During 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.
This is not for political purposes or endorsement. This is for kids.
Aylen (7), Joe (6), Senia (5) and Brooke (4) created the questions and I edited for clarity. Below is the interview with Havin Moore, Incumbent Candidate for HISD Trustee District VII!
1. What does a HISD trustee do?
In America, every adult gets to vote to decide who represents you in government. The people you elect, from the President to the Governor to the Mayor to the School Board Trustee, represent public control over our own government.
HISD Trustees represent the public in operating the public school system, which in Houston includes about 300 schools and more than 210,000 students. The most important thing we do is to set the vision, or goal, of what Houston needs in its school system. Perhaps the second most important thing we do is to hire the Superintendent to actually run the school system. We hired Dr. Terry Grier a few years ago and he and his staff make most of the decisions in the school system.
HISD Trustees are responsible to ensuring that the system is operating the way the public expects it to operate. We meet between one and two times a week for 2 to 8 hours to discuss and form policy and track results.
HISD Trustees are not paid – they do this work as volunteers, for free. I have a job that pays me, and I go to work every day in that job – I help to run an aerospace company that is building a silver solar sail for NASA that will be launched into space in about 18 months. I also have a family – a 9 year old boy, a 15 year old girl, and my wife, and two big dogs – one Labrador named Franz and an Akita named Cio-Cio (pronounced “cho-cho”). We also have other creatures around our house like squirrels, ants, possums, lizards, doves, and even a rat that runs along the top of the fence – but they are not pets and we haven’t named them.
2. What do you do to get elected?
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. In my case, I tried to get invited to as many neighborhood association meetings as possible, and PTO meetings, and debates. I answered questionnaires from organizations that are established to educate the population, like the League of Women Voters and others.
I printed brochures and bumper stickers and walked through neighborhoods in my area, knocking on hundreds of doors each Saturday and Sunday to meet people and talk to them. Then I had brochures made that went in the mail to thousands of voters so they would learn about me and my thoughts about what needed to be done in the district. I was very specific about what I saw to be the problems and the solutions. Most people running for office are not specific, but that’s not the way I think, so I did it my way.
I still do brochures that are more like newsletters than the usual simple things other people send out that say “Education is the key to our future” or “teachers are important” – which are both true, but that doesn’t help anyone understand what you are going to do if you are elected.
3. What do you like to do in Houston?
I like to get outside and do sports. I like to run, swim, and workout in the gym, and I also like to go to my son and daughter’s games – they play volleyball, soccer, baseball, swimming and track.
4. What is your favorite thing about Houston?
Houston is a friendly, positive, open-minded city, more than any other city I have lived in or visited. That’s why we have been the fastest growing large city in America ever since 1960. We are the future of America and the world, and that is exciting to me. When I get stuck in traffic, I realize and remind myself that the traffic is increasing because so many people want to come here and live. It’s a wonderful place. For cooler weather and mountains I travel, but I can’t think of a better place to live.
5. What is your favorite Houston annual event?
My favorite annual event is high school graduation. On that day I shake the hands and look into the eyes of hundreds and hundreds of happy seniors who are about to go off to college, where they will work hard and play hard and become adults. That experience is sort of like my paycheck for my job as a trustee.
For kid-friendly reviews of the Houston City Elections, go HERE.
If you are a candidate and have not filled out a questionnaire or set up a meeting, please contact me at Jill @ BigKidSmallCity.com.