Congressman Gene Green announces retirement

NORTHEAST – Several U. S. Congressmen have announced their retirement from Congress at the end of their terms, in December 2018, including local Representatives Gene Green and Ted Poe. As a result, others have hastened to announce to voters that they will run for these seats. For Texas District 29, held by Green, State Senator Sylvia Garcia, and State Representative Armando Walle have said they will campaign for this position. They will compete for votes in the Democratic primary election in March 2018.

Both Walle and Garcia have districts and constituents that overlay Green’s District 29, so voters will be very familiar with the candidates.

In announcing his retirement, Congressman Green released the following statement on his decision to not seek reelection:

“Serving as an elected official is one of the greatest honors our country can bestow on a person. I have been blessed and fortunate to serve almost 46 years in elected office. Since 1973, I have served as a Texas State Representative for 13 years, Texas State Senator for seven years and since 1993 as a member of the United States Congress. Our family has known politics and public service throughout their lives. My wife, Helen, has been a partner every step of the way for our 47 years of marriage.

The goal of every elected official should be to serve and help your constituency to have a better life for their families. I am proud of sponsoring events in our district such as having Immunization Day each year for the past 20 years to provide free vaccinations for children and Citizenship Day each year for the past 22 years to help legal residents to become citizens of our great country.

We have also held Job Fairs twice a year to help people find employment and Paying for College Workshops to help students find the resources to allow them to afford to go to college.

At home or in Washington my goal is to impact legislation for the benefit of our constituents. Serving on the Energy and Commerce Committee helped to put a Texas view on the expansion of Health Care access and expand job opportunities in our district.

We have held many town hall meetings each year and have been accessible to people in our district. Our staff in Houston and Washington has been dedicated to helping our constituents with problems in many different areas such as Social Security, Veterans Affairs, and Immigration. I have been blessed to have such a dedicated staff to help me do the job of a Member of Congress.

I have been fortunate to have never lost an election since 1972 and I am confident that I still have the support of my constituents and would be successful if I ran for another term in Congress. However, I have decided that I will not be filing for re-election in 2018. I think that it is time for me to be more involved in the lives of our children and grandchildren. I have had to miss so many of their activities and after 26 years in Congress it is time to devote more time to my most important job of being a husband, father and grandfather.

I and our staff will continue to serve our district until our term is over at the end of 2018.”

State Senator Sylvia Garcia issued the following statement:

As you may have heard by now, Gene Green announced yesterday he’s not seeking re-election to Congress. He’s done a tremendous job for the people. Thank you Gene, Helen and the family for all you’ve done for us!

We need a champion for the people now more than ever. That’s why I’m running. From good paying jobs and immigration reform to quality public education for our children, I’ve fought before and I’ll keep fighting. You know my record as a strong progressive committed to equality, economic opportunity and justice for all. I hope you’ll join our campaign and encourage your family, friends and neighbors to do the same. Forward this email to fellow community members who are ready to join #TeamGarcia and ask them to subscribe to our emails.

Thank you for the calls and messages to encourage me to take this step. I know we’re in this together. And think we need a little more working together in Congress.

Putting people first, Sylvia R. Garcia

State Representative Armando Walle has not yet filed for the primary, but told this newspaper he would be running for the Congressional seat.

Walle’s background as a candidate is as follows:

Representative Armando Walle, the oldest of five children, was born and raised in northeast Houston by a single mother. He graduated with honors from MacArthur High School in the Aldine Independent School District. The first in his family to pursue a higher education, Rep. Walle is a proud graduate of the University of Houston, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. He recently received his law degree at the University of Houston Law Center.

Representative Walle was elected to represent House District 140 in the Texas House of Representatives in 2008. Since taking office, Rep. Walle has focused on the issues that matter most to the people of House District 140, which includes northern portions of unincorporated Harris County and the CityofHouston.Rep.Walle has authored and advocated for numerous proposals to improve quality of life in the Aldine and Northside communities, increase safety in local neighborhoods, and encourage local economic development.

Currently serving his fourth term in the Texas House of Representatives, Rep. Walle serves as ViceChair of the House Committee on Government Transparency & Operation and as a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, the House Select Committee on Transportation Planning, and the House Select Committee on State and Federal Power and Responsibility. He has previously also served on, among others, the House Committees on Human Services, Business & Industry, Insurance, Homeland Security & Public Safety, and Urban Affairs.

Prior to his election, Rep. Walle worked with Congressman Gene Green for six years. During that time, Rep. Walle led several community projects including Immunization Day, Paying for College workshops and senior citizen issue forums. He also served on the staffs of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Councilmember Carol Mims Galloway. Rep. Walle began his career in public service by participating in Senator Rodney Ellis’s Texas Legislative Internship Program.

Before his time in elected office, Rep. Walle worked hard to increase outreach for community service programs like youth sports leagues and adult GED programs for Aldine residents. Rep. Walle also served on the Board of Directors for the Aldine-Greenspoint YMCA, as President of the Ambassadors International Ballet Folklorico, and as Chair of the Harris County Tejano Democrats. During his time at the University of Houston, he spearheaded efforts to recruit and retain qualified Hispanic students to the University. Rep. Walle also served as a student mentor for Students Aspiring to a Better Education, encouraging at-risk high school students to stay in school and pursue a college education.