Similar Candidates Try To Be Different In Senate District 6

Today is the deadline for candidates in the Senate District 6 race to submit their campaign finance reports. Now that the governor has called a special election to fill the seat that was left vacant when State Senator Mario Gallegos passed away — the campaign for the seat can get under way in earnest. The two front runners in the race are very similar candidates on the surface.


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Carol Alvarado and Sylvia Garcia are both Hispanic female Democrats who have ties to the East End and have previously held elected office.

Carol Alvarado is a state representative who formerly served on Houston City Council. She was also a longtime friend of Mario Gallegos and many consider her the heir apparent to District 6.

“I am so very honored to have the support of Mario Gallegos’ family. And this race is important to them, they feel that Mario’s legacy should be continued and the issues that he fought for. And we are looking forward to doing that, as well as creating our own.”

Alvarado says her top priorities for the district are education and Medicaid, incidentally, those are some of her opponent Sylvia Garcia’s top issues as well.

Because there are so many similarities between the two candidates, one of the big challenges is setting themselves apart from one another. Alvarado says she has the advantage of already working in Austin and knows who the players are and how to get things done.

“This election will occur when session has already started, so there’s no freshman orientation, there’s no time to figure out where the bathroom is. This is being sworn in and immediately sitting on the senate floor, trying to pass bills and already having existing relationships with members in the senate and the house. There’s just too much at stake for this election.”

As for Garcia, she was formerly a Harris County Commissioner and before that served as the city controller. Garcia says she has a proven track record of getting things done and it doesn’t take serving as a state representative to be a good lawmaker.

“Joan Hoffman was a judge, Rodney Ellis was a councilmember and Dan Patrick was a radio talk show host. Obviously she’s not suggesting that those three folks were not qualified to be state senators. But more importantly, I think if you look again at my record I have drafted bills, I have pushed bills and I’ve testified on bills. I mean I think I know how Austin works just as well as a lot of people in Austin.”

Garcia says she sees the District 6 opening as a unique chance to make a difference in Harris County and Texas, and she says one of her first priorities if elected will be job creation.

“You know I think the economy is still on everyone’s mind. It’s about jobs, good paying jobs that have benefits, that give you some time off on the weekends, that can hold your family together. I mean that is really on everyone’s mind.”

Nearly a million people live in the district, but only about 20,000 to 30,000 are expected to vote in the January 26th election. After a long and contentious presidential race, there’s a chance voters in Senate District 6 will simply tune out more campaigning, which could mean a run-off if neither candidate gets 50 percent of the vote. If that happens, the run-off election will be held March 5th.

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Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Executive Producer for News

Laurie Johnson leads daily news coverage for HPM. She helps reporters craft and sharpen their stories on tight deadlines, with the aim of getting the most relevant and current information into local newscasts. Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. She is...

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