appeal of death row inmate Michael Richard back in 2007 – according to published reports, she did so because the death row inmates’ attorneys were a few minutes past their deadline. Richard was ultimately executed a few hours after Judge Keller infamously uttered the words “we close at five.” But to be fair, Judge Sharon Keller has seemed to put most of the controversies she’s faced behind her heading into her 2018 showdown with Judge Bridges – but you can be sure, that Judge David Bridges isn’t about to let her past controversies go unmentioned.
Texas Criminal Court of Appeals Judges: Presiding Judge Sharon Keller – (Place 1), Judge Mary Lou Keel – (Place 2), Judge Bert Richardson – (Place 3), Judge Kevin Yeary – (Place 4), Judge Scott Walker – (Place 5), Judge Michael Keasler – (Place 6), Judge Barbara Hervey – (Place 7), Judge Elsa Alcala – (Place 8), and Judge David Newell – (Place 9).
ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN IN TEXAS IN 2018
In the current political climate, nobody knows for sure exactly what’s going to happen in Texas in 2018. “Between now and next fall you’re going to hear a lot about how Texas is a red state, and no Democrats can win here,” says Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections Magazine©. “But I beg to differ,” he says. “Sure, Texas is a strong conservative-leaning state that’s been entrusted to Republican leadership at the statewide level for many years,” he explains. “But if we’ve learned anything from what recently happened in that special election in Alabama – we should have learned that anything can happen in politics.”
IS TEXAS REALLY AS RED AS SOME WOULD HAVE US TO BELIEVE?
According to the Republican Party of Texas’ website, the people of Texas have entrusted Republicans with the stewardship of every statewide elected office and majorities in the state senate, state house and on the state board of education. Republicans currently have majorities in 107 Texas counties that contain nearly two-thirds of the state’s population. “Sure, in the past Republicans have beaten the brakes off Democrats at the statewide level in Texas,” says Taylor. “But there’s nothing mysterious about what’s happening in our state,” Taylor explains. “Look, nobody has a lock on Texas – and if they did, there’s a combination to crack the code on every lock – you just have to know the code. THE POLITICAL PARTY WHO TURN OUT THE MOST VOTERS win in Texas – IT’S JUST THAT SIMPLE! And currently, that party just happens to be the Republican Party.” In case you don’t know, no Democrat has won a statewide race in Texas since 1994 – but Judge Maria T. Jackson aims to change that in the 2018 Midterm Election in the Lone Star State.
CAN JUDGE MARIA T. JACKSON WIN STATEWIDE IN TEXAS?
Taylor believes Judge Maria T. Jackson has a shot and can win in Texas with the right strategy, outreach, branding, and financial support. “The numbers are there, but Judge Maria T. Jackson is going to need a lot of help to beat the Republican nominee – no matter who it turns out to be,” says Taylor. “But it’s not an improbable feat – there are several pathways to victory for her,” he says. “First off, you have to look at the numbers, back in the 2012 Presidential Election, Sharon Keller, the Republican faced off against Keith Hampton, the Democrat, and Lance Stott a Libertarian. Judge Keller handily beat her opponents back then. She earned 4,257,024 votes for 55.49% of the vote. Keith Hampton earned 3,163,825 votes for 41.24% of the vote. And Lance Stott earned 250,457 votes for 3.26% of the vote,” Taylor explains. “So at first glance, when you look at the final results – it looks like a show of dominance by Judge Keller, the Republican candidate. But a minimal amount of research paints a different view of what’s going down in the state of Texas.”
ANALYSIS OF JUDGE KELLER’S 2012 RACE
Back in 2012, the total number of registered voters was 13,646,226 in Texas. The total number of the voting age population in Texas back in 2012 was 18,279,737 according to the Texas Secretary of State. “Okay, so Judge Sharon Keller, the Republican beat Keith Hampton, the Democrat by 1,093,199 votes. Yes, that’s over a million votes – which is a respectable margin of victory,” Taylor explains. “But not so fast, back in 2012, the last time Judge Sharon Keller was challenged by a Democrat there were 13,646,226 registered voters, right? Well, the combined voter turnout in the race between Keller, Hampton, and Stott back in 2012 was only 7,671,306 votes. So, if you deduct 7,671,306 from 13,646,226 (the total number of registered voters at the time) you get 5,974,920 registered voters who either did not vote at all; or chose not to vote in this particular race,” Taylor says emphatically. What does this mean? “Well according to the numbers there were over 5 million votes left on the table,” says Taylor. “If say, 2 million or so of the registered voters who stayed at home, would have simply gone to the polls to vote – the results could have very easily turned out differently – the Democrat, Keith Hampton could have won the race.”
A LOOK BACK AT JUDGE KELLER’S 2006 RACE
Back in 2006, the total number of registered voters was 13,074,279 in Texas. The total number of the voting age population in Texas back in 2006 was 16,636,742 according to the Texas Secretary of State. “Now, back in 2006 Judge Sharon Keller, the Republican received 2,346,204 votes for 56.65% of the vote. The Democrat candidate J.R. Molina received 1,795,416 for 43.35% of the vote. So, the margin of victory for Judge Sharon Keller was 550,788 votes. “The win by Judge Keller, back in 2006 was respectable,” says Taylor. “Winning elections is about which candidate can garner the most votes – and back in 2006 Judge Sharon Keller did just that,” he explains. However, only 4,141,620 registered voters voted in the Keller versus Molina showdown back in 2006. So if you subtract 4,141,620 from 13,074,279 what you are going to discover is that 8,932,659 Texas voters decided for one reason or another to not have their voices heard back in 2006. If a few hundred thousand of the registered voters who stayed at home had elected to go to the polls -- once again, the results of this contest could have possibly gone in favor of the Democrat. "So rather than painting the state of Texas as a red state, I like to refer to it as a state where (since 1994) the Republican Party has simply turned out more voters than the Democrats in statewide elections," says Taylor.
OUTLOOK FOR 2018 IN TEXAS
The bottom line is that Texas is dominated by Republican candidates in statewide races in large part because more registered Republican voters go to the polls, than do Democrat voters in statewide races. So in essence, since 1994, any candidate with an “R” before their name on the ballot has almost been guaranteed the victory.
PARTY AFFILIATION HAS BEEN THE KEY SINCE 1994
“In statewide races since 1994, it has simply come down to party affiliation – not qualifications, experience and readiness to serve,” says Taylor. “Most of the time, both nominees have been duly-qualified – but the Republicans appear to have just been better mobilized and financed when it comes to running statewide campaigns,” proclaims Taylor. “The only question for Judge Maria T. Jackson will be can she raise the financial capital needed to spread her name across the state,” he says. But can Judge Jackson emerge victorious next fall? “Well, any pathway to victory for Judge Maria T. Jackson must start with her running up the number "BIG TIME" in Harris County, her home base – winning Harris County is a must,” says Taylor. “If Judge Maria T. Jackson can’t win Harris County in 2018 – its game over,” he says.
TEXAS COUNTIES JUDGE MARIA T. JACKSON MUST WIN
Harris County is the "GOLDEN PRIZE" in Texas politics with over 2,234,671 registered voters – think Houston. Bexar County has well over 1,045,357 registered voters – think San Antonio area. Dallas County has well over 1,287,082 registered voters – think Dallas area. Tarrant County has well over 1,077,598 registered voters – think Fort Worth area,” says Taylor.
JUDGE JACKSON MUST RUN COMPETITIVELY IN THESE COUNTIES
Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections Magazine© says that Judge Maria T. Jackson and any other Democratic candidate hoping to turn Texas blue must run very competitive races in the following Texas counties: Galveston County – think Galveston; Fort Bend County – think Richmond; Brazoria County – think Angleton/Pearland; Travis County – think Austin; Starr County – think Rio Grande City; Smith County – think Tyler; Randall County – think Canyon; Potter County – think Amarillo; Nueces County – think Corpus Christi; Montgomery County – think Conroe; Midland County – think Midland; Bell County – think Belton; McLennan County – think Waco; Lubbock County – think Lubbock; Kaufman County – think Kaufman; Johnson County – Cleburne; Jefferson County – think Beaumont; Hidalgo County – think Edinburg; Hays County – think San Marcos; Guadalupe County – think Seguin; Gregg County – think Longview,; Grayson County – think Sherman; El Paso County – El Paso; Ector County – think Odessa; Ellis County – think Waxahachie; Denton County – think Denton; Comal County – think New Braunfels, and Cameron County – think Brownsville.
Judge Maria T. Jackson has been the presiding Judge of the 339th State District Court in Houston, Harris County, Texas since the election of 2008. Judge Jackson presides over serious felony offenses, which run the gamut from low-level drug offenses to capital murder. She has presided over one hundred jury trials and several have been featured on The First 48 Hour national television show. She has appeared on many Houston radio and media outlets like Red, White and Blue Political Show, Magic 102, KCOH, and The Prison Show on FM 90.1. Judge Jackson has taken the lead in implementing sweeping changes for DWI probationers in her court. These changes are so notable that the Harris County Probation Department has followed Judge Jackson’s lead in implementing them countywide.
B.A. Political Science
The University of Texas at Arlington
Doctor of Jurisprudence
Texas A&M School of Law formerly
Texas Wesleyan School of Law
Judge Maria T. Jackson has served by appointment of the Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice as the presiding Judge in Cameron County, Texas. The United States Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, the District Attorneys of Alabama, and the National Judicial College selected Judge Jackson as one of twenty-four judges from across the country to receive training at the National Computer Forensics Institute (NCFI). In 2003-2008, Judge Jackson was appointed by the Mayor and City Council as a Fulltime Municipal Court Judge for the City of Houston. During her tenure as a Municipal Court Judge, she also served as a trainer and instructor for the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center. She was a Municipal Bond Attorney and a certified Mediator.
Professional Activities and Memberships
Judge Jackson’s devotion does not stop at public service. She is also a devoted member of her profession and her alma mater Texas A&M University School of Law formerly Texas Wesleyan School of Law. Judge Jackson serves on the Board of District Judges, where she chairs the Security Committee and serves on the Administration of Justice and the Legislative Committee. She serves on the Mental Health Task Force Board. She is currently a member of the State Bar of Texas, Texas State Bar College, Garland R. Walker American Inns of Court, American Bar Association, Houston Lawyers Association, Houston Bar Association, and the Mexican American Bar Association. She serves on the Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards Committee. She is a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and the Houston Bar Foundation. She previously served as past Co-Chair of the Speakers Bureau Committee for the Houston Bar Association and on the Board of Directors for Texas A&M University School of Law.
When Judge Jackson is not pursuing her passion for the law, she serves her community by volunteering as a mentor for at-risk youth, high school students, law students and young lawyers. She is a lifetime member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. She is an active member of the Houston Chapter of Links, Inc., where she serves as Chair of the Services to the Youth program. She is a sustaining member of the Harris County Democratic Party. She is a member of the Lakewood Church. She is also a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Judge Maria T. Jackson’s passion for public service has not gone unnoticed. Her service to the community has led a number of organizations to recognize her. Judge Jackson was named “Best Criminal Court Judge of 2011” by the Houston Press, making her the first African American woman to be given this honor. D-Mars.com Business Journal awarded Judge Jackson the People’s Choice Award for two consecutive years in 2012 and 2013. In 2014, Judge Jackson was named one of the “Top 30 Most Influential Women of Houston.” In 2015, Judge Jackson was recognized again for her judicial service to the community by the Lebanon Times magazine. She was a Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Black Heritage Honoree, a Houston Bar Association-CLE distinguished member, and recognized by Houston’s Influential 40 Under 40. The Houston Sun honored Judge Jackson the “Women of Power and Purpose” award in 2013. In addition to breaking the barriers for minority women in the legal profession, Judge Jackson broke barriers for Houston Municipal judges by being the first judge to be acknowledged by the Mayor’s Spotlight City of Houston employee newspaper. In addition to her accomplishments at the state level, Judge Jackson has been recognized as a “Woman of Now” hall of fame honoree by the U.S. House of Representatives, 18th Congressional District.
In case you haven’t heard, Judge Maria T. Jackson is endeavoring to have her name written in the annals of Texas history on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, in the General Midterm Election. She has been the presiding Judge of the 339th State District Court in Harris County, Texas since the 2008 Presidential Election; but now has set her sights on becoming the first African American woman to serve as Presiding Judge on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals -- which is Texas' highest court for criminal cases.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals currently consists of a Presiding Judge and eight other Judges. These judges are duly-elected by the voters throughout the entire state, and hold their offices for terms of six years.”We chose Judge Maria T. Jackson as our ‘Trailblazer of the Year’ a very good reason,” says Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections Magazine®.”And our non-partisan group of readers who chose Judge Jackson aren’t the only ones who think so -- Judge Jackson was named “Best Criminal Court Judge of 2011” by the Houston Press, several years ago, making her the first African American woman to be given this honor,” says Taylor. But can she succeed at winning a statewide office in Texas when so many other Democrats have failed? “Anything is possible,” says Taylor. “Sure, Judge Maria T. Jackson is a Democrat through and through; but she’s one of the few Democrats in Harris County who also has a pretty strong base of conservative and independent supporters,” he explains. According to Taylor, that’s what makes her a dangerous candidate on the statewide level.”She’s going to need a lot of help -- but if any African American woman can do it -- SHE CAN!”
EX-ROCKET PLEADS NO CONTEST TO GIRLFRIEND’S ASSAULT: Two high-profile lawyers. A pro athlete and A lover scorned...All gathered inside Judge Maria T. Jackson’s 339th Criminal District Court in Harris County trading accusations, shedding tears and making deals...When the smoke cleared, former Houston Rockets forward Jordan Hill, 25, had pleaded no contest to assaulting his then-girlfriend earlier in 2016, in a move to avoid a felony trial and allow him to rejoin the Los Angeles Lakers. Hill pictured above with prominent Houston attorney Rusty Hardin.
STUDENT SENTENCED TO 48 YEARS IN LONE STAR COLLEGE CAMPUS STABBING: Judge Maria T. Jackson had tough words for Dylan Quick before she sentenced him to 48 years in person. Jackson called Quick's actions "horrific" and said they represent "one of society's worst nightmares." Jackson said Quick targeted "totally and completely innocent" people and "only by the grace of God" did no one "DIE" in the April 2013 attack.
ON TRIAL FOR BURYING HER BABY ALIVE: Narjes Modarresi, 32 was sentenced to life in prison for the April 2010 murder of two-month-old Masih Golabbakhsh by a jury in Judge Maria T. Jackson’s court. The jury deliberated for two hours before returning the guilty verdict... Modarresi is pictured above with defense attorney George Parnham. According to the defense, the severe bipolar disorder is the reason Narjes Modarresi buried her 2-month-old son alive.
‘BONNIE & CLYDE’ DEFENDANT SAYS SHE WAS HOSTAGE DURING CRIME SPREE: Kimberly Nicole Cormier, 42, claimed she was held at gunpoint for days after she accidentally witnessed her boyfriend shoot his cocaine dealer, then the dealer's neighbor on Sept. 2, 2014. Cormier was ultimately found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the “Bonnie & Clyde” type crime spree.
A FEW OF JUDGE MARIA T. JACKSON’S 2016 COMMITTED SUPPORTERS DURING HER MOST RECENT RE-ELECTION VICTORY
Attorney George Parnham
Attorney Windi Alina Pastorini
Attorney Mary Elizabeth Conn
Attorney Ed Chernoff
Attorney Dorian Cotlar
Attorney Brian Coyne
Attorney Gordon Dees
Attorney Mike DeGeurin
Attorney Dick DeGuerin
Attorney Todd Dupont
Attorney Chris Flood
Attorney Charles Flood
Attorney Carl Haggard
Attorney Rusty Hardin
Attorney Cheryl Irvin
Attorney Deborah Keyser
Attorney Thomas Martin
Attorney Mac Miller
Attorney Tyronne Moncriffe
Attorney Loretta Muldrow
Attorney Alvin Nunnery
Attorney Wendell Odom, Jr.
Attorney Carmen Roe
Attorney J. Philip Scardino
Attorney Robert Scardino
Attorney Kent Schaffer
Attorney Randy Schaffer
Attorney Josh Schaffer
Attorney James Stafford
Attorney Son Tran
Attorney Chris Tritico
Attorney Ned Turnbull
Attorney Brian Wice
Attorney Connie Williams
Attorney Cornell Williams
Attorney Catherine Bean
Attorney David Bires
Attorney Dan Cogdell
Attorney Skip Cornelius
Attorney Eric Davis
Attorney Nicole DeBorde
Attorney Ronald Green
Attorney Matt Hennessey
Attorney James Kennedy
Attorney Richard Kuniansky
Attorney Edward Mallett
Attorney Alvin Nunnery
Attorney Anthony Osso
Attorney David Adler
Attorney Alexander Forrest
Attorney Richard Haynes
Attorney Robert Jones
Attorney Thomas Joseph Lewis
Attorney Clive Markland
Attorney Brent Mayr
Attorney Reginald McKamie
Attorney Carl Moore
Attorney Letitia D. Quinones
Attorney Carmen Rose
Attorney Catherine Samaan
Attorney Tony Smith
Attorney Monique C. Sparks
Aubrey R. Taylor, the president, and CEO of Aubrey R. Taylor Communications is the publisher of Houston Business Connections Magazine©. Taylor has more than 26-years of experience in marketing branding, public relations and political consulting. He’s publicly promoted Republican and Democratic candidates in statewide elections and in local municipalities throughout the Lone Star State. He’s also publicly promoted (through his publications) such corporations and institutions as Shell Oil, The City of Houston, Texas Southern University, Prairie View A&M University, Chevron, Waste Management, Nationwide Insurance, Momentum Jaguar/BMW, State Farm Insurance, and Allstate Insurance to name a few. A visionary in his own right, Taylor has also helped many incumbent Democrats and Republicans to hold onto their seats amidst stiff challenges from political rivals -- but he’s also played strategic roles in developing strategies to help his clients unseat more than a few incumbents as well. His private group of “nonpartisan” HBC Magazine© Readers has assisted him with picking the best candidates to recommend in “PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS” and “MIDTERM ELECTIONS” on a regular basis. In case you don’t remember, back in the Tuesday, November 8, 2016 “PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION” his “nonpartisan” group of Houston Business Connections Magazine© Readers made “RECOMMENDATIONS” in sixty-seven (67) races on the ballot in Harris County, Texas. The Houston Chronicle (EDITORIAL BOARD) made endorsements in the same sixty-seven (67) races.
The Houston Chronicle’s (EDITORIAL BOARD) posted a record of: (38 ENDORSEMENT WINS AND 29 ENDORSEMENT LOSSES) while the “nonpartisan” group of Houston Business Connections Magazine© Readers posted a record of: (51 ENDORSEMENT WINS AND 16 ENDORSEMENT LOSSES). So, who would you rather have as your media partner?
NEED A MEDIA PARTNER?
If you are a candidate running for public office in the Tuesday, March 6, 2018, Democratic Party Primary, or Republican Party Primary and need a strategy, branding, or marketing assistance, please call (832)212-8735, or (281)788-3033 today!
AUBREY R. TAYLOR COMMUNICATIONS
957 NASA PARKWAY #251
HOUSTON, TEXAS 77058-3039
Monday, December 18, 2017
Tyler Perry, Mattress Mack, Audrie Lawton, Dr Letitia Plummer, Judge Maria T Jackson -- 2017 Year End Review Edition
QUOTE OF THE YEAR: “There are no politics in eight feet of water…There are human beings in eight feet of water.” – SANDRA BULLOCK
As 2017 Comes to A Close, Let’s Not forget that the Struggle to Recover from Hurricane Harvey is Still Ongoing for Many Texas Families All Across the Lone Star State
HBC MAGAZINE© REPORTS
Houston Business Connections Magazine© is proud to announce a few of the local leaders, government entities, and national celebrities who will be featured inside our “2017 Year-End Review Edition” of our special “KEEPSAKE” commemorative issue. You can expect to see information published inside this issue about: FEMA, Governor Greg Abbott, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, O’CONNOR, Jim McIngvale, Jim Crane, J.J. Watt, Beyoncé, Deshaun Watson, James Harden, Sandra Bullock, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kevin Hart, Nicki Minaj, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Drake, Ellen DeGeneres, Miley Cyrus, The Kardashian/Jenner women, DJ Khaled, Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez, Green Day, Judge Loyd Wright, Judge John Schmude, Judge Christine Riddle Butts, Judge Maria T. Jackson, Council Member Mike Knox, Former Judge Renee Magee, State Rep. Shawn Thierry, Trustee-Elect Dr. Pretta VanDible Stallworth, Dr. Letitia Plummer, Attorney Audrie Lawton, Pioneer Bank’s Gloria Sanderson, Art & Koffey Smith, other distinguished leaders – including a few 2018 Democratic and Republican candidates running for office in the Tuesday, March 6, 2018 Primaries in the Lone Star State. Houston Business Connections Magazine© is published by Aubrey R. Taylor Communications. Call (832)212-8735, or (281)788-3033 for more information. All rights reserved.
TEXAS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME
Make no mistake about it -- Texas will never be the same following the havoc wreaked on families across the Lone Star State in 2017. “Praise God, the death toll wasn’t higher. But I think it’s going to take a long time for Texas to fully recover from Harvey related issues. And I’m not sure if the rest of the world will ever truly grasp how devastating Harvey’s relentless downpour actually was on Texas families – especially those living in the Houston-area,” says Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections Magazine©.
HOW BAD WAS HURRICANE HARVEY?
According to FEMA: there were 360,920 Individual Assistance Applications Approved; The total Individual & Households Program Dollars Approved: $1,485,298,678.46 dollars; and the total number of Public Assistance Grants Dollars Obligated was $502,344,847.39 dollars.
A FEW PEOPLE WHO CARED ABOUT US
What Texans star J.J. Watt did in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey was nothing short of amazing. However, there were many other celebrities who also opened up their hearts and pocketbooks to assist Houstonians in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. We don’t have enough space to mention everyone who chipped in, but we would be remiss if we didn’t recognize a few of the folks who made life a little easier for Texans during, and after the storm.
JJ WATT CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
JJ WATT IS A SPECIAL HUMAN BEING
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank JJ Watt for hearing the cry of the people. What initially began as a goal to raise $200,000 to help victims of Hurricane Harvey quickly ballooned to more than $37 million in much-needed assistance. “JJ Watt get’s it,” says Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections©. “JJ could have sat back and asked people to send up prayers – now don’t get me wrong, prayer is a good thing, and we need all the prayers we can get during these difficult times. I’m sure that JJ prayed, but it was JJ’s actions that implored others to generously give,” says Taylor.
TEAM JJ WATT IN ACTION
WAY TO GO JJ WATT
“It’s heart-warming to see people who are blessed and understand that God has blessed them to be a blessing to others,” Taylor explains. “Seeing JJ in action reminded me of a passage of scripture in Luke 12:48 which states: “…For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him, they will ask the more.”
GOV. GREG ABBOTT CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
GOVERNOR ABBOTT DELIVERED OVER $136 MILLION IN DISASTER RELIEF MONEY TO HOUSTON, HARRIS COUNTY
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to take the moment to thank Governor Greg Abbott for delivering more than $136 million in disaster aid to help Houston and Harris County cover the cost of Hurricane Harvey efforts. In case you don’t already know, Gov. Abbott presented Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner with a check in the amount of $91.2 million. And the honorable Harris County Judge Ed Emmett was presented with a check in the amount of $44.5 million by Gov. Abbott. Way to go Mr. Governor!
THE BEYGOOD TEAM CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to take this moment to thank Beyoncé and her BeyGOOD TEAM for their ongoing efforts to assist Houstonians in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Beyonce is encouraging everyone concerned about Hurricane Harvey victims to continue to support: www.breadoflifeinc.org today!
JAMES HARDEN CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to take this moment to thank James Harden for giving $1 million to help Houstonians in need in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
DESHAUN WATSON CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Deshaun Watson for giving his first game check to cafeteria workers at NRG Stadium who were hit hard by the floodwaters left by Hurricane Harvey.
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank “Mattress Mack” for opening the doors of Gallery Furniture to victims of Hurricane Harvey. And for everything else he did in the aftermath of this catastrophic weather event.
CONGRESSWOMAN LEE CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to take this moment to thank Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee for coming back to the 18th Congressional District of Texas and making sure that her constituents were getting the resources they needed to begin rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
SANDRA BULLOCK CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Sandra Bullock for giving $1 million to the Red Cross to assist with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in the Lone Star State.
LEONARDO DiCAPRIO CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Leonardo DiCaprio for giving $1 million to charities working to help Texas recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
KEVIN HART HAS A HEART FOR HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Kevin Hart for rallying his friends and other celebrities to answer the cry for assistance by victims of Hurricane Harvey.
STATE REP. THIERRY CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to take this moment to thank State Representative Shawn Thierry (HD-146) for fighting to make sure that her constituents were getting housing, healthcare, and clothing to get their lives back on track in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. In case you don’t know, State Rep. Shawn Thierry took an unfurnished retail space and transformed it into: “Thierry’s Threads & More Store”. This store was exclusively stocked with items for families impacted by the Hurricane Harvey flooding. Each family who attended the store received $1,000 bonus bucks to spend on items of their choice.
NICKI MINAJ CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Nicki Minaj for her $25,000 contribution to assist local efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in response to Kevin Hart’s Hurricane Harvey Relief challenge.
THE ROCK CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for his $50,000 contribution in response to Kevin Hart’s Hurricane Harvey Relief challenge.
DRAKE CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Drake for his $200,000 donation in response to Kevin Hart’s Hurricane Harvey Relief challenge.
TYLER PERRY CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Tyler Perry for answering the call to service by donating $1 million to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts -- $250,000 of which went to Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church.
MICHELLE & ELLEN BOTH CARE ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank former first lady Michelle Obama and Ellen DeGeneres for all they did to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. DeGeneres gave $1 million to JJ Watt’s Relief Effort.
MILEY CYRUS CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Miley Cyrus for donating $500,000 of her personal funds to the Hurricane Harvey Relief effort.
THESE GIRLS HAVE A HEART FOR HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank The Kardashian/Jenner clan for their $500,000 combined contribution to assist Hurricane Harvey victims in the aftermath of the storm.
DJ KHALED CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank DJ Khaled for his prayers and $25,000 contribution to help the people of Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
ALEX AND JENNIFER BOTH CARE ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez for their combined gift of $50,000 to the Red Cross for to assist in the recovery process after seeing the destruction left by Hurricane Harvey.
GREEN DAY CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Green Day for their $100,000 donation to Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts.
PIONEER BANK CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Gloria Sanderson, the SVP,CRA/Fair Lending Officer at Pioneer Bank for helping Arthur and Koffey Smith of “SUPER BOLD CITY” with a $15,000 dollar grant. The grant was made possible by way of their “Small Business Recovery Grant Program” done in partnership with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas to help small businesses get back on their feet after Hurricane Harvey. Sanderson can be reached at, (281)632-1516, or by cell at, (281)222-7458 for more information.
THERE ARE STILL MORE FAMILIES STRUGGLING THROUGHOUT THE STATE OF TEXAS
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to ask you to continue to pray and give to efforts aimed at helping families that are still struggling to recover in the following Texas counties: Aransas, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Brazoria, Caldwell, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Grimes, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Tyler, Victoria, Walker, Waller, and Wharton.
THE HARVEY FEDERAL TAX REFUND PROGRAM CREATED BY O'CONNOR IS HERE TO HELP HARVEY VICTIMS TO GET THEIR MONEY BACK
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank the entire O'CONNOR LEADERSHIP TEAM for their tireless work and commitment to helping those affected by this natural disaster. In case you haven’t already heard, O'CONNOR has created a special “HARVEY FEDERAL TAX REFUND PROGRAM” for individuals who paid income taxes back in 2016. If you did so, you may qualify for a “FEDERAL TAX REFUND” – and it could go back to 2013. “I really like the fact that there are no upfront out-of-pocket costs to applicants who want to see if they qualify to “GET THEIR MONEY BACK” from the government,” says Taylor.
NO SAVINGS, NO FEE. GUARANTEED!
“According to the great folks at O'CONNOR, they only get paid when you get paid. And above that, their fee is a “FLAT FEE” and will not exceed 10% of your resulting tax reduction – and that’s great news for Texans in desperate need of help during these difficult times,” explains Taylor.
SOUND’S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE? – THINK AGAIN!!!
Look, the fine people at O'CONNOR are knowledgeable, Property Tax Experts, and they know what they’re doing. This isn’t some fly-by-night firm – they’ve been delivering results for Texans for a long time. “After all, the IRS tax code § 165 includes regulations that allow you to deduct casualty losses, such as damage to your home due to flooding from Hurricane Harvey. So, according to O'CONNOR, you can claim the loss you’ve experienced on your tax return – so don’t sleep on this program,” implores Taylor.
DON’T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT
During times like these, it’s difficult to know who you can trust. So check out a few of these testimonials from satisfied O'CONNOR clients:
TESTIMONIAL FROM A HOMEOWNER IN HOUSTON, TEXAS
“I don’t know how you did it, but I am impressed. I signed up with you for the first time this year. I protested my own tax appraisal last year and although not satisfied, managed to get HCAD to reduce my appraisal by $26,600. This year, I thought whatever you could do would be gravy. Well, you got HCAD to reduce it by $40,400! I will gleefully pay your bill when I receive it. You are awesome! Thanks so much for your representation.”
TESTIMONIAL FROM A HOMEOWNER IN WAXAHACHIE, TX
“The hearing results thrilled me! I must convey my deep gratitude to your firm on the superb job you have done representing us!! I tried to do this protest a few years ago with a friend who is a realtor. We didn’t have the clout. You do, and you use it for the good, for the relief of the overburdened taxpayer. I applaud your work and I will pass the word on to family and friends.”
TESTIMONIAL FROM A HOMEOWNER IN AUSTIN, TEXAS
“Finally, a program that protects homeowners! It was easy to enroll in The Property Tax Enrollment Program. The added benefits and my secure property portal with 24/7 are great. Overpaying property taxes is one less thing I need to worry about now!”
TESTIMONIAL FROM A HOMEOWNER IN HOUSTON, TEXAS
“I wanted to give you a word of thanks for the job you did. With little time to appeal my valuation myself, your service was outstanding, from the questions I had on the phone to the final results.”
TESTIMONIAL FROM A STATEWIDE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT FIRM
“O’Connor & Associates is the leader when it comes to aggressive tax appeals in Texas. Last year, they were able to lower taxes on multiple properties with outstanding results. I strongly recommend the services of O’Connor & Associates, who consistently achieve superior results.”
TESTIMONIAL FROM A NATIONAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT FIRM
“I have been an O’Connor client for years and they continue to amaze me. It’s simple… hire O’Connor or pay more than your competitors.”
TESTIMONIAL FROM MULTIPLE OFFICE PROPERTIES IN HOUSTON
“As a result of O’Connor & Associates’ aggressive litigation efforts and continuous support, our property taxes have been reduced. I give O’Connor & Associates an AAA+ rating and recommend them to anyone who enjoys dealing with bright and responsive consultants who can save you money.”
TESTIMONIAL FROM A COMMERCIAL PROPERTY OWNER IN HOUSTON
“O’Connor took all the uncertainty out of the litigation process and handled the entire appeal from start to finish.”
DON’T WAIT ANOTHER MINUTE TO CALL O’CONNOR
According to the good folks at O'CONNOR, depending on your situation and circumstances you may qualify for a tax refund right now – and the money can be used to begin your much-needed property repairs sooner – rather than later.
O’CONNOR will take two steps to do this:
STEP #1: Regardless of flood insurance coverage, O’CONNOR will work with you on your unique situation. So what are you waiting for? GET YOUR MONEY BACK NOW! Call 833-Aid-4-Harvey! Or visit www.Aid4Harvey.com for more information.
STEP #2: The knowledgeable team at O’CONNOR will then coordinate the property appraisal and amended tax return for a turn-key, painless process – SO DON’T WAIT for ANOTHER MINUTE!
Houston Office (Corporate Office)
2200 North Loop West, Suite 200
Houston, TX 77018
Dallas Office (By appointment only)
12300 Ford Rd., Suite #D365
Dallas, TX 75234
Austin Office (By appointment only)
Foxglove Executive Suites
11782 Jollyville Rd., Suite 103
Austin, TX 78759
San Antonio Office (By appointment only)
Galaxy Plaza II
8535 Wurzbach Rd., Ste. 203
San Antonio, TX 78240
MEET TEAM O’CONNOR
Patrick O’Connor has been active in reducing property taxes, providing expert witness testimony and appraising commercial real estate property since 1983. Pat is active in publishing analyses and data with respect to the real estate market while being a highly regarded media spokesperson for the real estate community. He holds an MAI, the highest achievable designation from the Appraisal Institute, and is a licensed senior property tax consultant. Pat earned a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University. In 2001, he authored the first definitive consumer guide to Texas property taxes, Cut Your Texas Property Taxes.
On a conservative basis, Kathleen O’Connor manages the financial operations of the company. Working with outside accountants, Kathleen authorizes annual financial statements and projections. She monitors and reviews all expenditures, helps develop financial policies and procedures, and oversees payroll functions. Kathleen is a graduate of Baylor College, is a licensed Real Estate Broker and is very active in CREW. For more than twenty years, she has been an active participant in O’Connor, taking pride in its growth from a small firm to a company with a national reputation and more than 600 local and international employees.
Mike has more than 25 years of consulting and operational management experience in the information technology, retail, and real estate industries. Mike’s real estate background includes software consulting and federal tax reduction consulting. Previously, he served as national director of the Federal Tax Reduction department. In his role, Mike helped O’Connor analyze more than $15 billion in commercial and multifamily real estate while providing services and consultation in the areas of cost segregation, asset abandonment, bonus depreciation, qualified leasehold improvement, tenant improvement allocation, purchase price allocation, casualty loss, capital gains and 1031 exchange analysis. He is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin.
Historic Disaster Response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas
AUSTIN, Texas – With nearly 4.5 feet of rain and 130 mph winds, Hurricane Harvey propelled a disaster response that was the largest in Texas state history.
Neighbors, strangers, nonprofit organizations, and governments at all levels joined together to mount an extraordinary effort to save lives and meet the needs of thousands of people who suffered from the storm and subsequent flooding. It was Texans helping Texans, aided by people who came to Texas from all parts of the nation.
Before the storm made landfall near Rockport on Aug. 25, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had pre-positioned supplies and personnel in the state, ready to join the Texas Division of Emergency Management, local agencies, nonprofit and faith-based organizations and the private sector in responding to the devastation caused by the storm.
President Trump issued a major disaster declaration immediately that allowed dozens of federal agencies to assign personnel to support the State of Texas in response and recovery. Within days, the number of FEMA employees, other federal agencies, and the National Guard deployed topped 31,000, all focused on helping Texans respond to Harvey.
More than 19 trillion gallons of rainwater fell on parts of Texas, causing widespread, catastrophic flooding. Nearly 80,000 homes had at least 18 inches of floodwater, 23,000 of those with more than 5 feet. The Houston area experienced the largest amount of rainwater ever recorded in the continental United States from a single storm (51.88 inches). Twenty-four hospitals were evacuated, 61 communities lost drinking water capability, 23 ports were closed and 781 roads were impassable. Nearly 780,000 Texans evacuated their homes. In the days after the storm, more than 42,000 Texans were housed temporarily in 692 shelters. Local, state and federal first responders rescued 122,331 people and 5,234 pets.
MOVING TO RECOVERY
The volume of applications for disaster assistance was one of the highest in FEMA history. To date, 792,000 households have applied for assistance. Most of those registrations were online at DisasterAssistance.gov or on mobile devices using the FEMA app. Because of the exceptional volume, FEMA’s national processing service center used surge staff from FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies to assist with the traffic. The Internal Revenue Service, for example, assigned 2,300 staff to FEMA’s service center beginning Sept. 5.
Within 30 days, more than $1.5 billion in federal funds was paid to Texans impacted by the disaster, including assistance grants, low-interest disaster loans, and flood insurance advance payments.
During that period, 270,916 Texas households were provided $571.8 million from FEMA for temporary housing, basic repairs to make homes safe and habitable, and for other essential needs. More than 24,000 families are living temporarily in hotel rooms paid for by FEMA because their homes are uninhabitable. More than 2,100 remain in shelters until longer-term housing can be found.
Texans filed more than 87,000 flood insurance claims and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has made $608 million in expedited claims payments. NFIP implemented temporary changes to the claims process to help policyholders get started rebuilding as soon as possible.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the principal source of federal funds for rebuilding after a disaster, has approved $367 million in low-interest disaster loans to more than 4,340 Texas businesses, homeowners, and renters as a result of Hurricane Harvey.
HOW A FEW KEY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES RESPONDED TO HURRICANE HARVEY
The Coast Guard deployed 2,060 personnel, 50 aircraft, 75 boats and 29 cutters, rescuing 11,022 people and 1,384 pets.
FEMA assigned 28 Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams from across the nation to deploy to Texas to assist state and local agencies with the lifesaving mission. The teams rescued 6,453 people and 237 animals, using boats and high-water trucks. Search and rescue efforts involved USAR, National Parks Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Customs and Border Patrol and the Department of Defense.
FEMA supplied 3 million meals, 3 million liters of water, 9,900 blankets, 8,840 cots and 10,300 hygiene kits to the state for distribution to survivors. FEMA quickly provided $186 million in Public Assistance funding to reimburse local and state agencies for the cost of emergency protective measures and debris removal. FEMA deployed teams of specialists to neighborhoods and disaster recovery centers to help Texans with registration and questions about disaster assistance. FEMA coordinated National Business Emergency Operations Center calls among 150 private sector partners working on disaster response, worked with social media companies to share disaster information and assisted cell service companies in providing charging stations for disaster survivors.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deployed more than 1,110 personnel with medical equipment and supplies. Personnel provided medical care to 5,359 patients and conducted 60 shelter assessments. The department helped move Port Arthur residents who had been living in floodwater-contaminated houses and apartments to temporary housing at the Bob Bowers Civic Center.
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists deployed to the coast to help the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast storm surge and beach erosion, then worked through Harvey’s landfall to keep the NWS informed of real-time flooding. After the floodwaters receded, USGS scientists collected more than 1,500 high-water marks to help develop future flood maps.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) contacted all 61 public housing authorities in the disaster area to assess damage and to identify unoccupied units that could be made available to HUD-assisted and other survivors. Those authorities manage 91 public housing developments that serve 200,000 families. HUD did the same assessment with its 454 FHA-insured apartment complexes, comprising 50,000 units, of which 20,000 have direct HUD rental assistance. HUD also canvassed the four-state area surrounding the disaster for available public housing and multifamily housing units.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), deploying 390 personnel, worked with local and state agencies and the Coast Guard to clear navigation channels, allowing critical ports to resume operations. Engineers performed generator inspections and installations to provide temporary emergency power at critical locations and provided technical assistance for debris, temporary housing, and commodities missions.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), working with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, completed 625 drinking water assessments and 441 wastewater assessments. The agency conducted assessments of 43 Superfund sites and recovered 517 containers of unidentified, potentially hazardous material.
The Department of Energy (DOE) supported the Texas Division of Emergency Management and utility companies in efforts to restore power to more than 300,000 customers. Utility companies responded in a coordinated effort, activating their mutual support networks and assigning more than 10,000 workers from at least 21 states to the response and recovery effort, including crews, line workers, and support personnel. DOE worked with the EPA to issue waivers that allowed more fuel to go into the supply pipeline. Secretary Perry authorized the release of 5.3 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a resource if needed.
The Department of Defense (DoD) supported more than 30 mission assignments from FEMA that included search and rescue, strategic airlift, transportation, evacuation, installations support, patient movement and logistics. As part of the search and rescue mission, U.S. Northern Command rescued nearly 3,000 people.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), working with the Texas Gulf Coast Small Business Development Center, opened five business recovery centers to provide a wide range of services to businesses impacted by the disaster. SBA extended the deferment for the first payment from the standard five months to 11 months from the date the borrower signs the loan closing documents. SBA provided an automatic 12-month deferment of principal and interest payments for SBA-serviced business and disaster loans that were in regular servicing status on Aug. 25 in the counties designated as federal disaster areas.
The Civil Air Patrol conducted 270 flights with 32 aircraft to assist with emergency response.
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) activated the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to provide food benefits to households that wouldn’t normally qualify if they meet disaster income limits and have disaster-related expenses. Schools in hurricane-stricken areas were allowed to provide meals through the National School Lunch Program to all students free of charge through Sept. 30. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service deployed 25 tons of pet food to affected areas and used helicopters to identify stranded livestock, assisting the Texas National Guard in dropping 210,000 pounds of hay to 10,000 head of livestock.
The General Services Administration (GSA) leased facilities to provide work sites for several thousand federal employees deployed to Texas, including a joint state/federal field office, area field offices, and call centers.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services temporarily modified the Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program to provide immediate relief to Texas disaster survivors.
The Department of Transportation provided technical assistance, training and on-site damage assessments for state and local partners to begin returning transportation infrastructure to pre-storm conditions. The Federal Highway Administration activated or deployed 36 employees in the response effort. Staff provided assistance for emergency repairs under the Emergency Relief Program with an initial $25 million in quick-release funds. All major airports returned to normal operations by Sept. 6. Ports in Corpus Christi, Houston, Beaumont and Port Arthur were open with restrictions. Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County returned to limited service. As of Sept. 20, 191 damage inspection reports documented emergency repairs completed and permanent repairs to be completed.
The Texas Workforce Commission began taking unemployment insurance claims the day Hurricane Harvey made landfall. FEMA activated Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) for Texans whose employment was lost because of the disaster. The program is administered by the State of Texas. As of Sept. 19, the commission processed 136,576 unemployment insurance claims, of which 17,714 were under the DUA program. DUA call centers are operating seven days a week.
The American Red Cross provided $45 million to more than 100,000 disaster survivors to help them with immediate needs. The Red Cross deployed more than 3,000 staff and volunteers, 171 emergency response vehicles, served 965,000 meals and 1 million snacks and operated shelters throughout the impacted counties.
More than 300 voluntary organizations, including National and Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters and locally based groups, are working to support Harvey survivors. Volunteers are working to remove muck from homes, support shelters, feed people, distribute supplies, provide emotional and spiritual care, clean up debris, repair and rebuild housing and provide crisis support. The Salvation Army deployed 4,457 volunteers who have served 40,714 hours providing feeding, shelter, emotional and spiritual care, donations and social services. AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams have deployed 109 volunteers mucking and gutting houses, chain-sawing trees and tarping roofs. Voluntary organizations have assisted 17,000 households with cleanup.
Recovery in Texas will be a long-term process, led by the State of Texas. Federal agencies will continue providing their full support to the state and to local governments to help Texas rebuild with resiliency.
For more information on Hurricane Harvey and Texas recovery, visit the Hurricane Harvey disaster web page, the FEMA Harvey Facebook page, the @FEMARegion6 Twitter account and the Texas Division of Emergency Management website.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.