Archive for December, 2009

Controller-Elect Green Celebrates Before Tackling New Role At City Hall
December 31, 2009

 

In the middle of  juggling a hectic schedule transitioning from city council to the second highest ranking position at city hall. Houston’s controller-elect Ron Green took time Wednesday night to celebrate.  The occasion?  Green’s victory in the runoff election and his 40th birthday.

Green’s wife,  Justice of  the Peace Hilary Green, along with a host of  other family, friends and supporters gathered at the Mercer Lounge in Southwest Houston for the special event.

Between snapping pictures for the blog, I asked Green about his plans for the office once he is sworn in on Monday, January 4, 2009.

Green told me that Chris Brown, who served as his  chief of staff on city council, will become the new deputy controller.  Brown holds an MBA from the University of  Houston and is the son of  former mayoral candidate and city council member Peter Brown.

Green has previously told 2 on The Beat that he plans to balance the role of  being the city’s chief financial officer and taxpayer watchdog with building a strong working relationship with newly elected Mayor Annise Parker and the incoming city council. 

Meanwhile, several of  the people helping Green celebrate included: city council member Wanda Adams, Alison Greene and Keir Murray(who served as Green’s campaign chairman) Dan Pederson, Gail Brown and Carl Davis from the city of  Houston, party organizer LaChanda Jenkins, Houston attorney Felix Chevalier, and Riyad Abu-Taha.

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Mayor Bill White’s Farewell Message to Houstonians
December 31, 2009

Saturday, January 2, 2010,  is Houston Mayor Bill White’s last day in office. After six years working on behalf of  Houstonians at city hall the mayor is being forced out by term limits.  But before he hits the campaign trail fulltime in the race for Governor, White is saying goodbye to the city and reflecting on his time in office.

You can read the full message below, and if you want to follow White on the campaign trail visit his website at www.billwhitefortexas.com.

Dear Fellow Houstonians,

 

It has been the honor of my life to work for you as Mayor these last six years. Together we got Houston moving. We’ve led the nation in job growth, cut major crime rates to the lowest levels in decades, cleaned the air, improved our parks and libraries, made more efficient use of energy, tripled the number of neighborhood health clinics, revitalized some of most neglected neighborhoods, assisted returning veterans, invested over $300 million in drainage improvements, improved recycling, and so much more.

 

We have done this all with disciplined, business-like management at City Hall, cutting property tax rates while raising senior and disabled exemptions. We reformed our public employee pensions. We amended our City Charter to limit the growth in property taxes. Even after natural disasters and recession, we have managed disciplined budgets, and for years built up budget surpluses. That has allowed us to double the cash on the City’s balance sheet and weather this economic downturn without cutting services, raising taxes, or borrowing money to finance deficits.

 

We’ve done all this with a City Council that works as a team, largely free from partisan posturing. We have viewed diversity as a strength, not a liability, in this great city of opportunity.

 

 We have been through good times-major sporting events, celebrations at our new Discovery Green, and numerous national recognitions as America’s best city for economic opportunity. We have also been through tough times-Hurricanes Ike, Katrina  and Rita, departing soldiers, the loss of  firefighters and police officers, and now global recession.

 

Of course there is still much to do, and Houston will always have differences of opinion. But we can respect our neighbor’s views, even when we disagree. 

Andrea and I wish you and your loved ones a great New Year. Please keep in your prayers our

City’s new leadership, members of our Armed Forces, and all those who serve this community whose jobs put them in harm’s way.

 

Respectfully,

 

Bill White

Mayor

Judge Jamison Files For Appeals Court
December 30, 2009

 It’s that time of the political season when republicans and democrats are filing to run in their party’s primary election in March 2010.

In contested races, primary voters  will decide which candidates will make it to the general election in November. 

While the race for governor will steal most of the media spotlight, there are several other important races –  from County Judge to Judges who preside over various courts.

If you are a candidate who has filed to run, please send a press release and photo to me at mbenton@kprc.com and I will post it on this blog.

Judge Jamison Files for Appeals Court

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Houston, TX—Former Harris County district judge Martha Hill Jamison announced today that she is running for an open seat on the 14th Court of Appeals. Justice Kent Sullivan is not seeking re-election to Place 5. There is no announced Republican opponent.

 “I look forward to serving the 14th Court and the Texas judiciary,” Judge Jamison said. “I bring a broad range of experience in civil, family, criminal and juvenile law, which is necessary for this important court.”

 Judge Jamison, currently serving as Senior Advisor to Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar Leo Vasquez, is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law. She is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Although her law and mediation practice and judicial experience have primarily focused on civil law, she served as a member of the Harris County Juvenile Board, volunteered to preside on occasion over the STAR Drug Court and handled numerous matters as an overflow judge for the Harris County Family Courts. Judge Jamison also served as the Civil Administrative Judge and the Legislative Chair for the Harris County District Judges during her nine years on the bench.

 Judge Jamison was consistently highly rated in the Houston Bar Association’s annual Judicial Qualifications polls while she was on the trial bench.

 Judge Jamison is a member of the Board of Directors for the American Judicature Society. She was a member of the State Bar of Texas Court Administration Task Force on Court Administration and Class XXV of the American Leadership Forum. Judge Jamison is a member of the Regional Steering Committee for Young Life and is the Discipleship Commission Chair at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.

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Gordon Quan Makes It Official – He’s Running For County Judge
December 29, 2009

As 2 on The Beat reported last week, former Houston city council member Gordon Quan plans to run for Harris County Judge.

Quan made it official Tuesday with a campaign kickoff event attended by local political and community leaders.

Quan is a democrat, and so far he doesn’t have an opponent for the March 2010 primary.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett has already filed to run for re-election in the republican primary.

The general election is in November 2010. 
The following is a news release from Quan’s campaign:
                             

Gordon Quan Announces as Democratic Candidate for Harris County Judge

Houston, TX–At a Houston event surrounded by friends, family and supporters today, former Houston City Councilman Gordon Quan signed the paperwork to run as a Democrat for Harris County Judge.

“I want to bring new ideas to the County Government and look to address the root causes of the problems to develop solutions and not just put a bandage on the problem,” Quan stated during his remarks at the event.

Mr. Quan spoke on several issues he would like to address as Harris County’s next County Judge.  Specifically, he discussed the following priorities:

ü  Reforming our criminal justice system

ü  Addressing homelessness and mental health issues

ü  Economic development

ü  Making Seniors and healthcare a priority 

The former city councilman said he wanted to work hand-in-hand with the county commissioners,  Sherriff Adrian Garcia, District Attorney Pat Lykos, and legislators like State Senator Rodney Ellis, who introduced Quan at the event,  to set criteria for fines versus confinement for minor offenses, a centralized jail system for more rapid bonding, the development of a public defender system and a regional D.N.A. lab to avoid wrongful confinement.

He also said he wants to explore methods to remove from the criminal justice system people who are homeless and suffering from mental health issues.  Quan argued this would remove “frequent flyers” from our jails and emergency rooms where they run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost for tax payers.

Noting that the U.S. is facing difficult economic times, Mr. Quan said he would support the efforts of the Greater Houston Partnership in recruiting large companies and make helping small and medium sized businesses a priority.  He noted that small and medium-sized businesses provide more rapid job growth in Harris County and provide the majority of new jobs in America.

” For the past 30 years, I have been assisting businesses and entrepreneurs in making Harris County home,” Quan said.  “In the private sector, I am already working on Regional Investment Centers to attract foreign investment to this County – New York and Chicago have already done this and we need to follow suit.  As County Judge, I will designate areas for ‘targeted employment’ for brokers to use in marketing investment opportunities.

Mr. Quan ended his remarks by touching on seniors’ issues.

“One population I will continue to champion is our senior citizens,” he said.  “As life expectancy has been extended, I want Harris County to view this population as an asset, not a liability.  I would like to see us as a national leader on geriatric care.”

Gordon Quan grew up in Houston’s East End where his father ran a grocery store.  He earned a B.A. from the University of Texas, a M.Ed. from the University of Houston and his law degree from South Texas College of Law.  Quan met his wife, Sylvia, on the University of Houston Campus and they have been together ever since.  They raised three daughters here in Houston.

XXX

 

Harris County Judge Candidacy Announcement

DRAFT OF QUAN ANNOUNCEMENT SPEECH

My sincere thank you to each of you for joining me today as I officially announce my candidacy for Harris County Judge.

Harris County Government has been a bastion for the “good ole boy network.”  As our community has become more diverse, it is time for our county to embrace our diversity.

The criteria to do business with the county should not be:

“Who you know but, what you know. 

Not how much you’ve donated

but what value and talents you have to give.”

I want to bring new ideas to the County Government and look to address the root causes of the problems to develop solutions and not just put a bandage on the problem.

Our jail is under court supervision and is overcrowded.  While voters had previously defeated a bond election for a new jail, I believe they spoke out against the manner criminal justice was administered in Harris County.

I want to work to hand-in-hand with the commissioners,  Sherriff Garcia, District Attorney Lykos, the local municipalities and the courts and elected officials like Senator Ellis to set criteria for fines versus confinement for minor offenses, a centralized jail system for more rapid bonding, the development of a public defender system and a regional D.N.A. lab to avoid wrongful confinement.

On top of these issues, I want to look at methods to remove from the criminal justice system people who are homeless and suffering from mental health issues.  A proactive approach of investing in affordable housing with supportive services would remove “frequent flyers” from our jails and emergency rooms where they run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost for tax payers.

We need to provide education, training and opportunities to our citizens instead of condemning young men and women to lives of poverty with minor criminal records.  Every day 200+ people are released on the streets with little hope of meaningful, legal employment.

We need to be attaching jobs to Harris County.  And while supporting the efforts of the Greater Houston Partnership in recruiting large companies, I also want to make helping small and medium size businesses a priority.  These provide more rapid job growth and provide the majority of new jobs in America.

For the past 30 years, I have been assisting businesses and entrepreneurs in making the Houston area home.  We have an international population.  There is nothing like friends and relatives encouraging other to locate in Harris County.  They provide a cultural infra-structure to attract more businesses and talent.  We do not need Ft. Bend advertising for business here!

I am working on Regional Investment Centers to attract foreign investment to this County – New York and Chicago have already done this.  I will designate areas for “targeted employment” for brokers to use in marketing investment opportunities.

One population I will continue to champion is our Senior Citizens.  As life expectancy has been extended, I want Harris County to view this population as an asset, not a liability.  I would like to see us as a national leader on geriatric care.

ü  Reforming our criminal justice system

ü  Addressing homelessness and mental health issues

ü  Economic development

ü  Re-integration for those released from jail

ü  Making Seniors and healthcare a priority

These are but a few of the issues I plan to address.

Hunkering down is no solution.

Maintaining to status quo will not get us to the future.

Please join with me in creating a new day in Harris County for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.

 

City Of Houston Inaguration Will Have Something For Everybody
December 29, 2009

                        City of Houston                                     News Release

                  Office of Mayor-elect Annise Parker        

 

 City of Houston inaugural events announced

 

An inspirational ceremony emphasizing Houston’s diversity and bright future will kick off a day of events marking the inauguration of Mayor-elect Annise Parker, City Controller-elect Ronald Green and Houston City Council.  The day will end with a free evening concert and fireworks for the public at Discovery Green.  “I opted for a free concert over an invitation only gala because I want all of Houston to be able to participate in the celebration,” said Mayor-elect Parker.  “I invite families to bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets and join me under the stars in downtown Houston for an event that will have everyone on their feet dancing.  It’s the perfect way to mark the start of a new decade and a new city government that I pledge will be inclusive and transparent.”

The incoming elected officials will take the oath of office in ceremonies to be held at the Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston beginning at 9:30 a.m. Monday, January 4, 2010.  The inauguration is open to the public.  The doors at the Wortham will open at 8 a.m.  Seating in the main theater will be available on a first come first served basis.  Additional seating is being provided in the smaller Cullen Theater, which will be equipped with a video feed of the ceremonies. 

The inaugural program will feature former Channel 11 News Anchor Lisa Foronda as mistress of ceremonies, 2009 America’s Got Talent first runner up Barbara Padilla, Lakewood Church Pastor Joel Osteen, St. John’s United Methodist Church Pastor Rudy Rasmus, poet Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and children from the Chinese Community Center.  Music will be provided by the 200-member Inauguration Orchestra and Choir, comprised of many of Houston’s top musicians.  U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore will administer the oath of office to Mayor-elect Parker and City Controller-elect Ronald Green.  As her first official act as Mayor, Parker will swear in the 14 members of Houston City Council.

The free concert, scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. January 4, at Discovery Green will begin with Latin favorite Mango Punch and end with chart-topper Jennifer Holiday from the original Broadway version of Dream Girls.  In the middle will be an over-the- top soul revue featuring:

  • Archie Bell, whose #1 hit Tighten Up got the whole country dancing just as good as they could walk back in 1968.
  • Roy Head, Texas legend of blue-eyed soul, who took Treat Her Right, recorded in the shadow of downtown, to #2 on the pop charts.
  • Yvonne Washington, a soulful songstress who has been a part of generations of celebrations across the city. 

 

The concert is being funded privately through donations raised by the 2010 Inaugural Committee.  Food and beverage is available for purchase at Discovery Green.  In the event of severe weather, the concert will take place in the George R. Brown Convention Center.

###

Houston’s Popular Outgoing Mayor Appoints Commission to Study Term Limits
December 29, 2009

Let’s be honest. There are plenty of voters in the city of Houston who wouldn’t  mind seeing Mayor Bill White stick around for another six years.

But according to current city rules, council members, the controller and Mayor can serve a maximum of  six years in office.

As he prepares to leave office on December 31, 2009, the Mayor has announced the appointment of a commission to review the city’s term limit provisions.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 29, 2009

Mayor Bill White Announces the Appointment of a Commission to

Review the City’s Term Limit Provisions                                                                      

Mayor Bill White today announced the appointment of a blue-ribbon Commission on term limits.  This Commission was created by an ordinance adopted unanimously by City Council.  The commission will prepare a report analyzing the impact of term limitations adopted as part of Houston’s City Charter in 1993.  This commission will make recommendations concerning any changes to the length of the terms that an individual could serve.  The commission is not authorized by the ordinance to recommend an abolition of term limits.

 According to Mayor White, “We need to examine whether the city of Houston has the right length of terms and number of terms based on the experiences of citizens in this community.  There is a balance between wanting to prevent incumbents from becoming too entrenched and the need to maintain some experience in the elected leadership so that a career official in city government is accountable to informed elected officials.  The members of this commission reflect a diverse leadership group within our city.” 

The Commission shall make its recommendations and report by July 1, 2010, and shall be disbanded after this time.  Any changes in term limits recommended by the Term Limits Commission would have to be voted on by the public in order to be effective.  According to the commission proposed by Mayor White, Mayor White would not be eligible for any service as Mayor, regardless of changes recommended by the Commission for any other City officials.

Arthur Schechter, a former Chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority and former U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas, was designated by Mayor White as Chair.  Claudia Williamson was nominated by Controller Annise Parker as as Vice-Chair.  Williamson was the founding Chair of Blue Print Houston.  She has served on many business and non-profit boards including the Houston Read Commission and the Houston Area Water Corporation.

The commission is composed of six members nominated by Mayor White, including the Chair, a Vice-Chair (nominated by the City Controller); and the balance of 15 members nominated by City Council.  Those members are:  Frumencio Reyes, Council Member Toni Lawrence, Christina Cabral, Sylvia K. Brooks, John L. Nau, Jane Cahill West, Kathryn Chace-McNiel, Ed Wulfe, Thomas Jones, Jr., Ester King, Dorothy Miller, William A. Jordan, Robert M. Stein, Theodore L. Deaver, Carrol G. Robinson, Anan Qaddumi, Edward J. Cummins, Jr., James S. Bowie, and Diana Davila Martinez.

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Gordon Quan To Challenge Ed Emmett For County Judge
December 23, 2009

   

He served six years on Houston city council, and is a widely respected immigration attorney.   

Now Gordon Quan hopes to rely on his record and connections in the community to launch what he hopes is a successful bid for Harris County Judge.  

Assuming he makes it past the March 2, 2010 Democratic Party primary, Quan will challenge Republican incumbent Judge Ed Emmett, who plans to run for re-election.  

Quan is having an official campaign kickoff.   

The invitation is posted below:  

Save The Date!  

Gordon Quan  

Announces Campaign for  

Harris County Judge  

Please Join Former Council Member and Mayor Pro-Tem Gordon Quan as, following his official filing, he announces his campaign for Harris County Judge on Tuesday, December 29, 2009. Since leaving Council, Gordon has stayed involved in the Houston community, including:  

·        Co-chairing the NAACP 100 Year Anniversary Gala  

·        Board member of the Coalition for the Homeless  

·        Board Member of Neighborhood Centers Inc.  

  

Show your support by joining Gordon, Senator Rodney Ellis, and friends and family on this exciting occasion.  

  

What: Gordon Quan Announcement Speech  

When: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 12:00pm  

Where: Post Oak Grill, 3017 Milam  

  

  

  

Paid for by the Gordon Quan for County Judge Campaign

Avoid A Heart Attack This Holiday Season
December 22, 2009

  

St. Luke’s Emergency Department Prepares to See Higher Number of Heart Attacks on Christmas, New Year’s  

St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital and Texas Heart® Institute Doctors Warn Against Holiday Stress, Discuss Heart Attack Symptoms  

 HOUSTON (December 21, 2009) – Doctors at the Texas Heart Institute (THI) and St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital (St. Luke’s) are on alert during the holidays since the biggest days of the year for heart attacks are December 25, December 26, and January 1. People are being warned to look for specific signs and take extra precautions this holiday season to help prevent a heart attack. 

There are factors that make these special holidays so dangerous, doctors point out. For example, during the holidays many people have very poor dietary habits.  People tend to eat fatty and salty foods and have very heavy, filling meals.  Many indulge in excess drinking and also exhibit a lack of exercise.  Many people partake in holiday travel – this can lead to inadequate medical are as well as missed medications or doses.   In some cases, fine particulates from fireplace smoke can lodge in one’s lungs and trigger a clot which can lead to a heart attack. 

“Although there can be many causes for a heart attack, stress during the holidays have become more frequently associated with a higher number of heart attack patients,” says Kelly Larkin, MD, emergency department medical director, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital. “Chest pain is usually the most common sign, but some people have heart attacks without having chest pain. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the other warning signs.” 

Many heart attacks are caused by a complete blockage of a vessel in the heart, known as a coronary artery. A blocked coronary artery prevents oxygen-rich blood and nutrients from reaching a section of the heart. During the holidays, people often indulge in foods that make for poor dietary habits; put off or delay their regular medical care; drink too much, irritating the heart muscle and causing high blood pressure and heart rate; and stay close to fireplaces, causing fine particulates from the smoke to lodge in the lungs, triggering a clot that leads to a heart attack. 

Typical heart attack symptoms are: 

  • Pressure, burning, tightness, or pressure-like discomfort in the chest, lasting five minutes or longer
  • Constant indigestion-like discomfort
  • Uncomfortable pressure in your chest that moves to the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw or back
  • Lightheadedness, fainting, sweating or a sick stomach
  • Unexplained shortness of breath.
  • Unexplained anxiety, weakness, nausea or tiredness
  • Awareness of abnormalities in the normal beating of the heart, with unexplained sweating and pale skin

Symptoms of heart attacks vary for men and women. “As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest discomfort,” says James Wilson, MD, cardiologist, THI. “But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw discomfort.” 

Anyone who has any of these signs for five minutes or longer should see a doctor immediately. Regardless of your gender, seeking proper medical care as quickly as possible is key to surviving a heart attack. Call an ambulance (dial 9-1-1) or have someone drive you to the nearest hospital emergency room. Do not drive yourself to the emergency room

For more information on the holidays and heart attacks, go to http://bit.ly/8Uo3fV.

Farouk Shami Campaign Team Shakeup
December 22, 2009

Only one week after officially filing to run in the 2010 Democratic Party gubernatorial primary,  Houston  hair care magnet Farouk Shami has announced that he’s  hired several  new political consultants to manage his campaign.

 

I’m not personally familiar with his new team members,   but they seem like people who have experience running viable political campaigns in Texas and throughout the country.

It’s clear that  Shami has the money to pay an experienced staff and run a political machine, but  most campaign analysts  consider him the underdog in the primary race against  Houston Mayor Bill White.

Can Shami’s new team help him and his message gain traction and respect with voters throughout Texas?

The following is a news release that I received from the Shami campaign: 

 Shami Campaign Announces New Team

HOUSTON-Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Farouk Shami today announced that he has assembled a top-tier senior staff and consulting team for his primary campaign.

The hires include a new campaign director and senior strategist, new additions to the Shami communications team, and a new media buyer and media buying firm.

“I am very excited about the team we have put together in the last week. I am proud to be working with these men and women. We have all the elements of a winning team,” Shami said.

Vince Leibowitz will join the team as Campaign Director and Senior Strategist. He most recently served as Communications and Policy Director for Hank Gilbert’s gubernatorial campaign, and worked statewide in 2008 as Campaign Director for Dale Henry’s campaign for Texas Railroad Commissioner, in addition to working a number of other races as a staffer and consultant. In addition to the appointment of Leibowitz as Campaign Director, Jamilah Shami was appointed Deputy Campaign Director.

Kelly Love Johnson will join Shami’s campaign as Communications Director through a contract with Austin-based Broad Street Interactive. Kelly recently served as the Communications Director for the Linda Ketner for Congress campaign in South Carolina, and has extensive experience in journalism and new media.

Joining the communications team as Press Secretary for Rapid Response is Charlie Ray, also through Broad Street Interactive.  Ray is widely known as the author of the political blog “Pink Dome,” which had a successful run from 2005 through 2008. Charlie is now CEO of Broad Street Interactive, a digital media agency based in Austin.

Joining the campaign as the media buyer of record for television, radio, and online media, is Fortune Media, headed by founder Ondine Fortune. Ondine is recognized as one of the nation’s top experts in media planning and buying for politics and public affairs campaigns. Fortune Media enjoyed a 41-9 win ratio on behalf of its campaigns in the 2008 election cycle. Nicole Bouda, Vice President of Media Buying for Fortune Media, will also be working with the campaign.

The Baughman Company joined Shami’s campaign last week to handle direct mail. Its previous clients include former presidential candidates Howard Dean and Hillary Rodham Clinton as well as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Strategic Telemetry also joined Shami’s campaign for predictive analytics and microtargeting work. The firm recently performed similar services for President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

Also joining the Shami team is Progressive PST, a company founded by longtime netroots activists that offers professional Twitter campaign tools which were recently used by the “No On 1” campaign in Maine to recruit volunteers, donors, and help drive the online debate. Progressive PST’s client list includes Joe Hoeffel’s gubernatorial campaign in Pennsylvania, David Krikorian’s congressional campaign in Ohio, and Lois Herr’s congressional race in Pennsylvania.

The new additions to the Shami team join general consultants Robert Jara and Dan McClung; pollster Ben Tulchin of Tulchin Research; media specialists Tad Devine and Julian Mulvey of Devine Mulvey; and Lone Star Strategies, who handles compliance for Shami’s campaign. The new staff additions join Shami’s existing team including Jessica Gutierrez as Public Relations Director, and Scott Emery as Executive Outreach Director.

Additional team members will be forthcoming between now and December 31.

Senator Hutchison Targeted By Tea Party Society
December 20, 2009

As the U.S. Senate moves closer to voting on a health care reform plan, 2 on The Beat has received word about a Tea Party protest  that is scheduled to take place on Monday, December 21,  in front of  Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s offices in Houston and Austin.

Three tea party groups –  Houston , Katy and San Jacinto – are uniting for the protest.  Members say their actions are designed  to, “stiffen Senator Hutchison’s spine and encourage her to hold rank with fellow republican lawmakers who oppose the health care bill.”

The Tea Party Society is upset that Senator Hutchison, along with  Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins,  joined with Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid  in voting to break a republican filibuster on a defense spending bill on Friday.

The vote also  removed one of the last remaining obstacles on health care reform and moves the bill closer to passage in the Senate.

In press reports over the weekend  Senator Hutchison said she did support the Republican filibuster, but once it became clear that Democrats had the votes to end it  she wanted to support the  troops.

“We must rise above political bickering and ensure that nothing delays our troops from having the funds necessary to carry out their mission,” the Senator told the Dallas Morning News.

http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2009/12/gov-rick-perry-continues-to-pr.html

So, it appears that by supporting the troops, Senator Hutchison has also stepped on a political landmine leading up to the March 2010 Republican Party primary.

Governor Rick Perry, who is closely tied to the conservative Tea Party Society movement, is heavily criticizing the Senator for voting with the democrats. 

The Houston event is scheduled from 5:00pm – 7:00pm, in front of  Senator Hutchison’s office in the Mickey Leland Building, 1919 Smith Street.

UPDATE:  Jennifer Baker, a spokesperson for Hutchison’s campaign, says the Senator is “fighting tooth and nail against the government takeover of health care.  There is no one more opposed to this bill than Senator Hutchison. She has an alternative plan with Senator Jim DeMint to increase access and affordability to health care is based on free market principles and not a government-run plan that cuts medicare, balloons the debt and raises taxes like the Democrats are proposing. But, at this point the democrats have blocked all republican input.  She will be there at 1:00 a.m. Monday morning voting against the bill.”