HPOU has many listeners in high (Austin) places as the Legislature begins

THE HOUSTON POLICE OFFICERS UNION appears to be in great shape, thank you, as the state capitol prepares to open the doors to the 2015 session of the Texas Legislature.

While some Houston pencil pushers seek to mess with HPD’s pension program, the influential elected officials say that won’t happen. At no time like the present can we safely say that the HPOU PAC is reaping huge benefits. The PAC’s endorsements for governor, lieutenant governor and the impressive Harris County legislative delegation ensures the fact that we have the ears of numerous influential state senators and representatives once the session starts as does the rhetoric and schedule of committee hearings.

HPOU membership got a taste of their political potency in the December general membership meeting when Sen. John Whitmire, the dean of the Texas Senate, offered encouraging words alongside veteran Houston state Rep. Sylvester Turner. Both have let their actions in favor of Houston police officers speak much louder than political rhetoric over the past few decades in Austin.

Whitmire and Turner vow to do what’s right by Houston police officers. They are far from standing alone. The HPOU PAC staunchly supported Gov.-elect Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick – both of whom hail from Houston – a wise move that won’t hurt our efforts in the Legislature. Both of these leaders communicate regularly not only with HPOU President Ray Hunt but also with HPOU Executive Director Mark Clark, who has overseen the Union’s legislative efforts before either Abbott or Patrick came to Austin in elective offices.

Whitmire and Turner are Democrats; Abbott and Patrick Republicans. The optimism doesn’t stop there. Another great HPOU advocate, state Sen. Joan Huffman, will be chairing the Republican caucus this session. This former criminal district judge has always stood firmly behind Houston policing issues. Any pension reform advocates or others who seek to throw political monkey wrenches into policing had best be aware of our friends in these places.

And speaking of awareness, the Badge & Gun reminds the HPOU membership one more time that many of you might be long-overdue to join the HPOU PAC. The investment continues to prove to be a wise one.