Texas House District 134 Democratic Primary: Meet the candidates on the ballot in 2020

Lanny Bose, Ann Johnson and Ruby Powers
From left, Lanny Bose, Ann Johnson and Ruby Powers are running for the Democratic nomination for House District 134. (Courtesy photos)

From left, Lanny Bose, Ann Johnson and Ruby Powers are running for the Democratic nomination for House District 134. (Courtesy photos)

Three candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination for Texas House District 134, Lanny Bose, Ann Johnson and Ruby Powers. The winner of the primary will face Republican incumbent Sarah Davis in November.

Lanny Bose

Occupation: Small business owner and former principal

Campaign website: www.lannyfortexas.com

How does your experience make you the best candidate for this elected office? After graduating from Rice University, I joined Teach For America and spent eleven years working in Houston’s public schools. I then earned my MBA from Rice and founded a company, Cardstock, that helps schools increase parent-teacher engagement. I see the opportunity to serve as a representative as a natural progression of my work, a chance to expand my impact and further advocate for students and families on a wider scale.

What is the most pressing issue, specific to your district, that you would advocate for moving forward? The Legislature must address the 3,193 Texans who die on average every year due to gun violence. The recent tragedy at Bellaire High School reiterates the importance of enacting common sense gun laws. As a school leader, I have personally had to handle two different gun scares on campuses I’ve served, and I’m committed to enacting a variety of reforms to help tackle this epidemic head-on and keep children safe. We must close loopholes on background checks including stranger-to-stranger sales, pass red flag laws to remove weapons from the households of people in crisis, and reinstate a ban on assault-style weapons.

How will you work to build working relationships across districts and party lines? It is important to keep partisan gridlock to a minimum in order to pass meaningful legislation for the residents of HD 134. Ahead of redistricting next session, legislators on both sides of the aisle must come together to draw fair maps that give all communities equitable representation in the lawmaking process. It is also essential to partner with fellow legislators in the Harris County delegation to tackle issues facing our local community such as flood mitigation, public school funding, and environmental regulation.

Ann Johnson

Occupation: Attorney, former Chief Human Trafficking Prosecutor

Campaign website: www.annjohnson.com

How does your experience make you the best candidate for this elected office? I’m a former Chief Human Trafficking Prosecutor. I stood up to the worst human traffickers and won, protecting child victims of exploitation, including winning a landmark case on behalf of a 13-year old child victim of human trafficking. My personal experiences of surviving cancer and working as an educator for almost two decades will make me a tireless advocate for health and education. I will stand up to powerful Republicans and the NRA to ensure a better future for all. My passion for our shared values and House District 134 has remained strong since my run for this seat in 2012 when the GOP majority moved the district lines halfway through our race to benefit their candidate. We continued our fight and created positive change – despite a loss – around the issues of Choice and Equality. No candidate understands the importance of fighting to end gerrymandering and why this race will determine what Texas looks like for our next decade more than me.

What is the most pressing issue, specific to your district, that you would advocate for moving forward? There are many pressing issues, of course. I would have to say common-sense gun safety reforms is at the top of the list. Four of the top 10 mass shootings in America happened in Texas over the past two years. The incumbent Sarah Davis — who has bragged about her "A" rating from the NRA— voted to legalize open carry of handguns, over the objections of local law enforcement. Also over the objections of law enforcement, city leadership and even State Senator Joan Huffman, Davis voted to allow people to carry guns without a permit following a declared disaster. And Davis voted to allow teachers, school staff and administrators to be armed at K-12 schools.

How will you work to build working relationships across districts and party lines? I stay focused on the issue and find common ground. As the Chronicle noted in its endorsement of my candidacy, after I won the landmark case I argued to the Republican-controlled Texas Supreme Court, I went to work for Harris County's Republican district attorney, ultimately becoming the Chief Human Trafficking Prosecutor. I worked with Republican judges to start the CARE court to assist child victims of human tracking and SAFE court for people 17 to 25 charged with prostitution.

Ruby Powers

Occupation: Immigration Attorney, Small Business Owner, Author

Campaign website: www.rubyfortexas.com

How does your experience make you the best candidate for this elected office? I am a mom of two in public school, a Board Certified immigration attorney, author, and business owner. I am the bilingual child of an immigrant and have lived in six countries. I regularly advocate for immigration and education issues on a local and national level. I served as the American Immigration Lawyer Association's Law Practice Management Chair, and on the Political Engagement Task Force and Media Advocacy Committee. I serve on the Police Officers' Civil Service Commission, the Harris County Commissioner Precinct 2, Immigration Advisory Committee and in Rotary. I served on the State Bar of Texas Law Practice Management Committee and Chair of the HBA Law Practice Management Section. I am a graduate of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Leadership Houston, and am currently in American Leadership Forum. I am a frequent national and international speaker, media resource, and author on immigration law and law practice management topics.

What is the most pressing issue, specific to your district, that you would advocate for moving forward? It is difficult to name only one issue with so much work ahead of us. In 2021, the Legislature will address redistricting which will impact the next decade, making it extremely important. In terms of a policy issue, gun safety legislation is the most pressing. The recent increase in gun-related violence is alarming. We must enact common sense gun-safety legislation including background checks for every gun sale and red flag laws that will provide protection to our neighbors from gun violence. Additionally, we must educate the public about proper gun safety storage. I’d support legislation that closes loopholes, including the “boyfriend loophole,” a gap in gun laws that allows some people convicted of domestic violence charges to own and purchase firearms. All of these measures have shown to significantly decrease gun violence deaths in other states. I want a Texas where everyone feels safe, including my children and yours.

How will you work to build working relationships across districts and party lines? Having lived and studied in Belgium, Mexico, Turkey, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates, and learned a few languages along the way, I have gained the ability to adapt and see the world from many different points of view. Whether in my role as mother, wife, business owner, author, immigration attorney, or community leader, I have learned to successfully communicate with a plethora of communities. From living in rural Missouri and Mexico to some of the largest cities in the world, I regularly work with different cultures and backgrounds to successfully accomplish shared goals. I believe that my personal and professional experiences have equipped me to continue to build and expand my working relationships across districts and party lines, much like I have all my life.
By Matt Dulin

Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.


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