I had a chance to see James Cargas, Lissa Squiers, and Phillip Andrews screen as apart of a committee of an organization I work with. If you’re a political type person, you can spot a “candidate” a mile away - the people that just have it. Something in that committee screening just screamed, “James Cargas”.
I think, if I had to look back on it, I’d have to say it was a combination of his resume, his answers on the questionnaire, and the way he addressed the organization. He knew and understood the subtle nuances of addressing a crowd of people. He had done his research.
I remember looking over his resume and being impressed with a number of factors, including his work at the national level on campaigns from 2000 with Gore, to Barack Obama in 2008. Anyone that has worked at the national level knows it’s not for the feint of heart. You have to have faith in the Democratic Party, especially if you’re a part of a campaign that loses.
What also impressed me about him was that he was knowledgeable about energy. The district, for those of you that do not know (most of you), holds a portion of this city called the “energy corridor”. Big oil firms (and some not so big) reside in a very prominent place in this district.
I remember my mind immediately went to that hopeful place: I knew that if we had a chance to beat Culberson in November, this was the candidate. I also knew, we likely would not see another one like him for a while.
When the organization that I was a part of dual endorsed the campaign, against my wishes and work, I decided to contact the campaign to see what I could do to help out. I did so because I believed in this particular candidate and his potential so much. A whirlwind of a month and an election later, and I am further entrenched and happily so.
Then, we get into the politics of it all. I mean, the nasty stuff that sells, despite a public saying they don’t like it. I’d say I’d grown rather shocked at the depths a person would go to secure the Democratic nomination, but I live in Texas in a crazy Tea Party region. What I wasn’t exactly prepared for was a Democrat acting like a Republican seeking to spread lies and misinformation at every turn.
Lissa Squiers is James’s opponent in the run-off race. She kind of feels it’s owed to her, because she ran as a write-in candidate in 2010. I give her props for getting any amount of signatures, but every time I’ve met her, I just get an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. From her introduction as “I’m the person that’s going to take John Culberson’s job” to her immediate attack on her opponents, she offers little to no substance. I don’t know what her background is or what current position she holds.
Lissa routinely questions James’s ability to be a Congressman from Texas, because he was born in Michigan. What she won’t tell you is that she spent six years in California. She never mentions her family, and we don’t see them at events. Even worse? She openly makes fun of and lies about James’s wife. Dr. Dorina Papageourgiou holds a Ph.D. from MD Anderson, obtained her undergraduate degree at Johns Hopkins, and works at one of the finest medical schools in the country as a neuroscientist. Lissa makes fun of her Greek accent and calls her an illegal immigrant. Worse, it appears effective with certain people within the Democratic Party: the party of acceptance of immigrants.
Even worse, Lissa seeks to demonize oil and gas corporations, or, at the very least, people that work in the sector. She says that James is far too entrenched within the field to be objective, but here’s what I want to know: how are you going to win a district that not only holds the corporate offices of much of the oil and gas industry, but also its workforce? There aren’t that many people willing to cut off their hand to spite their face. As the city of Houston’s attorney in energy and environment, James can hit the ground running and represent all of the people of this district - not just the rich, not just the poor, and not just one vocal minority. He’s willing to open a conversation, a much needed conversation, in order to be successful in November.
Yet, his opponent still insists on saying that he’s not Democrat enough because of “who he associates with”, the person supposedly running his campaign. First off, Lissa has no idea who is running James Cargas’s campaign and that’s very apparent by her personal attack dogs spewing their vitriol because he does have friends that do occasionally work with or on behalf of Republicans. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news to Ms. Squiers, but when you work in an environment like energy, or in politics in the state of Texas, you sometimes have to eat. There is a common sense to the argument that “not all Republicans are bad and not all Democrats are good.” An educated person knows where a person’s loyalty lies, who they can count on, and that this district, as a whole, will never vote for a leftish fringe Democrat who hates the oil and gas industry and all Republicans and is unwilling to get to know either group because the mentality exists that everyone in said groups are “evil”.
What upsets me most is Lissa’s lies and misinformation seem to have spread far and wide. I don’t know when the Democratic Party got to this level, but this has been the worst primary election season I have seen in some years. James Cargas and his campaign have done everything they could to run a positive campaign. Maybe it’s time to take the kid gloves off and start asking the tough questions of Lissa Squiers. In the mean time, I’m going to set a few things straight:
James Cargas is a Democrat who has worked on behalf of Al Gore and President Barack Obama. He is a Democrat who worked in the Clinton White House. He is a Democrat who is currently working under the only openly lesbian Mayor in the country. I do not know what Lissa’s previous campaign experience is. I haven’t seen or heard of any. It’s easy to sit in the shadows and poke at a person and say that they aren’t a “full” Democrat, but to say that of someone that has donated time, energy and money to Democrats and their causes over the years is insulting. Put up or shut up, Lissa.
Dr. Dorina Papageourgiou’s defense is listed above. I’d like to ask what Lissa’s current position is, other than “woman running for CD7”. Where are the finance reports that are mandatory for every other candidate to file, regardless of how much is earned. If she can research how much, where from, and who James has raised funds from, shouldn’t she be held to the same accountability?
On paper, in person, and at every turn, James Cargas is the only candidate with a legitimate campaign and operation that can beat John Culberson in the election, because he is the only person running that truly understands this district. If he wasn’t, I wouldn’t be volunteering on his behalf.
If you live in Congressional District 7, in Houston, and voted in the Democratic Primary, please make sure you get out to vote in the run-off, and make your vote count, by voting for the best candidate: James Cargas. Also, start asking the hard questions of Lissa Squiers. Sometimes the most vitriol wins, but for the wrong reasons.
Edited for two corrections:
Dr. Dorina Papageourgiou received her undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia, her Masters at Johns Hopkins, and her Ph.D at MD Anderson.
The only people not eligible to vote in the Democratic Primary Run-off are those that voted in the Republican Primary. Those that wish to vote in the Primary Run-off, but are not registered, must do so by July 2nd. (source: votetexas.gov)