Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Wednesday, December 06, 2023 — Houston, TX

Houston’s future depends on this mayoral election

By Thresher Editorial Board     10/25/23 10:21am

Early voting has started in the elections of Houston’s next mayor and city council. Through Nov. 3, you can head to the Texas Medical Center to cast your ballot — and starting Saturday, Rice will provide bus service from campus. If you can’t make it by then, Sewall Hall will be a voting precinct for Election Day on Nov. 7.

Houston’s next set of elected officials will inherit the complex issues the city faces today, ranging from public safety to unemployment, potholes, transit and homelessness.

The largely Democratic city also faces immense political pressure from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s administration. The Texas Education Agency recently took over the board of the Houston Independent School District, turning some school libraries into de-facto detention rooms, and Abbott continues to cynically target election administration in Harris County.

The stakes are high. Will Houston, the fourth-largest city in the country, adjust to its explosive population growth, or will its infrastructure give out? Will crime continue to decrease? Will the city build on its progress moving people off the streets? Will a proposed light rail link to Hobby Airport come to fruition? Will Main Street and Rice Boulevard get their potholes repaired?

The future of Rice is irrevocably intertwined with Houston. Rice can only afford so many power losses, boil water notices and guns on the street. Our cars can only take so many of those violent bumps.

On the mayoral side, incumbent Sylvester Turner is term-limited, with 18 candidates vying to replace him. The two leading candidates are household names in Houston: John Whitmire, a 40-year Texas State Senator from North Houston, and Sheila Jackson Lee, who has represented downtown Houston in the U.S. Congress since 1995.

If your Texas voter registration address is on campus, you will also vote for the city council member from District C, where incumbent Abbie Kamin is facing two challengers.

All Houstonians will cast a ballot for the five at-large council members. There are two incumbents and 26 other candidates.

Finally, there are local and statewide ballot propositions regarding hospitals for low-income and uninsured Houstonians, government operations, funding for public education and more.

In other words, you, a Houston voter, have a lot of decisions to make. Even if this election season may not have the attention of next year’s presidential election, the issues at hand are just as important. 

Luckily, there is a plethora of information out there. This week, take 30 minutes to research the candidates and propositions and write down your choices. Head to the polls and make your voice heard. The future of Houston — and of Rice — depends on it.

Editor’s Note: Thresher editorials are collectively written by the members of the Thresher’s editorial board. Current members include Prayag Gordy, Riya Misra, Nayeli Shad, Brandon Chen, Sammy Baek, Sarah Knowlton, Hadley Medlock and Pavithr Goli.

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