By Marc Campos
Let's get ready for 2005. Politically speaking, what can we expect? There will be city elections - sort of. Mayor White will not be challenged. Council members Mark Ellis, Mark Goldberg, Gordon Quan, and Carol Galloway are term limited, so there will be contests to fill these vacancies. On the school board level, Houston Independent School District trustee Karla Cisneros is not seeking reelection. There will be a race to replace her. Commentary is predicting a pretty low voter turnout next November.
The legislature will go into session in a few weeks. They will grapple with funding our public schools and undoing the cuts to the CHIPs program. Governor Perry, Comptroller "Foghorn" Strayhorn and U.S. Senator Bailey Hutchison will provide the entertainment as they posture for their party's nomination for Governor. Mayor White will use his muscle and political capital to stop the legislature from permanently putting the lens cap on his red light camera initiative. Don't bet against the mayor on this one.
The Texas House will also deal with three election contests involving their colleagues. The contests have all been filed by GOP losers. GOP House leaders will be wise to dismiss the contests quickly. Sorry Talmadge.
Texas Democrats will continue to wring their hands as they figure out how to approach the 2006 elections. Advice to Dems: use the legislative session to hammer away at GOP policies. More advice to Dems: put forward an articulate Hispanic to serve as a voice for the state party.
On the national level, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) will elect a new chair. Let's hope the new chair looks beyond the beltway for solutions on how to build the party.
December 28, 2004, 9:00AM