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A Wonderful Time of the Year October 13, 2020

For a public policy and political junkie, this is it!  It’s time to vote.  Better yet, it’s time to vote in a ton of elections, from the White House to the State House and more.

Early voting starts today in Texas.  Election Day is November 3.  Now, remember, there’s this pandemic thing that’s going to impact voting.  So, find out where you can vote, make a plan for voting that gives you plenty of time, and, well, go vote.  Please do it safely.  (More on that down below.) 

What moves me and motivates me to action

As early voting for the November elections starts in Texas, it’s a good time to reflect on our aspirations for our state and our country. I had a special opportunity to do that recently. The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Engagement at the University of Texas honored and touched me with its first-ever Civic Champion Award. It prompted me to speak about how I feel we should engage and how we should value each other as separate parts of the same community. I’ve posted my remarks here.

If you want to skip to the guts of my message, go to 4 minutes and 04 seconds, but the first part is pretty neat, too. Total clip is 7:32.

More than one election

The presidential election dominates so much of our attention, but there are many other races for offices that will have specific impacts on our day-to-day lives.  Those elections will significantly influence Texas going forward.

This past Sunday, the Dallas Morning News published a piece I wrote about those important races.

The Hobby Hour

On October 21 at noon, we’ll have a tremendous discussion about the elections.  Our Hobby Hour interactive webinar will feature Errin Haines, editor-at-large of the new non-profit, non-partisan newsroom known as The 19th; Mark P. Jones, senior research fellow at the Hobby School and professor at the Baker Institute at Rice; Ross Ramsey, executive editor and co-founder of the Texas Tribune; and Emily Ramshaw, co-founder and CEO of The 19th.  We’ll be in the midst of early voting and looking forward to Election Day on November 3.


Vote Safe Campaign with UH College of Medicine

The University of Houston’s College of Medicine and the Hobby School of Public Affairs have partnered to share information with Harris County voters about voting safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this unprecedented global health crisis, it’s vital that voters are equipped with reliable health and voting information to feel confident participating in November’s election. Important Harris County specific resources about voting logistics and safety precautions have been compiled on our website: Share these safety tips so we can work together to have a safe and fair voting experience. 


Hobby School Hosts Two Forums for House Races
As part of its effort to educate the public about the 2020 election, the Hobby School is partnering with Houston Public Media to host candidate forums in two competitive races for the Texas House in the Houston area. On October 22, Houston Public Media’s Eddie Robinson will moderate a discussion between incumbent District 135 Rep. Jon Rosenthal (D) and his challenger Justin Ray (R), and incumbent District 28 Rep. Gary Gates (R) will join opponent Eliz Markowitz (D) in a conversation moderated by Houston Public Media’s Craig Cohen on October 23. Both forums will begin at 7 p.m. on 88.7 FM and will be livestreamed at this link. Join us for lively discussions about issues critical to the Houston region.


Stay safe, happy and healthy 


Kirk Watson
Founding Dean, Hobby School of Public Affairs