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Thursday, December 7, 2023


Student organizations to host mayoral candidate forum Friday

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

The Student Government Association, Hispanic Business Student Association and GenHTX have partnered together to host a mayoral candidate forum on Oct. 6 at 5 p.m. in Student Center South. 

The event aims to motivate students to become informed and involved in local government, said SGA director of outreach Jordan Underwood.

“The mayoral forum is not about politics, it’s about empowering youth because this generation is going to be the future of Houston,” Underwood said. 

A pre-mixer will precede the forum at 4 p.m.. Students will have the opportunity to register to vote, enter raffles and enjoy complimentary food and merchandise.

Approximately, 3,500 people are expected to attend. CoogTV will also be streaming the event on TVs in the Student Center South, Underwood said. 

“We have around 200 volunteers helping us with the event,” said SGA chief of staff Tasnuva Haque . “So many organizations have helped us out and we’re very grateful.”

HBSA is hosting the pre-mixer and has played a key role in organizing the event, Underwood said .

“As president of HBSA, I’m really glad to be a part of this initiative,” said HBSA President Gabriel Garcia. “I wanna bring out young voters to get involved in politics and show politicians how important young voters are.”

GenHTX, a nonpartisan organization, will help SGA register voters in an effort to encourage young people to exercise their civic responsibilities. 

To recognize Hispanic National Heritage Month, the Ballet Folklorico Herencia Mexicana de Houston will perform prior to the forum. 

During the forum, candidates will be questioned by students.

“We chose students to ask questions because our main goal is to get students involved and allow them to have a voice,” Underwood said. 

The candidates expected to attend are: U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, state Sen. John Whitmire, City Council member Robert Gallegos, former METRO Chair Gilbert Garcia, former City Council member M.J. Khan and attorney Lee Kaplan. 

The mayoral election will be held on Nov. 7, but Houstonians can participate in early voting from Oct. 23 to Nov. 3. 

Currently, Jackson Lee and Whitmire lead the race, with 34% of Houstonians in favor of Whitmire and 32% of Houstonians prefer Jackson Lee, according to a poll conducted by the Hobby School of Public Affairs.             

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