Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Who Is Hector Morales?


Gene Green is one of the worst Democrats in Congress-- very conservative and very corrupt, a pairing that you often find together. And he's retiring early. No realistic explanation why since he's been raising money hand over first all year. He raised $474,164 so far this year and has a campaign war-chest with $1,272,398 as of the September 30 FEC filing deadline. TX-29 is a strongly blue district-- PVI was D+12 in 2015 and is D+19 this year-- and Obama won it in a walk both times. A 77% Hispanic district, it wraps around Houston (north, east and south) and includes much of the Ship Channel area, South Houston and Pasadena. Green has promised to help solve the endemic pollution problem at election time while taking massive bribes from the oil and gas industries the rest of the time and helping push through their agenda. He should have been replaced years ago.

The only Democrat brave enough to take him on this cycle has been progressive activist and public school teacher Hector Morales. Hector has been one of the few progressives challenging an entrenched incumbent conservaDem anywhere in the country-- the toughest job in politics (please contribute to his campaign here). When the Republicans-- with Green's help. passed a fracking bill last July, we asked him about Green's vote and, he told us that "This should not come as a surprise as Gene Green is one of the founding members of the Congressional Oil & Gas Caucus along with Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez, to name a few. Green was also one of the scarce Democrats that voted in favor of the Keystone Pipeline... Perhaps the Congressman should look no further than the Manchester neighborhood deep in the heart of the 29th Congressional District where all the refineries are located. After all, the low-income, heavily Latino community has high rates of childhood leukemia, asthma, and bronchitis-- an observation that has been backed up by data from the Environmental Protection Agency and the University of Texas which found “unacceptable” levels of cancer-causing pollutants in Manchester’s air. Gene Green is nothing more than a corporate shill who has gotten away with representing the oil and gas companies while claiming to look after the well being of the community he has sworn to protect. But with $260,000 worth of campaign contributions in this quarter alone from special interests, what more could you expect?"

The Houston Chronicle called Green "a fixture in the Texas Legislature and Congress for nearly half a century." What a terrible, terrible waste of a seat!
Until now, Green's longevity in city politics helped preserve Houston's status as America's largest Hispanic city without a Hispanic member of the U.S. House. Aware of that status, Green worked assiduously to serve constituent needs through job fairs, immunization drives, and town halls. He also worked to court the city's top Latino activists.
A pretty wretched bunch of opportunists jumped right into the race yesterday, starting with anti-charisma state Senator Sylvia Garcia and state Rep. Armando Walle, both Green disciples who seem to have had advance notice.

Goal ThermometerHector, who is part of the Blue America Take Back Texas Team (tap the thermometer on the right) was born in Monterrey, Mexico and moved with his family to Houston when he was 3 years old. He grew up poor and told us that he "will forever remember the Pasadena refineries, just on the outskirts of Houston, that dominated the skyline and the smoke that emitted from them every day and the glow from the fires at night when we moved."
In 1994, I remember I was 7 years old and we were driving on the highway and at the intersection of I-45S and I-610E I saw a large green billboard with a four leaf clover that asked “Who is Gene Green?” It caught my attention every time we drove past it and never much more. Eventually the sign was replaced with another advertisement but I began to wonder “who is Gene Green?” In 1998, dial up internet took off and I decided to look up on (now “WHO IS GENE GREEN” and found that he was a Democratic member of Congress Representing the 29th District of Texas. Turns out he had always been representing me!

  I had always been interested in debating and politics always seemed like fun to me-- a large group of people who worked together to better our community. I went about intermediate school and high school not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I went to Pasadena Independent School District schools which are all Title I schools, which means a majority of students and parents live under the poverty line and the District receives federal money to try and close the achievement gaps. It was that way in the 2000’s and continues to be that way to this very day.

My teachers were very frank about my prospects as a hispanic male wanting to get into politics. Their responses to finding out I wanted to be a “politician” were always “you’re not white” and “it’s not going to happen.” This was the pattern until my senior year in high school when my economics teacher, Phyllis Geries, said “I think that’s great” and began introducing me to the world of politics. It was at that point that I knew that I wanted to do something big, I just did not know what. But that all changed in the summer of 2004.

We had a family friend who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and it really caught all of us off guard. At our friend’s recommendation, my mom went to the doctor to get a well women check. That is when the clinic called back and said “something is wrong.” My mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We were devastated. But things became bleak when the insurance company said my mother’s cancer was not a “life threatening condition,” “pre-existing,” and would not be covered under our plan. She was kicked off the insurance and we were left with an insurmountable amount of debt. A corporation had decided that my mother’s life was not worth the cost of saving her. However, we did not falter. With my dad’s salary as a school teacher, my $5.15 minimum wage job, and my brother’s side job stringing tennis rackets, we did as much as we could for my mom. My mom bested her cancer and recovered, but our economic situation did not. We had to file for bankruptcy and it placed my college plans on the cutting board. I vowed to never let anyone else go through that and decided I wanted to ensure healthcare as a right to all people. No one should ever be considered too poor to survive.

I went to San Jacinto Community College and was determined to leave my mark on the world and make my family proud. I became involved in the Honors Program and Student Government, went to national conferences to represent San Jacinto College, and was able to take courses from some of the finest professors I have ever had the privilege of learning from. I transferred to UT Austin where I made healthcare my passion and interned for State Representative Kevin Bailey and the 2008 Obama Presidential Campaign, after which I earned an internship in the Office of Healthcare Reform at the White House with the Obama Administration. It was there that I experienced first hand how policy gets formed. I was able to help craft a very small portion of what became known as the Affordable Care Act in regards to the privacy rules and disclosures of data breaches from healthcare organizations to patients. I had the opportunity to remain in Washington and make a career as a staffer, but deiced that my community needed me and I wanted to make sure I was the change that I wanted to see.

I returned to Houston in 2009 and until this day have been a school teacher. I taught 3rd grade bilingual classes, 6th grade english language arts classes, and for the last four years I have taught Advanced Placement Government and Advanced Placement Macroeconomics to high school seniors. Every step of the way, I made sure to share my passion for helping those in need and motivating our young people to get involved in politics. It was during this time that I finally noticed things that were not much different than when I was growing up.

I have an answer for the billboard that asked "Who is Gene Green?" He is a corporate Democrat who sided with large donors to cement his position as a member of congress. In the 29th Congressional District, the average household income is under $40,000 with an average household size of 5 and a half people. Our infrastructure is crumbling. We have schools in our district that are among the top 1% of the most polluted in the nation. We had an incumbent who took in hundreds of thousands of dollars from special interests and sold out the health and well-being of our people. We had an incumbent who actively supported building the Keystone Pipeline and sided with President Trump and Republican Leadership on it regardless of the negative impact it would have on health and the environment. Our schools have graduation rates that are three times lower than the national average and twice as low as the state average.

I decided to run in January 2017 to change things. For far too long members of congress have made careers out of politics, always doing things for a quick campaign contribution. I have vowed to not accept a single cent of special interest money or PAC money. Elections should be hard-fought with issues at the forefront, not bought with contributions or handed down to friends in state government. I have singed a pledge to support a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on members of Congress, both in the House and Senate.

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