As Democrats look for a serious candidate to challenge Gov. Greg Abbott in 2018, another big-city official is surfacing as a potential contender: Dwight Boykins, a member of the Houston City Council.
"I have had an opportunity to travel across our great state and meet a lot of hardworking people who feel no one is listening to their concerns or fighting for their families and I am humbled and encouraged by those who have asked me if I would consider running for Governor of Texas," Boykins said in a statement to The Texas Tribune on Tuesday. "Like most people, I have noticed that our state is deeply divided over controversial social issues, while the major problems facing our state and the people who live here continue to go unresolved."
Boykins said he has not made "a final decision about the possibility of running for a higher office," but the clock is ticking with less than three weeks until the candidate filing deadline for the 2018 primaries. So far, only little-known Democrats have lined up to challenge Abbott, who is seeking a second term next year. A few more prominent figures are also exploring campaigns, including another elected official from one the city's major metropolitan areas, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, and Andrew White, the son of late Gov. Mark White.
First elected in 2013, Boykins represents Houston City Council District D in south Houston and chairs the council's 16-member Ethics, Elections & Council Governance Committee. He's long been involved in efforts to improve city infrastructure, particularly when it comes to flooding — an issue that is getting renewed attention in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
"As a member of the Houston City Council, I continue to hear from countless residents who are attempting to rebuild their lives and homes in the aftermath of the devastating flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey," Boykins said in the statement. "This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, and we must take politics out of the equation when it comes to the lives of the residents in the areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey."
Boykins mentioned Abbott's refusal to immediately tap the state's $10 billion savings account, known as the Rainy Day Fund, to deal with the post-Harvey recovery, saying it shows the "disconnect between the current leadership of our state and the needs of the people." Abbott has expressed openness to using the fund in the 2019 legislative session to make up for Harvey-related costs incurred between now and then.