Ben Hall, 2015 Candidate for Mayor. (upper-left). Dwight Boykins, Houston City Council Member. Judge John Schmude with his family. C.O. Bradford, Houston City Council Member. Businesswoman Pamela Ellis. Businessman Durrel Douglas. Attorney Ramona Franklin. Floyd Emery, the Missouri City, Council Member for District D. Attorney Keryl L. Douglas. Barack Obama, President of the United States (Lower-Right). Pastor Steve Riggle and his wife. Businessman Bill Frazer. Businessman Craig Joseph. Dr. Michael O. Adams, Program Director at TSU. Dr. Charles Dupre, the Superintendent of Public Schools for FBISD. Allen Owen, the Mayor of Missouri City, Texas. Ronald C. Green, City of Houston Controller. Judge Loyd Wright. Judge Christine Riddle-Butts. Grayle James, Fort Bend ISD Board President. Carroll G. Robinson, a 2015 Candidate Controller. Pastor Ed Young (Lower-left).
COULD 2015 BE YOUR TIME TO SHINE?
“As a community of Believers we must have the courage to go after our dreams. So don’t allow political operatives, or anyone else to deter you from stepping out in faith.” - Aubrey -------------------------------------------------
CITY CONTROLLER GREEN Ronald C. Green is currently serving his third and final term as Controller for the city of Houston. Voters in Houston will elect a new controller in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election.
MAYOR ANNISE PARKER Mayor Annise Parker is currently serving her third and final term as Mayor of Houston. Voters in Houston will elect a new mayor in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election.
AT-LARGE POSITION 1 Council Member Stephen Costello is currently serving his third and final term in office. The Houston City Council At-Large Position 1 seat will be open in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election.
AT-LARGE POSITION 2 Council Member David Robinson is currently serving his first term in office and will be up for re-election in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election.
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CONTROLLER MAYOR AT-LARGE #1 AT-LARGE #4 DISTRICT G DISTRICT H
â€œBen Hall is asking for our vote, prayers, and support in his quest to become the next mayor of Houston in the 2015 Mayoral Election.â€? -- AUBREY R. TAYLOR Houston Business Connections Magazine
Dear Neighbor: I am Ben Hall and I want to be Mayor of this great city! Many of you probably know me, but for those of you who don't, I am a husband, father, businessman and attorney. I left the private sector during Mayor Bob Lanier's term, to lead the City Attorney's office. During that time, I gained the skills and knowledge to move our city forward, by using private sector experience to solve problems. I learned from Mayor Bob that in order to lead this City it requires a focused and committed leader. Saundra and I love Houston and the opportunity it has given us to be a positive force in the lives of others. We want to continue that by giving back to a city that has given so much to us. Our streets need to be repaired; our neighborhoods need to be protected; Houstonians need jobs; and our city debt must be addressed. We can't do this if we don't work together. As your next Mayor,my focus will be on our City's basic needs, and to make sure that businesses can flourish without the harsh penalty of more taxes and fees. I am asking you to join Saundra and me in moving our city forward. Join us in focusing on the things that matter to ALL Houstonians. I am asking for your prayers, your votes and your thoughts on how we can move Houston forward. Sincerely,
Benjamin L. "Ben" Hall, III 2015 Candidate for Mayor of Houston
“We can do this!” "I’m no saint. I’m just the publisher of the good news you’re reading. I’m also a person striving to use my talent, gifting, and resources to empower, inspire, inform, and encourage people (like you) striving to reach their full God-ordained potential in their personal and professional endeavors. Sincerely,
Aubrey R. Taylor AUBREY R. TAYLOR
Houston Business Connections Magazine 957 NASA PARKWAY #251 Houston, Texas 77058 Phone: (832)212-8735 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Blog: aubreyrtaylor.blogspot.com
Don’t Forget This! “According to an ABCNews/Beliefnet Poll 83 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. So to this end, it makes perfect sense for us to get Christians engaged, empowered, informed, and excited about the process of choosing those who govern on the local, state, and federal levels in America. So don't forget about what Proverbs 29:2 teaches us: "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn." – AUBREY R. TAYLOR HOUSTON BUSINESS CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE
“Carroll G. Robinson is asking for our vote, prayers, and support in his quest to become the next City Controller for the City of Houston in the 2015 Mayoral Election.” -- AUBREY R. TAYLOR Houston Business Connections Magazine
Dear Fellow Houstonian: On Friday, a federal judge ruled that candidates for city office, in the 2015 city election, could immediately begin raising campaign contributions. I am writing to ask you for as generous a contribution as you are able to give at this time to my campaign for Houston City Controller. As you may remember, I am a former At-Large City Council Member. I currently serve on the Board of Directors of the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund and Houston Community College System. I have also served on the Board of the National League of Cities, State Bar of Texas, K9s4COPS, Children at Risk and the Northeast YMCA. I would like to work with you to help make life better for all Houstonians and to help make our city greater. Protecting Taxpayers’ money, Fixing the City Budget, Fixing our Streets, Modernizing city government to reduce its operating expenses, paying down the unfunded pension liability debt and attracting more good paying jobs, businesses, entrepreneurs, construction and development to our city - while respecting and protecting our neighborhoods - will be my top priorities. I support legalizing casino gaming in Houston and using private investments to connect Hobby and Bush Intercontinental Airports to our light rail system to attract more tourists to our city to generate more sales tax revenue to help pay for core city services. As City Controller, I will be the Taxpayers’ Voice at City Hall and will work with you to make the City Controller’s Office the Solution Center of City Government. Please consider making a contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500 or more today to my campaign. Together, we can Make Houston Greater! Visit CARROLLGROBINSON.COM to make your donation. Sincerely,
Carroll G. Robinson 2015 Candidate for City of Houston Controller
COUNCIL MEMBER DWIGHT BOYKINS is the Houston City Council representative for District D. He is currently serving his first term in office and will be up for reelection in the 2015 General Election.
COUNCIL MEMBER C.O. “BRAD” BRADFORD is the Houston City Council representative for At-Large Position 4. He is currently serving his third and final term and cannot run for reelection.
COUNCIL MEMBER FLOYD EMERY is the Missouri City, Texas District D. Council Member. He has been married 52 years to his wife, Linda. They have been homeowners in Quail Valley for more than 35 years, where they raised their two sons, Brian and Dennis.
ATTORNEY RAMONA FRANKLIN is a native Floridian but has resided in Texas since 2001. Ramona resides in Katy, TX and has been a member of Brookhollow Baptist Church-Church Without Walls for nine years.
JUDGE JOHN SCHMUDE currently serves as the State District Judge for the 247th Family District Court of Harris County. Judge John Schmude re-
sides with his wife and two children in Spring. Judge Schmude is a lifetime Republican.
DURREL DOUGLAS is one of the Co-Founders of the Houston Justice Coalition. He grew up in South Park on Selinsky Street. In 2005 he took a job as a correctional officer with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) for five years eventually rising to the rank of Lieutenant.
PAMELA ELLIS is the Principal Consultant and Owner of Smahrt Solutions. Smahrt provides management consulting for fortune 500 companies and large public sector entities in the areas of Human Resources Management and Business Process Engineering.
KERYL L. DOUGLAS, avid volunteer and attorney in private practice in Houston, graduated summa cum laude, with standing of #5 out of 202 students, from Thurgood Marshall School of Law in May 2008.
HOUSTON BUSINESS CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE
President Barack Obama's 2015 State of the Union Address Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans: Today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it, and did her part to lift America’s graduation rate to its highest level in more than three decades. An entrepreneur flipped on the lights in her tech startup, and did her part to add to the more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years. An autoworker fine-tuned some of the best, most fuel-efficient cars in the world, and did his part to help America wean itself off foreign oil. A farmer prepared for the spring after the strongest five-year stretch of farm exports in our history. A rural doctor gave a young child the first prescription to treat asthma that his mother could afford. A man took the bus home from the graveyard shift, bone-tired but dreaming big dreams for his son. And in tight-knit communities across America, fathers and mothers will tuck in their kids, put an arm around their spouse, remember fallen comrades, and give thanks for being home from a war
that, after twelve long years, is finally coming to an end. Tonight, this chamber speaks with one voice to the people we represent: it is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong. Here are the results of your efforts: The lowest unemployment rate in over five years. A rebounding housing market. A manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. More oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world – the first time that’s happened in nearly twenty years. Our deficits – cut by more than half. And for the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world’s number one place to invest; America is. That’s why I believe this can be a breakthrough year for America. After five years of grit and determined effort, the United States is better-positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth. The question for everyone in this chamber, running through every decision we make this year, is whether we are going to help or hinder this progress. For several years now, this town has been consumed by a rancorous argument over the proper size of the federal government. It’s an important debate – one that dates back to our very founding. But when that debate prevents us from carrying out even the most basic functions of our democracy – when our differences shut down government or threaten the full faith and credit of the United States – then we are not doing right by the American people. As President, I’m committed to making Washington work better, and rebuilding the trust of the people who sent us here. I believe most of you are, too. Last month, thanks to the work of Democrats and Republicans, this Congress finally produced a budget that undoes some of last year’s severe cuts to priorities like education. Nobody got everything they wanted, and we can still do more to invest in this country’s future while bringing down our deficit
President Barack Obama speaks with First Lady Michelle Obama following his State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
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CITY OF HOUSTON CONTROLLER RONALD C. GREEN was elected as the first African American City of Houston Controller on December 12, 2009. BUSINESSMAN CRAIG JOSEPH is a well-known successful entrepreneur who owns one of the oldest familyowned restaurants in the Houston area. MAYOR ALLEN OWEN is Missouri City's 10th mayor since the city's incorporation in 1956. He’s faithfully served as Missouri City’s mayor since first being elected to represent “The Show Me City” back in 1994.
FBISD SUPERINTENDENT DR. CHARLES DUPRE is the first African American to serve as the superintendent for the FBISD School District.
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JUDGE LOYD WRIGHT currently serves as the Probate Judge for District Court #1 in Harris County. JUDGE CHRISTINE RIDDLE BUTTS currently serves as the Probate Judge for District Court #4 in Harris County.
BUSINESSMAN BILL FRAZER plans to put his vast experience to work for the people of Houston should voters choose to elect him on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015.
FBISD PRESIDENT GRAYLE JAMES currently serves as the President of the Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees.
EDUCATOR AND ATTORNEY CARROLL G. ROBINSON plans to put his vast experience to work for the people of Houston should voters choose to elect him on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015.Professor Robinson is a former At-Large (elected citywide) member of the Houston (Texas) City Council. As a member of the City Council, Professor Robinson chaired the city’s Transportation, Technology and Infrastructure Committee.
HOUSTON BUSINESS CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE
in a balanced way. But the budget compromise should leave us freer to focus on creating new jobs, not creating new crises. In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together. Let’s make this a year of action. That’s what most Americans want – for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations. And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all – the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead. Let’s face it: that belief has suffered some serious blows. Over more than three decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on. Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all. Our job is to reverse these trends. It won’t happen right away, and we won’t agree on everything. But what I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. Some require Congressional action, and I’m eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still – and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do. As usual, our First Lady sets a good example. Michelle’s Let’s Move partnership with schools, businesses, and local leaders has helped bring down childhood obesity rates for the first time in thirty years – an achievement that will improve lives and reduce health care costs for decades to come. The Joining Forces alliance that Michelle and Jill Biden launched has already encouraged employers to hire or train nearly 400,000 veterans and military spouses. Taking a page from that playbook, the White House just organized a College Opportunity Summit where already, 150 universities, businesses, and nonprofits have made concrete commit-
ments to reduce inequality in access to higher education – and help every hardworking kid go to college and succeed when they get to campus. Across the country, we’re partnering with mayors, governors, and state legislatures on issues from homelessness to marriage equality. The point is, there are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments, and are moving this country forward. They believe, and I believe, that here in America, our success should depend not on accident of birth, but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams. That’s what drew our forebears here. It’s how the daughter of a factory worker is CEO of America’s largest automaker; how the son of a barkeeper is Speaker of the House; how the son of a single mom can be President of the greatest nation on Earth. Opportunity is who we are. And the defining project of our generation is to restore that promise. We know where to start: the best measure of opportunity is access to a good job. With the economy picking up speed, companies say they intend to hire more people this year. And over half of big manufacturers say they’re thinking of insourcing jobs from abroad. So let’s make that decision easier for more companies. Both Democrats and Republicans have argued that our tax code is riddled with wasteful, complicated loopholes that punish businesses investing here, and reward companies that keep profits abroad. Let’s flip that equation. Let’s work together to close those loopholes, end those incentives to ship jobs overseas, and lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs here at home. Moreover, we can take the money we save with this transition to tax reform to create jobs rebuilding our roads, upgrading our ports, unclogging our commutes – because in today’s global economy, firstclass jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure. We’ll need Congress to protect more than three million jobs by finishing transportation and waterways bills this summer. But I will act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible. We also have the chance, right now, to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs. My administration has launched two hubs for high-tech manufacturing in Raleigh and Youngstown, where we’ve connected businesses to research universities that can help America lead the world in advanced
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technologies. Tonight, I’m announcing we’ll launch six more this year. Bipartisan bills in both houses could double the number of these hubs and the jobs they create. So get those bills to my desk and put more Americans back to work. Let’s do more to help the entrepreneurs and small business owners who create most new jobs in America. Over the past five years, my administration has made more loans to small business owners than any other. And when ninety-eight percent of our exporters are small businesses, new trade partnerships with Europe and the Asia-Pacific will help them create more jobs. We need to work together on tools like bipartisan trade promotion authority to protect our workers, protect our environment, and open new markets to new goods stamped “Made in the USA.” China and Europe aren’t standing on the sidelines. Neither should we. We know that the nation that goes all-in on innovation today will own the global economy tomorrow. This is an edge America cannot surrender. Federally-funded research helped lead to the ideas and inventions behind Google and smartphones. That’s why Congress should undo the damage done by last year’s cuts to basic research so we can unleash the next great American discovery – whether it’s vaccines that stay ahead of drug-resistant bacteria, or paper-thin material that’s stronger than steel. And let’s pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly, needless litigation. Now, one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy. The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades. One of the reasons why is natural gas – if extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change. Businesses plan to invest almost $100 billion in new factories that use natural gas. I’ll cut red tape to help states get those factories built, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas. My administration will keep working with the industry to sustain production and job growth while strengthening protection of our air, our water, and our communities. And while we’re at it, I’ll use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations. It’s not just oil and natural gas production that’s booming; we’re becoming a
global leader in solar, too. Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can’t be outsourced. Let’s continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don’t need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do. And even as we’ve increased energy production, we’ve partnered with businesses, builders, and local communities to reduce the energy we consume. When we rescued our automakers, for example, we worked with them to set higher fuel efficiency standards for our cars. In the coming months, I’ll build on that success by setting new standards for our trucks, so we can keep driving down oil imports and what we pay at the pump. Taken together, our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet. Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth. But we have to act with more urgency – because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods. That’s why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities, and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air. The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did. Finally, if we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement – and fix our broken immigration system. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted. I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason: when people come here to fulfill their dreams – to study, invent, and contribute to our culture – they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone. So let’s get immigration reform done this year. The ideas I’ve outlined so far can speed up growth and create more jobs. But in this rapidly-changing economy, we
have to make sure that every American has the skills to fill those jobs. The good news is, we know how to do it. Two years ago, as the auto industry came roaring back, Andra Rush opened up a manufacturing firm in Detroit. She knew that Ford needed parts for the best-selling truck in America, and she knew how to make them. She just needed the workforce. So she dialed up what we call an American Job Center – places where folks can walk in to get the help or training they need to find a new job, or better job. She was flooded with new workers. And today, Detroit Manufacturing Systems has more than 700 employees. What Andra and her employees experienced is how it should be for every employer – and every job seeker. So tonight, I’ve asked Vice President Biden to lead an across-the-board reform of America’s training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now. That means more on-the-job training, and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life. It means connecting companies to community colleges that can help design training to fill their specific needs. And if Congress wants to help, you can concentrate funding on proven programs that connect more ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs. I’m also convinced we can help Americans return to the workforce faster by reforming unemployment insurance so that it’s more effective in today’s economy. But first, this Congress needs to restore the unemployment insurance you just let expire for 1.6 million people. Let me tell you why. Misty DeMars is a mother of two young boys. She’d been steadily employed since she was a teenager. She put herself through college. She’d never collected unemployment benefits. In May, she and her husband used their life savings to buy their first home. A week later, budget cuts claimed the job she loved. Last month, when their unemployment insurance was cut off, she sat down and wrote me a letter – the kind I get every day. “We are the face of the unemployment crisis,” she wrote. “I am not dependent on the government…Our country depends on people like us who build careers, contribute to society…care about our neighbors…I am confident that in time I will find a job…I will pay my taxes, and we will raise our children in their own home in the community we love. Please give us this chance.” Congress, give these hardworking, responsible Americans that chance. They
need our help, but more important, this country needs them in the game. That’s why I’ve been asking CEOs to give more long-term unemployed workers a fair shot at that new job and new chance to support their families; this week, many will come to the White House to make that commitment real. Tonight, I ask every business leader in America to join us and to do the same – because we are stronger when America fields a full team. Of course, it’s not enough to train today’s workforce. We also have to prepare tomorrow’s workforce, by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education. Estiven Rodriguez couldn’t speak a word of English when he moved to New York City at age nine. But last month, thanks to the support of great teachers and an innovative tutoring program, he led a march of his classmates – through a crowd of cheering parents and neighbors – from their high school to the post office, where they mailed off their college applications. And this son of a factory worker just found out he’s going to college this fall. Five years ago, we set out to change the odds for all our kids. We worked with lenders to reform student loans, and today, more young people are earning college degrees than ever before. Race to the Top, with the help of governors from both parties, has helped states raise expectations and performance. Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C. are making big strides in preparing students with skills for the new economy – problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math. Some of this change is hard. It requires everything from more challenging curriculums and more demanding parents to better support for teachers and new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a test. But it’s worth it – and it’s working. The problem is we’re still not reaching enough kids, and we’re not reaching them in time. That has to change. Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education. Last year, I asked this Congress to help states make high-quality pre-K available to every four year-old. As a parent as well as a President, I repeat that request tonight. But in the meantime, thirty states have raised pre-k funding on their own. They know we can’t wait. So just as we worked with states to reform our schools, this year,
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HOUSTON BUSINESS CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE
Ben Hall shares insights into his childhood growing up, his outlook for 2015, his mission, and much more as he endeavors to become mayor of Houston, Texas AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? ATTORNEY BEN HALL: I was one of six (6) children born into a family of school teachers. My mother taught French and father taught mechanical drawing. Both parents worked hard to keep us clothed and fed, and I remember missing them sorely at times because of their workload. I always felt loved even when outward conditions seemed difficult. We were a close-knit family, living in tight quarters initially with our grandparents. The children had to share beds because of cramped quarters. Food was not plentiful, but my parents always ensured we had something to eat. We attended church every Sunday as a family and were constantly lectured about proper living and the duty to be of service to others. Toys were a luxury and my parents would work extra jobs and teach during summer school to make sure we received at least one of our wished-for gifts at Christmas. While living with my grandparents, we did not have central heating or air conditioning. The house was warmed in the winter by coal-burning stoves, and in the summer we were cooled with fans and open windows. Life was rugged, but enjoyable. Through these early years, I learned to believe that the product of hard work could be success.
HOUSTON BUSINESS CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE
AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? ATTORNEY BEN HALL: The honest answer is that I really don't remember dreaming about "becoming" anything as a child. My most dominant recollection is just trying to be comfortable. I remember praying a simple prayer every morning and night for everyone to be healthy and safe. This simple prayer was comforting to me. Perhaps it developed from my inner concerns about some of the rugged aspects of my life. Perhaps it was simply the result of indoctrination from religious grandparents/parents. Whatever the origin, I had a solid confidence that things would work out if I believed and worked as hard as I could. I do not remember hoping to be any particular professional as a child. Life itself seemed fulfilling and challenging enough. It was not until college that I began attempting to forecast a career path. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? ATTORNEY BEN HALL: This is a difficult question to answer. There are so
many levels at which this question solicits a response. At a spiritual level, I would hope to perfect myself in conformity with my faith structure. At the family level, I would hope to ensure that all family members (wife, sons, sisters, etc.) know my love for them without any doubt. As a businessman, I would hope to serve all clients and employees with the highest degree of integrity and honesty. And, as a servant, to develop a persistent commitment to help others without need for reward or acknowledgement. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Can you tell us a little about what you do for a living? ATTORNEY BEN HALL: I am a businessman. I presently own and operate four (4) businesses: a law firm, a real-estate-holding company, a radio station and a newly-formed TV company. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? ATTORNEY BEN HALL: A couple of recent events may be of interest. I had the honor of representing SHAPE Community Center in a piece of litigation that
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resulted in a favorable result for SHAPE. We were able to prevent the wrongful seizure of SHAPE's property. Another piece of litigation I am handling is presently ongoing and involves our efforts to protect the bricks laid in Fourth Ward over 100 years ago by freed former slaves. The bricks are historic and I am pleased to have been asked to represent the effort to save this irreplaceable treasure. Also, my wife, Saundra, and I have had the opportunity to purchase the historic KCOH radio station. We intend to continue and grow the impressive legacy of this great radio institution. Finally, I was recently afforded the opportunity to host Mrs. Sarah Collins-Rudolph in our home. Mrs. Collins-Rudolph is the sole surviving child victim of the Birmingham church bombing that killed four little girls at the hands of professed racist klansmen. Her overcoming spirit filled our home. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? ATTORNEY BEN HALL: Houston's mayoral race this year will consume most of my time and energy. Houston has a number of systemic and chronic issues
I am a businessman. I presently own and operate four (4) businesses: a law firm, a real-estate-holding company, a radio station and a newly-formed TV company.
that must be addressed in a measured and persistent manner. All neighborhoods need a mayor who represents them and applauds our diversity. Streets and potholes must be addressed immediately; the City's pension obligations must be provided creative and constructive solutions; while core city services (police, fire, infrastructure, etc.) cannot be neglected. The mayor's race must be about more than personal agendas, and more about the peoples' business. The City and her citizens deserve answers to tough questions from anyone applying to sit in the mayor's chair. I intend to run an aggressive campaign this year to make sure voters know what we will do as their mayor.
striving to achieve their dream? ATTORNEY BEN HALL: Believe! The nativity site of success is an unyielding belief that you can and will do what you dream. Life's harsh winds will blow against your dreams; clouds of doubt will arise to rob you of hope; and the rains of struggle will test your resolve; but the bright sunshine of your faith in what you believe must pierce the despair to get you through the difficult times. When no one else believes you can do it, believe anyway! Remember Barack Obama's seeming impossible run against Hillary Clinton to become President! Ride your faith to success!
AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there
Another piece of litigation I am handling is presently ongoing and involves our efforts to protect the bricks laid in Fourth Ward over 100 years ago by freed former slaves. The bricks are historic and I am pleased to have been asked to represent the effort to save this irreplaceable treasure.â€?
BUSINESS EDUCATION PUBLIC SERVICE CORPORATE AMERICA VALUE REQUEST A FEW INSIGHTS INTO LIFE GROWING UP, OUTLOOK FOR 2015 & THEIR MISSION IN LIFE. 16
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INTERVIEW WITH A COUNCILMAN WHO VALUES US:
COUNCILMAN DWIGHT BOYKINS AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? COUNCILMAN BOYKINS: As a child growing up in the South Union community, I focused on always putting family first. My mother provided us with the opportunity to play sports including baseball and football and discipline was enforced.
"Our mission is to do all we can to create an "ENVIRONMENT" to assist "BELIEVERS"in identifying "LEADERS" in Education, Corporate America, Business, and our LOCAL, STATE, and FEDERAL GOVERNMENT who value our lives, support, and vote. I believe we can make America even better by accomplishing this mission together." ______________________ -- AUBREY R. TAYLOR, publisher of Houston Business Connections Magazine - Call (832)212-8735 today!
AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? COUNCILMAN BOYKINS: As a child I wanted to become a public servant. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? COUNCILMAN BOYKINS: My mission in life is to become the best public servant possible and always remember to give back to my community. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Can you tell us a little about what you do for a living? COUNCILMAN BOYKINS: I own a business development firm and I am also the District D Houston City Council Member. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? COUNCILMAN BOYKINS: I established the Seniors Assistance Fund and raised over 50,000 to assist senior citizens in District D with minor home repairs no cost to them or taxpayers. I also raised dollars to bring the first of its kind Holiday Tree Lighting & Kwanzaa Celebration on Almeda to the District D community.
Dwight Boykins is the Houston City Councilman for District D AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? COUNCILMAN BOYKINS:My outlook for 2015 focuses on my Second Chance Program which provides individuals who have made mistakes in the past, including non-violent ex-felons with an opportunity, without discrimination, for employment. Also, my office is working on the first of its kind second chance home buying opportunity to assist hard to qualify home ownership individuals. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream? COUNCILMAN BOYKINS: Always remember to put God first and believe in yourself.
INTERVIEW WITH A COUNCIL MEMBER WHO VALUES US:
C.O. “BRAD” BRADFORD AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? COUNCIL MEMBER C.O. “BRAD” BRADFORD: I grew up on our family farm in north Louisiana. My father, mother, six boys and six girls raised cattle, cotton, soybeans, corn and - yes, turnip greens. Thanks to my mother all twelve children are college educated people. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? COUNCIL MEMBER C.O. “BRAD” BRADFORD: It was not farming. I had had enough! My passion was machinery, automobile mechanics and automotive engineering. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? COUNCIL MEMBER C.O. “BRAD” BRADFORD: My mission is to initiate and support efforts which benefit the greater good of all. Try to leave a little piece of the world a better place than I found it. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Can you tell us a little about what you do for a living? COUNCIL MEMBER C.O. “BRAD” BRADFORD:I am an attorney, public safety consultant and former Chief of Police in Houston, Texas. I combine my education, legal training and police experience to work with neighborhoods and businesses, nationally and internationally, to help develop safety strategies. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? COUNCIL MEMBER C.O. “BRAD” BRADFORD: As an atlarge member of the Houston City Council, I am an advocate for after-school programs and summer jobs for our youth. Working with others on city council the last budget cycle, I was able to spearhead efforts which allocated more than two million dollars for these much needed strategies. Also, I authored a Council District Service Budget amendment which allocated, for the first time ever at City Hall, one million dollars ($1,000,000.00) to each district council member for use in their respective districts. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? COUNCIL MEMBER C.O. “BRAD” BRADFORD: I am committed to exhausting utmost efforts to re-focus city government on the delivery of core services which include water, garbage, infrastructure issues and safety services. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone
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out there striving to achieve their dream? COUNCIL MEMBER C.O. “BRAD” BRADFORD: Reward is attached to performance and anything worth having isn’t easy to get. Always remember that at the end of the day, when it is all said and done; the question is going to be: ‘What have you done to help others?’ Degrees, titles and positions won’t matter.
ON THE COVER C.O. "BRAD" BRADFORD is an Attorney, Public Safety Consultant, former Houston Chief of Police and Vice Mayor Pro-Tem for the City of Houston. In January 2012, members of the Houston City Council elected Bradford as Vice Mayor Pro-Tem via unanimous vote. Bradford ran three successful citywide campaigns, the maximum (three terms) permitted under law. During his second and third campaign, he won in every council district, without a run-off and got the highest number of votes in all of the citywide contested races. He became a resident of the city of Houston in 1979. Bradford has lived in Hiram Clarke, Alief, Fondren Southwest, and MacGregor areas, he understands the various characteristics of the Houston community and appreciates efforts to focus on neighborhood needs. Bradford served 24 years as a Houston police officer and seven years as Chief of Police. He was appointed Houston's Police Chief by Mayor Bob Lanier and re-appointed by Mayor Lee P. Brown. While serving as Chief of Police, Bradford managed 7,000 personnel and $500 million annual budget. During his tenure, citizens' fear of crime and public safety concerns went from 59% in 1996 to only 10% by the time he left office in 2003, as documented by Dr. Stephen Klineberg, Rice University. He holds degrees in law from the University of Houston Law Center, criminal justice from Grambling State University, and a public administration degree from Texas Southern University. Also, he is a graduate of the FBI Academy and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government Program for State and Local Executives. Bradford has served as a Precinct Chair and Election Judge in Harris County, Texas. Also, he has extensive experience as a Senior Consultant in the international consulting firm of Brown Group International (BGI). BGI is a full-service consulting firm that provides solutions to problems of government, corporations and individuals. BGI offers services in the areas of Public Safety, Homeland Security, Crisis Management, Government Relations, Community Government, Personnel Selection, Litigation Support, Technology Services and International Trade.
INTERVIEW WITH A COUNCIL MEMBER WHO VALUES US:
COUNCILMAN FLOYD EMERY AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? COUNCILMAN FLOYD EMERY: I was raised in a Midwest-city by a blue collar worker father and homemaker mother. My father was a strict disciplinarian with a strong competitive spirit. He worked hard and long hours to provide my younger sister and I with the basics required to live a safe and comfortable life. My mother with great homemaker skills provided a loving atmosphere instilling religious principals in my life, and was fully supportive of my fathers’ decisions. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? COUNCILMAN FLOYD EMERY: Like many young boys, I wanted to be a major league baseball player; playing for my home town heroes -- the St. Louis Cardinals. After that, I wanted to build a life where I would not have to face the hardships my father endured due in part to his lack of formal education; but would imitate his hard and competitive work ethic. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? COUNCILMAN FLOYD EMERY: To provide a loving atmosphere for my wife and sons while setting a good example in both my personal and business life. Giving back to my community, country and faith, through service and commitment to each, with an overall goal of being recognized as a good husband, father, friend and citizen is extremely important to me. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Can you tell us a little about what you do for a living? COUNCILMAN FLOYD EMERY: I retired from business life after 47 years of service with Baroid/Halliburton, achieving directorships in the disciplines of IT, Finance and HR. Currently, I have dedicated my time and energy to the job of performing the duties, and meeting the responsibilities as the Missouri City Council-member representing District D. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? COUNCILMAN FLOYD EMERY: I am equally proud of two accomplishments. The attention and actions brought to the support of our Public Safety (fire/police) is most rewarding. Working with the City Staff and my Council counterparts we’ve implemented processes to bring their pay (firemen/police officers) and benefits to a competitive level; provided budget and assets required to make them effective while providing for their safety, and the safety of our residents. Their performance (fire-
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men/police officers) positioned Missouri City as the 6th safest City in Texas. Additionally, the strengthening of our partnership with our HOA’s is rewarding. My commitment to attend most HOA meetings while directing City actions needed to address their issues; insuring we have City representation at these meetings to listen to, and address issues, promoting the National Night Out event by City Staff; and the review and development of City ordinances that assist the HOA’s in maintaining home values is an accomplishment in which I am very proud to have played a part in. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? COUNCILMAN FLOYD EMERY: I have a very positive outlook for Missouri City and its residents. Taxes collected and jobs created from our current and newly projected business park(s); increases in sales tax revenue, and existing home valuation, will provide the revenue required to meet our budgetary needs and potential City tax rate considerations. The City is in sound financial condition, the standards established for ratios and reserves by credit and bonding institutions reflect we are above the norms. Development of residential properties has a healthy outlook as evidenced in Sienna South, Riverstone and Olympia Estates among others. The City is making great strides in providing transparency in our financial, ordinance, and land planning activities, and mobility for our residents will continue to improve. Missouri City will continue to move forward. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream? COUNCILMAN FLOYD EMERY: Educate yourself both formally and in the attributes needed to make yourself a viable candidate for the station in life in which you ascribe. Associate yourself with activities and individuals through volunteerism, public service or other means of involvement. I was given advice early in my career that a job given is a job worth doing well; going over and above what might be expected. In all that you do, build a reputation of reliability, consistency, honesty and truthfulness.
ON THE COVER
COUNCIL MEMBER FLOYD EMERY has been married 52 years to his wife, Linda. They have been homeowners in Quail Valley for more than 35 years, where they raised their two sons, Brian and Dennis.
â€œExperienced, Effective, and Hard-Working for Missouri Cityâ€?
Re-Elect Floyd Emery for Missouri City Council District (D) on May 9, 2015 Vote Early: April 27th - May 5th Dear Friends: In May 2011, I was elected to this position by a substantial majority of District D voters. I was re-elected in May 2013 without opposition. I appreciate your support and confidence. In the election of 2011, I ran on a platform of "Ensuring Public Safety", "Protecting Property Values" and "Attracting New Business". I'm proud of the awards, recognition and business success Missouri City has experienced during my tenure. Our City being recognized as one of the safest cities in the US, most diverse city in the Houston area, best place to live and most affordable for homebuyers gives me satisfaction, knowing I have worked hard to keep those campaign pledges. The completion of the City Centre at Quail Valley, Recreation and Tennis Center at Cypress Point and the $50 million Water Treatment Plant at Steep Bank exemplifies our success. Missouri City has worked hard to develop and foster a business-friendly environment. As a result, our commercial tax base reflects a substantial increase as a percent of City revenue and our retail sales tax revenue reflects steady growth. I'm pleased to state that Missouri City is viewed by many as the best place to live, work, shop and play. With the experience I have gained, I am positioned to continue the work with my colleagues on City Council and our City Staff to move Missouri City forward. We must maintain our current path of growth and look for new opportunities to build our business base. Funding of our Public Safety sectors and addressing our infrastructure and water needs while continuing to improve our alliances with our HOAs must be our priorities as we build an environment that meets the expectations of our residents. Thank you to the residents of District D and Missouri City. I will continue my hard work for Missouri City's future. Thank You,
Missouri City Councilmember for District D
WITH A LEGAL LEADER WHO VALUES US:
ATTORNEY RAMONA FRANKLIN AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? ATTORNEY RAMONA FRANKLIN: Life was wonderful. I lived a care free life that was well guarded by two God fearing, loving and protective parents. I was able to live and play as a child free from adult responsibilities. I had the love, guidance, nurturing and protection from both of my loving parents. I was also blessed by my neighborhood. You see, I was raised during the time when the “Village” joined in and raised the child. So essentially, I had hundreds of loving mothers and hundreds of loving fathers who guided, encouraged, and instilled values in my life that I still carry today. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? ATTORNEY RAMONA FRANKLIN: I wanted to be the female version of Johnny Cochran. I always knew that I wanted to be an attorney and live a life of service to others. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Did you achieve your childhood dream, or did it evolve into something different? ATTORNEY RAMONA FRANKLIN: Yes and No. Yes, I have achieved the dream of becoming an attorney. However, each day as I grow into my God-given purpose I am discovering untapped dreams that have been instilled in me before my birth that have yet to be completed. No, there are still so many childhood dreams that I am still pursuing. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? ATTORNEY RAMONA FRANKLIN: My mission in life is to be a woman of God that encourages, inspires, empowers, educates and equips people with the knowledge of God. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream? ATTORNEY RAMONA FRANKLIN: First, keep your focus and eyes on God. I think it is also important to have dreams that are bigger than you that requires outside help. Never give up on a dream! Brush yourself off if you pursue a dream and you find yourself in a holding pattern waiting for your time. Give yourself time to reflect on plans to effectively carry out your dreams. It is always easy to give up on our dreams when they appear to be non-existent, and delayed.
ON THE COVER ATTORNEY RAMONA FRANKLIN is a native Floridian but has
resided in Texas since 2001. Ramona resides in Katy, TX and has been a member of Brookhollow Baptist Church-Church Without Walls for nine years. Ramona graduated from Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, FL with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and a Minor in Criminal Justice. Following her graduation from Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University she pursued a Masters of Science in Sports Administration from Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL. Immediately following her graduation from Lynn University Ramona pursued her Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, MI. In law school Ramona participated in the Moot Court Competition and was awarded the Best Advocate Award, she participated in the Mock Trial Competition and served on the Moot Court and Mock Trial Executive Board. She served as a Senate Representative, Law School Marshall, Ambassador and served
My mission in life is to be a woman of God that encourages, inspires, empowers, educates and equips people with the knowledge of God.” as the President of the Black Law Student Association. Following her graduation from law school she moved to Houston, TX and worked as an Assistant District Attorney at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office before entering into private practice in 2006. While in private practice Ms. Franklin began her law firm concentrating on criminal law, family law and wills. Ramona has handled an extensive variety of legal cases but primarily focuses her practice on zealously advocating criminal cases. Ramona Franklin is an Adjunct Instructor at Remington College, Houston, TX with a main concentration on Criminal Justice Studies. Ramona Franklin is passionate about serving the Harris County Community. She has volunteered in the Houston Volunteer’s Lawyer Program, NAACP Pro Bono Legal Defense Program, The Lady League Mentor Program and the Diamond In the Rough Mentor Program. Ramona Franklin is a motivational speaker, working on completing her first book and is the mother of a precocious 4 month old Malti Poo named Bailey. Ramona Franklin is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated.
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INTERVIEW WITH A JUDGE WHO VALUES US:
JOHN SCHMUDE AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? JUDGE JOHN SCHMUDE: I grew up in Spring, Texas as the youngest of 10 children. My father was an appellate attorney for the US Department of Justice before becoming a corporate attorney for Exxon. My mother was a homemaker. Being part of such a large family, there was never a dull moment growing up. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? JUDGE JOHN SCHMUDE: When I was a child, I dreamed of being a major league baseball player. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? JUDGE JOHN SCHMUDE: My mission in life is to be the best husband and father that I can be; to serve families as a fair, impartial, compassionate and hard working judge; and, through the mercy of God, to save my soul. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Can you tell us a little about what you do for a living? JUDGE JOHN SCHMUDE: I am a State District Judge for the 247th Family District Court of Harris County. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? JUDGE JOHN SCHMUDE: I am humbled and honored that the people of Harris County elected me in November 2014 to be Judge of the 247th District Court. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? JUDGE JOHN SCHMUDE: In 2015, I will work hard to bring greater efficiency to the 247th District Court and to work diligently to make judgments that apply the law fairly and impartially while treating lawyers and litigants with dignity and respect. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream?
JUDGE JOHN SCHMUDE: Do not ever let anybody tell you that you cannot do something. With hard work, a positive attitude and an indomitable spirit, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
ON THE COVER JUDGE JOHN SCHMUDE currently serves as the State District Judge for the 247th Family District Court of Harris County.
My mission in life is to be the best husband and father that I can be; to serve families as a fair, impartial, compassionate and hard working judge; and, through the mercy of God, to save my soul. Judge John Schmude resides with his wife and two children in Spring. John is a lifetime Republican with a strong record of service to children and to families - especially those children and families who have faced substantial challenges involving extreme poverty and abuse. John's wife, Kelly, was employed by Lockheed Martin Space Operations at NASA and MD Anderson Hospital before becoming a full time homemaker. John's commitment to family law is motivated by his strong faith and his recognition that families are the first and firmest foundation upon which any healthy society is built. John is an active member in Annunciation Catholic Church in downtown Houston.
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WITH A COMMUNITY LEADER WHO VALUES US:
BUSINESSMAN DURREL DOUGLAS AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? BUSINESSMAN DURREL DOUGLAS: I grew up in the South Park neighborhood of Houston, Texas on Selinsky Street. We lived in Crestmont Village, an apartment complex my mother managed. People tell me I have an "old soul" all the time and I believe this was because of the way my family raised me -- around people much older than myself. I remember my mother explaining the reasoning behind decisions she made so that I'd make wise decisions if I happened to be by myself. For instance, when I played outside and it was dark and I was called in, I would ask "Why," to which she'd respond: "You have to come inside because I have to get up early in the morning to go to work," instead of saying, "Because I said so." AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? BUSINESSMAN DURREL DOUGLAS: As a child, I wanted to be a lawyer. Looking back, I never really understood the reasoning behind it, but it may have been because that was one of the two ideal professions I'd heard of. If you wanted to be someone, you had to be either a doctor or a lawyer -- I chose lawyer. When I run into young children in passing -- on the elevator or so, that's one of my favorite things to ask them: What are you going to be when you grow up? AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? BUSINESSMAN DURREL DOUGLAS: I'll use one of the best answers I'd ever heard from a 4 year-old to answer this question. I was on the elevator at my apartment building heading to my car when I saw a mother and daughter already on the elevator. After telling both of the "Good morning," I asked the little girl how old she was and she told me she was 4. I asked her what she was going to be when she grew up, she paused and gave me an answer that gave me chills -- she said "5." I believe God speaks to us through people, and that was God's way of reaching out to me through that 4 year old telling me to worry about the next step in life, not the end of the staircase. She could've said ballerina, doctor, lawyer or a multitude of other things, but she replied "5." I'd have to say my mission in life is to make it better for those around me. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Can you tell us a little about what you do for a living? BUSINESSMAN DURREL DOUGLAS: As a consultant, I work on issue based campaigns, political campaigns and do a bit of advocacy work here and there. In Layman's terms, organizations hire me to strategize -- it seems to be one of my strengths. I work for myself, so I get to pick and choose issues that I work on and only
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choose issues/candidates that I care about. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? BUSINESSMAN DURREL DOUGLAS:Ahh...I grew my beard back and it's fuller than ever LOL. Years ago, I worked for Texas' prison system and couldn't wear facial hair. Once I resigned there, I told myself I'd never do two things: work somewhere I couldn't wear whatever I wanted and work somewhere I couldn't wear facial hair when I wanted to. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? BUSINESSMAN DURREL DOUGLAS: 2015 is going to be a great year. As tensions rise around certain issues, we'll make progress. This year is a mayoral year and things are already getting heated. Personally, I'm looking forward to spending time with my friends and family -- just making the most out of every day. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream? BUSINESSMAN DURREL DOUGLAS:The best advice I could give would be to follow your dream. Understand that most of their friends and families won't see the dream as clearly as they do. Understand that to follow your dream you'll lose friends and colleagues through envy and jealousy. Understand that it won't be as easy as it appears in your head. Understand that at the end of the day, you must follow your instinct.
ON THE COVER DURREL DOUGLAS is one of the Co-Founders of the Houston Justice Coalition. He grew up in South Park on Selinsky Street. In 2005 he took a job as a correctional officer with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) for five years eventually rising to the rank of Lieutenant. After seeing the trend of hallways filled with young men of color coming from marginalized communities like his, he resigned in 2010 determined to balance the scales of justice through advocacy, grassroots organizing and community empowerment that would lead more from his community on a path to success. He currently serves on the board of directors for the historic League of Women Voters; was a LWV Rising Star Class 2013-2014, Chair of the Resolutions Committee of the Harris County Democratic Party and is a member of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.
INTERVIEW WITH A BUSINESSWOMAN WHO VALUES US:
BUSINESSWOMAN PAM ELLIS AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? BUSINESSWOMAN PAMELA ELLIS: I grew up in a very small town in Texas. For most of my childhood, my mother was a single working mom. I was the 3rd of 4 girls. My mother always encouraged me to work hard and be the best at whatever I set out to do. My grandmother, who was my greatest inspiration, was a huge influence in my life. Serving as our second mom, she taught me about the love of God and the power of prayer. As a child, when I wasn’t busy with church and after-school activities: girl scouts, sports, student associations, etc., I was looking for ways to earn money; cleaning houses for the elderly, selling Christmas cards, recycling aluminum cans, selling bags of pecans, you name it I did it. I was fascinated with making money.
resources and special programs for teen girls in rural and urban underserved communities. In 2014, we hosted our first charity gala which helped to raise funds for the Smahrt Girl Summer Camp this year.
AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? BUSINESSWOMAN PAMELA ELLIS: As a child, I don’t recall dreaming of a particular profession. My mother always encouraged me to be the best at whatever I chose to do. I specifically recall how she used to say, “I want you to be somebody.” By the time I got to college, my dream was to be “Incharge”, make a lot of money and help people. It was just that simple and in that order.
AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream? BUSINESSWOMAN PAMELA ELLIS: My advice to anyone out there striving to achieve their dreams is to become very aware of the moral and ethical values. Your values are at the root of everything you produce. I like to look at it as my personal constitution. It establishes what I believe (faith), how I live my life and why I live (purpose). Don’t worry about how your dreams will come true; just know that they will if you take action. You won’t have all the answers when you start, but start anyway. Learn everything you can that will equip you to achieve and sustain your dreams. Be open, yet never compromise your values, you will only end up with regrets. Allow God to order your steps, and make smart choices. Lying, cheating, or stealing your way to it will only cause your dream to be short-lived, or take longer. Be smart!
AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? BUSINESSWOMAN PAMELA ELLIS: My mission is life to serve God in all that I do. In serving God, I know that means to serve humankind. I am on a mission to “be somebody”. I’ve learned that what really makes you “somebody” is when can provide solutions to someone else’s problems. In that way, my mission is to encourage and foster opportunities for teen girls and young women to live the life of their dreams. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Can you tell us a little about what you do for a living? BUSINESSWOMAN PAMELA ELLIS: I am the Principal Consultant and Owner of Smahrt Solutions. Smahrt provides management consulting for fortune 500 companies and large public sector entities in the areas of Human Resources Management and Business Process Engineering. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? BUSINESSWOMAN PAMELA ELLIS: A recent accomplishment that I’d like to share would be the expansion of The Smahrt Girl Foundation, a non-profit that I established in 2003 as a scholarship fund for graduating seniors living in rural communities. In 2013, we expanded to a full program providing mentoring,
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AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? BUSINESSWOMAN PAMELA ELLIS: I am very excited about 2015! 2015 marks my 13th year of business. I am looking forward to executing a new service delivery model. We are expanding our capabilities to offer services to a broader market thereby creating opportunities for substantial revenue increase. In 2015, my long anticipated book geared towards Human Resources professionals will be released in the fall of 2015.
ON THE COVER PAMELA ELLIS is the Principal Consultant and Owner of Smahrt Solutions. Smahrt provides management consulting for fortune 500 companies and large public sector entities in the areas of Human Resources Management and Business Process Engineering. Ellis has managed the growth of the firm into a key service provider to Fortune 1000 companies in the greater Houston area and nationwide. Smahrt’s clients have included Service Corporation International (SCI), Anadarko Petroleum, Turner Broadcast Systems, U.S. State Department and most recently the State of Maryland where she and her team successfully lead planning, procurement and program management efforts for the Maryland Statewide Personnel System (SPS) Modernization project which was budgeted at $67 million dollars and included more that 64 agencies statewide.
WITH AN ATTORNEY WHO VALUES US:
ATTORNEY KERYL L. DOUGLAS AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life for you as a child growing up? ATTORNEY KERYL L. DOUGLAS: I borrow from Charles Dickens to say my childhood was both “The best of times AND the worst of times.” I grew up with a blessed, albeit somewhat ‘sheltered’ life that afforded me and my siblings, a positive, protected upbringing. But I also was raised in the deep racial unrest of the 60’s in the south. Blacks were still being lynched and oppressed. But our family went unscathed. We and others we knew were passionately engaged in efforts for social justice/civil rights. “Whites Only” signs still adorned water fountains and other accommodations. Yet Blacks we knew, especially my family, were undaunted and determinedly committed to advance, thrive, and achieve. I credit my wonderful parents, especially my mom, Johnnie M. Burgess for rearing us with strong conviction that NO man is superior, nor inferior to others; but ALL are created equal. Christianity was the pinnacle, foundation, and anchor of lives then, as now. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? ATTORNEY KERYL L. DOUGLAS: First and foremost, I dreamt of being a mother, with hope and prayer of being even just a fraction of the mother my mother was. GOD blessed me in this regard with my wonderful son, James Matthew Douglas II, 11th grade honor student at Westbury Christian School. I dreamt of being successful and having a positive impact on society and the world. I continue to build upon both of these throughout what I pray and expect to be a very long, successful life -- Cliché, but true. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? ATTORNEY KERYL L. DOUGLAS: My mission in life is to fulfill the purpose for which my GOD created, sent, called, equipped, and assigned me; including, to provide CHRISTIAN, positive upbringing for my son; to contribute positively to society, the world, and the advancement of humanity by helping establish, secure, and assure that ALL people are “free,” and empowered with access, opportunity, liberty, and justice. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Can you tell us a little about what you do for a living? ATTORNEY KERYL L. DOUGLAS: I “do” law as my occupation; but for my true “ living,” I do all I can to help advance humanity, secure justice, freedom, and equality for ALL by serving GOD and humanity in meaningful ways that advance society. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? ATTORNEY KERYL L. DOUGLAS: When there are so
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many dismal statistics regarding education and our youth, I praise GOD for HIS blessings in raising my son who is wellrounded, Christian, prayerful, conscientious, caring, compassionate, accomplished, academically blessed, self-directed, studious, eager to pursue college and make positive impact on the world. Already sought out by major universities, he again volunteered to me a few days ago how much he looks forward to going to college. I praise GOD I’ve been able to inspire, empower and open doors for many others to achieve as well through my professional work and volunteerism. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? ATTORNEY KERYL L. DOUGLAS: My outlook for 2015 is again one of unrelenting faith, hope, and optimism as I believe and plead with GOD for a mighty move of HIS hand in my life, my family, sphere of friends; and in the hearts of people around the world. My outlook is fueled by my pleas to GOD for revival of monumental magnitude resulting in true and lasting positive change in society. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream? ATTORNEY KERYL L. DOUGLAS: My advice to all regarding their “DREAMS:” A) ALWAYS Have a Current Dream; B) NEVER Give Up on Achieving EACH Dream; C) COMMIT to choosing dreams that HONOR GOD and ADVANCE HUMANITY.
ON THE COVER KERYL L. DOUGLAS, avid volunteer and attorney in private practice in Houston, graduated summa cum laude, with standing of #5 out of 202 students, from Thurgood Marshall School of Law in May 2008. She passed the Bar upon first attempt and is admitted to State of Texas Bar and the Federal Bar. Founder and owner of Advancing America and Optimum Solutions Consulting, she’s experienced in public affairs, political empowerment/voter mobilization strategies, fund development, mediation, advocacy, writing, public speaking, poise and etiquette coaching, business development/branding. Douglas received her M.S. in Chemistry, magna cum laude, from Texas Southern University, B.S. in Biology, cum laude, from Florida A&M University, and completed coursework for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology at UTHSC. She’s served as an instructor and administrator at TSU and HCC. She’s member of numerous legal and community organizations, Counsel for Friends of Emancipation Park Board, Chair of Ready Women, Inc., which assists underprivileged, abused, and/or financially challenged women successfully prepare for integration into work/independence. She has one son, James Matthew Douglas II.
INTERVIEW WITH A CITY CONTROLLER WHO VALUES US:
RONALD C. GREEN AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? CONTROLLER GREEN: I was fortunate to have loving parents and grandparents who encouraged my inquisitiveness and school interests. Even as a youngster, I had a strong sense of community, in my case Houston’s Third Ward—where I still live. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? CONTROLLER GREEN: I always knew I wanted to be a part of my community and be of help to others; that came from my parents I think. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Did you achieve your childhood dream, or did it evolve into something different? CONTROLLER GREEN: Early on, I thought I wanted to be a doctor, and so I attended Debakey High School for Health Professions. When I was attending the University of Houston, I became interested in social issues and the sense of serving the community became even stronger. After I received my BS degree from the UH School of Social Science, I attended the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, and then while I served on Houston City Council, I went back to UH and obtained my MBA. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? CONTROLLER GREEN: I do not have a single “mission in life.” Rather, I have a mission to serve my city—and to elucidate the complexities of municipal finance to the public; a mission to serve and mentor young people; a mission to especially encourage and empower young African-Americans as they begin their careers; a mission to collaboratively work with other municipalities in our country to address the large challenges cities face—and my position on the Board of Directors of the National League of Cities has given me that opportunity. Finally, of course, I have the all-important mission of being an encouraging and loving father to Christopher, as my parents were to me.
AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? CONTROLLER GREEN: I am especially proud that as Controller I have been involved in the aggressive re-financing of the City’ municipal bonds; our office has seen successful bond transactions that will save the city well over $450 million this next decade, money that will fund services for our citizens. I am also proud that the Controller’s Office has a heightened level of transparency and that more people are aware of what exactly this office accomplishes. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? CONTROLLER GREEN: My outlook for 2015 is very optimistic. Houston is doing well, post-recession. The City’s two main sources of revenue—property and sales taxes—have rebounded significantly from their lows during the recession, and that translates into City services such a libraries and parks and health clinics that benefit citizens across the city. There is an infectious civic pride in Houston—and, I think, the notion that we are all better off when there is a lessening of any “prosperity divide” among our citizens. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream? CONTROLLER GREEN: Dreams need a plan. Most dreams that are realized have a lot of hard work and commitment behind them. Most dreams are team efforts really, and include parents and teachers and supportive friends. I do think it is important to choose your friends wisely and to play within the rules. I also think it’s important to not jeopardize your dreams by doing something stupid on Facebook or YouTube!!
ON THE COVER CITY OF HOUSTON CONTROLLER RONALD C. GREEN – Ronald C. Green was elected as the first African American Houston City Controller on December 12, 2009.
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WITH A BUSINESSMAN WHO VALUES US:
CRAIG JOSEPH AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? BUSINESSMAN CRAIG JOSEPH: I had a normal childhood growing up; although I was around our family business the majority of the time -- simply because I was raised by my grandparents. My mother lived next door to my grandparents, so I would spend the night with her on occasions. Growing up in the inner city was not as challenging as it is today. Everybody for the most part looked out for everybody; even in the absence of parents. But living with my grandparents was just what they wanted to do. Thus it kept me mainly around the restaurant and instilled a lot of values in me. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? BUSINESSMAN CRAIG JOSEPH: As a child growing up I want to become a civil engineer. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Did you achieve your childhood dream, or did it evolve into something different? BUSINESSMAN CRAIG JOSEPH: No, I didn't achieve that dream of becoming a civil engineer; because in the late 70's the engineering market was going down. And I prospects of getting a job as an engineer was slim to none. So, I decided to become a Houston Fire Fighter in 1980. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? BUSINESSMAN CRAIG JOSEPH: My mission in life has always been to serve. Serving people has always been a passion of mine. As a matter of fact: that has been a family tradition for us. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? BUSINESSMAN CRAIG JOSEPH: Some of my recent accomplishments have been being selected in the top 50 Black Professional & Entrepreneurs; my retirement from the City of Houston Fire Department after 34 years of service. I’m also proud and blessed to continue be affiliated with TIRR
Memorial Hermann. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? BUSINESSMAN CRAIG JOSEPH: My outlook for 2015 is to take Houston’s This Is It Soul Food to a much higher level. Perhaps franchising the restaurant or even relocating to another city. I also would like to start a mentor program to train new business owners, passing the business on to my son (Christopher). I am attending the Goldman Sachs 10 Program to increase my knowledge of operating a business. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream? BUSINESSMAN CRAIG JOSEPH: The best advice, I believe, is to have commitment and dedication to your business. Never give up; because a door is close in your face. If one door is closing, go to another and try and try again. WD-40 didn't accomplish their goal until after the 39th time. That's how it became WD-40. I was turned down 8 times, but I kept on trying. Eventually the door will open. If you don't continue to try, how would you know whether or not you can do it? No one likes a quitter. There is greatness on the inside of all of us. We just have to expose it. God didn't make us a “good people”, He made us a “Great Nation”. There is “GREATNESS” on the inside of each of us. So always remember Joshua 1:8 – “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” So, put God first and you can't help but to win!
ON THE COVER BUSINESSMAN CRAIG JOSEPH – Craig Joseph is a well-known successful businessman who owns one of the oldest family-owned restaurants in the Houston area.
INTERVIEW WITH A MAYOR WHO VALUES US:
MAYOR ALLEN OWEN AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? MAYOR ALLEN OWEN: My mother was an Elementary Teacher and my dad owned an Insurance Company. I was the middle child with an older and younger sister. I grew up in East Texas and graduated from college at Stephen F. Austin State University. I played sports like most kids and even played minor league baseball during my college days. I knew I would not be a big leaguer so I decided to coach and got my coaching/teaching certificate. During that time I began working in a bank and decided that I would like to do that instead. Job was much more secure and you didn't have to have a winning season to keep your job. I had just married and wanted a better future for us. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? MAYOR ALLEN OWEN: I really wanted to be a doctor as a child but science courses in college changed my mind. They were too much of a struggle. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Did you achieve your childhood dream, or did it evolve into something different? MAYOR ALLEN OWEN: I did play minor league baseball and that was not necessarily a dream, but something I enjoyed doing. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? MAYOR ALLEN OWEN: My mission was just to be successful in whatever I did with my life. I have always said that I thought God put me on this earth to serve others and I have strived to do that in the best way I could. Not only as Mayor but through the many non-profit organizations I serve on. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? MAYOR ALLEN OWEN: I have always said that I hope to be remembered after leaving office for helping guide the City in the development of it being one of the best in the USA to call home. This has been done through the development of Sienna Plantation, River-
stone, Lake Colony, Colony Lakes, Brightwater, Lake Olympia, and the acquisition of Quail Valley Country Club and the preservation of the 400 acres of parkland. Being named one of the safest cities in the USA is another accomplishment I am proud of for our City. I did none of this alone. It took a good Council and dedicated staff to accomplish it all. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? MAYOR ALLEN OWEN: I see a very bright future for our City. Increased property values give our citizens equity in their largest investment-their homes. I see continued growth in our commercial and industrial segments. Placing more value on the ground and creating more jobs for our community means that we can continue to look at ways of taking the tax burden off of the roof tops and placing it on sales and commercial property taxes. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream? MAYOR ALLEN OWEN: Never give up trying.
ON THE COVER MAYOR ALLEN OWEN – Mayor Allen Owen is Missouri City's 10th mayor since the city's incorporation in 1956. He’s faithfully served as Missouri City’s mayor since 1994. He has a long-standing documented track record of placing the citizens of Missouri City first. His track record and dedication was part of the reason Missouri City was honored as one of the top 10 safest cities in Texas by real estate website Movoto back in August of 2014. Movoto combined crime data from the top 100 most populous municipalities in Texas, and used the FBI’s 2012 Uniform Crime Report to determine that Missouri City is the sixth safest city in Texas. 24/7 Wall St., a web-based corporation designed to report financial news and opinions, also recently ranked Missouri City 16th on their list of the top 50 places to live in the United States.
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INTERVIEW WITH A SUPERINTENDENT WHO VALUES US:
DR. CHARLES DUPRE AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? SUPERINTENDENT DUPRE: I had a complicated childhood. My mother died when I was five years old, and when I was seven, my father sent me to live in a faith-based children's home. I lived there until I finished high school. I was blessed to be well taken care of, and I received a good education that provided the foundation for future opportunities; but, it was challenging to be raised by people who were not my parents. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? SUPERINTENDENT DUPRE: From a young age, I enjoyed performing, and public speaking. I wanted to be a performer or broadcast journalist. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Did you achieve your childhood dream, or did it evolve into something different? SUPERINTENDENT DUPRE: In terms of overall success, I have far exceeded my childhood dream, but I am definitely not doing what I originally dreamed! When I speak to students, I often remind them that it is likely they will end up in a job or profession they can't even conceive of today. In FBISD, our mission is to inspire and equip all students to pursue futures beyond what they can imagine. I feel blessed that teachers and others in my life prepared me in that way. I began my career as Certified Public Accountant. Today, I am Superintendent/CEO of one of the largest public school districts in Texas and the U.S. Who knew!? AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? SUPERINTENDENT DUPRE: My primary mission in life is to glorify God in all I do. As a leader in public education, I feel I am fulfilling my calling to invest in the lives of others. The work we do as educators shapes the future of each child we touch, along with that of their families and any spouse or children they might have in the future. Our work also shapes the future of our community. If our community is to thrive, public schools must send productive, contributing citizens into the workforce. We must develop leaders and prepare students to give back to their communities and invest in the lives of others.
AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? SUPERINTENDENT DUPRE: On a personal level, in 2014, I completed a doctorate degree after four years of graduate school. Professionally, I am proud that, during the past two years, FBISD has engaged more stakeholders than ever before in developing comprehensive plans for the future. An important result of the community engagement is that 74 percent of voters approved the November 2014 bond election. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? SUPERINTENDENT DUPRE: In 2015, I will begin my third year as superintendent of FBISD, so I look forward to moving out of the "transition" phase of organizational development as we begin to bring to fruition two years of extensive planning done in partnership with a strong School Board, an engaged community and a dedicated staff. I will also complete my 20th year in public education, which is a major milestone. Even more importantly, I will celebrate 30 years of marriage to the beautiful woman who has faithfully shared life's journey with me in a loving, supportive way. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream? SUPERINTENDENT DUPRE: To achieve your dreams, you must be a person of integrity in all things and invest in authentic relationships with others, including colleagues at all levels of the organization. This is different than simply "networking." You must be a life-long learner, and demonstrate you are willing to work hard. It's also important to be flexible, nimble, and willing to stretch the boundaries of the status quo. You must possess the courage to take risks, learn from your mistakes and setbacks, and keep pressing forward.
ON THE COVER FBISD SUPERINTENDENT DR. CHARLES DUPRE â€“ Dr. Dupre is the first African American to serve as superintendent for the FBISD School District.
WITH A JUDGE WHO VALUES US:
JUDGE LOYD WRIGHT AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? JUDGE LOYD WRIGHT: I had a great childhood, playing sandlot and organized baseball, football and basketball. I had loving and supportive parents and an older brother, all of whom provided guidance and good advice throughout my life. My mother and father also stressed academics. I will never forget my father's frequent admonishment to not come home with a "B"! I took him very seriously and tried my best to never disappoint him. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? JUDGE LOYD WRIGHT: I suppose if I had a main dream it was to play baseball and football for Rice University. I was admitted to Rice but made a late decision to "get out of town" and attend the University of Texas. I sometimes think about the choices I made, like we all do. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Did you achieve your childhood dream, or did it evolve into something different? JUDGE LOYD WRIGHT: I did not become the star left handed pitcher or tight end I dreamed of being, but the emphasis on academics paved the way for a good legal career which ultimately led to the job I have now as Judge of Probate Court No. 1. Who could complain about that? As a sole practitioner for nineteen years, I had control over my time and was often able to coach my son's and daughter's teams. I would not trade those days being with them for anything. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? JUDGE LOYD WRIGHT: My mission in life now is to enjoy my family, continue to do my job to the best of my ability, and help others
whenever I can. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? JUDGE LOYD WRIGHT: My biggest professional accomplishment has been to win two terms as Judge of Probate Court No. 1. I want to continue to earn the confidence of those who come into court and reaffirm that I will always do my utmost to be fair, impartial and diligent. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? JUDGE LOYD WRIGHT: I think 2015 is going to be another great year for the Texas and Houston. I am looking forward to another four years on the bench. I have a wonderful staff that keeps things running smoothly "behind the scenes." It is just a great place to show up to in the morning. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream? JUDGE LOYD WRIGHT: Everyone should start by giving their best effort in school. There really is no consistently better way to change the circumstances of your life than through achievement and success in school. Doing well academically will give you more opportunities and choices in what to do with your life. Of course, working hard at whatever you decide to do will also make a tremendous difference, perhaps the biggest difference. These core principles become cliches for a reason! America offers so many different opportunities to be successful in one way or another. But you have to be a participant. You have to make a good faith effort. You have to be "in the game". Don't be someone who sits on the sidelines and then complains that things are not fair.
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INTERVIEW WITH A JUDGE WHO VALUES US:
CHRISTINE RIDDLE BUTTS AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? JUDGE RIDDLE BUTTS: I grew up in Northwest Houston and went to Westfield High School. My first job was at a skating rink working in the snack bar when I was in the eighth grade. During high school, I enjoyed serving as a waitress at our local steak house, Del Friscos. My father was an attorney and I spent high school and college summers working in his office and accompanying him to court. As a high school junior, Rotary International sponsored me as an exchange student to Germany, where I stayed with a wonderful family in Vreden, a small farming town outside Cologne. My parents were very supportive of me and instilled in me the values of faith, diligence, education, and service. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? JUDGE RIDDLE BUTTS: When I was very young, my mother required an expensive surgery and, fresh out of law school, my father was desperate to raise the money for her surgery. I gave him the two quarters I had earned from weeding and sweeping a neighbor's driveway and asked what else I could do to help. He said I could grow up and become a lawyer to help him in his probate practice and to serve other families facing crisis. In that moment, my father gave me my mission, and from that point on I knew that I would become a probate lawyer. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Did you achieve your childhood dream, or did it evolve into something different? JUDGE RIDDLE BUTTS: When I accompanied my father to court, I enjoyed sitting in on Judge Scanlan's guardianship docket. His demeanor on the bench demonstrated empathy for family members, compassion and respect toward the disabled, and a mastery of probate law. My desire to follow in his footsteps developed at a young age in the crowded spaces within the Family Law Building. Now, I look out the window from my 7th floor office in the Civil Courts building and see where my dreams took root as I fondly remember the colorful mural in Judge Austin's courtroom, the shaded benches where I often ate lunch, and the
painted signs of demonstrators who seemed ever present in the late 1980's. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? JUDGE RIDDLE BUTTS: In addition to raising a noble family of my own, my mission is to help families in crisis when the crisis involves the loss or incapacity of a loved one. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? JUDGE RIDDLE BUTTS: The probate courts have developed a handbook for guardians and such handbook has been translated into Spanish and Hindi by talented lawyers dedicated to serving guardians in their community. We also offer a quarterly CLE program to attorneys and have updated our website to include online docket setting and useful practice information for attorneys, all designed to make the practice of law more efficient and cost effective for attorneys and those they serve. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? JUDGE RIDDLE BUTTS: 2015 will see a renewed focus on enhancing services for the mentally ill. The assisted outpatient treatment program, which is designed to assist the mentally ill with treatment compliance outside of a hospital setting, is set to expand in the next several years. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream? JUDGE RIDDLE BUTTS OFFERED THIS QUOTE: "Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." Harriet Tubman.
ON THE COVER JUDGE CHRISTINE RIDDLE BUTTS â€“ currently serves as the Probate Judge for District Court #4 in Harris County.
HOUSTON BUSINESS CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE
WITH A BUSINESSMAN WHO VALUES US:
BUSINESSMAN BILL FRAZER AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? BUSINESSMAN BILL FRAZER: I grew up in a neighborhood with lots of families with lots of kids, plus we had a lot of family and friends of my parents who were always around our house. The one thing that was paramount was to be respectful of other people no matter who they are or how different they appear to be. We were also expected to work for whatever we wanted. My parents provided all the basics, everything else was up to me. So from an early age I had some sort of job, ultimately leading to waiting on tables in high school and throughout college. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? BUSINESSMAN BILL FRAZER: I wanted to own a restaurant. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Did you achieve your childhood dream, or did it evolve into something different? BUSINESSMAN BILL FRAZER: Let’s just say I haven’t stopped dreaming. I got a job working in the lease accounting department of the Texas Land Office my junior year in college. It paid a whole lot better than restaurant work and allowed me to get some experience in my major and finish school. That led to a job offer in Houston with a major accounting firm, Ernst & Ernst, and my career as a CPA took off. However, working in the restaurant industry taught me a lot about people, and solidified what my parents taught me about hard work, always dealing honestly with people and being respectful. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? BUSINESSMAN BILL FRAZER: To live according to the Seven Christian Habits: A personal relationship with God, daily personal prayer, regular study of the Bible, adjusting my will to God’s will, service to others, maintaining a relationship with people who serve God, and maintaining stewardship of the resources provided to me. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? BUSINESSMAN BILL FRAZER: I give thanks each day for the loving relationship I have with my wife, Jean. We’ve been married for over 42 years and have 2 wonderful children, now grown and “out of the house”, who remind us of how truly blessed we are. But I also like to tell as many people as I can about two organizations I serve. One is with Volunteer Interfaith Caregivers – Southwest. Its mission is to help frail, elderly, and health-impaired people in the southwest Houston area remain independent in their own homes and to be able to meet their health care needs to preserve their quality of life. Our basic service is to help them meet very critical transportation needs, such as trips to doctor appointments and
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to the grocery store. Such basic needs are critical in helping them remain in their existing homes. Transportation needs of seniors is a growing problem in this City and we all need to do more to address these issues. As a Board member I’ve been able to help this group raise needed operating capital and to address some critical issues in data management and volunteer outreach. This group must be able to keep track of the seniors who need our services as well as volunteers who provide free transportation. Better computer and data systems help us deliver better service. The other organization I work with is a skilled nursing home in Baytown, which is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. As a Trustee I’ve been able to help the permanent staff solve some pressing financial issues. This has enabled the facility to keep up with falling Medicaid reimbursements and to utilize donations more effectively. Most of our residents rely completely on Medicaid funds for a place to live. These funds are woefully short of actual cost of care, and we are able to bridge the gap to provide a safe, clean and caring home that our residents and their families can be proud of. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? BUSINESSMAN BILL FRAZER: My goal for 2015 is to help the residents of the City of Houston how we can better utilize the resources we have to solve some very difficult and important issues. To do this will require being honest in our assessment of our pension systems and the condition of our streets and other infrastructure. It is a difficult task and it won’t be easy. But I firmly believe that by addressing these difficult issues now we will become better organized and the skills and hard work of the best and brightest people in the City will develop meaningful solutions. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream? BUSINESSMAN BILL FRAZER: Andrew Jackson’s mother gave him the following advice, and I’ve always liked to repeat it when someone starting their career asks me what advice I’d give. “Andrew….in this world you will have to make your own way. To do that you must have friends. You can make friends by being honest, and you can keep them by being steadfast. You must keep in mind that friends worth having will, in the long run, expect as much from you as they give to you.”
ON THE COVER BUSINESSMAN BILL FRAZER – Frazer plans to put his vast experience to work for the people of Houston should voters choose to elect him on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015.
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WITH A TRUSTEE WHO VALUES US:
GRAYLE JAMES AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? GRAYLE JAMES: I grew up in California where my family has farmed since the 1850s. My mother worked on the farm and everyday I would accompany her to work. When I started school, she went to work while I was at school and then would pick me up after school and take me with her back to work. I learned to appreciate hard work, completing the job you are given, and the loyalty of my family to the family business. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? GRAYLE JAMES: When I was growing up, I dreamed of working in an office and not on a farm! When I had the chance to go to college, I didn't know what I wanted to study. I especially remember telling my mother I didn't want to be a math teacher. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Did you achieve your childhood dream, or did it evolve into something different? GRAYLE JAMES: My childhood dream evolved because in my 20s I finished college and became a math teacher. I also taught science to high school students. I loved teaching and inspiring students to pursue their dreams. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? GRAYLE JAMES: Currently, my life's mission is to be a supportive, loving wife and to raise my children with love and integrity. At the same time, I am devoted to helping every student in Fort Bend ISD reach their full potential. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? GRAYLE JAMES: In my role on the Fort Bend ISD School Board, I have participated in numerous accomplishments. School Board Trustees work as a team. We must work to build consensus on our path forward and have agreement in order to accomplish any goal. I have worked hard to facilitate our Board's team-building over the
past year. As a result, we have hired Dr. Charles Dupre as superintendent of schools and he has demonstrated leadership, integrity and commitment to our students. Also. we have gotten voter approval for a $484 million Bond Package for FBISD. This will enable us to keep up with the growth in our community. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? GRAYLE JAMES: Looking ahead into 2015, our school district expects continued growth. We have a major project currently underway to align feeder patterns in our school system. We expect to complete this work in January. We also expect to open a new elementary school in 2015 and another in 2016. Additionally, the district will work to improve our technology infrastructure to facilitate the education of every student. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream? GRAYLE JAMES: To those striving to achieve their dream, I would say, "Great job! The first step to achieving something remarkable is to have a dream." Next I would advise the following: a) Never give up! -Obstacles are part of life and are unavoidable. b) Don't be afraid of change! -Circumstances change, opportunities change, and life will change; As our perspectives change, we can learn and grow and achieve. If we "fight" change, we will always struggle. c) Be a problem solver! -When you encounter an obstacle, challenge it and conquer it. Always, think creatively and find solutions; Excuses are not a wise option because problems rarely go away by themselves. Problems need problem solvers to fix them!
ON THE COVER FBISD PRESIDENT GRAYLE JAMES â€“ Grayle James currently serves as the President of the Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees.
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WITH A LEADER WHO VALUES US:
CARROLL G. ROBINSON AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? CARROLL G. ROBINSON: I had a great childhood. My parents were hardworking and loving. My brother, sisters and I enjoyed each other and our do German Shepard. We were not rich with material things, but we were rich in other ways-love and support. My parents made sure we could achieve anything we wanted in life if we got a good education, worked hard, took care of our family and money and avoided trouble.
AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? CARROLL G. ROBINSON: I am praying for Health, Safety, Peace and Prosperity for everyone in 2015.
AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? CARROLL G. ROBINSON: My dream was to go to college, make my parents proud of me and be able to help take care of them as thanks for all they were doing for me, my brother and sisters.
EDUCATOR AND ATTORNEY CARROLL G. ROBINSON – Carroll G. Robinson is an Associate Professor and a former Associate Dean of External Affairs at the Barbara JordanMickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University (TSU) in Houston, Texas. Professor Robinson is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Houston Community College System (HCC) and a Citizen Member of the Board of Trustees of the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund. He is a former member of the Board of Directors and Board of Advisors of K9s4COPs. He is also a past chairman of the Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce. Professor Robinson is a former At-Large (elected citywide) member of the Houston (Texas) City Council. As a member of the City Council, Professor Robinson chaired the city’s Transportation, Technology and Infrastructure Committee. Professor Robinson is a Life Member of the NAACP and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He is the author or co-author of numerous legal and public policy articles and commentaries. Robinson plans to put his vast experience and know-how to work for the people of Houston should voters choose him as the best candidate in the race for City of Houston Controller on the Tuesday, November 3, 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election ballot.
AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Did you achieve your childhood dream, or did it evolve into something different? CARROLL G. ROBINSON: Yes I did. God is good all of the time. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? CARROLL G. ROBINSON:My mission in life is to take care of my family and to try and make a positive difference in my community. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? CARROLL G. ROBINSON: As a Houston Community College Trustee I got the Board to approve a 6th Grade Pre-Admission program and a million dollars in scholarships for local students. As a City Council member i supported what would become the city's "Rev Cap" spending limit, worked with council members to establish the city's Rainy Day Fund and lead the effort to pass the No Trucks In The Left Lane ordinance to improve traffic safety on local highways.
AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream? CARROLL G. ROBINSON: Believe in yourself, love yourself and your family and be willing to help and serve others.
ON THE COVER
PEOPLE EMPOWERING OUR FUTURE
Michael O. Adams, Ph.D., is the Interim Chair of the Department of Political Science, Director of the Master of Public Administration and Founding Director of the Online Executive Master of Public Administration programs at Texas Southern University. He currently serves as the Interim Director of the Barbara Jordan Research Institute. He is a tenured professor, teaching classes in Public Administration and Political Science, while continuously
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contributing to the academic body of knowledge through research. He provides expertise and proficiency where education, policy administrations, and community participation intersect. Dr. Adams has authored and coauthored five books since 1987, which cover the fields of American Government, Public Administration and Public Policy. He has published twenty-five papers since
1982. He has also written numerous newspaper columns and editorials, made several scholarly presentations, acted as a consultant and aided in many educational developments. He has also authored many grants ranging from $1,000 to $1 million. Dr. Adams has received numerous awards including, the Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellowship and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation Fellowship.
DR. MICHAEL O. ADAMS: LEADING IN EXCELLENCE Dr. Adams is at the cusp of addressing pivotal policy issues. In recent years, in relation to Homeland Security and terrorism, Dr. Adams received a fellowship from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy to participate in its Academic Fellows Program in Tel Aviv, Israel. The program, entitled, “Defending Democracy, Defeating Terrorism,” featured lectures by academics, diplomats, military and intelligence officials, and politicians from Israel, Jordan, India, Turkey and the United States. It also consisted of visits to military bases, border zones, and other security installations to learn the practical side of deterring terrorist attacks. The goal of the program was to offer information and training to teaching professionals about the latest trends in terrorists’ ideologies, motives, and operations. He volunteers as a political and educational consultant, and is an avid speaker, serving on a plethora of panels and speaking on various topics as a representative of the University. He is also a member of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) Small Programs Committee. He has received several awards including the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs International Service Award, the Texas Southern University Research Scholar Award, the School of Public Affairs Research Scholar Award, and the Quiester Craig Teaching Award. Dr. Adams received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Tougaloo College (1976), his Master of Arts in Political Science from The Atlanta University (1978), and his Ph.D. in Political Science from The Atlanta University (1984).
Excellence in Achievement Programs At Texas Southern University Armed with the motto, “Excellence in Achievement,” Texas Southern University has produced some of the most prominent leaders of our time. Some of this prominence was birthed in 1974 when the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the establishment of a School of Public Affairs at TSU, and helped the school to fulfill its role as a special purpose institution. Later, in 2002, the school was named the Barbara Jordan – Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs. With the foundation of two great namesakes, the Barbara Jordan – Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University leads the way in the realm of emergency management, homeland security, human resources, public policy, international development, social justice, executive management, sustainability and urban planning through the undergraduate and graduate degree programs it offers.
public safety careers and will introduce students to the all-hazards approach, emergency disaster management phases, risk assessment, prevention and management, counter-terrorism, consequence management, mitigation, and recovery. Boasting accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), the master of public administration (MPA) program at TSU is a 48credit-hour program that has produced key change agents in human resources, international development and policy. On the cutting edge of public administration, one of its greatest assets lies in its potential to alleviate the shortage of professionally educated persons, especially those from minority groups, in local, state, national and international public service. As a matter of fact, the MPA program is the only NASPAA accredited program in the Houston metropolitan area.
To name a few, the school is home to an emergency management and homeland security (EMHS) undergraduate program, a NASPAA-accredited master of public administration (MPA) program, and an online executive master of public administration (eMPA) program.
Another program housed in the School of Public Affairs is online eMPA program, which launch in fall 2010. This 16-month program graduated its first cohort in fall 2011 and has a curriculum uniquely designed to meet the growing demand for mid-career professionals in the public sector who wish to pursue an executive MPA degree.
Launched in Fall 2013, the emergency management and homeland security (EMHS) program is designed to create graduates with extensive theoretical and applied knowledge in emergency management and disaster research. The Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management and Homeland Security prepares students for careers in emergency management and
In addition, eMPA candidates can broaden their international scope by participation in the program’s study abroad program, which is a part of the program’s tuition package. To date, the program has traveled to Brazil, China and Ghana. -----------------------------------------------For more information about these programs, please contact Dr. Michael O. Adams, 713-313-7760.
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General Manager Ben E. Keith Company
Assistant General Manager Ben E. Keith Company
Branch Controller Ben E. Keith Company
Mike began his career with Ben E. Keith in 1991, after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in History. He has served in many capacities during his tenure with the company including Warehouseman, District Sales Representative, Produce Specialist, Purchasing Manager, District Sales Manager, and Operations Manager. Since 1997, he has served as the Assistant General Manager and in 2008, was named the General Manager of the San Antonio Division. In July 2014, he was named the General Manager of the new Houston Division.
Jerry is a graduate of Texas A&M who began his career with Ben E. Keith in 1996 as a DSR in the Bryan/College Station area. In 2001, he was promoted to a DSM and then in 2009 was promoted again to the Director of Sales Training and moved to the General Office. In July 2014, Jerry became the newest Assistant General Manager in the Houston Division.
Lou began his career as a CPA in Public Accounting in 1981 after graduating with a BS in Accountancy from Northern Illinois University. Lou has over 30 years of accounting experience, most of which has been in the food industry with the following companies; Nabisco Brands, RTM (Arby’s), Huntington Restaurant Group (Chili’s/Denny’s), and Shamrock Foods. Before joining Ben E Keith Foods in July of 2012, Lou spent ten years with Shamrock Foods as their Controller.
SCOTT DAVISON Assistant General Manager Ben E. Keith Company Scott, a Sam Houston State University graduate with a BS in Agriculture Business, has been with Ben E. Keith since 1995. He has held positions such as District Sales Representative, District Sales Manager, and Branch Manager for the Conroe Sales Office. In 2008, Scott was named an Assistant General Manager.
MARK HERZOG Director of Purchasing Ben E. Keith Company Mark came to Ben E. Keith in 2007, with 20 years of food service experience, including Operations as well as extensive Purchasing duties. He has also served as a Senior Merchandiser and as a Director of Purchasing before joining Ben E. Keith. Mark began his tenure as the Director of Purchasing in our new Houston Division in 2008.
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SHAUN MCFAUL Operations Manager Ben E. Keith Company Shaun began his Ben E. Keith career in 1999. He has an AA in Business Management. Shaun started his career at the Ben E. Keith Foods division in Amarillo working in several warehouse positions. In 2005 Shaun was promoted to Operations Manager in the Albuquerque Division, Shaun also served as the Safety Manager, DOT Compliance Manager, Transportation Manager and Sanitation Manager while at the
Albuquerque Division. In 2012, Shaun moved to Houston to be the Operations Manager.
JAMES WALLACE Transportation Manager Ben E. Keith Company James began his career in 1994 as a local Route Service Associate for the Dallas/Fort Worth division. He delivered in the Houston and Collage Station markets. As Ben E. Keith grew in the market so did his career. He moved from Route Service Associate to lead RSA then on to be the first supervisor in the Houston market. In 2010, James was named the Transportation Manager for the Houston Division.
DREW SCUDDAY Marketing Manager Ben E. Keith Company Drew joined Ben E. Keith Company in 2007. He has a BBA in Finance from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. Beginning his career at the San Antonio Division, he has held positions as a District Sales Representative, VPT An-
alyst, and Business Development /Marketing Specialist. In 2012, Drew was named the Marketing Manager for the Houston Division.
IRENE GALVAN Credit Manager Ben E. Keith Company Irene began her Ben E Keith career in March 2001. She held the position of Assistant Credit Manager in the San Antonio Division for the past 11 years. In 2012, Irene was named the Credit Manager for the Houston division. GT students Rohun Rajaram and Susmitha Sree Dharmalingam are pictured with an anti-bullying poster.
Quail Valley Middle School GT Academy’s Anti-Bullying Expo Highlights Solutions to Addressing World-wide Issue CRAIG VAUGHN Information Systems Manager Ben E. Keith Company Craig joined Ben E. Keith Company in 1998 as an I.S. Support Specialist for the Oklahoma City Division. He transferred to Amarillo to assume the role of I.S. Support Manager in 2003. Craig is a graduate of UCO with a BBA in Management Information Systems. In 2008, Craig was named the I.S. Support Manager for the Houston Division.
FORT BEND ISD - Making the world a better place is a challenge taken on by seventhgrade Quail Valley Middle School GT Academy students. To address the issue of bullying, the students recently presented their Third Annual Anti-Bullying Expo to reveal their action plans to help end bullying. To prepare for their projects, the GT English Language Arts students generated their own questions regarding bullying and researched the topic through FBISD databases. They then created an action plan to present their projects
Anna Brooks gives Austin Parkway Elementary School students instructions on viewing her team’s “Go and Stop Bullying Scavenger Hunt” exhibit.
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Fort Bend ISD schools.
President Fort Bend ISD - Position 2 Term Expires - 2015 Grayle James was elected to Position 2 in May 2012. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and her Secondary Education teaching credentials in mathematics and physical sciences from California State University, Bakersfield. Grayle has volunteered for many years at multiple FBISD schools, and has served as the PTO/PTA President for Lakeview Elementary, First Colony Middle School and Kempner High School. In the past, she has served as PTO/PTA Treasurer and VIPS Coordinator, as well as serving on the FBISD Parent Advisory, Health Advisory and Discipline Advisory committees. Grayle and her husband, David, have three children, who all currently attend or have graduated from FBISD schools.
Dave Rosenthal Vice President Fort Bend ISD - Position 7 Term Expires - 2016 Dave Rosenthal was elected to Position 7 in May 2013. Dave is a geophysicist with a private oil and gas firm in Houston and more than 25 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. He graduated with a Master of Arts Degree in Geological Sciences in 1987 from the University of Texas at Austin and received a Bachelor of Science degree (cum laude) in Geology from the University of Delaware in 1983. Dave and his wife, Joan, have three children, two of which attend
Jenny Bailey Secretary Fort Bend ISD - Position 6 Term Expires - 2015 Jenny Bailey was elected to Position 6 in May 2012. Jenny worked for the Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company (VALIC), a financial firm specializing in teacher retirement annuities, as a manager, project coordinator and research analyst. She also worked for Nova Pension Valuations (NPV) as retirement plan administrator. Jenny received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University of Ohio in 1984. Jenny’s school volunteer experience includes serving on the PTO, fundraising committees, room parent, and a Junior Achievement teacher, providing her numerous opportunities to interact with teachers and parents. Besides being an active volunteer in FBISD, her other volunteer experience includes First Colony Community Association, Fort Bend Boys Choir, Boy Scouts of America, and First United Methodist Church in Missouri City. Jenny and her husband, Bob, have two sons enrolled in FBISD schools. They have been residents in Missouri City since 1998.
Jason Burdine Fort Bend ISD - Position 1 Term Expires - 2017 Jason Burdine was elected to Position 1 in 2014. His family has called Fort Bend their home for the past seven years. He is a graduate
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of Texas A&M University, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Education Degree. As an independent contractor with Investment Professionals, Jason has earned numerous accolades for his commitment to exemplary service. He currently partners with a money management firm that specializes in the area of Educational Trusts. In the Fort Bend community, Jason mentors at-risk youth, and serves as a member of the Ridgemont Elementary and Early Childhood Center’s Campus-Based Leadership Team. Other community involvement has included volunteering at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where over the past ten years he has logged a total of 500 volunteer hours. Additionally, he has served on the District Strategic Steering Committee working collaboratively on the Master Facilities Plan for FBISD. Jason has two young children that will be attending Fort Bend ISD schools in the near future.
cations and licenses. KP is currently self-employed as a Board Certified Financial Planner and owns and manages an independent financial planning practice with six other advisors. Since 1999, KP and his wife Sheeba (an FBISD educator) have raised their three children in Sugar Land. One of his children is a recent graduate, and two are currently attending Fort Bend ISD schools. KP took the lead in establishing the Hightower High School Academies’ Booster Club in 2013 and served as its first president. He has also served local Indo-American groups, the Sugar Land Rotary Club, and the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the FBISD Parents Advisory Team and State Elections Policy & Affairs Team for State Representative Rick Miller. KP George is very thankful that God has given him the opportunity to live The Dream. Now, he wants to ensure that our children have the necessary tools to achieve their DREAMS, because they are our future.
KP George Fort Bend ISD - Position 5 Term Expires - 2017 KP George was elected to Position 5 in 2014. He grew up in a tiny village in South India. He began his education learning the local language as he walked barefoot to get to school. As he did his homework in his straw hut by the light of a kerosene lamp and helped his parents farm before and after school, KP dreamed of achieving his greatest goal: coming to the land of opportunity and living the American Dream. His hard work propelled him out of the poverty of his hometown. He arrived in the U.S. in 1993 to work for a financial firm, and has since earned multiple financial certifi-
Jim Rice Fort Bend ISD - Position 3 Term Expires - 2016 Jim Rice was elected to Position 3 in 2013 and has previously served as Board President and Board Secretary. He has been a resident of Sugar Land since 1981 and is the president of Rice & Gardner Consultants, an engineering and construction management firm. Jim is an active member of the Boy Scouts of America and is currently serving on the Sam Houston Area Council Board of Directors. He has extensive experience working directly with youth in the Boy Scouts and church, and all three of his sons are
Eagle Scouts. In addition, Jim has served on the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors since 2005 and is currently serving a second term as Vice Chair of the Chamber’s Education Division. Jim is also a 2005 graduate of the Fort Bend Chamber’s Leadership Forum Class. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Literacy Council of Fort Bend County; the Fort Bend Regional P16 Council, which is dedicated to supporting student achievement; and is co-founder and current Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fort Bend Cares - a 501 c(3) charitable foundation. Jim and his wife Mary have raised three sons who graduated from Fort Bend ISD schools.
Kristin K. Tassin Fort Bend ISD - Position 4 Term Expires - 2017 Kristin Tassin was elected to Position 4 in 2014. She has lived in Missouri City for 17 years. She is a graduate of Louisiana State University, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Quantitative Business Analysis (Computer Science option). She also earned her Juris Doctor from Louisiana State University Law School. She is currently employed as an attorney at Dry & Tassin and is CoFounder/Director of the charitable organization, Father's Joy. Kristin is a member of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce, Houston Young Lawyers Association and the Exchange Club of Sugar Land. In 2011, she was named a Texas Rising Star by Texas Super Lawyers magazine. Kristin was founding PTO president at Heritage Rose Elementary and has served in that position for three consecutive years. She also served as head of fundraising for three consec-
utive years, as well as on the Campus-Based Leadership Team and numerous other PTO leadership positions. She is a member of the FBISD Parent Advisory Council, member of the FBISD Steering Committee for Facilities Planning and is a Mentor Program volunteer. Kristin and her husband, Shannon, have three children – all of whom attend FBISD schools.
Attend a Fort Bend ISD Board Meetings Fort Bend ISD Board Meetings will generally take place the second Monday of the month to discuss all items that will be considered as part of the agenda at a regular business meeting on the third Monday of the month. The meetings are held in the Board Room of the FBISD Administration Building, 16431 Lexington Blvd., in
Kristin K. Tassin Jenny Bailey
Sugar Land. Meetings begin at 6 p.m. with Board Recognitions and other Special Meetings that are open to the public. The Board regular business meetings begin at 7 p.m. Called Meetings are scheduled on an as-needed basis, although Texas law does allow the Board to call an emergency meeting in a crisis situation. In accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, the Board has the privilege to meet privately in closed session to discuss matters related to personnel, student discipline, security, land acquisition or to consult with legal counsel. No action, however, may be taken during a closed session.
Board of Trustee Elections Information
provides an important public service to the Fort Bend community and serves without compensation. In accordance with the Texas Elections Code, Fort Bend ISD calls Board elections for the second Saturday in May of each year. Vacancies occurring after the election are filled by appointment until the next election is conducted. Trustees are elected to three-year terms on a rotating basis. Two are elected each year, one from each side of the district (Position 1, 2 and 3 on the West, and Positions 5, 6 and 7 on the East). Also, every third year, the “at large” Position 4, is elected. The seven Board of Trustees members are voted on by all residents of the district, and represent all residents of the district.
Your Board of Trustees, comprised of seven local citizens, Jason Burdine Dave Rosenthal Grayle James
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Higher Dimension Church www.higherd.net Pastor Terrance H. Johnson, frequently referred to as Pastor J, is the founder and senior pastor of Higher Dimension Church. His education derives from American Baptist College located in Nashville, TN, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Sociology. Pastor J is known throughout the country as a premier preacher with extraordinary gifts in biblical exposition, interpretation, and proclamation according to the Higher Dimension Church website. His wife First Lady Torsha Johnson, is spiritually gifted in leading women to the heart of God by developing and nurturing dynamic women's ministries. They are both native Houstonians and have three sons, Terrance, Thailan, and Theophilus, and one daughter, Tirzah. Pastor Johnson and First Lady Johnson uphold and exemplify strong family values; believing the church is only as strong as its families. Visit the website link for more information on this ministry.
Brentwood Baptist Church www.brentwoodbaptist.org The Reverend Dr. Joe Samuel Ratliff has been married to the former Doris Ernestine Gardner since 1980. He is a native of Lumberton, North Carolina; where in 1962, he began his Christian journey by uniting with The Mt. Sinai United Holy
Church of Lumberton. Seven years later, he answered his Call to Ministry while attending Morehouse College. He served as pastor of the Cobb Memorial United Holy Church in Atlanta, Georgia for eight years. Dr. Joe Samuel Ratliff was elected as pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church of Houston, Texas in February 1980 and by the year 2000 had grown it from a 500 member congregation to a megachurch of 12,000. The congregation has reached a plateau of more than 7,000 members with over 5,000 worshipers attending its two Sunday morning worship services. Visit the website link for more information on this ministry.
St John’s Church www.stjohnsdowntown.org Juanita Rasmus is a Spiritual Director with a desire to see a merger between the contemplative life and active life in society. Rudy Rasmus is an author, and global humanitarian with a passion for outreach to the world’s poorest citizens. Together they co-pastor the St. John’s United Methodist Church located in Downtown Houston that began with 9 existing members in 1992. St. John’s has grown to over 9,000 members (30% were formerly homeless) in 21 years into one of the most culturally diverse congregations in the country where every week people of every social and economic background and ethnicity
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share the same pew. The Rasmus’ attribute the success of the church to a compassionate group of people who have embraced the vision of tearing down the walls of classism, sexism, and racism and building bridges of unconditional love, universal recovery, and unprecedented hope. A recent in-house poll revealed the number one reason people attend St. John’s is because they can “feel the love” from the parking lot to the pew. Visit the website link for more information on this ministry.
Lakewood Church www.lakewoodchurch.com/ Joel Osteen is a native Texan and the Pastor of Lakewood Church, which according to Church Growth Today is America’s largest and fastest growing church. On July 16, 2005 after completing $95 million dollars in renovations, Joel moved Lakewood Church into its new 16,000-seat home — the former Compaq Center. It is the largest regularly-used worship center in the United States. Each week Joel delivers God’s message of hope and encouragement to more than 38,000 attendees. According to Nielsen Media Research, Joel is the most watched inspirational figure in America. His weekly sermon is broadcast into every U.S. television market where it is viewed by
seven million Americans each week and more than 20 million each month. His weekly broadcast is also seen in almost 100 nations around the world according to the Lakewood Church website. A life-long Houstonian, Victoria began her career in her family’s business. Now as a supportive wife, mother of two children and a co-pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, TX, Victoria is an inspiration and mentor to women everywhere. She is committed to helping women, children and families discover their purpose and reach their highest potential in Christ. Victoria has recently released a new book from Simon and Schuster, called Love Your Life: Living Happy, Healthy and Whole. In the book, Victoria offers today’s busy modern woman a simple and practical plan to help them embrace joy and live life to the fullest. She speaks directly to women harried by the pressures. Visit the website link for more information on this ministry.
Windsor Village United Methodist Church www.kingdombuilders.com Kirbyjon H. Caldwell is Senior Pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church. Under the leadership of Caldwell since 1982, Windsor Village Church membership has increased from 25 members to more than 16,000, making it one of the largest Protestant Churches in the country. As a result of Caldwell’s effective social entrepreneurship, both Caldwell and the Windsor Village Church Family have been featured extensively in national and international print and broadcast media, including U.S. News & World Report, the British Broadcasting Corporation, The Wall Street Journal and the CBS Evening News. Caldwell was included in Newsweek’s “Century Club”, the publication’s list of 100 people to watch as America moved into the 21st century. .
Second Baptist Church www.second.org Dr. H. Edwin Young was born and raised in Laurel, Mississippi and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior at the age of 12. While in college at the University of Alabama , he felt led by God to become a pastor, and transferred to Mississippi College to continue his education. Dr. Young's preparation for the ministry continued at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. His first pastorate was in North Carolina, and he pastored in North and South Carolina until 1978 when he moved to Houston, Texas to become the pastor at Second Baptist Church where he continues as senior pastor today. The congregation has grown from 2,000 members in 1978 to over 60,000 members on 5 church campuses. Dr. Young served two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention and has authored many books including The 10 Commandments of Marriage, The 10 Commandments of Parenting, and Healing Broken America. Dr. Young and his wife, Jo Beth, have three sons, all in ministry: Ed (author, speaker and senior pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas), Ben (author, speaker and associate pastor at Second Baptist Church, Houston), and Cliff (Creative Media and Communications director and associate pastor for Second Baptist Church, Houston, and founding leader of the contemporary Christian group Caedmon’s Call.) Dr. Young and Jo Beth have eleven grandchildren who light up their lives. Visit the website link for more information on this ministry.
Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church www.wheeleravebc.org The Reverend Dr. Marcus D. Cosby, the third child born to the late Mr. Rogers Cosby and Mrs. Bobbie J. Cosby, serves as the Senior Pastor of Wheeler Avenue
Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. A proud native of Chicago, Illinois and a product of Emmanuel Baptist Church where Dr. L.K. Curry served as pastor, Cosby received the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religion and English from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, the Master of Divinity Degree in Homiletics and Christian Education from the Morehouse School of Religion at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia and the Doctor of Ministry Degree in Homiletics from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. Dr. Cosby is married to his high school sweetheart, Mrs. Audrey Marie Cosby, and they have been blessed with three beautiful daughters, Adrienne Marie, Ashley Marie and Aliyah Marie and two sons, Marcus D., II and Matthew D. Cosby. Visit the website link for more information on this ministry.
Grace Church www.grace.tv Pastor Steve Riggle is the founding pastor of Grace church, the president of Grace International, and executive member of the Houston Area Pastors Council. Steve holds a Masters Degree from Oral Roberts University and a Doctorate from The Kings University. Becky has led women’s ministry in the local church, taught bible studies, and speaks at conferences and women’s events across the United States and internationally. Her desire is to encourage women of all ages to grow in God’s word and to live out their God given purpose. Steve and Becky take every opportunity to be with their family and friends. A motion picture is in production that chronicles the unmistakable hand of God moving in Steve and Becky’s life during a mission trip in the Philippines where they were taken hostage in an attempted prison break and were the only survivors. Click here to view “Between the Gates” movie trailer.
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Plano Residents Collect over 7,000 Signatures
Dear Citizens of the Lone Star State: I am happy to report that Plano Citizens United, a coalition of local citizens, leaders and pastors, announced they have collected more than double the necessary signatures required to force the Plano City Council to repeal or place on the ballot the recently passed "Equal Rights Ordinance." Like the Houston ERO ordinance, the Plano ERO infringes on the religious liberties of Plano citizens and small businesses by criminalizing mainstream religious views about sexuality and gender. Jonathan Saenz of Texas Values stated, "These LGBT special rights ordinances are designed to be used as weapons against people of sincere faith, as we have seen in Houston. The people of Plano, just like in Houston, are ready to put an end to government hostility towards our First Freedom."
A spokesperson for Plano Citizens United released the following statement: "In spite of the challenges created by the suspect timing of the City Council's passage of this ordinance, we set a goal to collect twice the minimum number of signatures needed. We want to send a clear message to Mayor LaRosiliere, and Councilmen Miner, Davidson, Smith, and Downs who all voted for this ordinance. You can ignore the citizens at the City Council meeting, but we will make our voices heard with this petition and next May at the polls. We are certain that once Plano citizens realize the City Council has criminalized religious views about sex and gender, the ordinance will be rejected overwhelmingly at the polls. The citizens of Plano are good and decent and treat one another with respect, so criminalizing the beliefs of our diverse communities of faith does not advance the common good." -------------------It is now time to move to phase II and make sure the referendum passes at the ballot box. I will keep you posted on how you can help our friends in Plano. Information about the ordinance and repeal efforts is available on the web at www.PlanoEqualRights.com. Thank You,
Jared Woodfill Jared Woodfill
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We’re Building Winning Lives...
The mission of Bishop K.J. Brown Ministries is that through the preaching and teaching of the gospel that a multitude of men, women boys and girls will come to know the Lord Jesus as Savior. We also endeavor to be a source of encouragement, inspiration, information and for those that already know the Lord as Savior and desire to strengthen their relationship with the Lord. Our vision at Bishop K.J. Brown Ministries is to raise up a Church that is a light in the world . Not just the local assembly, but the Body of Christ. We endeavor to be strength for the weary, hope for the worn, healing for the wounded, and encouragement for the well. As we patiently wait for the return of Jesus Christ our Lord.
“God Wants U 2 Win! God has a plan to prosper your life. Trust in God's Ways Listen to God's Voice. Follow God's Instructions. Move Forward in Faith and Win!” -- Bishop K J Brown
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Quail Valley Middle School GT Academy’s Anti-Bullying Expo Highlights Solutions to Addressing World-wide Issue Presenting their anti-bullying project to elementary school students are GT students Derek Lu, Timothy Nguyen and Varun Riddy.
with the intention of making a difference in the world. “Some of the students were skeptical about anti-bullying initiatives that already exist, so this project gave them an opportunity to create something real that they could present before an actual audience,” said GT English Language Arts teacher Joe Bernhart, “The project was an act of real-world writing, publishing and research with an outcome for social action. The GT students invited fifth-graders from Austin Parkway and Lantern Lane Elementary Schools to experience the interactive, anti-bullying exhibits. The
elementary youngsters went through a “Sticky Situation,” “SPYder Hunt,” a “Bullying through the Ages Time Travel Experience” and other interactive exhibits to learn how to recognize, report and take a stand against bullying. “Bullying can be a bad experience for everyone,” said GT student Gabriel Herrera. “By presenting our projects, we are teaching kids how big a problem bullying is and how we need to help put an end to it.” “I believe if you teach kids at a young age that bullying is wrong, they’ll keep that information in the back of their minds and know how to react if they are ever faced with bullying,” said GT student Evan Blackwell.
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Shown explaining components of their Time Travel Experience are seventh-graders Sarah Anderson, Nyla Jones and Maya Bergen.
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Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
A tradition of valor... 3816 Caroline Street Houston, Texas 77004 Contact: (713)942-8920 The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum (BSNM) a non-profit 501(c)(3) institution was founded in the year 2000 by a Vietnam veteran and African American military historian, Captain Paul J. Matthews. The museum’s Historian is Dr. Franklin D.B. Jackson, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran. Currently, Major Charles Williams, Historian and former member of the United States Army, serves as the Museum’s Chief Docent. The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum is a proud member of the Houston Museum District. We are the only Museum dedicated primarily to preserving the legacy and honor of the AfricanAmerican soldier, in the United States of America. The museum is also a proud member of the Greater Houston Conventions and Visitors Bureau, and the Greater Houston Partnership.
Exhibit Hours: Monday – Friday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Free Admission on Thursday 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM Saturday 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM General Admission: $10.00 per adult $5.00 per student(including college W/ID), Senior 60-older, military, children 5-under-FREE
Museum Booking Allow the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum to assist you with planning your next meeting, social outing, or business networking event. For more information call(713) 942-8920 or send us an e-mail at email@example.com
Captain Paul J. Matthews Founder of the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
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Celebrating 35 Years in Business
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HEREâ€™S A FEW OF THE JANUARY 2015 U.S. DOD CONTRACTS AWARDED U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, walks next to his Italian counterpart, Navy Adm. Luigi Binelli-Mantelli, during a pass and review ceremony in Rome, Jan. 19, 2015. DoD photo by D. Myles Cullen
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January 02, 2015 CONTRACTS NAVY The Boeing Co., Seattle, Washington, is being awarded a $60,745,967 modification to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive-firm contract (N00019-12-C-0112) for the procurement of recurring Advanced Airborne Sensor Capability Platform Integration Kit In-Line modifications in support of the P-8A Poseidon Low Rate Initial Production Lot IV (13 aircraft) and Full Rate Production Lot I (16 aircraft). Work will be performed in Seattle, Washington (78 percent); Glendale, California (14 percent); Greenlawn, New York (4 percent); Torrance, California (3 percent); and Killdeer, North Dakota (1 percent), and is expected to be completed in April 2017. Fiscal 2013 and 2014 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $60,745,967 will be obligated on this award, $30,017,873 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards Mayport, LLC, Jacksonville, Florida, is being awarded a $14,572,040 modification to a previously awarded contract (N4002410-C-4406) for the selected restricted availability of USS Roosevelt (DDG-80), to include hull, machinery, electrical, electronics, ship alterations, and piping alteration and repair work. The primary focus of this repair package is to accomplish structural repairs and habitability upgrades. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, Florida, and is expected to be completed by May 2015. Fiscal 2015 operations and maintenance (Navy) and fiscal 2015 other procurement (Navy) funding in the amount of $14,572,040 will be obligated at time of award. Contract funds in the amount of $14,363,237 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Southeast Regional Maintenance Center, Jacksonville, Florida, is the contracting activity. No: CR-003-15
January 06, 2015 CONTRACTS AIR FORCE General Atomics, Aeronautical Systems, Inc., Poway, California, has been
awarded a $43,291,564 firm-fixed-price contract for MQ-9 Reaper field retrofit. Contractor will provide retrofit kits for the MQ-9 Reaper Block 1 configuration aircraft with field retrofit capabilities. Work will be performed at Poway, California, and is expected to be completed by July 5, 2017. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2013 funds in the amount of $27,047,122 and fiscal 2014 funds in the amount of $16,244,442 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8620-10-G-3038 0060). Exelis, Inc., Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been awarded an $8,976,038 modification (P00577) to previously awarded contract F19628-02-C-0010 for Globus II sustainment support. Work will be performed at Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2015. Fiscal 2015 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $8,976,038 are being obligated at the time of award. Space and Missile Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, is the contracting activity. (Awarded Dec. 29, 2014) Exelis, Inc., Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been awarded an $8,446,234 modification (P00580) to previously awarded contract F19628-02-C-0010 for system sustainment. Contractor will sustain the infrastructure of the C-6 radar to include the weapon system management & engineering; field service team; radome maintenance; and requirements definition, analysis, and modeling. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2015. Fiscal 2015 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $8,446,234 are being obligated at the time of award. Space and Missile Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, is the contracting activity. (Awarded Dec. 29, 2014) Exelis, Inc., Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been awarded an $8,090,014 modification (P00576) to previously awarded contract F19628-02-C-0010 for Distributed Space Command and ControlDahlgren system sustainment. Work will be performed at Dahlgren, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2015. Fiscal 2015 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $8,090,014 are being obligated at the time of award. Space and Missile Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, is the contracting activity. (Awarded Dec. 29, 2014)
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Exelis, Inc., Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been awarded a $7,369,637 modification (P00581) to previously awarded contract F19628-02-C-0010 for system sustainment of the Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) weapons systems. Work will be performed at Socorro, New Mexico; Diego Garcia; and Maui, Hawaii, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2015. Fiscal 2015 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $7,369,637 are being obligated at the time of award. Space and Missile Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, is the contracting activity. (Awarded Dec. 29, 2014) NAVY Choctaw Manufacturing Defense Contractor,* McAlester, Oklahoma, is being awarded $12,530,956 for delivery order 0017 under an existing firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (M67854-09-D-5024) for the procurement of 569 Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement modular production trailers and water dispensing system production units. Work will be performed in McAlester, Oklahoma, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 30, 2016. Fiscal 2013 procurement (Marine Corps) and fiscal 2013 procurement (Marine Corps) overseas contingency operations contract funds in the amount of $12,530,956 will be obligated at time of award. Contract funds in the amount of $9,403,722 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(5). The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity. DeVal Corp.,* Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is being awarded a $10,250,000 fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinitequantity contract for the procurement of MHU-191A/M munitions transporter wheels and brake cables. Work will be performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is expected to be completed in January 2020. Fiscal 2014 other procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $3,937 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was solicited via an electronic request for proposals as a 100 percent small business set aside; one offer was received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (N6833515-D-0010).
DeVal Corp.,* Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is being awarded a $9,000,000 fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinitequantity contract for the procurement of MHU-191A/M munitions transporter component parts. Work will be performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is expected to be completed in January 2020. Fiscal 2014 other procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $3,879 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals as a 100 percent small business set-aside; two offers were received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (N68335-15-D-0016). ARMY Technical Communications Solutions Corp.,* Swampscott, Massachusetts, was awarded a $8,622,068 firm-fixed-price, foreign military sales (Jordan) contract for the installation of fiber optic cable which will satisfy the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) fiber optic-last mile (FO-LM) and fiber optic-long haul (FO-LH) requirements, and shall include the installation, testing and sustainment activities required for the JAF FO-LM and the FO-LH cable links. Work will be performed in Jordan, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 6, 2016. One bid was solicited with one received. Fiscal 2015 other procurement funds in the amount of $8,622,068 are being obligated at the time of the award. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Div D, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W91CRB-15-C-5000). *Small business No: CR-004-15
January 07, 2015 CONTRACTS ARMY Huntsville Rehabilitation Foundation (Phoenix) AbilityOne Contractor, Huntsville, Alabama, was awarded a $9,651,735 firm-fixed-price, multi-year contract for parachutist harnesses. Work will be performed in Huntsville, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 5, 2020. One bid was solicited with one received. Fiscal 2014 other procurement funds in the amount of $1,133,640 are being obligated at the time of the award.
Army Contracting Command, Tank and Automotive (Warren), Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity (W56HZV-15-D-0010).
ligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity.
Northrop Grumman Information and Technology, Inc., McLean, Virginia, is being awarded a $7,123,971 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract for cyber network and defense services in support of the Marine Corps Enterprise Network. Work will be performed in Quantico, Virginia (60 percent); Camp Pendleton, California (30 percent); and Okinawa, Japan (10 percent), and is expected to be completed by July 2015. Fiscal 2015 operations and maintenance (Marine Corps) funds in the amount of $7,123,971 will be obligated at the time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity (M67854-11-F-4915).
Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Military Aircraft Systems, Melbourne, Florida, is being awarded $57,524,736 for firm-fixed-price delivery order 0012 against a previously issued Basic Ordering Agreement (N68335-10-G0021) to procure peculiar support equipment for organizational level and intermediate level maintenance of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. Work will be performed in Melbourne, Florida (60 percent), and Bethpage, New York (40 percent), and is expected to be completed in January 2018. Fiscal 2014 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $57,524,736 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, New Jersey, is the contracting activity.
January 09, 2015 CONTRACTS AIR FORCE Peerless Technologies Corp., Fairborn, Ohio, has been awarded a $67,704,157 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for F-22 division advisory and assistance services. Contractor will provide expertise and integrated solutions for all life cycle phases including research, development, production, operations and sustainment. Work will be performed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and is expected to be complete by Jan. 11, 2020. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition with two offers received. Fiscal year 2015 research, development, test and evaluation and procurement funds in the amount of $825,768 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8622-15-F-8103). Lockheed Martin Corp., Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $22,215,617 modification to previously awarded contract FA8611-08-C2897 for sustainment of the 3rd generation radar test bench for the F-22 Aircraft. Work will be performed at Elkridge, Maryland, and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2017. Fiscal year 2013 procurement funds in the amount of $22,215,617 are being ob-
URS Federal Services Inc., Germantown, Maryland, is being awarded a $35,951,345 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee with firm-fixed-price provisions, performance-based contract (N65236-12-D-4806) for a ceiling increase and period of performance extension to July 10, 2016, to provide Submarine C5I and NC3 system engineering, technical, logistics and management support services including Test and Evaluation, certification, modernization, repair, refurbishment, overhaul and logistics support for all classes of submarines to include Virginia Class, Los Angeles Class, Seawolf Class, SSBN Class, SSGN Class and Ohio Class Replacement program. This contract included one option which, as a result of this modification, would bring the cumulative ceiling value of this contract to $104,782,645. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Virginia (57 percent), Groton, Connecticut (36 percent), and Honolulu, Hawaii, (7 percent), and is expected to be completed by July 2016. No funds will be obligated at the time of the award. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was previously competitively procured with proposals solicited via the Commerce Business Dailyâ€™s Federal Business Opportunities website, and the SPAWAR eCommerce Central website, with only one offer received. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, Charleston, South Carolina, is the contracting activity.
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we’ll invest in new partnerships with states and communities across the country in a race to the top for our youngest children. And as Congress decides what it’s going to do, I’m going to pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K they need. Last year, I also pledged to connect 99 percent of our students to high-speed broadband over the next four years. Tonight, I can announce that with the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we’ve got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and twenty million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit. We’re working to redesign high schools and partner them with colleges and employers that offer the real-world education and hands-on training that can lead directly to a job and career. We’re shaking up our system of higher education to give parents more information, and colleges more incentives to offer better value, so that no middle-class kid is priced out of a college education. We’re offering millions the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments to ten percent of their income, and I want to work with Congress to see how we can help even more Americans who feel trapped by student loan debt. And I’m reaching out to some of America’s leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential. The bottom line is, Michelle and I want every child to have the same chance this country gave us. But we know our opportunity agenda won’t be complete – and too many young people entering the workforce today will see the American Dream as an empty promise – unless we do more to make sure our economy honors the dignity of work, and hard work pays off for every single American. Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work. She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job. A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship – and you know what, a father does, too. It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode. This year, let’s all come together – Congress, the
White House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street – to give every woman the opportunity she deserves. Because I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds. Now, women hold a majority of lowerwage jobs – but they’re not the only ones stifled by stagnant wages. Americans understand that some people will earn more than others, and we don’t resent those who, by virtue of their efforts, achieve incredible success. But Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty. In the year since I asked this Congress to raise the minimum wage, five states have passed laws to raise theirs. Many businesses have done it on their own. Nick Chute is here tonight with his boss, John Soranno. John’s an owner of Punch Pizza in Minneapolis, and Nick helps make the dough. Only now he makes more of it: John just gave his employees a raise, to ten bucks an hour – a decision that eased their financial stress and boosted their morale. Tonight, I ask more of America’s business leaders to follow John’s lead and do what you can to raise your employees’ wages. To every mayor, governor, and state legislator in America, I say, you don’t have to wait for Congress to act; Americans will support you if you take this on. And as a chief executive, I intend to lead by example. Profitable corporations like Costco see higher wages as the smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover. We should too. In the coming weeks, I will issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour – because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty. Of course, to reach millions more, Congress needs to get on board. Today, the federal minimum wage is worth about twenty percent less than it was when Ronald Reagan first stood here. Tom Harkin and George Miller have a bill to fix that by lifting the minimum wage to $10.10. This will help families. It will give businesses customers with more money to spend. It doesn’t involve any new bureaucratic program. So join the rest of the country. Say yes. Give America a raise. There are other steps we can take to help families make ends meet, and few are more effective at reducing inequality and helping families pull themselves up through hard work than the Earned Income Tax Credit. Right now, it helps about half of all parents at some point. But I agree
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with Republicans like Senator Rubio that it doesn’t do enough for single workers who don’t have kids. So let’s work together to strengthen the credit, reward work, and help more Americans get ahead. Let’s do more to help Americans save for retirement. Today, most workers don’t have a pension. A Social Security check often isn’t enough on its own. And while the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn’t help folks who don’t have 401ks. That’s why, tomorrow, I will direct the Treasury to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings: MyRA. It’s a new savings bond that encourages folks to build a nest egg. MyRA guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in. And if this Congress wants to help, work with me to fix an upside-down tax code that gives big tax breaks to help the wealthy save, but does little to nothing for middleclass Americans. Offer every American access to an automatic IRA on the job, so they can save at work just like everyone in this chamber can. And since the most important investment many families make is their home, send me legislation that protects taxpayers from footing the bill for a housing crisis ever again, and keeps the dream of homeownership alive for future generations of Americans. One last point on financial security. For decades, few things exposed hardworking families to economic hardship more than a broken health care system. And in case you haven’t heard, we’re in the process of fixing that. A pre-existing condition used to mean that someone like Amanda Shelley, a physician assistant and single mom from Arizona, couldn’t get health insurance. But on January 1st, she got covered. On January 3rd, she felt a sharp pain. On January 6th, she had emergency surgery. Just one week earlier, Amanda said, that surgery would’ve meant bankruptcy. That’s what health insurance reform is all about – the peace of mind that if misfortune strikes, you don’t have to lose everything. Already, because of the Affordable Care Act, more than three million Americans under age 26 have gained coverage under their parents’ plans. More than nine million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage. And here’s another number: zero. Because of this law, no American can ever again be dropped or denied coverage for a preexisting condition like asthma, back pain, or cancer. No woman can ever be charged more just because she’s a woman. And we did all this while adding
years to Medicare’s finances, keeping Medicare premiums flat, and lowering prescription costs for millions of seniors. Now, I don’t expect to convince my Republican friends on the merits of this law. But I know that the American people aren’t interested in refighting old battles. So again, if you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, and increase choice – tell America what you’d do differently. Let’s see if the numbers add up. But let’s not have another forty-something votes to repeal a law that’s already helping millions of Americans like Amanda. The first forty were plenty. We got it. We all owe it to the American people to say what we’re for, not just what we’re against. And if you want to know the real impact this law is having, just talk to Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky, who’s here tonight. Kentucky’s not the most liberal part of the country, but he’s like a man possessed when it comes to covering his commonwealth’s families. “They are our friends and neighbors,” he said. “They are people we shop and go to church with… farmers out on the tractors…grocery clerks…they are people who go to work every morning praying they don’t get sick. No one deserves to live that way.” Steve’s right. That’s why, tonight, I ask every American who knows someone without health insurance to help them get covered by March 31st. Moms, get on your kids to sign up. Kids, call your mom and walk her through the application. It will give her some peace of mind – plus, she’ll appreciate hearing from you. After all, that’s the spirit that has always moved this nation forward. It’s the spirit of citizenship – the recognition that through hard work and responsibility, we can pursue our individual dreams, but still come together as one American family to make sure the next generation can pursue its dreams as well. Citizenship means standing up for everyone’s right to vote. Last year, part of the Voting Rights Act was weakened. But conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats are working together to strengthen it; and the bipartisan commission I appointed last year has offered reforms so that no one has to wait more than a half hour to vote. Let’s support these efforts. It should be the power of our vote, not the size of our bank account, that drives our democracy. Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day. I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police officers all over this country who say “we are not afraid,” and I intend to keep trying, with or
without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook. Citizenship demands a sense of common cause; participation in the hard work of self-government; an obligation to serve to our communities. And I know this chamber agrees that few Americans give more to their country than our diplomats and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. Tonight, because of the extraordinary troops and civilians who risk and lay down their lives to keep us free, the United States is more secure. When I took office, nearly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, all our troops are out of Iraq. More than 60,000 of our troops have already come home from Afghanistan. With Afghan forces now in the lead for their own security, our troops have moved to a support role. Together with our allies, we will complete our mission there by the end of this year, and America’s longest war will finally be over. After 2014, we will support a unified Afghanistan as it takes responsibility for its own future. If the Afghan government signs a security agreement that we have negotiated, a small force of Americans could remain in Afghanistan with NATO allies to carry out two narrow missions: training and assisting Afghan forces, and counterterrorism operations to pursue any remnants of al Qaeda. For while our relationship with Afghanistan will change, one thing will not: our resolve that terrorists do not launch attacks against our country. The fact is, that danger remains. While we have put al Qaeda’s core leadership on a path to defeat, the threat has evolved, as al Qaeda affiliates and other extremists take root in different parts of the world. In Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and Mali, we have to keep working with partners to disrupt and disable these networks. In Syria, we’ll support the opposition that rejects the agenda of terrorist networks. Here at home, we’ll keep strengthening our defenses, and combat new threats like cyberattacks. And as we reform our defense budget, we have to keep faith with our men and women in uniform, and invest in the capabilities they need to succeed in future missions. We have to remain vigilant. But I strongly believe our leadership and our security cannot depend on our military alone. As Commander-in-Chief, I have used force when needed to protect the American people, and I will never hesitate to do so as long as I hold this office. But I will not send our troops into harm’s way unless it’s truly
necessary; nor will I allow our sons and daughters to be mired in open-ended conflicts. We must fight the battles that need to be fought, not those that terrorists prefer from us – large-scale deployments that drain our strength and may ultimately feed extremism. So, even as we aggressively pursue terrorist networks – through more targeted efforts and by building the capacity of our foreign partners – America must move off a permanent war footing. That’s why I’ve imposed prudent limits on the use of drones – for we will not be safer if people abroad believe we strike within their countries without regard for the consequence. That’s why, working with this Congress, I will reform our surveillance programs – because the vital work of our intelligence community depends on public confidence, here and abroad, that the privacy of ordinary people is not being violated. And with the Afghan war ending, this needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay – because we counter terrorism not just through intelligence and military action, but by remaining true to our Constitutional ideals, and setting an example for the rest of the world. You see, in a world of complex threats, our security and leadership depends on all elements of our power – including strong and principled diplomacy. American diplomacy has rallied more than fifty countries to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands, and allowed us to reduce our own reliance on Cold War stockpiles. American diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria’s chemical weapons are being eliminated, and we will continue to work with the international community to usher in the future the Syrian people deserve – a future free of dictatorship, terror and fear. As we speak, American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there; to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians, and lasting peace and security for the State of Israel – a Jewish state that knows America will always be at their side. And it is American diplomacy, backed by pressure, that has halted the progress of Iran’s nuclear program – and rolled parts of that program back – for the very first time in a decade. As we gather here tonight, Iran has begun to eliminate its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium. It is not installing advanced centrifuges. Unprecedented inspections help the world verify, every day, that Iran is not
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building a bomb. And with our allies and partners, we’re engaged in negotiations to see if we can peacefully achieve a goal we all share: preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. These negotiations will be difficult. They may not succeed. We are clear-eyed about Iran’s support for terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, which threaten our allies; and the mistrust between our nations cannot be wished away. But these negotiations do not rely on trust; any long-term deal we agree to must be based on verifiable action that convinces us and the international community that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb. If John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan could negotiate with the Soviet Union, then surely a strong and confident America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today. The sanctions that we put in place helped make this opportunity possible. But let me be clear: if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it. For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed. If Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity, then I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon. But if Iran’s leaders do seize the chance, then Iran could take an important step to rejoin the community of nations, and we will have resolved one of the leading security challenges of our time without the risks of war. Finally, let’s remember that our leadership is defined not just by our defense against threats, but by the enormous opportunities to do good and promote understanding around the globe – to forge greater cooperation, to expand new markets, to free people from fear and want. And no one is better positioned to take advantage of those opportunities than America. Our alliance with Europe remains the strongest the world has ever known. From Tunisia to Burma, we’re supporting those who are willing to do the hard work of building democracy. In Ukraine, we stand for the principle that all people have the right to express themselves freely and peacefully, and have a say in their country’s future. Across Africa, we’re bringing together businesses and governments to double access to electricity and help end extreme poverty. In the Americas, we are building new ties of commerce, but we’re also expanding cultural and educational exchanges among young people. And we will continue to focus on the Asia-Pacific,
where we support our allies, shape a future of greater security and prosperity, and extend a hand to those devastated by disaster – as we did in the Philippines, when our Marines and civilians rushed to aid those battered by a typhoon, and were greeted with words like, “We will never forget your kindness” and “God bless America!” We do these things because they help promote our long-term security. And we do them because we believe in the inherent dignity and equality of every human being, regardless of race or religion, creed or sexual orientation. And next week, the world will see one expression of that commitment – when Team USA marches the red, white, and blue into the Olympic Stadium – and brings home the gold. My fellow Americans, no other country in the world does what we do. On every issue, the world turns to us, not simply because of the size of our economy or our military might – but because of the ideals we stand for, and the burdens we bear to advance them. No one knows this better than those who serve in uniform. As this time of war draws to a close, a new generation of heroes returns to civilian life. We’ll keep slashing that backlog so our veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned, and our wounded warriors receive the health care – including the mental health care – that they need. We’ll keep working to help all our veterans translate their skills and leadership into jobs here at home. And we all continue to join forces to honor and support our remarkable military families. Let me tell you about one of those families I’ve come to know. I first met Cory Remsburg, a proud Army Ranger, at Omaha Beach on the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me through the program – a strong, impressive young man, with an easy manner, sharp as a tack. We joked around, and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch. A few months later, on his tenth deployment, Cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His comrades found him in a canal, face down, underwater, shrapnel in his brain. For months, he lay in a coma. The next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn’t speak; he could barely move. Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, and hours of grueling rehab every day. Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye. He still struggles on his left side. But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the commu-
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nity around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again – and he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again. “My recovery has not been easy,” he says. “Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.” Cory is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit. My fellow Americans, men and women like Cory remind us that America has never come easy. Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. But for more than two hundred years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress – to create and build and expand the possibilities of individual achievement; to free other nations from tyranny and fear; to promote justice, and fairness, and equality under the law, so that the words set to paper by our founders are made real for every citizen. The America we want for our kids – a rising America where honest work is plentiful and communities are strong; where prosperity is widely shared and opportunity for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us – none of it is easy. But if we work together; if we summon what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow – I know it’s within our reach. Believe it.
God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.
AT-LARGE POSITION 3 Council Member Kubosh is currently serving his first term in office. The Houston City Council At-Large Position 3 seat will be up for re-election in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election.
AT-LARGE POSITION 4 Council Member C.O. “Brad” Bradford is currently serving his third and final term in office. The Houston City Council At-Large Position 4 seat will be open in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election.
AT-LARGE POSITION 5 Council Member Jack Christie is currently serving his second term and will be up for re-election in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election.
CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT E
Council Member Dave Martin is currently serving his first term in office and will be up for re-election in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election.
CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT F Council Member Richard Nguyen is currently serving his first term in office and will be running for re-election in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election.
CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT G Council Member Oliver Pennington is currently serving his third and final term in office. The Houston City Council District G seat will be open in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election.
CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT A
CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT H
Council Member Brenda Stardig is currently serving her second term in office serving the people of Houston City Council District A and will be up for re-election in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election.
Councilman Ed Gonzalez is the Houston City Council District H Council Member. Council Member Ed Gonzalez is currently serving his third and final term. The Houston City Council District H seat will be open in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election.
CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT B Council Member Jerry Davis is currently serving his second term in office serving the people of Houston City Council District B and will be up for re-election in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election.
CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT C Council Member Ellen Cohen is currently serving her second term in office. Council Member Ellen Cohen will be running for re-election in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election for Houston City Council District C.
CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT D Council Member Dwight Boykins is currently serving his first term in office and will be up for re-election in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election.
CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT I Council Member Robert Gallegos is currently serving his first term in office and will be running for re-election in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election.
CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT J Council Member Mike Laster is currently serving his second term in office and will be up for re-election in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election.
CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT K Council Member Larry Green is currently serving his second term in office and will be up for re-election in the November 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election.
ABOUT HOUSTON’S CITY COUNCIL The City Council is the City's legislative body, with the power to enact and enforce all ordinances and resolutions. Eleven Council Members are elected from districts and five are elected at-large, by all voters of the City. The sixteen members of Council, along with the Mayor, act only by ordinance, resolution or motion. They adopt and may alter the annual budget and confirm the Mayor's appointments. Council is responsible for the appropriation and issuance of bonds, the awarding of contracts and the approval of City expenditures over $50,000. Council may lease or dispose of the City's real estate and may levy assessments against property. Council determines its own rules of procedure, and its meetings are open to the public. Sixteen Council Members are elected every two years, in oddnumbered years. Council Members are limited to serving three terms of two years each, with each term beginning on January 2 of the even-numbered year. Five Council Members are elected At-Large, or city-wide, while the other eleven are elected to geographic districts of roughly the same proportion of population. -------------------------------------------You can write to your Council Member at: 900 Bagby / City Hall Annex / First Floor / Houston, TX 77002.
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The January 2015 edition of Houston Business Connections Magazine features the entire 2015 State of the Union Address by President Barack Ob...