A Texas Way: Land Office candidate Jay Kleberg charts a hopeful path
On May 21, Democratic Land Commissioner nominee Jay Kleberg held a press conference with key Houston-area leaders to announce his commitment to addressing the institutional incompetence and discrimination present in Texas General Land’s past actions. Office.
Kleberg is running to replace controversial two-term lands commissioner George P. Bush, who was widely seen as disinterested in the responsibilities of the office and decided against re-election this cycle in favor of a likely doomed race. failure for the attorney general of Texas.
The press conference took place in Houston’s Fifth Ward in front of the recently erected Women’s Preservation Mural. The location highlighted the importance of addressing past racial bias on the part of the GLO.
“I thought it would be a suitable location,” Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis said. “We need someone sitting over there on top of the GLO who will care as much about the people and their lands across Texas as they do about the wealthiest people.”
Ellis and the rest of the press conference speakers made particular reference to GLO’s mishandling of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey recovery, the most egregious example of which was the $0 awarded to Harris County during of the first round of federal relief funding.
“The day we found out was a bipartisan kick in the gut,” state Rep. Ann Johnson said. “We are all a Texas. If not investing in our community is a partisan issue, then we are all suffering devastatingly.
The importance of the GLO in solving major Texas problems was hammered home by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who made an unannounced appearance at the event to lend his weight behind Kleberg’s candidacy.
“This office is more important to under-resourced communities than any other,” Turner said. “He shouldn’t be caught in a political game where you send dollars where you think you can get votes, but the need isn’t there. Jay understands that this is an office that should work for people.
A number of community activists also took to the microphone to endorse Kleberg and explain the importance of having adequate representation on the General Lands Board. Northwood resident Genette Smith said the agency was not interested in what was happening with the affected communities and their residents. Community activist Ivory Mayhorn denounced the agency’s continued inaction to help the homes of many people who were destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. Joetta Stevenson, president of the Greater Fifth Ward Super Neighborhood, reminded the press that her area was still recovering not just from Harvey, but from seven disasters one after the other with little help from the state of Texas and the General Land Office.
Kleberg ended the media event with an impassioned speech highlighting the critical importance of the GLO not only to Texas but to the country as a whole.
“It’s a national problem,” Kleberg said. “Texas accounts for more than 50% of the billion dollar disaster share nationally. Even now, the GLO has not distributed half of the funds provided by the federal government to help with the recovery from Hurricane Harvey.
Condemning past leaders for their unjust practices, Kleberg gave a moving speech for a fairer and more equitable way of Texas governance.
“The GLO should work for the people of Texas, regardless of their politics,” Kleberg proclaimed. “They have erected dam after dam to help people who are suffering from the effects of climate change. We found that they discriminated against communities of color. We need a new way of doing things that doesn’t hold back our most vulnerable. A Texas way.