Home»All»How is the City of Houston Mayor, Controller, City Council, HISD Trustee and HCC Trustee Elected? This is a kid-friendly, non-political review of candidate interviews!

How is the City of Houston Mayor, Controller, City Council, HISD Trustee and HCC Trustee Elected? This is a kid-friendly, non-political review of candidate interviews!

Houston City Hall SkyDuring this election season, BigKidSmallCity is getting to know the candidates in the City of Houston election.  Our goal in our non-partisan, non-political research is to help Houston kids better understand the political process.

To see an overview of the candidates on the ballot and details on voting, go HERE.  To learn about each job, go HERE.

This post is about how the candidates get elected.  All City of Houston candidates were contacted and this is what we learned!  

See below for answers to:
How do Houstonians elect the Mayor, Controller, City Council, HISD Trustees and HCC Trustees?
What do you do to get elected?
Once elected, can you be re-elected?

If you are a candidate and have not filled out a questionnaire or set up an interview with the BigKidSmallCity kids, just contact me at Jill @ BigKidSmallCity . com.

How do Houstonians elect the Mayor, Controller, City Council, HISD Trustees and HCC Trustees?

Ellen Cohen (Candidate for City Council District C) tells us: “Every 2 years, everyone in Houston gets to vote on who they want to represent them on Council.”

The same is true for the position of Mayor and Controller.  HISD Trustees and HCC Trustees are on the ballot every 4 and 6 years (but not all at the same time).

During Early Voting and on Election Day, Houston residents go to voting locations and vote.  They use a computer to enter their choices.  For details on voting, go HERE.

According to Assata Richards (Candidate for City Council District D): We need at least 51% of the people in our district to vote for us.  So, if there are 7 people here voting, 4 of them must vote for me, in order for me to win.

The Mayor, Controller and At-Large City Council Members are elected by the entire city.  51% of voters in the entire city must vote for them.  The City Council Members assigned to a district are elected by their part of the city.  51% of the voters in their district must vote for them.  If one candidate does not get 51% of the votes, the top two candidates go to a run off election at a later date.

People who do not register to vote and/or do not go to vote, do not get to help decide who is elected.


What do you do to get elected?

Harvin Moore (Candidate for HISD Trustee District VII) puts it simply: “For most people, like myself, the public doesn’t know who you are when you run for election the first time.  So the main job is to make yourself known.”

To meet voters and get elected, Ben Hall (Candidate for Mayor) says: “…a candidate must talk to as many people in the city of Houston and encourage them to vote on November 5th.”

Issa Dadoush (Candidate for City Council At-Large Position 4) relates this to running for student council at school:  “To get elected, a council member must do block walks and talk to people. They also attend community meetings, churches and visit people’s homes to get his/her message out to potential voters. It is important to listen to people first and be a strong leader. One day at your school, you will be asked to run for student council. You will have to talk to other students and tell them why they should vote for you.

And finally, Keith Caldwell (Candidate for City Council District D) tells us why candidates ask for contributions and volunteers:  “Campaigning is one of the most important tasks of candidates seeking election. This includes finding some financial backers to support your campaign. Like it or not, it cost money to run a campaign. Then once the candidate gets a couple of financial supporters, he/she creates a team of about 5 to 10 people who believe in the vision, and schedule meetings to develop a strategy for winning the election. Once everyone is on board, the candidate and his team usually walk door to door to meet the people in the community.  This will give the candidate the opportunity to tell people about his/her vision to represent them on council.  Walking and talking to people in the district often provides an opportunity to recruit more people to help with the cause.  Finally, on Election Day, people come out to vote for their candidate, and he/she is on their way to being an elected official.”


Once elected, can you be re-elected?

Yes.  According to Controller Ronald Green (Candidate for City Controller): “The Controller is elected by the voters of Houston every two years, and each Controller is limited to three 2-year terms. (I am running for my third and final term.)”

The Mayor, Controller and City Council Members can be elected to three 2-year terms.  HISD and HCC Trustees can run for re-election as often as they like.

So how does a candidate get re-elected?  Mayor Annise Parker (Candidate for Mayor) tells us:  “The most important thing I do to get elected is take care of the city and try to make it a safer, more environmentally conscious, cleaner, fun city in which to live.  I also run an election campaign in which I try to meet as many Houstonians as possible and tell them why I am qualified to be Mayor. ..   I explain my hopes and dreams for the City.  And I raise money to pay for campaign advertising!  I try to persuade the voters to go to the polls and vote for me.”


BigKidSmallCity will be posting the full interviews of each candidate before Election Day.


For an overview of the Houston elections, go HERE.

To find out what the Mayor, Controller, City Council, HISD Trustee and HCC Trustees do, go HERE.

For all the interviews, go HERE.

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