Well respected former prosecutor and current criminal defense attorney Kim Ogg today announced her candidacy for Harris County District Attorney. Ms. Ogg will seek the position as a Democrat by entering the Democratic Party primary.
At a well attended announcement today on the steps of the renovated Harris County Courthouse at 301 Fannin in downtown Houston. Ms. Ogg promised the attendees that the duty of district attorney was not only to convict but to see that justice is done. She also promised to ensure that criminal cases are based on sound evidence so that crime victims and those accused are treated fairly. As a long-time crime victims advocate, she promised to prioritize crimes of violence against individual victims, business crimes against crime victims for businesses, and environmental crimes against all of us. She will do this by putting non-violent misdemeanor offenders to work and by changing the ways forfeiture funds are spent. She will change the focus from low level criminals to the prosecution and dismantling of organized crime and gangs from the top down. She will immediately halt the practice of treating economically disadvantaged criminals differently than others by promising that no one will be above the law in Harris County, regardless of the neighborhood you live in, the size of your bank account, or the uniform you wear. She will use 21st century tactics to combat 21st century crime. The race for Harris County District Attorney will be a race of ideas not personalities.
I was asked by a reporter present what I thought of her announcement. This reporter was well aware of my Republican activity and advocacy. I suppose the reporter was surprised when I said I thought it was awesome.
To a person, every single individual that I’ve asked about Kim Ogg has had nothing but superlatives to describe her. Obviously that presents a threat to the Republican establishment in Harris County, so why then would I think her candidacy is awesome?
A couple of reasons. First, I believe in the reforms that former DA Pat Lykos instituted and thought it was a terrible mistake for Republican primary voters to toss those reforms aside in the name of ‘lock ’em up and throw away the key’ policies. Our society cannot afford to continue those arcane policies, either financially or in terms of the waste of human lives that result from them. If a real challenge from the Democrats causes Republicans to rethink their stance on the drug war, that is a good thing in my mind.
Second, Texas needs a revitalized Democratic Party if Republicans are to eschew complacency. Complacency amongst Texas Republicans will result in Democratic control of the state. We need qualified candidates at all levels of government. Too often Republican primary voters settle for unqualified candidates that are adept at spouting talking points the voters want to hear. Take a look at this year’s primary for Railroad Commissioner if you don’t believe. me. Just today, former Rep. Wayne Christian touted his endorsement by “conservatives and religious leaders” and the Texas Right to Life groups. If you can explain to me what those endorsements have to do with oil and gas policy, I’ll buy you some beachfront property in Arizona.
Another interesting aspect of the 2014 DA’s race will be, assuming Ms. Ogg and the current appointed DA make it through their respective primaries, that the issue of abortion will be taken off the table. The race might (hopefully?) be about ideas pertaining to criminal justice.
And that would be awesome. Like I said.
Ms. Ogg doesn’t have a campaign website yet but you can view her Linked In profile.
A few pictures from the announcement: