LGBT candidates seek to bring equality to Harris County.
In a time when those in power are trying to stifle voter participation, exercising our civic duty at the ballot box has never been more important. As the November 4 election quickly approaches, it is imperative that voters are educated on which candidates reflect their values and beliefs before casting their ballots. These openly LGBT candidates have all been endorsed by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, have committed to promoting equality for all, and are asking for the support of our community.
District Judge, 113th Civil District Court
With 12 years of judicial experience, 24 years of legal experience, and over 30 years of experience working for the community, Steven Kirkland says, “I’m an excellent candidate for the bench. I’ve seen the justice system from all sides—as a defendant, as a plaintiff, as an attorney, and as a judge.” He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Rice University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Houston Law Center. Kirkland previously was Judge of the 215th District Court and is hoping to make his way back to the bench this election to serve the people “fairly, efficiently, and with compassion.”
District Judge, 308th Family District Court
Jim Evans knows families—he’s a parent, divorced parent, stepparent, and adoptive parent. A native Houstonian, he has over 10 years of law experience, and his practice has recently focused almost exclusively on family law. Evans holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Houston Baptist University, a master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is a graduate of the University of Houston Law Center. He and his husband, William Flowers, married in Connecticut in 2010. If elected, Evans will be the first openly gay family judge in Texas.
Harris Country District Attorney
With 26 years of experience in the justice system, Kim Ogg has worked as a prosecutor, defense lawyer, and is a long-time victims’ advocate. She served as both the director of Houston’s first anti-gang task force under mayor Bob Lanier and the executive director of Crime Stoppers of Houston. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin and is a graduate of the South Texas College of Law. Ogg is also a major advocate for sentencing low-level drug users to community service instead of jail. “I think it’s time to return the district attorney’s office to sensible policies and go after real criminals instead of small-time offenders,” she says.
Harris County Treasurer
Although David Rosen is not a gay candidate himself, he calls LGBT equality “one of the most pressing crises of conscience facing our country.” LGBT rights are personal for Rosen, as his two moms have been together for 28 years but have never been able to share health insurance. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston, where he is also currently an MBA candidate. Rosen is the first American political candidate with gay parents to release a campaign ad starring his modern family. As county treasurer, he will strive to use technology to increase transparency, teach business skills to at-risk kids, and regularly issue reports on the state of our local finances.
Judge, County Probate Court #3
For nearly 13 years, Jerry Simoneaux has practiced probate law almost exclusively, both in private practice and as a probate court staff member for the Honorable Kathleen S. Stone. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Houston and is a graduate of the South Texas College of Law, where he also taught as an adjunct professor. “I believe our courts should be fair, efficient, and compassionate, but never political,” Simoneaux says. “Fair to all parties—no exceptions.”
District Judge, 180th Criminal District Court
Randy Roll served as a criminal defense attorney for nearly 20 years before being elected Judge of the 179th District Criminal Court in 2008—a position he held until 2012. During that time, he reduced the waiting time for a trial from years to a few months, was among the first to advocate for DNA specialization for defense attorneys, and made the grand-jury selection system reflect the ethnic diversity of Harris County. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Lamar University and is a graduate of the South Texas College of Law.
District Judge, 230th Criminal District Court
Greg Glass has over 40 years of experience as a criminal trial lawyer and is a proud Democrat. He also previously served as the Democratic Precinct Chair for Precinct 34. Glass holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin. If elected, he hopes to better prioritize cases for trial, as well as ensure that all non-violent offenders can post bail so that they can keep or obtain a job, support their dependents, and hire their own attorneys.
District Judge, 263rd Criminal District Court
Candidate Herb Ritchie has 32 years experience in both civil and criminal cases and appellate procedure. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, master’s degree, and Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin, where he also taught as an instructor of Classics. Ritchie was elected Judge of the 337th Criminal District Court in 2008 and is hoping to return to the bench this November. “I believe in and will work for a system of justice whereby every person, regardless of status, receives fair and equal treatment under the Law,” he says.
Judge, County Civil Court at Law #4
Damon Crenshaw has spent more than 26 years gaining experience in the courtroom as a lawyer, representing people from all walks of life, small businesses, and international business entities. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A&M University and is a graduate of South Texas College of Law. Crenshaw is an active volunteer with the Houston GLBT Political Caucus and lives with his partner of 28 years. “I’ve worked both sides of the docket and will approach my role as judge with a fair and open mind to both sides,” he says. “I don’t have an agenda. Everyone will get his or her day in court.”
District Judge, 334th Civil District Court, Unexpired Term
Candidate Daryl Moore has 25 years experience in civil trial and appellate work in state and federal trial and appellate courts. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin and a Juris Doctorate from the South Texas College of Law. Moore has served as Chair of the Appellate Sections of both the Houston Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas and has been named a Texas SuperLawyer every year since 2006. He currently teaches at the University of Texas School of Law. “My broad experience has taught me that justice matters to every individual and entity,” Moore says. “That is why I have a single agenda — to let the parties have their day in court and to let the parties’ lawyers try their clients’ cases.” —Megan Smith