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Students reflect on upcoming Houston mayoral elections

This+Nov.+7%2C+thousands+of+Houstonians+along+with+senior+Virginia+Carolyn+Crawford+will+vote+in+the+2023+Mayoral+election.+
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This Nov. 7, thousands of Houstonians along with senior Virginia Carolyn Crawford will vote in the 2023 Mayoral election.

As senior Virginia Carolyn Crawford celebrated her 18th birthday, she prepared to take on one of the most important duties of a U.S. citizen: voting. 

This Nov. 7, Crawford, a Social Media Editor on The Review, and thousands of other Houstonians will flock to the polls to vote for the mayor of Houston and other local offices. 

“I’m excited to vote for the first time because it is interesting to see the new trends of voting as more and more Gen Z kids are coming to the voting age,” Crawford said.

Yet many Houstonians do not vote in local elections. Senior Vincent Reyes, co-President of the Young Conservatives Club, says that it is essential to participate in local elections because they directly impact the lives of Houstonians.

“It’s important not only as a Houstonian, but also as an American. It’s your civic duty to keep ourselves informed and to vote in every election.” Reyes said. “Not just the presidential elections, but the local government, the state government—everything.” 

Current Mayor Sylvester Turner’s second term ends this year, so Houstonians will be able to vote for mayor. The frontrunners for the 2023 Mayoral Election are Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and State Sen. John Whitmire. Both are Democrats, but Whitmire is considered slightly more conservative than Lee.

Houston’s race for mayor is a nonpartisan election, meaning that the two major parties will not run against each other. In fact, almost all candidates on the ballot are Democrats.

Lee’s campaign has pushed for lower crime rates and providing more support to small businesses and the unhoused. She plans to turn Houston into an entertainment hub and strengthen the city’s international ties using the connections she has formed after traveling to dozens of countries.

Lee is endorsed by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Whitmire also advocates for public safety as well as maintaining and improving Houston’s infrastructure and city services. Like Lee, he intends to diversify Houston’s economy.

Whitmire is endorsed by some of his colleagues in the Texas Senate and House, including State Sen. Carol Alvarado, and State Reps. Ana Hernandez and Christian Manuel. Rep. Sylvia Garcia has also voiced her support for Whitmire. Several police unions as well as the Texas Gulf Coast AFL-CIO and the Houston Association of Realtors have endorsed his campaign.

Attorney Lee Kaplan, Gilbert Garcia and Council Member Robert Gallegos have provided further competition.

Reyes says that self-advocacy is key. By voting and communicating with local politicians, he says citizens can improve their communities.

“We endanger ourselves if we think that our voice does not matter, because it does,” Reyes said. “It truly, truly does.” 

A popular belief among today’s voters is that a single vote does not affect an election. Junior Justin Wright, student co-leader of the Young Liberals Organization, says that this mindset is dangerous.

“It’s absolutely crucial that your voice is heard, that your vote counts,” Reyes said. “You have the power to swing elections.”

Many students are not politically active or well-informed with politics because they are not eligible to vote, but Wright stays politically active by taking part in campaigns. 

“Helping out with phone banking and block-walking raises awareness about candidates,” Wright said. 

Reyes block walked and phone banked while interning for Republican Senator Ted Cruz’s senatorial campaign in 2018. He also managed interns and attended grassroots events for Cruz. That was when Reyes realized the impact of his efforts. 

“This is what politics are,” he said.

Reyes says that it is best to start out in local campaigns, like races for seats in the House of Representatives. 

Additionally, senior and YLO co-leader Ava Mostyn, says that students can stay politically active and informed by helping out with the election campaigns. Students older than 16 can be poll workers. 

“One day, the government will be in our hands,” Reyes said. “I hope we won’t be clueless about what to do.” 

 

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About the Contributors
Daniel Pan, Staff Writer
Daniel Pan ('27) joined The Review in 2023 as a freshman. He loves watching soccer, especially Liverpool. His favorite restaurant is Tiger Noodle House.
William Liang, Staff Writer
William Liang ('27) joined The Review in 2023 as a freshman. He is Richard's brother. He likes ice cream and for his first job, he wants to work at Baskin Robbins.

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    ShuyuNov 8, 2023 at 6:58 AM

    Great article!

    Reply