POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Demerchant announces District 26 candidacy
By Michael Sudhalter
New Territory business owner/IT Security professional Laquitta Demerchant has announced that she will run for the District 26 State Representative position currently held by two-term incumbent, Rick Miller.
Demerchant, a Democrat, knows it will take an extraordinary effort to unseat Miller in November.
“I want to be a breathe of fresh air for the voters of District 26,” Demerchant said. “I think that I can win — I knew it will be hard. It will be one of the most difficult things I’ve done, but everything I’ve ever done in my life has been difficult. I’ve never had the expectations anything would come easy to me.”
Miller defeated his two previous Democratic opponents — Amber Paaso, 69.7-30.3 percent last year, and 63-37 percent against Vy Nguyen in 2012.
Demerchant grew up in Fort Bend County and attended Fort Bend ISD schools before graduating from Willowridge High. She has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Houston-Victoria.
Among the major issues that Demerchant plans to emphasize are Equal Pay for Women and extended Maternal/Paternal Family Leave.
She has worked with the White House and the Obama Administration on both issues.
“Extended Maternal/Paternal leave allows mothers and fathers a respectable amount of time to spend with their families,” Demerchant said. “More pay for women means dads don’t have to work extra jobs, and that builds stronger families who can be happier and closer.”
Demerchant also emphasized the need for the state legislature to curb sexual assaults on college campuses.
“We have to put a pro-active plan in place,” Demerchant said.
Steve Brown makes formal announcement
Former Fort Bend Democratic Party Chairman Steve Brown had all but announced that he was running in the District 27 Democratic Primary, but over the weekend, he made it official with a e-mail, stating “It’s Time.”
“Our children should have the same opportunities as other children in this county and state,” Brown said. “Instead of dilapidated buildings, warehouses and industrial complexes, I want to see our community flourish with town centers, mixed-use commercial development, a medical complex, performing arts centers and all of the other amenities that we deserve.”
Bankston endorses Reynolds
Fort Bend County Democratic Chairman Don Bankston said he rarely endorses a candidate during a primary election.
But he’s making an exception in endorsing District 27 three-term incumbent Ron Reynolds over his predecessor, Steve Brown, in the March 1 Democratic Primary.
“Ron Reynolds is a friend of mine, and he’s done a good job,” said Bankston, who pointed to Reynolds’ efforts in passing bills on matters such as Truancy, Body Cameras and Mental Health.
Last month, Reynolds was convicted of five counts of Misdemeanor Barratry in Montgomery County. He was sentenced to the maximum year in jail but is out on bond, pending an appeal of the convictions.
Misdemeanors, unlike felonies, do not disqualify legislators from serving.
If the conviction is upheld, the State Bar of Texas plans to attempt to disbar Reynolds. The incumbent said he’ll continue appealing the case, even if it means going to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ellison likely to challenge Nehls again
Fort Bend Sheriff Troy Nehls is expected to easily win the Republican nomination when he faces former FBCSO Deputy Frank Cempa Sr. in the March 1 primary.
He’ll likely face a familiar opponent in the General Election in November as Michael Ellison, a Sergeant in the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, will represent the Democratic Party.
In 2012, Nehls defeated Ellison, 55-to-45 percent.
Ellison, a Sugar Land resident, garnered headlines for his heroics in 2011 when he was shot twice during a bank robbery at a Wells Fargo inside a Sugar Land supermarket.