Primary Election Q&A: Democratic candidates for Texas Senate District 13

Early voting for Texas' March 3 primary election begins Feb. 18. (Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper)
Early voting for Texas' March 3 primary election begins Feb. 18. (Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper)

Early voting for Texas' March 3 primary election begins Feb. 18. (Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper)

Two Democratic candidates for Texas Senate District 13 are vying to oust incumbent Sen. Borris Miles for a spot on the November 2020 ballot.

Community Impact Newspaper contacted each candidate with questions about their campaign priorities for the district, which covers parts of southwest Houston. Answers may have been edited for length.

Early voting begins Feb. 18 and ends Feb. 28, and election day is March 3. Find a polling location here.

*indicates incumbent

Borris Miles*


Occupation/experience: State Senator, District 13

How will your professional or personal experience prepare you for this position?

I have been a state representative and state senator since 2007 fighting for the families of my districts. I have a demonstrated record of progressive leadership fighting for improving public education, increasing access to health care, protecting the right to vote, and passing criminal justice reform. I am the only candidate who has been active in the community for more than 20 years, even before I was an elected official.

What will be your top priority if elected?

Last year, the Legislature passed SB 3 with my support to significantly increase funding for public education and cut the Robin Hood payments that property rich districts like Houston ISD were forced to pay. Next year, we must find a long-term, sustainable source of revenue to pay for public education. Republicans want to increase the sales tax which would disproportionately affect poorer taxpayers. I believe we should close some of the corporate tax loopholes, some of which have been in existence for decades, to increase funding for public education.

How can you represent the diverse needs of this district?

I have assembled the most diverse staff in the Senate to work with me to address the unique needs of communities in the district. I have held job fairs from Alief to Northeast Houston. We have fought polluters whether they are concrete crushers in Houston or a driller whose oil well blew out in Ft. Bend County. I secured funding to create the Miles Ahead Scholars to help at-risk boys attend college and sponsored internship fairs to help high school students find a summer internship. I work hard to address the specific needs of the communities in Senate District 13.

Richard Andrews


Occupation/experience: As a family doctor for 30 years I have always worked with uninsured/underinsured patients, and communities so I am passionate and well-informed about lack of access to healthcare.The last Texas legislature had seven physicians, but they were all Republicans, and almost all specialists. So their deliberations about whether to expand Medicaid or consider doing something about the cost of medications were all one-sided. I seek to change that and make sure there is a least one progressive Democrat at the table.

What will be your top priority if elected?

I think our extreme and worsening income disparities harm individuals, families, and society as a whole. This is not just my opinion, there is a lot of evidence in the medical and public health literature supporting this. I think people who make more money (like doctors) should pay higher taxes, because we have a lot of work to do, and that requires resources.The recent anti income tax referendum that was pushed by Republicans makes it harder to have a progressive tax structure in Texas, but not impossible. I think corporations should pay a larger share of the taxes.

How can you represent the diverse needs of this district?

I will be the first person to say that Texas does not have a shortage of old white men as political leaders, so I am not running on that aspect of myself. But as a family doctor in community health centers for 3 decades I developed an intimate connection to my mostly black and brown patients and the under-served communities from which they come. My patients included migrant farmworkers, chicken factory workers, cooks and waitstaff, disabled people, people with addictions, caregivers and many other working folks. I am aggravated by the lack of opportunity and healthcare that deeply affect my patients.

Melissa Morris


Occupation/experience: Attorney and No political experience

How will your professional or personal experience prepare you for this position?

I have always been an agent of social change and have taken a personal interest with all issues that deal with access to resources, equity and justice. My experience as an attorney has made me a more empathetic and impassioned candidate who recognizes that each of the residents in my district has had a different journey and that each of them are as valid and worthwhile as the next. Putting people first, over politics and power, is the only way to restore trust and ensure a better life for all Texans.

What will be your top priority if elected?

Social Reform- Policy changes are needed to end mass incarceration, poverty and the criminalization of it, physical and mental health care to all citizens, and protecting the most vulnerable and marginalized to provide immediate remedies for existing problems. While addressing those issues, my priority would be to ensure that all of the social reform proposals and policies will continue to avoid the trappings of the above listed issues by increasing and equalizing funding to public schools and start free education at three years old for all children.

How can you represent the diverse needs of this district?

My practice has made me understand that as an advocate, it is my job to learn about the person, or community, and find out what issues affect their lives, get educated on the issues, implement common sense solutions and maintain trust of each community by staying plugged into the community by being accessible. I understand that it is not necessary for me to have had the same life experiences but instead to advocate for the interests of each constituent, because their experience is valid and important. A career advocate, not politician is the best representative of this diverse district.


A map depicts the Houston-area freeways where the Tow and Go program is available. The program offers free towing service to stranded motorists. (Courtesy Tow and Go)
Program providing free towing service expands to unincorporated Harris County, handful of new cities

The program was launched in 2018 and was previously only available within Houston city limits.

Houston ISD officials are beginning preparations to seek a District of Innovation status for the 2021-22 school year. (Community Impact staff)
Houston ISD board to vote on next step toward District of Innovation plan

The HISD board of education is expected to vote on a measure Aug. 13 allowing the district to appoint a District of Innovation committee, the next step toward formally seeking exemptions from certain state policies.

Bellaire City Hall
Bellaire could save over $830K over next 10 years under fleet replacement proposal

The council is expected to formally approve the change when it adopts the fiscal year 2020-21 budget Sept. 14.

As the number of patients with COVID-19 in Harris County intensive care units continues to fall, the percentage of those patients that make up the total numbers in the ICU fall below 30% on Aug. 10. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: Percentage of COVID-19 positive ICU patients falls below 30%

The percentage has been slowly falling since reaching a high point above 50% in early July, according to data from the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council. Public health officials in Harris County have said they want to see that number below 15%.

JD Sports will open a new store at The Woodlands Mall this August. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Businesses opening or coming soon in The Woodlands and more Houston-area news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news.

Road work could be coming to the Gulfton area this year as part of a safety-focused project by the city of Houston. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Public meeting scheduled for Hillcroft Avenue safety project

The project is billed as a part of a broader "Vision Zero" initiative aimed at reducing roadway fatalities.

Attendees sample a wide variety of global wines and cuisine during Wine & Food Week. (Courtesy Food & Vine Time Productions)
Wine & Food Week returns to The Woodlands and more news from the Houston area

Read business and community news from the Houston area.

The number of deaths reported has been declining for the past three week, according to the Texas Medical Center. (Community Impact staff)
Texas Medical Center: COVID-19 hospitalizations down 10% since Aug. 3

The number of deaths reported has been declining for the past three week, according to the Texas Medical Center.

Harris County leaders discussed this week whether to raise or lower property taxes. (Courtesy Fotolia)
UPDATED: Harris Co. commissioners eyeing property tax rates

This article was updated Aug. 8 to clarify that an 8% tax rate increase is not considered to be on the table by commissioners.

Cyclone Anaya's
How to support Houston Restaurant Weeks in Bellaire-Meyerland-West University Place

Prix-fixe menus range from $20 for lunch and brunch to $35-$45 for dinner, with $1 of each meal being donated to the Houston Food Bank.

A mother and daughter visit at Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care in Conroe earlier in the pandemic. (Courtesy Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care)
Texas allows limited visitations to nursing homes, long-term care facilities

Facilities that meet the requirements will allow limited visitations, but you still will not be able to hug or kiss your loved one.