Friday, August 30, 2019

Shut Up Fool Awards- Moni's In NOLA Edition

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Aww yeah, I'm back in NOLA for the NLGJA convention, and Southern Decadence is also happening just blocks from our convention hotel near the French Quarter

Guess someone on the NLGJA planning committee noted that it was happening and made sure when they chose the dates for this year's conference we'd be here at the same time.

But before I roll out of this hotel to check it out, got convention business to handle.  The other business I need to handle is calling our this week's fool not named Donald John Trump.

That would be Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)   

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Sen Collins is upset because her support of (In)Justice Brett Kavanaugh (boo,hiss)  has made it more likely that when November 2020 rolls around she will be an ex-senator. 

Well, boo boo kitty, you knew this man was unpopular and woefully unqualified for the SCOTUS,  your constituents didn't want you voting to confirm him and made it clear where they stood, but you did what you always do with your 'F' NAACP Congressional Report Card rated self does and kiss up to the conservafool wing.

Even Stevie Wonder can see you ain't a 'moderate', and you're going down to electoral defeat next year because peeps have had enough of your fauxgressive crap .

And oh yeah,   Sen Susan Collins, shut up fool!

Back In NOLA For The NLGJA Convention

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It was touch and go in terms of whether or not I'd actually get here, but thanks to a major assist from BTAC, I'm here for #NLGJA18!

After missing out on the NABJ one in Miami, I was determined to at least make this one since it was this close (385 miles) to my Houston stomping grounds. 

My Megabus trip from Houston started out on a less than promising note, with us having to swap the bus out before we could start our eastward trek down I-10.  But better to have them handle that problem in Houston than having us break down along the route. 

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I-10 in Louisiana includes major stretches of it going through swamp in the Atchafalaya Basin west of Baton Rouge and in St Charles, St John and St Martin Parishes as you approach New Orleans..

Still ended up getting to New Orleans an hour late, but in one piece with my luggage.

It's ironic to me that after not having visited New Orleans since the 1990 Mardi Gras, since then I have been to a 2018 BTAC Leadership Institute here, the 2018 Netroots Nation, and now this NLGJA the span of 14 months.   

I have a Saturday panel I'm on, so looking forward to not only handling my business on it, but also getting my learn on.  And yes, looking forward to seeing a few friends and some of the NLGJA leadership team while I;m wandering the convention hotel.

I also want to catch up with my NOLA trans fam before I have to hit I-10 west on Sunday

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I still have to get registered before that happens, but will deal with it in a few hours.

I'll also be tweeting and posting to my Facebook while I'm here, and you can also check out the #NLGJA19 hashtag for the latest news.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Houston Dem Presidential Primary Debate Final Qualifiers

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As many of you political junkies are aware of, yesterday was the last day for the remaining 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidates to qualify for the September 12 debate in Houston

The standards were doubled to require that candidates seeking to be on that stage reach 2% in four DNC approved polls and draw 130,000 unique donors.   400 of those donors need to be from at least 20 different states. 

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Ten people qualified to be in the H&PE Arena on the Texas Southern University campus in two weeks.

They are former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Rep Beto O"Rourke, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Andrew Yang and Sen Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

The rest failed to make the cut, meaning there will be only one night of debates in Houston.

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The scramble is on for tickets to the event, with current TSU students, faculty and staff getting first shots at the tickets for the event in the 8100 seat venue starting at 12 noon CDT on Friday August 30.   

TSU is also planning to have a campus debate watch party in Sawyer Auditorium for students, faculty, staff and the general public
Looking forward to all the debate related candidate events that will be taking place in the 713 during that week 

Teddy Quinlivan Lands A Chanel Campaign!

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"My whole life has been a fight. From being bullied at school consistently, kids threatening to kill me and going into graphic detail how they were going to do it, my own father beating me and calling me a f****t, to receiving industry blowback after speaking publicly about being sexually assaulted on the job... This was a victory that made all of that s*** worth it."-Teddy Quinlivan

Another day, another instance of trans folks winning despite the hostile forces arrayed against us. 

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Meet 25 year old model Teddy Quinlivan.   She has walked runways for Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci before coming out as trans in 2017. 

Like many folks who have lived non disclosed trans lives (AKA stealth) before coming out, the Boston born Quinlivan thought her career might be over after doing so, but as Geena Rocero found out after coming out, it is starting to lead to more groundbreaking opportunities, not less.

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She has continued to walk Fashion Week runways, appear on magazine covers like Porter Magazine and L'Officiel, and do beauty campaigns for Redken, Milk Makeup and Maison Margiela Fragrances.

But the one she recently landed is historic and deeply personal for her.   Quinlivan has now become the first openly trans model to be hired by Chanel to helm a beauty campaign.

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I had walked 2 shows for Chanel while I was living in stealth (stealth meaning I hadn’t made my trans identity public yet) and when I came out I knew I’d stop working with some brands, I thought I’d never work with the iconic house of Chanel ever again," she wrote. "But here I am in Chanel Beauty Advertising. I am the first openly trans person to work for the house of Chanel, and I am deeply humbled and proud to represent my community."

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Congratulations Teddy!   It's is not only a huge win for you personally, but one for the trans community as well.   It's just more evidence that coming out as trans doesn't mean the end of your dreams.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

WWYD- The Trans Bathroom Episode

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Finally found the YouTube video of the ABC What Would You Do show that featured Jazz Jennings and people in the situation of a transphobe dissing a trans woman for going to a fracking restaurant bathroom.

FYI for you transphobes.  Trans people have to poop and pee as well.   But then again you're more concerned with aiming oppression and disrespect at trans people than minding your own damned business and letting trans people go through their day without hearing your unsolicited comments.

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It's one that we increasingly run to no thanks to the conservafools and evilgelicals stirring up anti trans hate, and even led to on August 13 a trans woman in the Philippines getting arrested for using the potty in a shopping mall in Quezon City.

If you're looking for predators and pervs, start in in your right wing evilgelical churches and Republican Party meetings. 

Here's the Friday episode of the WWYD show if you missed it.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Bill King's Shady Mayoral Campaign Mailers

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Back in 2015 Bill King narrowly lost in a December runoff to current mayor Sylvester Turner in large part because ethnically diverse Houston, and especially the Black and Latinx parts of it ain't feeling Republicans right now. 

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Our city hasn't elected a Republican to sit in our mayor's chair in over 40 years, so in this run, looks like King is deploying deception and racism in his attempt to knock Turner out the mayors chair at The Horseshoe.

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He has already been called out for his dog whistle racist signs that are still up in many parts of town that say 'Clean Up City Hall', as if to imply there is rampant corruption going on with the Black mayor in charge.

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Since our Houston municipal elections are theoretically nonpartisan, to imply that his Republican behind has bipartisan support, a mailer has appeared targeting the predominately suburban white Kingwood area in Northeast Houston  that lists some Democratic precinct chairs and makes the claim they support him.

Only problem is that many of those Democratic precinct chairs listed in the mailers DON'T support King, and were majorly pissed to find out their names appeared in his campaign literature without their knowledge.   Those Democratic precinct chairs want their names removed from King's campaign literature ASAP.

King apologized on August 7,  then three days later sent out another mailer targeting the predominately white Clear Lake area in suburban southeast Houston replicating the same tactic.

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This statement appeared on the Harris County Democratic Party's website expressing support for their party precinct chairs outraged at the unauthorized use of their names or that they implicitly supported the King campaign.   

Image result for lillie schechter houstonThe Harris County Democratic Party has been made aware that Bill King, Candidate for Houston Mayor, recently mailed a political advertisement that identified as supporters, among others, Democratic Precinct Chairs. 

Our Precinct Chairs have unequivocally stated that at no time did they express support for Mr. King’s campaign or otherwise give their consent to be listed as supporters of his campaign. 

“We take the concerns of our Precinct Chairs very seriously, we always have their backs,” said Lillie Schechter, HCDP Party Chair 

We stand behind these chairs in asking that all candidates conduct their campaigns with the utmost integrity and obtain consent before listing any HCDP Precinct Chair as a supporter. 

Why am I not surprised that King would do what Republicans always do when they run for office?   Lie and do whatever shady crap they have to do to win.

Arrest Made In Tracy Single Williams Case

PHOTO: Joshua Dominic Bourgeois in a police booking photo.
The Houston Police Department (HPD) has announced it has made an arrest in the Tracy Single Williams case. 

The waste of DNA who did it was dating her.

25 year old Joshua Dominic Bourgeois was arrested on Friday and has been charged with the murder of the 22 year old Williams.   She was living in an apartment on Houston's west side at the time of her murder and was in a dating relationship with Bourgeois. .   

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Her body was found in a gas station parking lot along the 11700 block of  I-10 in west Houston just west of Beltway 8 around 3;30 AM back on July 30, and her death was ruled by the Harris County coroner as a homicide.   Williams body according to HPD spokespersons had severe lacerations in addition to a puncture wound.

PHOTO: 11009 Katy Freeway in Houston, Texas.
Bourgeois is currently cooling his heels in the Harris County Jail without bond, and it is unknown as of this writing if he has a defense attorney.

And yes, you can bet that the Houston area trans community and our allies will be closely watching this case to ensure that justice is served for Tracy and her family.

Edward Thomas Defense Attorneys Attacking Muhlaysia Booker's Femininity

Damn, we Black trans women can't get any respect in life or in death.

The news out of Dallas is that Edward Thomas, the waste of DNA who violently put his hands on the late Muhlaysia Booker back in April, will be going to trial in October for that assault in the 195th District Court of Texas.

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Thomas was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.   Even though Booker was murdered back in May, that video of the April 12 assault is still around on The Net along with all the witnesses to that violent attack on her.

So what do you do when you're faced with mounting evidence that your client attacked a trans woman?  Go for a cynical variation of the 'trans panic' defense and attempt to strip the trans woman of her femininity.
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 The transphobic defense attorney in this case are objecting to the fact that prosecutors are asking Judge Hector Garza (D) to rule that the indictment can use Muhlaysia's name even though she hadn't changed it legally or on any identification documents.

The defense attorneys are using her dead name and disrespectfully referring to Muhlaysia as a man

"Pierre Booker is legally a male by gender. To name him 'Muhlaysia' Booker could have the jury wrongfully conclude that Pierre is female...This is prejudicial against our client ,who is male."

The defense attorneys are trying a variation of the trans panic defense to strip Muhlaysia of her femininity.  They hope they can stir up transphobia in the jury pool and get potential jurors to not see Booker as the woman she is.

It also feeds this dangerous for us and patently false meme that trans women are just 'men in dresses'.

The Edwards defense attorneys also fear that if Booker is seen as the woman she is, it won't go well for their client.   Society usually takes a less charitable view of any man who puts his hands on a woman, and the defense attorneys know that.

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It is a despicable legal tactic by the defense attorneys.  Here's hoping that Judge Garza sees the same thing I see and rules in favor of Dallas County prosecutors when the defense motion has a hearing next week.

If he doesn't, I predict that Judge Garza is suddenly going to find himself being primary challenged in March 2020

Thursday, August 22, 2019

UH College of Medicine Building Plans Unveiled

Groundbreaking for the University of Houston's planned medical school is spring 2020. This architectural rendering shows the front of building. Photo: UH College Of Medicine
The city of Houston has had since 1945 the world class Texas Medical Center that has grown to a 2.1 square mile complex of densely packed medical building and hospitals that do cutting edge cancer and other medical research.

The first college of medicine to be started in the state of Texas in nearly 50 years became closer to becoming a reality after a bill establishing the new UH College of Medicine passed both houses in the 2019 session and was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott.

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The UH College of Medicine will start classes in the fall of 2020 with the goal of 50% of its graduates engaged in primary care.   An anonymous $3 million donation that was announced in July 2018 will cover tuition for the entire inaugural class of 30 students.   Another donation from the John O'Quinn Foundation will cover a third of the second class, with enrollment expected to grow to 480 students over the next 8 years. 

It still has some major steps to pass before classes can start.  UH was recently granted permission in a unanimous vote of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) for the new Doctor of Medicine degree.   In December it will submit its application to the federal accrediting body for medical programs called the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME)

The university is finalizing a partnership with HCA Houston Healthcare, the largest hospital company in the nation, to bring a total of 389 new resident positions to the College of Medicine over its first six years.

Those new doctors will be needed and necessary.  Texas ranks an abysmal 47 out of 50 states in primary care physicians to population ratio, and the new medical school will be a major step towards rectifying that

Hopefully the new medical school will also take some time to teach their students about the medical needs of transgender patients, since we do have a large population of trans folks in the Houston metro area.    UH already has degree programs in nursing, pharmacy, optometry and social work, and the new medical school will be complementary to all those existing programs

“They clearly recognize the need for more primary care physicians in underserved urban and rural communities, and the University of Houston remains laser-focused on creating a new kind of medical school with an innovative curriculum to address the shortage," said founding College of Medicine dean Dr. Stephen Spann said in a statement
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The school's four story 150,000 square foot building will be located on a 48 acre wooded plot of land just south of the main UH campus across from MacGregor Park along Martin Luther King Blvd the university purchased in 2008. 

Construction is slated to start in the spring of 2020 and be completed in 2022.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

ABC's WWYD Trans Bathroom Show This Friday

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We fought a knockdown drag out battle over the 2017 regular and special oppression session to kill SB 6, which specifically targeted trans people for bathroom dehumanization. 

Now in an episode ripped straight (pun intended) from the headlines, John Quinones and ABC's What Would You Do hidden camera are back to test the reactions of people who are confronted with the situation of a trans feminine person withing to use a public restroom.

And yes, our fave Harvard college bound student makes a cameo appearance in this one. 

Here's the link to the trailer video

This show broadcasts this Friday, August 23  at  9 PM EDT, 8 PM CDT on you local ABC station 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Welcome To Texas, Liberals!

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“You’re welcome in Texas as long as you never forget why you fled a liberal state,” he declared on Twitter. “Texans expect less government, lower taxes & more freedom. Newcomers must keep it that way.”-Gov Greg Abbott, Twitter

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Seems like Gov Abbott and his conservafools are a little upset that Texas after 20 plus years of Republican misrule, the Lone Star State  is starting to turn  purple on its way to becoming blue.

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Gov Abbott also has it wrong (as usual).   Texas has always been a progressive state, not a conservative one, and GOP control of it is only a recent phenomenon aided by gerrymandering and voter suppression laws.

It's a political flip that has been long predicted to happen since 2009, when the population of non-white Texans began to outnumber white Texans.

The blue tsunami and the movement of mass quantities of liberals to Texas also has them scared they are about to lose control of the state because it is critical to their efforts to elect a GOP POTUS and be relevant in national politics.

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Ted Cruz narrowly won reelection over Beto O' Rourke in the closest US Senate race in the Lone Star State since 1978.   Texas Republicans also lost 12 Texas House seats to put the Texas Democrats within nine seats of flipping the chamber for the first time since 2002.

And in a development that really has them 'scurred', Tarrant County (Ft Worth), went blue for the first time since the 1970's.

The leftward political shift has also been sped up by the racist Trump misadministration and its 'hate on everybody but conservative white males' policies.  Texas Republicans have also contributed to the blue tsunami buildup with their anti-immigration policies,  incessant attacks on abortion, their racist rhetoric and failure to expand Medicare.    The Texas GOP has also pissed voters off by pushing socially conservative bills that don't have the support of the vast majority of the growing Texas population or our Texas business community.

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The conservafools are also distressed about the fact that over 1000 people a day move to the Lone Star State, which solidifies our hold on the number two spot of most populous US states.   The Texas population is also not only majority-minority, it is also getting more ethnically diverse, especially in the suburbs.

By 2022, Latinx people will pass whites to become the largest ethnic group in the state, and the increasing anti-Latinx rhetoric is convincing many of them to vote Democratic

Houston, the largest city in Texas, is projected to move up to become the number three most populous city in the nation behind New York and Los Angeles once the 2020 Census is completed.

Houston and Harris County also account for in any statewide race 25% of the vote total, and Harris County flipped blue in the 2018 midterms.  San Antonio, the second largest city in Texas, is currently the seventh largest in the nation, and Dallas, the third largest in Texas with the ATX nipping at its heels, is number nine in population.   Austin and Fort Worth are 11th and 13th on that national population size list with El Paso at number 21

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While some of that growth has been from conservatives leaving deep blue California, it has been offset by many liberal Californians and other people from across the country moving to Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio because of jobs in our growing tech sector, corporate headquarters moves to the Lone Star State and a lower cost of living.

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That growth in the big four Texas population cities of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin and their suburbs has seen those cities get bluer.   That blue wave is also starting to extend to the formerly Republican suburban bastion counties like Fort Bend near Houston, Williamson near Austin (and where Dell Computers has its headquarters) and Collin near Dallas, where the city of Plano landed Toyota's North American headquarters.

It's just a matter of time before the number of people in Texas cities outnumbers the entire combined population in Texas' rural areas that remain Republican for now.

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So Greg Abbott and his fellow Republicans can whine all they want, but the flip of Texas to Democratic control is underway.   That bullet train has already left the station. 

BTW, speaking of bullet trains, we're about to start building a bullet train line between Houston and Dallas.

The Texas Republicans may not want you here, but as a fourth generation native Texan, I not only welcome you liberals to the Lone Star State, but I am along with other Texas native and Texas liberal progressive residents eagerly looking forward to working with you to make Texas better by turning it back to its progressive roots.

400 Years of Africans In America

Young girls walk past a sign denoting the 400th anniversary of the landing of the first enslaved Africans in English-occupied North America at Point Comfort in 1619.

Today is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of captive Africans at Old Point Comfort in what would later become Fort Monroe in Hampton, VA.

They were part of an original group of 60 Africans captured in in the kingdom of Ndongo in present day Angola.   With the Transatlantic Slave Trade well underway in the Caribbean and Latin America, the captured Africans were placed on a Spanish ship named the San Juan Bautista to transport them on an unwanted boat ride to Mexico.

The San Juan Bautista was attacked by two pirate ships, the White Lion and the Treasurer, who forced the Spanish ship to surrender its cargo of captive Africans.   Those ships got split up during a storm, and the White Lion ended up at Old Point Comfort.

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I also need to emphatically point out these early Africans weren't slaves.   Slavery was not legal in Virginia at that time and wouldn't become so until 1661, so those 20 plus Africans from Angola were traded for food and supplies and treated as indentured servants. 

At the time of the Africans arrival, the colony at Old Point Comfort was failing.   The colonists were resorting to cannibalism to survive, and now you had these Africans who arrived just in time with farming and artisan skills that were spread out amongst the nearby Virginia area homes and plantations

Those African farmers also had the skills to cultivate rice, sugar and cotton, crops that were perfect for this climate, but didn't have the seven year contracts like the white indentured servants from England.  That meant the Africans were at the mercy of their plantation owners

Many of those Africans worked 15-20 years before they were granted their freedom.   Once that freedom occurred, the freed Africans started their own homesteads, married other white and Native Americans, purchased the freedom of other family members, owned land, and enjoyed their freedom during that 40 year period before slavery stained what would later become the United States for the next 200 plus years

One of the other things that happened with those first African arrivals was the first African descended child born in North America.   Isabella and Antony were part of that group of 20 Africans that ended up living at Capt William Tucker's home, the commander of Point Comfort

His home was in present day Hampton. and Antony and Isabella eventually got married and had a son named William Tucker. The Tucker family was documented in the 1625 Virginia census, and William was baptized on January 4, 1624.  William is considered to be the first documented African descended child born in English North America.

The occasion of the arrival of Africans in America will be marked by a series of events in Hampton during the August 23-25 weekend. 

In light of the fact we have ignorant MAGAts shouting 'go back to Africa' to us, this 400th anniversary celebration of the arrival of Africans in America is a timely one.

It drives home the point that we have not only been here in North America for 400 years and predate the founding of the United States, but despite all the ongoing challenges of being Black in this country, we have managed to persevere, and thrive.

Monday, August 19, 2019

UH and TSU Are Back To Being Harris County Polling Locations

When I was a student at UH, the 1980 presidential election was happening during my freshman year.  While I eventually cast my ballot in my home precinct at Crestmont Park, I was still happy to know that we had a polling location set up in the UC for students to vote at. 

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The same was the case at Texas Southern, which is one of the largest HBCU campuses in the nation and just a few blocks west of the UH campus.

When the Republicans got control of ethnically diverse Harris County, knowing that it provides at this point 25% of the vote total in a statewide election, the polling places on the UH and TSU campuses were removed.

At the same time, Texas Republicans when they passed their voter suppression laws in 2011, made sure that student ID's from a Texas college or university were no longer valid identification in order to make it harder for college students to vote.

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Elections have consequences, and one of the happy consequences of the 2018 Blue tsunami that flipped Harris County back to dark blue Democratic Party control was the election of Dr. Diane Trautman to replace the odious GOP hack Stan Stanart as our Harris County Clerk. 

The county clerk, for you non-Texans, is the Chief Elections Administrator.  She's the person that establishes the procedures and policies that determine how elections are run in the largest county in Texas by population, where we vote and even the times we're able to do so subject to state and federal election law and approval of Harris County Commissioner's Court.

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In addition to the welcome policy of being able to vote at any polling location in Harris County, polling locations were reestablished on the University of Houston and Texas Southern University campuses.

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"It's important for young people to be involved in the elections process", said Dr Trautman. "These additional voting locations will make it easier for students, faculty and staff, as well as the surrounding communities to vote " 

That's significant, because UH has over 40,000 students and 7000 faculty and staff, while TSU has over 9000 enrolled students.   They deserve a say in who will govern them while they are matriculating on the UH and TSU campuses at the local, state and national level.

This will be effective for the upcoming November 5 municipal elections.