Bellaire hosts City Council debates

As I walked inside the Science Conference Center, I noticed something odd about the city council debate that was planned to occur there. Throughout the room, I noticed that there were no adults present to help put the event together, but rather, students putting up chairs, greeting the candidates, and setting up tables. Even though they were high schoolers, the Young Democrats were so motivated to become involved in politics and increase political awareness that they took it upon themselves to organize this debate.

The debate, which occurred on October 24th, included a vast array of candidates from the District C part of Houston, including Michelle Ganz, Abbie Kamin, Greg Myers, and Bob Nowak. Although hosted by the Young Democrats, this debate included all candidates running for city council, no matter their political party. 

Brandy Xie, a freshman and club member, explained why she attended the debates.

“I attended the debates because I think it is important to take part of what is affecting us, no matter our age. I am also participate in other political activities such as debate, Junior Statesman of America, and Model UN so I was definitely interested in becoming part of the local politics in Houston. We are the future generation, so it is important that we start to become involved now.” 

The debates were similar in format to the Democratic presidential debates and town halls. Each candidate had one minute to introduce themselves and then were asked questions by the moderators on a broad amount of topics affecting Houston, including flooding, development/urban sprawl, zoning, public transportation, and human trafficking. 

Lucy Ding, a senior and moderator of the City Council debates, discussed her experience organizing the whole event. 

“I thought it was great to become involved in local politics at such a young age. I enjoyed seeing the disagreements between candidates on their positions, coordinating responses from candidates, and overseeing civil discussion. 

Although the event turned out to be successful, there were some difficulties putting the event together, as Ding explains.

“Organizing the whole thing was definitely a little bit stressful. We had to do all the publicity for it, so we reached out to several local democratic organizations about our event. We even had the Meyerland Democrats agree to let us Facebook Livestream to their 7,000 members. In the end, I felt that it was all worth it, even though we had to move gigantic podiums!” 

Ioana Nechiti, another key organizer of the events, explains why she helped to organize event.

“I think political awareness is really important, as people often think change on political issues comes from the national level, but it’s really important to be involved in local politics too. There are a lot of people willing to make changes that can work, such as the Climate Action Plan, flooding improvements, etc. I also organized it because I really wanted to raise more awareness on these candidates, help students learn about these issues, and help increase voter turnout for the November 5th election.