Published May 06, 2021 by houstonadmin
Statement Attributable to Bob Harvey, President and CEO, Greater Houston Partnership
The Greater Houston Partnership held a listening session Thursday morning with our board members to further discuss the issues surrounding the voting legislation currently under debate in Austin.
This was a moderated discussion with more than 80 board members in attendance. In the hour-long conversation, 15 speakers spoke, not only to express their opinions on these specific bills, but also to speak about what issues like voter suppression, access to the polls, and confidence in the election system mean to them.
Through the discussion, it remains clear there is no consensus on our board to take a formal position on the legislation itself.
However, there is clear consensus that the Partnership should more clearly articulate our beliefs with the following statement.
Greater Houston Partnership Statement
The Greater Houston Partnership values the dignity of all and strongly supports efforts to promote equity and inclusion. In fact, the Partnership is leading initiatives in our community to advance these goals. Though much work remains, we cannot forget that Houston’s diversity is our strength.
We believe voting is fundamental to our democracy. Voting rules and regulations that are consistently applied are essential. These rules should ensure our elections are open to and readily accessible by all. Together, these protections maintain confidence in the electoral process itself.
However, as we know, both our state and nation – either through explicit intent or outcome – have a long history of suppressing the rights of certain groups of citizens to vote, including women, communities of color, low-income communities, and those with disabilities. Election legislation should not limit access in a way that has a disparate impact on any community.
We believe we can have voting rules and regulations in Texas that ensure access for all. We at the Partnership are prepared to participate in any constructive deliberations in the future designed to achieve these goals.