HAR Engaged in Houston City Council Elections

After months of campaign activity to elect REALTOR®-friendly Houston City Council Members, voters agreed with two out of four of HAR’s candidate recommendations in the December 10 Runoff Election. The two losses were fellow REALTOR® Brenda Stardig, running for her second term, and Jolanda “Jo” Jones, running for her third and final term of office. Of the approximately 920,000 registered Houston voters, approximately 6% of voters determined the outcome of the Runoff Elections. Once again, light voter engagement makes HAR’s participation in the political process all the more important and meaningful to the candidates and to the real estate industry.


District A
Brenda Stardig

District B
Jerry Davis

At-Large Position 2
Andrew C. Burks, Jr.

At-Large Position 5
Jolanda “Jo” Jones

In the November 8 General Election, voters agreed 100 % with HAR’s 16 candidate recommendations.

Links are provided in the update below to learn more about the candidates and the unofficial election results.

District B – HAR recommended candidate Jerry Davis (3,127 or 50.80%) defeated Alvin Byrd (3,029 or 49.20%) by 98 votes.
At-Large, Position 2 – HAR recommended candidate Andrew C. Burks, Jr. (Harris County 25,480 or 49.86%; Fort Bend County 676 or 67.53%) defeated Kristi Thibaut (Harris County 25,619 or 50.14%; Fort Bend County 325 or 32.47%) by 212 votes.

District A – HAR recommended candidate and fellow REALTOR® Brenda Stardig (2,435 or 44.52%) was defeated by Helena Brown (3,035 or 55.48%) with a 600-vote difference.
At-Large, Position 5 – HAR recommended candidate Jolanda “Jo” Jones (Harris County 24,837 or 44.86%; Fort Bend County 981 or 92.90%) was defeated by Jack Christie (Harris County 30,525 or 55.14%; Fort Bend County 75 or 7.10%) The combined votes in Harris and Fort Bend Counties placed Christie in the winner’s circle 4,782 votes ahead of Jones.

Below is a summary of the campaign activity and election results.

Fellow REALTOR® and HAR recommended candidate Brenda Stardig, District A, was soundly defeated by Tea Party activist and homeowner association president Helena Brown. Council Member Stardig’s support for Proposition 1, referred to as the Drainage Fee, and her perceived closeness to Mayor Annise Parker did not sit well with District A voters. Former District A Council Members Bruce Tatro and Toni Lawrence and former Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt actively worked against Brenda Stardig’s re-election. We thank Council Member Stardig for her service and congratulate Council Member-Elect Helena Brown on her victory. We look forward to working together with Ms. Brown on matters of mutual interest.

In District B, an open seat due to term limits, we thank Councilman Jarvis Johnson and his aid Alvin Byrd for their service on City Council and congratulate HAR recommended candidate Jerry Davis on his victory. Davis won the Runoff Election against Alvin Byrd by 98 votes. Jerry Davis is a co-founder of the breakfast klub restaurant and the founder and executive director of Making it Better, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting public school initiatives, including leadership, literacy and lifetime fitness programs at the Houston and North Forest Independent School Districts. Council Member-Elect Davis is a former HISD teacher, dean of students and lacrosse coach. He is also a principal at EIH Investments, a real estate investment group.

In another open seat due to term limits, At-Large, Position 2, HAR recommended candidate Andrew C. Burks Jr. defeated former Democratic State Representative Kristi Thibaut by more than 200 votes. Although Thibaut led in Harris County, Burks’ margin of victory in eleven Fort Bend County precincts put him ahead in the combined vote totals.

HAR recommended candidate Council Member Jolanda “Jo” Jones ran to serve her third and final term of office, but was solidly defeated by Jack Christie, a chiropractor, whom Jones narrowly defeated in 2009. Council Member Jones was supportive of HAR’s recommendations on the Historic Preservation Ordinance last year, and we thank her for her service. Mr. Christie served in elected leadership roles on the Spring Branch Independent School District and on the State Board of Education. In the Runoff Election, former Houston Mayor Bill White, a Democrat, threw his support for Mr. Christie, a Republican. We congratulate Councilman-Elect Christie on his victory and we look forward to working with him. His leadership style, business experience, and calm demeanor are welcome attributes for Houston City Council.

Serving their final terms of office due to term limits are At-Large, Position 2 Council Member Sue Lovell, District B Council Member Jarvis Johnson, and District C Council Member Anne Clutterbuck. We thank them for their public service and for listening to and acting on HAR’s members’ concerns and recommendations on various ordinances affecting private property rights and property ownership. We wish them well in their future endeavors.

Click here to see the Harris County election results.

Click here to see the Fort Bend County election results.

Houston City Council will be comprised of the following who were elected to serve a two-year term, beginning January 2012:

Mayor Annise Parker
District A – Helena Brown
District B – Jerry Davis
District C – Ellen Cohen
District D – Wanda Adams
District E – Mike Sullivan
District F – Al Hoang
District G – Oliver Pennington
District H – Ed Gonzalez
District I – James Rodriguez
District J – Mike Laster
District K – Larry Green
At-Large, Position 1 – Stephen Costello
At-Large, Position 2 – Andrew C. Burks, Jr.
At-Large, Position 3 – Melissa Noriega
At-Large, Position 4 – C. O. “Brad” Bradford
At-Large, Position 5 – Jack Christie

As these new and returning Council Members take the Oath of Office on January 3 at Hobby Center, we thank the volunteers who served on the 2011 Political Affairs Advisory Group (PAAG), chaired by A. David Schwarz III, for their dedication and their efforts to recommend and help elect candidates who are knowledgeable and supportive of private property rights and HAR’s political process. In addition, the HAR Board of Directors has the final approval of candidate and TREPAC contribution recommendations, and we thank the diligent HAR Directors for their support.  Several volunteers have been recognized for working the polls and hosting receptions for HAR’s recommended candidates. They truly demonstrate Realtors grassroots strength.  We also thank 2011 HAR Board Chair Carlos P. Bujosa for his leadership and support. It takes teamwork to make the dream work, and we could not have achieved our success without HAR’s elected leadership’s support and HAR’s talented and resourceful staff’s support.

With the Houston City Council elections behind us now, HAR’s PAAG volunteers and Governmental Affairs Department staff look ahead to the March 6 Primary Election, the May 12 local elections, and the November 6 General Election. Note that these dates may change as a result of the U. S. Supreme Court’s decision. Candidate recommendations and Get-Out-The-Realtor-Vote efforts will be made to elect HAR recommended candidates who are running by party affiliation for local, state, and federal office.

Be a part of the action and keep up with the latest by following the Houston Association of REALTORS® and me on Twitter, Facebook, and on www.HARConnect.com.

Dana Kervin

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