One of the benefits of skipping early voting and waiting until Election Day to vote is that you have more time to learn about the candidates and, hopefully, make the best choices for your philosophy. As I noted last Wednesday I was undecided for whom to vote for in the race for Harris County Judge.
Also as noted I was leaning towards Vidal Martinez with Alexandra del Moral Mealer on deck. After hearing from many conservatives and speaking with Mrs. Mealer, or Alex as she prefers, she has my enthusiastic vote. Why? Glad you asked.
First off, I like to vote FOR someone if I can and not vote for a candidate simply because they aren’t the ‘other guy’. And I can easily do that with Alex for numerous reasons but these are the three that moved me out of the Vidal camp.
- Strong endorsements from grassroots activists
- Detailed knowledge and understanding of the Harris County Budget and the ability to articulate the problems with the current path we are on
- The self-awareness to know that she is not an expert on all things in public policy and the willingness to reach out and collaborate with people knowledgeable in areas that are not her expertise
Strong grassroots endorsements
If you look at the Alexandra del Moral Mealer website endorsement page, I think she has it ass backwards. I’m happy that Mattress Mac endorsed her but don’t care about it. That page is laid out in a typical political style, with celebrities, former and current elected officials, law enforcement and political organizations before you get to the grassroots activists that make or break campaigns. If it were my endorsement page, I’d put the SREC reps and precinct chairs first up. I mean, seriously, look at the number of precinct chairs she has supporting her.
And the fact that many of them took the time to reach out to me after I said that I was undecided is a show of enthusiasm that is rarely seen in the HCRP. And it is very much welcome. If anything swayed my vote it was that. One of them urged me to call her and get to understand why her leadership skills would translate into the public policy arena. I did and here we are.
Knowledge of the Harris County budget
The Harris County budget is a monster that is presented in a way that taxpayers cannot understand it. It is that way for a reason, and that reason is that both political parties don’t want you to know the specifics. I’ve spent years trying to get a grasp on it and still haven’t fully mastered it.
When speaking with Alex, it was clear that she has put her West Point and Harvard degrees to good use and has studied the budget in-depth and understands it very well. I had read her opinion piece on it a while back and was impressed but in speaking with her I knew that the op-ed wasn’t written in collaboration with someone or ghost written, which is what usually happens. No, she is the one with the knowledge and I was really impressed with her understanding and her path to fix the looming problems.
Those of us with large egos tend to think that we are the be-all and end-all of everything. To temper that, we have to become aware that we aren’t the be-all and end-all and learn to collaborate with others in areas of weakness. Now don’t misunderstand me: I am not saying that Alex has my problem. But since it is my problem, I look at others through that lens. Because of that I was concerned that her military experience would not translate into the type of collaborative leadership that is required in the political realm.
After speaking with her, I am no longer concerned about that. She has been out of the military for 10 years and has risen in the ranks of the oil & gas industry in her field of finance. Which, other than being on a rig risking your life, is one of the hardest jobs in that industry. There are a lot of geologists that can help point where to drill and hopefully be rewarded but there are very few people who understand the complexities of today’s financial instruments and can convince a skeptical board to invest the company’s finances her way. By all accounts she has been able to do that.
The other candidates
Like I said earlier, I like to find candidates to vote FOR not against. And if Vidal wins the primary, I could vote FOR him in November. One of the things that I overlooked in my initial lean towards him was his history of financial contributions. I knew that he had contributed to several Democratic candidates in 2019, including current County Judge Lina Hidalgo. Note that his contribution to Judge Hidalgo came after she defeated Ed Emmett, meaning that Vidal’s contribution didn’t help her in that race.
What I missed was two contributions that he made to ActBlue Texas, also in 2019. That is a non-starter for any Republican. I’d love to hear why he contributed to an organization that has been trying to turn Texas blue for years. That is their stated goal, to defeat every Republican. That was a huge mistake on his part and he deserves any flak he gets for it.
As for the other ‘front-runner’, Martina Lemond Dixon, that’s a hard no for me. Very few school board members can make the transition from spending money at will to being a watchdog for wasteful tax spending. I noticed that Dan Huberty endorsed her, that should tell you something right there.
But worse, she is the type of politician that people sucking at the teet of government love. She was recruited to run for the job by the downtown financiers, pledging and delivering hundreds of thousands to her campaign. I remember getting an invite early in her campaign for a fundraiser and I could buy a table for $50,000. Yeah, sure. And I noticed that Dan ‘Red Flag Law’ Crenshaw gave her $5,000 from his campaign.
She is now saying that while she was on the Humble ISD board, she reduced taxes by 15% since 2016. Now, any sane person knows that is not accurate. Let’s take a look at Humble ISD’s audited finances from 2016-2020.
|2016||40,549||$ 458,471,201||$ 447,320,670|
|2017||41,224||$ 462,214,586||$ 524,231,500|
|2018||42,391||$ 490,275,697||$ 587,618,063|
|2019||43,553||$ 546,731,529||$ 539,908,951|
|2020||45,078||$ 556,746,306||$ 620,160,739|
A 21.4% increase in revenue, a 38.6% increase in expenditures with a student enrollment increase of only 11.2%. Does that look like a 15% decrease to you? What about per student spending?
|Fiscal Year||Cost per Student|
A 25.8% increase in the cost to educate a student in five years? Did your wages go up 25.8% for those five years? Now that is a candidate that I would vote against.
But fortunately I don’t have to worry about that because I found a candidate that I can vote FOR, Alexandra del Moral Mealer. I hope you consider doing the same.