U.S. House of Representatives, Texas District 2 race

Ted Poe, Republican



Incumbent Rep. Ted Poe, R-Houston, has served the U.S. House of Representatives since first being elected to the District 2 seat in 2004. Prior to serving District 2, Poe served for 22 years as a criminal court judge in Houston and worked for eight years in the Harris County District Attorney's Office, where he became the chief felony prosecutor. For more information, visit www.tedpoe.com.



Why are you running for re-election?



I haven't finished the job the public has sent me to do across many fronts. [I've created] with Rep. Jim Costa, D-California, a bipartisan victim rights caucus and we've worked on legislation on human trafficking. We want to continue to move forward on victim legislation. And I think I represent my constituents and their voices very well.



What pieces of legislation would you like to pass next session if re-elected?



We have privacy legislation this year that may pass or may not pass, and we want to continue to push that issue. The use by the federal government of general warrants is really shameful. And I want to get that [liquefied natural gas] deal passed. It's great for Texas. When I travel to the Ukraine, all they could talk about was getting Texas natural gas, and they've been stonewalled by the federal government. [The LNG deal] will make Texas a stronger world player in the exporting of our [natural gas].



What can be done at the federal level to provide funding for transportation in Texas and in District 2?



The federal government collects taxes from Texans. Much of that comes from the federal gasoline tax. It goes to Washington and we don't get a dollar back for every dollar we send. The first thing I want to do is get a dollar for dollar return for Texas. And then we want to give the money to Texas. I want to be very proactive in getting the rightful money back to Texas. But locally, the city of Houston and the [Greater] Houston area must decide how to spend that money.



What can the federal government do to ensure the success of businesses in America and in District 2?



What the federal government can do is get out of the way of business. Unnecessary federal regulations are hampering the economy. It's a cost factor for businesses, and many regulations do nothing but cost money. Plus, the permitting process takes too long. Congress' responsibility is to streamline processes to eliminate unnecessary regulation and get out of the way of those businesses that want to promote the economy.



Niko Letsos, Democrat



At 25, candidate Niko Letsos claims to be the youngest congressional candidate in the country. The native Houstonian attended Spring Branch ISD schools, where he has been an educator since graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor's degree in history and government in 2009. For more information, visit www.nikoletsos.com.



Why did you decide to run for elected office?



There's so many challenges we face—from immigration to fixing education and preparing this country for the 21st century. [We need] to reform government so it uses information technology and is a productive partner and not the obstacle that it is. I'm going to be the loudest member of Congress. I will not allow them to continue serving special interests and be self-serving. I will call for full disclosure.



What pieces of legislation would you like to pass next session if elected?



I would like to pass the Accountability and Transparency Act, which puts together a website that would make politicians' schedules available to us. That would be my top priority. And that act will make all government better, because [the website] will bring it out into the open so we can actually track your tax dollars and see what is going on. Congress, so much of it is shrouded in secrecy. All of that and full disclosure of campaign funds would be out there [for the public to see].



What can be done at the federal level to provide funding for transportation in Texas and in District 2?



First of all, we need to stop kicking the can down the road. That's what happened with the highway budget. And instead of actually looking at it and finding a long-term solution that was sustainable and appropriating the amount of funds, [Congressional leaders] just gave it a two-month stopgap and said they were going to revisit it in September. So with all of these issues, what's really happening is they're being held hostage by extremists of both parties that can't come to the middle and compromise.



What can the federal government do to ensure the success of businesses in America and in District 2?



The Port of Houston is in desperate need of expansion. When it comes to infrastructure projects, there [are] a lot of things that are mind-boggling. [It has] gotten to the point where there's just this critical mass of laws that makes all of these projects very inefficient. So, another top priority of mine would be a thorough review of the federal register and the U.S. [tax] code.

By Matt Stephens
Matt Stephens joined Community Impact Newspaper in December 2012. A Tomball native and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Matt joined as a reporter for The Woodlands team before being promoted to help launch the Spring | Klein edition in spring of 2014 and later to North Houston managing editor in late 2015. He has served as managing editor to the Phoenix and Nashville papers since August 2020.