Local Judge Honored For His Leadership
October 16, 2010

Judicial leadership. Community Servant. Family man and friend to many.

Those were just some of the words of  praise bestowed on State District Judge Al Bennett when he was honored Friday night by the Houston Black American Democrats (H-BAD).

Judge Bennett, elected in 2008 as the presiding judge of  the 61st Civil District court, is the first African-American elected by his peers to serve as the Civil Administrative Judge over all of  Harris County’s 24 civil district courts.

I served as mistress of  ceremonies for the dinner which was attended by local judges, political candidates, elected officials and community leaders.  The evening included congratulatory remarks by Judge Kyle Carter, attorney Steve Mostyn, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, who presented Judge Bennett with an official HCSO cowboy hat. 

During his remarks Judge Bennett said he considered it a privilege and an honor to serve as a judge, however, he also noted the position carries a tremendous amount of responsibility: to be fair on the bench and a role model in the community. 

Parker’s City Hiring Practices Questioned
December 2, 2009

Some  Tejano and African-American Houstonians are questioning Mayoral Candidate Annise Parker’s record of hiring in the city of  Houston controller’s office.

This is the first time this issue has been raised by  the minority community.

During the campaign most of the talk about  diversity  has focused on gay and lesbian issues, and whether mayoral candidate Gene Locke should repudiate the support of those who are waging a distasteful anti-Parker/homophobic campaign.  If   elected, Parker would make history by becoming the first openly gay mayor in the city of  Houston.

Take a look at the release and leave your thoughts:


Tejano Democrats and HBAD Criticize Parker Hiring Practices

Houston, TX—The Harris County Tejano Democrats (HCTD) and the Houston Black American Democrats (HBAD) today criticized mayoral candidate Annise Parker for her dismal record of hiring minorities in senior level positions in the Office of the City Controller.

A thorough review of the City of Houston Fiscal Year 2010 Budget found that of the ten top-level employees in the controller’s office, 70% are Anglo, while only 10% are Latino, 10% are Asian/Pacific Islander and 10% are African American.

The two organizations of community members also sounded the alarm at the startling discrepancies in salary between Anglo and minority employees in the controller’s office.

The FY 2010 budget found that while the average salary for Anglos in Parker’s office is $80,596, the average salaries for Asian/Pacific Islanders, African Americans and Latinos are respectively, $59,088, $54,086 and $53,980.

“It is unacceptable that in this day and age, a citywide elected official would employ such discriminatory hiring practices,” said Sandra Puente, HCTD Chair. “Annise Parker is not someone we can trust to lead our city. The leadership of her office does not reflect the great diversity of our city.”

Gene Locke, a partner at Andrews Kurth LLP, is the chair of the law firm’s Diversity Committee and received the Texas Diversity Council’s 2007 award for leadership and commitment to diversity. He has led the effort to increase inclusion at Andrews Kurth. Andrews Kurth is one of only two Texas-based law firms to be named one of the top 50 law firms for women in 2008 and 2009. In 2007 Andrews Kurth received an “A” grade for the sixth consecutive year for exceptional minority hiring and recruitment.

“Gene Locke has a stellar record of pro-actively providing opportunities to Houstonians regardless of their ethnicity,” said Gabrielle Hadnott. “This is the kind of leadership Houston needs and this is one of the reasons we have endorsed Gene Locke as the next mayor of our city.”

The Harris County Tejano Democrats endorsed Locke for Mayor in August and HBAD endorsed Locke in October.