Journalist Moser Enters Congressional Race to Challenge Culberson for Dist. 7

Contender for the Democratic Primary for District 7 Laura Moser with community activists Rashmi Desai (left) and Jagat Kamdar at the Meet and Greet they organized on Sunday, January 7.

Contender for the Democratic Primary for District 7 Laura Moser with community activists Rashmi Desai (left) and Jagat Kamdar at the Meet and Greet they organized on Sunday, January 7.

By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: Emboldened by their party’s performance in the last General Election in 2016 and by the snafus and guffaws that President Donald Trump has been making since he took office, a rush of Democratic candidates has filed to run for offices in more districts across Texas than in recent years.

The list of candidates on the Democratic slate seeking to oppose 17-year Republican incumbent John Culberson for US Congressional District 7 is just one example of this phenomenon. There are seven Democratic candidates who seek to win in the March 6 primary cycle: James Butler, James Cargas, Lizzie Pannil Fletcher, Laura Moser, Ivan Sanchez, Alex Triantaphyllis and Jason Westin. On the other side are Republicans Culberson seeking his 10th term in office and his opponent Edward Ziegler in his first campaign. Also in the race is the Reform Party candidate Ronald Kimmons.

Moser with the media, Jawahar Malhotra (left) and Manisha Gandhi.

Moser with the media, Jawahar Malhotra (left) and Manisha Gandhi.

This past Sunday, January 7, two activists from the Indian community, Rashmi Desai and Jagat Kamdar organized a Meet and Greet for one of the Democratic candidates, Laura Moser, who was introduced to them by Desai’s neighbor and Party Chair for District 435 Mary Morrison. Impressed by Moser’s meeting – and by the coincidental fact that her husband Arun Chaudhary is of Indian origin – Kamdar and Desai fanned out to others they knew who were politically involved and savvy for the meeting this past weekend.

Moser came prepared with her campaign staff to discuss the issues that are central to her race and what sets her apart from the others in the fray. A tall, Jewish woman with blonde hair and blue eyes, Moser is a freelance journalist who recently moved back to Houston and to West University Place where she grew up. She reflected on her family’s history – a grandfather who left Nazi Germany six weeks before the infamous Kristallnacht terror attack in 1938 and started afresh again in Houston, – and how that infused in her the spirit of hope and possibility of renewal that Houston represents to the diverse community of immigrants which live here.

Moser said that the issue of immigration and impending deportations upset her especially when she saw a picture of a 6-year-old being ripped from her family. “When I saw what was happening to my America, I was motivated to run,” she said. Her husband had become the first official videographer of the White House, a position he held from 2009-2011 during the Obama administration and then worked on the White House staff and the growing family (they have two kids, Leo, 8 and Claudia, 5) lived in Washington, DC. When Moser decided to run, they moved down to the Bayou City.

Texas Congressional District 7 was redistricted in 2011 and generally runs from Meyerland to Cypress and Katy to Shepherd Drive in the city’s center and Hilary Clinton won it in the last election. It is a well-heeled district with 38% White population and 68% who have a college degree. According to Moser, the only two issues that Culberson , who sits on the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, has worked on that have directly impacted the 7th District dealt with transportation. One, when he got federal funding for expanding the Katy Freeway and the other was when he consistently blocked federal funding for the METRO Uptown line and along with it slowed the growth of public transportation in Houston. “One of his pet projects is satellites to outer space, like to Europa or to Alpha Centuri,” she quipped.

“Other than that, Culberson has done nothing, especially for flood relief after Harvey,” blasted Moser in her rapid–fire style which showed her grip on issues that affect the district. Most of the two dozen or so people who came out to meet her agreed that the time was ripe for a change. She hopes to build on her platform through story-telling as an effective way to talk about people’s lives and through her Daily Action text-messaging service which has already signed up 300,000 people within 2 months of when it started in December 2016.

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