Karen Derr Makes Her Case For Houston City Council District C In 2011
I asked Houston City Council District C candidate Karen Derr if she would like to make her case with a brief statement at my blog.
I live in District C. I am voting for Ms. Derr.
Ms. Derr was nice enough to provide the following statement—
In 2009, when I first ran for city council at large, my previous political experience had been volunteering for candidates I admired since I was a child. Those who know me knew that I wanted to make a difference in Houston as an elected representative and when I sold my company in 2008, I launched my campaign. I learned a great deal in that campaign and some of what I learned was eye-opening. I learned that there is a disproportionate level of influence over the political process from those who do business with the city. Seasoned political watchers look at the money raised from these “usual givers” to predict who will win and this determines who’s a good bet for further investment and endorsements. As an active volunteer, I was convinced that everyone needs to be engaged – apartment dwellers, home owners, parents, seniors, business owners and youth – yes, even youth need to be involved in making our neighborhoods better. Yet, there is a considerable lack of faith in our city government and our elections are decided by dismal voter turnout.
I strongly believe these two facts are closely connected and that those of us who aspire to serve on city council need to rebuild that trust by avoiding close financial relationships with those who benefit from contracts, 380 agreements and behind the scenes access to city hall. Other candidates this election cycle take a different position on this issue and that’s their prerogative. However, let us not be so naive to suggest that money doesn’t change things. It does. And in a time with so few resources available to neighborhoods, it’s particularly important that tax dollars are spent efficiently and fairly. In this economic climate, mine aren’t the only eyes being opened. Voters know what their neighborhoods need to thrive – neighborhood based patrolling, bike trails and sidewalks that connect with neighborhood friendly local businesses, clean air, and protection from flooding. They know these improvements could be more easily acheived if backroom deals were negotiated in the open to fully benefit communities. This new awareness makes it a great time to run for public office. A candidate with a passion for these issues can win without a bloated campaign budget. I believe this is a climate in which a candidate can win with hard work and good communication skills to express a determination to reach these goals that resonate with voters.
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