City council candidate visits students, cites traffic, perception issues
Born of a Lebanese father and Mexican mother, Philippe Nassif explained his upbringing and political aspirations to the UH Democrats Tuesday afternoon in the Student Center.
Running for the at-large city council seat that is being vacated by Stephen Costello, Nassif, 29, is the youngest among the five candidates seeking to replace him. According to Nassif, however, that is not a disadvantage. In fact, he said it’s a barrier he wishes to pummel through with his campaign.
“I feel that Houston has this glass ceiling that needs to be cracked or shattered that has kept a lot of young people from office,” said Nassif. “I think it is a problem that we don’t have people on city council that sort of think like you and I do.”
Nassif went on to talk about issues he felt were important to Houston. Traffic was the first.
“Our traffic problem is actually a crisis — it is not a problem anymore,” he said. “It was a problem like 20 years ago — now it is a full-blown crisis.”
Nassif also cited jobs, equality and infrastructure as areas Houston can be better at. He also talked about improving the perception of Houston politics.
“The perception is stale, listless, and it is there,” Nassif said. “We have moved away from big ideas, and we have started getting stuck in these partisan issues.”
At the end of the presentation, after standing with the UH Democrats for a few quick photos, some members of the audience voiced their opinions on the young, would-be politician.
“I like him, he is a good speaker,” said human resource development junior Arielle Ward.
“(Nassif) is someone who is going to advocate for the community,” said history and political science junior Robert Smallwood.
Houston has five at-large city council positions; Nassif is running for At-Large Position 1. Unlike other city council positions where only a portion of Houston can vote for them, an at-large position can have any person in Houston vote, regardless of district.