By Chris Carmona
Last month, I filed to run for Harris County Attorney in 2016.
I wanted to take some time to talk with Big Jolly readers, where I have had a platform for several years now to inform, engage and learn.
Jacqueline Lucci Smith, former County Civil Court at Law Judge, filed to run for County Attorney. Due to a heavy trial schedule and family obligations, expressed a willingness to support the right candidate instead. I reached out to her after I heard she was having second thoughts about running. Over the course of our meeting, we discussed the responsibilities of the County Attorney,the time commitment involved in campaigning for office and all things Harris County. Judge Lucci Smith’s insights were instrumental in my decision as she had previously worked in the office and was able to help me understand the importance of having a well-qualified and committed attorney in this position. It is an office which is often unfamiliar to voters but has significant impact.
After meeting with Judge Lucci Smith, she decided to officially withdraw from the race and offered her support for my campaign. She also agreed to be my campaign treasurer.
We need a strong ticket in 2016 from top to bottom and growing our party is essential to our continued success and recruitment of the best qualified candidates. This is something I assured Judge Smith I would work toward and it is my commitment to all voters in Harris County.
Many might be wondering, “what does the County Attorney do?” I’m glad you asked. Where the District Attorney handles criminal matters, the County Attorney Handles civil matters. This includes, but is not limited to: negotiating on behalf for the county in condemnation proceedings, offering legal counsel to our county leaders, including members of Commissioners Court and serving as fiscal watchdog of the taxpayers money by fending-off costly lawsuits.
This past summer, I was elected the national co-chairman of the Young Republican National Federation (YRNF). I am the first Hispanic to ever hold this title. I ran nationally as part of team called YR Unite. Members of our team traveled the country talking with young Republicans about the future of the Republican party and how our fight in 2016 needed to be about more than just politics as usual. Although I was part of a national ticket, I was elected individually as national co-chairman, as each office was voted on separately, one candidate versus another.
We worked then, and are working now, to change the culture of the Republican party toward being more generous with our time and talents. This continues a theme that was started by Texas Young Republicans including those of us in Houston and Harris County. This is stuff that reaches beyond the campaign trail and leaves a lasting mark in our communities.
This past November, my volunteer work here in Harris County with Young Dream Changers was profiled nationally by Opportunity Lives. If you’re not familiar with Opportunity Lives, they say this about the purpose of their work:
Solutions are not merely good policies, but the result of free people taking initiative and seizing opportunities to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. Opportunity Lives is dedicated to finding those stories and highlighting America’s doers, reformers, innovators and problem-solvers, regardless of where they live.
It was a high honor to be profiled by this group. But not because the piece was about me, it was about the young men we are mentoring, and it was about the Republicans taking up the challenge of mentoring these future graduates, these future husbands and fathers, and these future leaders. It is worth repeating here what I said in the Opportunity Lives profile piece, it doesn’t matter if you are a candidate or a block walker, you are selling a brand, and it is upheld by servant leadership. The takeaway for Republicans young or old: get involved, stay involved, to protect our communities and make sure we are again servant leaders.
The lives we are changing, the leaders we are developing, they will remember who it was that was out there offering them a hand up and encouraging them not to quit, not to become a statistic.
This is how we win in 2016. Not just as Republicans, but as the people of this great county and state.
We have a unique opportunity in 2016. We can return responsible, principled leadership to the people of Harris County. We can and must assemble the right team to do this.
I bring to the table these things: years of legal experience, professional management experience, a willingness to work harder than anyone else, and a vision for the future of our county, our state and our party. As has been mentioned here on Big Jolly in the past, the County Attorney’s office should not be the place where citizens and local businesses are harassed. This is an office that needs to be a better, more effective steward of taxpayer dollars.
I’m ready for this fight. I would like for you to join me.
Chris Carmona, Republican Candidate for Harris County Attorney