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Demographic Factors Shaping Houston Council Races

By Burt Levine

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    June 28, 2023 (Houston Style Magazine) — As the deadline approaches for filing for ballot space in the upcoming Houston elections, the city’s council races are being influenced by its diverse demographics. Houston stands out among America’s and Texas’ largest cities with its combination of at-large and district City Council Members. While most cities have only district-based representation, Houston allows all registered voters to cast their votes for or against at-large Council Members. Each district in Houston represents approximately 209,000 residents out of the city’s total population of around 2,290,000. District A, located north of I-10 and west of 290, is currently represented by Amy Peck, who has served alongside her predecessor, Brenda Stardig. Peck is uncontested in the upcoming fall elections. This primarily Hispanic district has a dominant elderly Caucasian voter base, which consistently supports Peck due to her dedicated constituent services.

District B consists of the Fifth Ward and Acres Homes areas northeast of downtown. Tarsha Jackson currently represents this district, which is primarily African American but experiencing an increasing Hispanic population. As of now, Kendra London, Koffey El-Bey, and Tyronne Willis have announced their challenges against Jackson.

Historically driven by Jewish politically moderate voters, District C comprises Meyerland, Garden Oaks, The Heights, and Montrose. The recent redistricting has resulted in a more liberal and pro-GLBT demographic. Attorney Abbie Kamin, who continues the leadership of her predecessor Ellen Cohen, is running unopposed in the fall races.

District D covers the Third Ward/Museum District, Rice University, Sunnyside, and Sagemont. Carol Evans Shabbazz, who previously served on the Houston Community College Board, represents this district. While historically African American, District D is witnessing an increase in highly educated professionals and entrepreneurs from diverse ethnic backgrounds. At present, businessman Lloyd Ford is the only opponent challenging Shabbazz.

District E encompasses Kingwood and Lake Houston in the north, connected to Clear Lake areas in the south. It primarily consists of high-income suburban voters with higher education levels. Dave Martin, the current representative, is term-limited and running for Controller. Martina Lemond Dixon, former Humble ISD Board President, and Fred Flickinger, son of a neighborhood newspaper publisher, are vying to succeed him.

Primarily Hispanic with historically strong Vietnamese American voter blocks, District F is located in Alief and Westchase. Alief ISD Trustee Tiffany Thomas, the first African American and first Alief-experienced Council Member, is currently unopposed.

District G, covering west Houston Loop 610 areas up to Hwy 6, comprises high-income professionals and entrepreneurs. It is currently represented by pro-police attorney Mary Nan Huffman, who is unopposed at present.

District H includes Independence Heights and Lyndale in the north-central Houston area. Traditionally, working-class white and Hispanic voters have made up this district. Former Houston ISD Trustee Karla Cisneros, who is term-limited, has represented District H. Cynthia Reyes-Revilla, Janette Garza Lindner, and Mario Castillo Jr. are competing to succeed her.

District I consists of east downtown and areas east of downtown (EADO), including Denver Harbor, Navigation around the Port of Houston, and Hobby Airport. Term-limited Robert Gallegos, the current representative, is running for Mayor. Joaquin Martinez, Gallegos’ aide, and businessman Ralph Garcia are vying to succeed him.

District J encompasses Sharpstown, Gulfton, Robindell, Braeburn, and parts of Alief. It is a white middle-class community with a growing Hispanic and Asian population. African American attorney and business owner Edward Pollard has skillfully represented this diverse district, which is being challenged by Millennial area activist Ivan Sanchez.

District K covers Hiram Clarke, Westbury, Fondren Southwest, and Fort Bend within the City of Houston. It represents middle-class African American, Orthodox Jewish, and increasingly Hispanic areas. Martha Castex-Tatum, who succeeded her mentor Larry Green, is currently unopposed in the November 7 General Elections.

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