Primary election Q&A: Democratic candidates for Texas House District 148

District 148 covers parts of the Heights, Northwest Houston and Northside. (Courtesy Harris County Clerk)
District 148 covers parts of the Heights, Northwest Houston and Northside. (Courtesy Harris County Clerk)

District 148 covers parts of the Heights, Northwest Houston and Northside. (Courtesy Harris County Clerk)

In January, voters elected state Rep. Anna Eastman, D-Houston, in a special election to fill the seat vacated by retired Rep. Jessica Farrar. Now voters are returning to the polls to cast a ballot for contenders to compete in the November general election for the seat's next term.

Five Democrats are competing for a spot on the ballot for District 148, covering parts of the Heights, Northside and Northwest Houston. The primary election winner will compete against unopposed Republican Luis La Rotta in the general election this November.

Incumbent state Rep. Anna Eastman and opponent Penny Morales Shaw answered questions about their campaign priorities. Candidates Adrian Garcia, Cynthia Reyes-Revilla and Emily Wolf did not respond to requests for submissions as of Community Impact Newspaper's press time. Answers may have been shortened for length.

Early voting began Feb. 18 and ends Feb. 28, and election day is March 3. Find polling locations here.

*Indicates incumbent

Anna Eastman*

education consultant


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

I served as an HISD Trustee who kept children as my north-star and worked to pass multiple policies to support improving student outcomes. I personally led the successful passage of a fully-inclusive non-discrimination policy at HISD that included sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Additionally, I worked with my colleagues to overhaul the internal audit function and upgrade the board’s ethics policies. I have also served as a board or committee member for multiple non-profit organizations including, Breakthrough Houston, The Woods Project, Teach for America, Undies for Everyone, Holocaust Museum Houston and Houston Grand Opera's HGOco.

What will be your top priority if elected?

My passion and deepest experience is public education. I'd like to make sure children and families have more high quality public school options. That said, I know education doesn't happen in a vacuum. We must make affordable health care a reality for our low income and working families and enact sensible gun legislation.

How can you represent the diverse needs of this district?

I have been chosen by the voters across District 148 multiple times. I represented 75% of the district as an HISD trustee. I was the top vote getter on November 5 and won on January 28 with the support of Democrats throughout the District. I have built relationships with key community leaders, other lawmakers and am committed to listening to all of my constituents. Having just been elected, I will have the advantage of establishing my staff and office in our community and in Austin so I can hit the ground running in January.

Penny Morales Shaw

Attorney, Legislative Human Rights Advocate, Harris County Deputy Chief Policy & Legal, Business Owner Affairs

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

My professional experience as a 20-year attorney, negotiator, mediator; U.S. Congressional legislative advocate for human rights; Deputy Chief of Policy and Legal; NAACP Attorney, and business owner, prepares me for this position and will inform my service as a state lawmaker and representative. My work has always involved the law, and representing people and their rights. Personally, I am a mother; environmentalist; animal rights advocate; human and civil rights proponent, and my longstanding community service in local groups, like the League of Women Voters, ACLU, Green Peace and Houston Volunteer Lawyers, has always involved improving conditions.

What will be your top priority if elected?

Redistricting in accordance with the Voting Rights Act; climate/environmental responsibility and clean energy plan; funding public education and maintaining local control; reducing the cost of healthcare and including pre-existing condition coverage; flood infrastructure building and mass transit; laws that equalize access and opportunity for all populations; public safety and gun safety measures.

How can you represent the diverse needs of this district?

Over the years I have watched the changes and challenges that we face to becoming a better city. I have traveled and met people from every part of the District to see, listen, and take into account the needs and hopes, both expressed and obvious, of their future representative. I will be a responsive representative that is a bold voice in Austin for the needs and challenges that we face. My legal and legislative experience, with my longstanding work with and care for this community, make me a passionate advocate ready to get things done from day one.
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.


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