By Brandon Wolf
Fran Watson, former president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, kicked off her campaign for the Texas State Senate District 17 seat on Wednesday night.
The Cru Wine Bar at 2800 Kirby was packed with supporters, and the theme of the event was, “People first!”
Watson is running as a Democrat in a district that covers parts of Harris, Brazoria, and Fort Bend counties. SD 17 is currently represented by Senator Joan Huffman (R-Houston). Kristin Tassin, the president of the Fort Bend school board, announced in late September that she is challenging Huffman in the Republican primary.
Watson was introduced by her wife of 13 years, Kim Watson. “I’ve learned a lot about Fran over the years,” Kim Watson said. “And I can sum her up in one phrase—she beats the odds.”
“I will remember this night forever,” Watson told the crowd, as she took her first step into electoral politics. She received enthusiastic applause as she shared her dream for Texas.
“We can build a state government that will actually work to elevate the lives of all the people of Texas,” Watson said. “In 2018, we will have the opportunity elect leaders who will actually work on behalf of the people they represent—leaders who will seek to provide solutions and strategies that break down barriers instead of creating them. We can create a government that will put people first.
“I am running because I believe in people first,” Watson added. “What does that mean, at the core? That all Texans deserve to live a life of dignity, and have equal access to opportunities to succeed whatever that might look like.”
Watson referenced this summer’s expensive special legislative session—which included an anti-transgender bathroom bill. Huffman, who chairs the Senate Committee on State Affairs, repeatedly voted in favor of the bathroom bill.
“The people of Texas deserve better than that,” Watson said. “District 17 covers an area from Houston to Freeport, and I want to represent all 800,000 of the diverse members of the district.
“People deserve someone who will strengthen the public education system—someone who will stand up to the inequities and the lack of access that has a direct impact on the health and wellness of Texans,” she added. “We have had a senator in District 17 for the last 10 years who has voted to cripple families, regulate women, and allow legal discrimination against other Texans. She has blocked equal pay and the raising of the minimum wage.”
Watson said she has a heart for public service, noting that as an attorney, she provides pro bono representation to people who deserve justice.
“This election isn’t about me,” she said. “It’s much bigger than me. When we see the state Capitol, we should be able to know it’s our Capitol.”
For more on Watson’s campaign, visit FranWatsonForTexas.com. Watch video from the event below.