Not even the rain can dampen the 4th of July spirit in Kingwood! What an amazing parade and turnout at the 4th of July Parade in Kingwood—the biggest in Houston every year! Thanks to the Kingwood Civic Club for a great event! Jenn and I loved joining the Kingwood Area Democrats and being out there and celebrating Independence Day with so many folks in our district. Kingwood strong!
Most Americans – Democrats and Republicans, but Americans first and foremost – I’ve had the honor of meeting and hearing from don’t believe we should separate children from parents. Ever.
This isn’t a partisan matter. This isn’t a law and order matter. Of course, we need to protect the integrity of our borders. This is a simple matter of people. Common sense and common decency. Why does this seem so uncommon today?
As we saw and experienced in our community during Harvey, what makes our community truly exceptional is our people – all of our people – no exceptions.
During the floods it didn’t matter how you look, how you pray, how you love, or how you vote. It was just, “Get in the boat.”
That same spirit and understanding – that we are all in the same boat, that we rise and fall together – is at the heart of America, and it’s at the heart of a family and a parent’s love for their children.
As a dad to three amazing kids, I cannot fathom having the courage to risk the life and limb of my family and myself, to seek shelter and asylum from violence and death and a better life for my family, to finally make it to America, and then to be met by what? Hate? Fear? Anger? Violence? To have my own flesh and blood taken away from me. In America? WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS.
This is not about partisanship, but this is about leadership. WE have to lead. WE have to stand up. WE have to act. WE have to vote.
And if we’re going to quote the Bible, then I would quote Jesus’s new commandment in John 13:34 – the 11th commandment – “Love one another.”
Let’s meet hate with love, fear with courage, and anger with hope. That’s what America was built on, that’s what our community was built on, and that’s how WE will work together and find the solutions we need to build a brighter future for our children, our country, and our world.
Again. We are mourning students and teachers who died at a school in America.
Again, students, teachers, first responders. Killed. Injured. Threatened with loss of life at a school in America.
Not, tragically, #NeverAgain.
The shootings at Santa Fe High School Friday morning killed 8 students and 2 teachers. The loss of life and the unimaginable finality of the loss on the families and friends of these students and teachers is too great to comprehend.
I cannot fully understand saying goodbye in the morning to my children or spouse as we head to school and to work, only for them to be gunned down later that day.
But if we listen to our kids, listen to children like Paige at Santa Fe, who wasn’t surprised about the shooting, because she felt like “it was going to happen here, too,” then we better understand that it’s not “if” but “when” this happens in our children’s and grandchildren’s schools.
She and her fellow students and teachers who weren’t murdered on Friday aren’t listed as victims of this horrific crime. But I know, and so do you, that they are also victims of this shooting.
All of our kids are.
From Newtown to Parkland to Santa Fe, our kids are growing up in a country that seems willing to accept that our children and teachers may die at school. This cannot be true. This must not be true. But for our children it is now, their truth. A simple matter of fact.
Just a matter of time.
So yes, hug them tight and tell them you love them. But don’t stop there.
These are all good things: thinking and praying, hugging and loving. These are good and necessary things for us to grow and heal in our communities and in our country. But we must act, too.
Over 50,000,000 school kids in America are affected by this unbelievable violence. Over 3,000,000 teachers. This isn’t about one school or one day. This is about every school, every day.
We need to wake up. We need to find our courage. We need to stand up.
We need to vote with our feet, vote with our voices, and vote with our ballots.
Your vote is the only thing that will create the positive, lasting change we need to protect our children, our teachers, our schools and our communities.
Join us and thousands and hopefully millions others who will #WearOrange on Friday, June 1, National Gun Awareness Day and resolve to vote Orange in November. We can say #NeverAgain but until we all stand up and act, until we vote with our feet, vote with our voices, and vote with our ballots, then we are selling our children and our communities short.
Our children, our students, our teachers, our parents, our communities, and our country deserve so much more.
Join us and help us lead the way forward to a safer and brighter future for our children and our country.
Join us as we fight to make #NeverAgain a reality for all of our children.
This past week, I visited the rebuilt Kingwood High School and had the opportunity to talk with about 40-50 students at KHS. The students, teachers, and school leaders at KHS have had a challenging year, but their spirit and their engagement give me great hope for our future.
KHS flooded severely during Hurricane Harvey, and the Humble ISD school board and #KingwoodStrong community rallied to keep the students and teachers together and rebuild KHS before the end of the year.
For their efforts, the Humble ISD school board was recently recognized as the Outstanding School Board in the state by H-E-B, and KHS principal, Dr. Ted Landry, was recognized by Humble ISD and Region IV as the district’s Secondary Principal of the Year.
The outstanding efforts of these community leaders and the amazing teachers at KHS have created the environment for outstanding student action and engagement to flourish.
The students at KHS are incredibly engaged and interested in making positive change in our community and our country. They care about our democracy and are frustrated by gerrymandering and hyper-partisanship. They believe all people deserve fair and equal treatment and should be treated with basic human decency and respect.
The two biggest concerns the students had were gun safety and climate change, big concerns across our district and across our country.
What gives me great hope, for their future and for the future of our country and world, is their willingness to stand up for these issues. Their ability to ask hard questions and listen to hard answers. Their courage to roll up their sleeves and get involved, whether or not they can vote.
The students have marched and phone banked, they’re willing to block walk and spread the word in their homes and communities. And, of course, for those 18 years old and older, they’re voting and being heard at the polls. It’s this direct action of these student leaders—their courageous determination to vote with their feet, vote with their voices, and vote with their ballots—that gives me great hope for our future.
I was honored to meet with them and learn from them in their school community, and I look forward to representing their voices and their hopes in Congress and helping them further develop and strengthen their voices to someday represent our community in Congress, too.
Last week I had the honor of meeting Reverend William Lawson, a man of true faith and service in our community. We discussed his experience as a Civil Rights leader here in Houston, his work with other faith leaders to champion equality, and the values that are driving my campaign.
When I talk about holding up Houston as an example of diversity for our country, I’m highlighting the progress our community has made thanks to the efforts of leaders like Reverend Lawson. In 1962 he founded Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at his invitation in 1963. As the pastor of the church for more than 30 years and as a professor at Texas Southern University, Reverend Lawson proved what is possible when people engage in the challenging work of building an inclusive community. His work with the William A. Lawson Institute for Peace and Prosperity has helped underserved communities in our city, especially children and senior citizens.
I’m humbled to have the support of Reverend Lawson. As your representative, I will value the vitality that our community’s diversity provides, and I will work to ensure that our district grows as a place where all people are welcome to reach their full potential.
It has been 247 days since Harvey hit. Though we still have a long way to go, this week we saw some steps towards building for a flood-free future in our region.
In the Kingwood area I attended a promising meeting on how we can start to protect our community from flooding threats. A group of committed public servants from the National Weather Service, Harris County Flood Control District, the San Jacinto River Authority, and FEMA (that’s local, state and federal organizations) spent three hours providing information and answering questions from 50 or more concerned citizens in our region.
We were alerted to the meeting by the work of the Lake Houston Area Grassroots Flood Prevention Initiative, a group whose leaders I met with two weeks ago, and their highly informative web site, reduceflooding.com.
These community leaders and informed citizens have become experts on the flow of waters into the San Jacinto River, its East and West Forks, and the Lake Houston area. They know how the waters flow from Lake Conroe into the West Fork of the San Jacinto and from the far western part of Harris County all the way across the county into the West Fork and the Kingwood area. They know where the gages are that measure water flow, which ones work and which ones don’t, and where we need additional gages and measurements to protect our community.
Unfortunately, they also know the impact of flood waters on their homes and their communities, and how the threat of rising flood waters wasn’t clearly communicated to so many in our region.
In the months since Harvey hit, we’ve frankly seen too little investment in building the infrastructure we need to protect our people and our property from the disastrous effects of flooding. We’ve repeatedly seen this devastation in our region over the last three years, and we can’t simply hope for no rain or hurricane this year.
It’s news to nobody that Harris County is a flat area. Houston was built on a swamp, and we have thousands of miles of rivers, bayous, and tributaries running through Harris County and TX-02. In order to avoid the type of flooding we’ve experienced the last three years, we have to build stronger, smarter, and more flexible than most regions.
We can do it, and we will do it, but it will take leaders with the willingness to reach across the aisle, to partner with both public and private entities, and, most importantly, to learn from the members of our community who are directly affected by the flooding we have too routinely experienced.
In short, it will take leaders that believe government can work with the people, and for the people, to build the infrastructure we need to provide a safe and secure future for our community. I believe that.
I’ve had the privilege of meeting with people affected by the flooding in all different regions of TX-02, and we look forward to sharing what we’ve learned and heard in the coming weeks as we bring people together to build a better future for our community.
The people of TX-02 deserve a representative in Congress who will do this work in our community. With your vote and your support, I pledge to be a Congressman who will be accessible and accountable to every person in TX-02.
Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Texas’ congressional maps. A three-judge panel previously ruled that Texas lawmakers discriminated against black and Hispanic voters when they drew the maps in our state.
When I see a map like ours in TX-02, it tells me plain and simple that our politicians believe that redistricting is all about politicians choosing their voters, instead of voters choosing our politicians.
I believe that’s flat out wrong.
If we want to see what’s broken with our country right now, why our political discourse has wilted and died on the vine, we need look no further than the maps of the various districts in which we live.
We the voters should choose our politicians, and not the other way around.
Districts like TX-02 are meant to discourage and disenfranchise us, to tell us and our friends and families that our participation, and our votes, don’t matter.
To be clear, both sides of the aisle have engaged in this purely partisan exercise. In fact, you often hear things like, “To the victor goes the spoils,” or “It’s a zero-sum game,” when looking for rationales behind it.
But what happens when it’s not merely the outcome of an election at stake, but rather the health and vitality of America’s civil discourse and our very democracy?
I was proud to receive the endorsement of the Houston Chronicle in the race for the Democratic nomination. The Chronicle noted my ability and willingness to fight for the issues affecting our community like education, health care, flooding, and infrastructure. It also noted that I’m not the typical political candidate who speaks in “Republican or Democratic soundbites, Litton speaks the language of Houston.”
Our community is one that works together, one that believes in building together to get things done rather than scoring partisan political points.
We cannot let America be held hostage by politicians interested only in getting themselves re-elected. We have to send a message that gerrymandering is toxic to our democracy, that there’s a better way forward, a Houston way forward, but we need your help to do it.
Will you contribute to our fight against corrosive partisanship? Will you help us bring a Houston way of doing things to D.C.?
You can help us directly by taking one or more of three actions steps:
This Sunday in TX-02, we saw a powerful March and Day of Remembrance for the Holocaust (Yom Hashoah). Over 800 people from across our community joined together to march and remember the Holocaust in an incredibly moving service at Congregation Emanu El.
We remember the Holocaust to honor the victims and the survivors, the resisters and the liberators. We remember it not only to see and consider the horrific impact that it had in the 30’s and 40’s on Jewish communities across Europe, but also the impact it had and continues to have in communities across our world today.
Some people ask “Why should we remember the Holocaust every year?” The simple answer is we remember it so that it never again happens. As Rabbi Oren Hayon noted on Sunday, more than 20% of millennials don’t know what the Holocaust is, and over 40% of Americans could not identify Auschwitz as a concentration or extermination camp.
I had the privilege of knowing Walter Kase, a Holocaust survivor who courageously shared his experience in Auschwitz and other concentration camps with thousands of students across our community. Mr. Kase relived his horrific experiences and the painful loss of his sister and father in order that future generations may understand the terrible impact the Holocaust had on him, his family, and so many others. And, he did so to further human understanding and respect for diversity, that the things that seem to make us different – religion, race, nationality – are the things that actually make our lives and the human experience richer for everyone.
When Jenn and I discussed whether or not to run this race, one of the reasons why we felt we had to run was that our country and our world seemed more polarized than we could ever remember in our lives. We felt and saw a level of hate and fear that did not reflect the reality of our community in Houston and in TX-02. Our children attended a Houston ISD elementary school where over 40 languages were spoken at home. People from all over the world were and are an active part of that school community, and it makes the education and community in that school incredibly rich and dynamic.
We live in the most diverse city in America, and most people we’ve met across our community view that diversity as a source of strength and vitality – not something to fear or attack. We know we have a ways to go to make our country’s promise of liberty and justice for all a reality for all people, but we also believe our community has a responsibility to lift up how we value and respect one another for the rest of our country to see.
Let us always remember the Holocaust and the millions of Jews who lost their lives as a result of Nazi Germany’s hateful and heinous actions. Let us resolve to stand up to hate and fearmongering, to scapegoating and bullying that labels individuals or groups of fellow human beings as “the other,” somehow less than human or worthy of love and respect.
The America we know and love reflects the strength and diversity we see right here in Houston and in TX-02, and I know working together we can lead a brighter way forward for our country and our world.