The 2014 Midterm elections are now over. We have good news and bad news. I’ll start with the good news. Marijuana has been legalized for adult recreational use in three more states, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. There’s even more good news when you consider Guam legalizing medical marijuana and other local legalization measures across the country.
Here’s the bad news, all of the Houston-area candidates who responded favorably to the Texas NORML questionnaire, well… they all lost. Typically, candidates who respond to questionnaires are the challengers. It’s very difficult for them to defeat an Incumbent. I was impressed by the hard work and dedication I saw with these grassroots campaigns. I saw passion, enthusiasm, and energy as people poured their heart and soul into the strong ground game necessary to have a chance against a well-funded opponent.
So what do we do now? We KEEP FIGHTING. We shift our focus to those who have been elected to represent us in the State Legislature. Just because they didn’t respond to our questionnaire doesn’t mean they won’t support our cause. Many of our elected officials agree with us to some degree but are afraid to speak out on the issue for political reasons. Some of them will tell you, they aren’t ready yet because there is not enough support among their colleagues. Well… if they want a bandwagon, we’ll build them a bandwagon! Remember, your state representative and state senator, they work for you. It’s up to us to establish a relationship with them. Call them, email them, meet with them, shake their hand, be friendly and find out what their concerns are. Report that information back to us as we will be coordinating with several other organizations across the state. Right now is the time to talk to our officials. When the legislative session starts in January it will be difficult to establish a relationship because they will be too busy. Let’s establish the relationship now.
I want to personally thank all of these candidates. I especially want to thank those candidates who attended a Houston NORML event for taking the time to speak with us, answer our questions, and listen to our concerns. Thank You. Some of you are members of Houston NORML and have attended multiple events. We hope you continue to be involved with our organization. We need you in this fight. We’re grateful that so many of you showed courage and principal by speaking out on this issue.
I want to share some of the individual results from the election. I can’t include all candidates in this list so I apologize to anyone that is left off. I want to start with the candidates who attended one or more of our events and spent some time with us. Followed by legislative candidates who responded favorably to our questionnaire and garnered a significant percentage of the vote. I’m also going to share some of my personal thoughts on some of these candidates. This additional commentary represents my personal views and does not necessarily reflect the views of NORML or Houston NORML.
Candidates who spoke at and/or attended one or more of our events
Kim Ogg – Candidate for Harris County District Attorney
Kim Ogg is as real as it gets. She is honest, true, genuine and has a real passion for Justice. I believe Kim Ogg is better qualified for the job of District Attorney than Devon Anderson. As a former Chief Felony Prosecutor, former director of Crime Stoppers and Houston’s Anti-Gang Task Force, and Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Ogg’s qualifications and experience are hard to match. She is tough, precise, fair, and she truly understands how to keep our communities safe while being conservative with the budget and valuing civil liberties. Kim Ogg’s proposed plan for misdemeanor marijuana prosecutions was by far the most favorable position a candidate for DA has ever taken in Harris County’s history. I want to personally thank Kim Ogg for attending our October mixer, speaking to us and answering our questions.
Chris Carmona – Candidate for State Representative, District 148
|X||Jessica Cristina Farrar||D||X||14175||60|
Chris Carmona represents a fresh, new message of liberty-minded conservatism. By taking this message into a heavily Democratic district with a dynamic and high-energy ground game, Carmona garnered attention across the state and nationally. We appreciate Chris Carmona for speaking at our Halloween fundraiser and taking a brave position on this issue. His words of wisdom felt like a breath of fresh air to everyone in the room. Carmona demonstrated honesty, courage, and principal. It’s people like Chris Carmona who breath new life into the GOP and give us hope that future candidates and elected officials will continue to support our efforts.
Mack McInnis – Candidate for 185th District Court
Mack McInnis was in a close race against an Incumbent and almost won with 45% of the vote. He has attended multiple events with Houston NORML and we greatly appreciate him sharing his vast knowledge of trial law and criminal justice with our attendees. McInnis spoke at our Halloween fundraiser and talked about his experience representing those charged with marijuana offenses and the grave toll it takes on those whose lives are affected by a criminal accusation not only for the accused but also for their family and loved ones. He is board certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has over 32 years experience in criminal trial law. We greatly appreciate McInnis for taking the time to speak with us and we hope he continues to be involved with our organization and keep us informed.
David Collins – Candidate for Harris County Judge
David Collins was in a unique race as a Green Party Candidate against an Incumbent Republican and no Democrat on the ballot. He garnered 17% of the vote which is very high for an alternative-party candidate in a countywide race. Collins spoke at our Halloween fundraiser and was about the most entertaining speaker we’ve ever had. His solution for what to do with the Astrodome, fill it up with hemp and turn it into a greenhouse, went over really well with our crowd. His vast knowledge of the environmental benefits of cannabis and industrial hemp provided some great education and brought a new element to the discussion. We greatly appreciate Collins for taking the time to speak with us and hope he continues to do so and keep us laughing and learning.
Cris Hernandez – Candidate for State Representative, District 126
Cris Hernandez is a passionate, caring and principaled individual. He spoke to us at our Halloween fundraiser and delivered an update about Shania Williams, a 4-year-old girl from Houston who suffers from intractable epilepsy. You could hear the emotion and compassion in his voice as he read from a letter written by Shania’s mother Stephanie, whose family had to leave everything they know and love behind them and move to Colorado to obtain cannabis oil for Shania’s treatment. The good news is Shania is doing much better in a state where she can obtain the medicine she needs to live a quality life. Hernandez has been a strong supporter of Houston NORML. He spoke to us about how important our organization is and why he fights along side us. We’re proud to have Cris Hernandez as part of our organization and we look forward to working with him in the future.
Robert D. Butler – Candidate for Lieutenant Governor
|Leticia Van de Putte||D||1808385||39|
|Robert D. Butler||L||119434||3|
Robert Butler is about as genuine and honest a politician you will ever meet. Butler attended our October monthly meeting and spoke to us about the importance of respecting everyone’s freedom to live their lives as they choose. He said that if we expect people to support our right as responsible adults to use cannabis, we should also support others rights when it comes to issues like gun ownership and same-sex marriage. I admire Butler’s ability to campaign at a grassroots level and garner support in very tough statewide race. I believe Robert Butler would do a far better job as Lt. Governor than Dan Patrick or Leticia Van de Putte. Butler’s message of individual liberty resonates very well with our audience and we hope to see more of him in the future as we continue our efforts.
David Courtney – Candidate for State Senator, District 17
David Courtney has been very supportive of Houston NORML and is very knowledgeable on the issues, especially when it comes to reforming marijuana laws. He spoke at our Halloween fundraiser and his message resonated very well with our audience. We’re greatful to have the support of David Courtney and hope hope he continues to spend time with us and educate us on the issues.
Legislative candidates who responded favorably to our questionnaire and garnered a significant percentage of the vote
Al Hoang – Candidate for State Representative, District 149
Ron Hale – Candidate for State Senator, District 15
|Gilberto Velasquez, Jr.||L||2945||2|
Donald G. Brown – Candidate for U.S. Representative, District 14
|Donald G. Brown||D||52420||36|
Amber C. Passo – Candidate for State Representative, District 26
|X||D.F. “Rick” Miller||R||X||25451||70|
|Amber C. Paaso||D||11074||30|
Jim Davis – Candidate for State Senator, District 7
Laura Nicol – Candidate for State Representative, District 133
Sean Seibert – Candidate for U.S. Representative, District 18
|X||Sheila Jackson Lee||D||X||75963||72|