Politician inspires UH Democrats to get engaged
Houston City Council member Ed Gonzalez spoke on Tuesday to the UH Democrats about public policy and his desire to get students involved in local politics.
For political science junior James Thomas, hearing Gonzalez speak was a chance to engage in political discussion and get advice for his own political career.
“I’d like to find out how he became a member of City Council. I have a small IT business in League City and want to find out how to make connections to run for office in my city,” Thomas said. “I enjoy meeting city leaders. In this industry, it’s all about who you know.”
Gonzalez received a bachelor’s degree from UH-Downtown and his master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas. Education is something he has always been passionate about, and he is an advocate for literacy.
“Growing up, my dad couldn’t read. I had to learn how to read very early, because it was my job to read the street signs as my dad drove,” Gonzalez said. “Education is so important to me, and I often speak in public schools to encourage young students to learn.”
Gonzalez has helped pass several initiatives since being elected to office, including the Houston Center for Sobriety.
“A major concern for public safety is people who walk around the streets intoxicated. We let people who stumble from drinking go sober up and not go to jail or be charged with public intoxication. It is smarter and more effective.”
Social media has played a large role in Gonzalez’s professional life. Among elected officials, he is known as the “technology council member” because he is active on Twitter and Facebook.
“I do my own social media and have been active for a few years. I believe government is changing in many ways,” Gonzalez said. “Constituents want more engagement to their elected officials. Social media is a great way to stay connected to the people, and it makes me seem more real and presentable.”
Gonzalez prides himself on his open-door policy and encourages students to stop by the office and spend a day with him to see what actually goes on in a professional political setting. He is optimistic about Texas becoming a blue state and thinks that young voters are key to making that happen.
“I really want to get young people active in local government. That’s why I am always inviting young people to stop by the office; I think it inspires students to realize that government is good,” Gonzalez said. “We really need (young people) involved. We will never change if we don’t hear from young people.”
Political science junior and UH Democrats President Catherine Tassin de Montaigu also strives for student involvement and encouraged students to attend a Wendy Davis for Governor event.
“It is a great opportunity to meet her and talk with her in an intimate setting,” Montaigu said. “We want to make you guys aware of things in student government and get everyone involved.”
UH Democrats meetings are at 5:30 p.m. every Tuesday in Agnes Arnold Hall, Room 7.