Interview with Houston City Council Member, Martha Castex-Tatum

Q. What made you decide to run for office?

A. I strongly believe there is a need for genuine people to be public servants. Rather than just sit on the sidelines and depend on someone else to do it, I decided to step up and do it myself. I grew up in Houston and I wanted to give back to the city that had given so much to me. 

I represent District K, the district where I grew up. My parents still live in my childhood home, so I have a special charge to continue to take care of the district that raised me. 

Q. How long have you been in office?

A. I was elected to the Houston City Council a little over a year ago, on May 16, 2018. I ran in a special election due to the passing of Council Member Larry Green.

There were nine people in the race to replace Council Member Green, I ran a great campaign and won with over 65% of the vote.

Q. Why did you specifically choose to run for Houston City Council?

A. After I graduated from Texas State University, I ran for the San Marcos City Council. I served on the city council as Mayor Pro Tem for several terms. When I moved back to Houston, I wanted to continue my service. I worked for Council Member Green’s office, in the constituent services division for several years. I was able to reconnect with the district and the issues the community was facing. After his death, I felt the best way to remain involved was to step up and serve my community again as a member of city council.

Q. Do you think more REALTORS® should run for office?

A. Absolutely. REALTORS® have a keen ability to care for people and their families. Their main focus is coming to a win-win situation in each real estate transaction. Additionally, they have a first-hand knowledge of what is important and what really matters to people. These abilities directly parallel with the goal of elected officials to create policies that protect the community.

Q. What is something you wish you had known before becoming an elected official?

A. There will be naysayers and people who do not support you. You have to just do it! You cannot let others distract you from your goal to serve, use the naysayers as motivation.

Lastly, running for office is hard work. You cannot just wake up one day and decide to run for office, you should be laying the groundwork early so you have established relationships in the community you choose to serve. 

Q. What is your biggest accomplishment on city council at this point in your tenure?

A. One of my campaign platform issues was to make sure the mobility projects which were already in progress would be completed and not discarded once I was elected. I am happy to report this has been a success. Most recently, we completed the Buffalo Speedway Grade Separation Bridge. This is the largest mobility project in District K in the past 20 years. This project is a north and south connection from West Orem to the Medical Center. 

Q. What is something interesting you would like for our readers to know?

A. I LOVE music. I am a former clarinetist and also sang in an 80’s R and B band called Collaboration. One of my favorite events in my district is the annual Willow Waterhole Music Festival. 

Amber Burton-Alfred

Director of Governmental Affairs & Advocacy

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