By Matthew Johnson
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Your vote counts! This truth is crystal clear when it comes to local elections, just like the runoff that recently happened in Corpus Christi.
Sylvia Campos, Sierra Club’s endorsed candidate for Corpus Christi City Council District 2, won her seat in the Dec. 13 runoff election by 133 votes!
What does this mean for Corpus Christi and Texas?
It means that there are now two strong environmental justice advocates on the eight-member city council, which faces incredible pressure to bend to the will of the fossil fuel industry seeking to build even more massive harmful petrochemical facilities.
Last month, you may recall, Coastal Bend Sierra Club leader Jim Klein was also elected to city council. I asked Jim after he won the at-large seat how he felt about it, and he had this to say:
"I am proud to represent the people (rather than corporations) of Corpus Christi. This electoral victory has been very much a team effort and I will need Sierra Club members' help moving forward. We face big challenges to the human and environmental health of this region. Pulling together we can meet those challenges. Thank you, folks, for your support. Onward!"
This can be the beginning of a new progressive bloc on council fighting for the city to fund clean water, infrastructure, and community needs instead of polluters.
Why is this relevant outside of the Coastal Bend?
The Corpus Christi area is one of the largest exporters of fossil fuels in the country. There are 22 miles of fossil fuel infrastructure that run along the coast emitting toxins that harm public health and use 80% of the city’s water.
These city council victories also demonstrate what can be accomplished locally despite wealthy corporate special interests’ hold on political leaders across the Lone Star state. The voters of Corpus Christi chose community leaders who ran on a bold platform of holding wealthy corporations accountable, improving air and water quality, stopping polluting industry expansion, ending corporate tax breaks, and funding community needs like road repair, parks, and water infrastructure.
A huge shout out to the other organizations like Chispa TX, Texas Campaign for the Environment, Lead Locally, and others, which made thousands of phone calls, texts, and knocked on countless doors to help elect Campos and Klein.
Now, like Jim said, Onward!