If you don’t already know the HPD ‘secret,’ Wagner’s running for mayor of Pasadena

Tom Kennedy

If the Jeff Wagner secret hadn’t made it past the proverbial water cooler, it’s out there now in the broad open daylight of Rumorville.

Wagner, a 33-year senior police officer, has been knocking on an endless number of doors and talking to every solid citizen he can find – not for any ticket-writing or follow-up investigations but for “political reasons.”

Wagner wants to be mayor of Pasadena! He resigned his HPOU Board position and will officially “sign up” to become a candidate on or about Jan. 18. Although the city election campaign officially begins in February, this budding mayor hopeful took the early train.

“Once I become mayor,” the candidate confidently told the Badge & Gun, “I will commit my entire time and energy to the mayor’s office.”

A one-term unopposed Pasadena city councilman, Wagner faces one opponent, John Moon Jr.

Endorsements haven’t been announced yet but Wagner hopes to get the thumbs-up from union political action committees in the Pasadena area. To no one’s surprise, he received the whole-hearted support of the Houston Police Officers Union.

Wagner is sounding every bit the candidate: “My campaign has started now because I’ve got my treasurer who’s helping me raise money. And we have a website: Jeffwaner4mayor.com.”

In case you don’t know the routine, the click site to make a campaign contribution is at the upper left of the homepage.

“There are no big issues,” Wagner said at attempted understatement. “Personally, I want to make the city better – see what we have and make it better. I want to be making sure we attract more businesses, clean the city and assure code enforcement.

“I want to ensure that the police and fire have exactly what they need.”

His days have been fully occupied with civic club meetings, senior events and door-to-door home visits. As a councilman, Wagner made home visits a habit. When a citizen had a neighborhood-oriented problem, Wagner would meet them on-site and have a frank discussion.

When elected, Wagner will succeed longtime on-and-off mayor of Pasadena, Johnny Isbell.

As you would expect, the senior police officer is phasing down his HPD work in order to tackle this vigorous campaign schedule.

Formally, Wagner makes statements such as: “Pasadena is changing rapidly right before our eyes. It’s a time of great opportunity. We must ask ourselves: How can we can improve our city without losing what makes Pasadena unique?

“Decades of good planning, innovative thinking, and community building have created a great place to call home. But not every area of our city has access to the best this city has to offer.  We need a bold leader to step up, think big, and unify Pasadena for a strong future.”
His campaign is billed as “a bold new leadership,” alluding to the prospect that Pasadena “can be the most livable city in Texas—inclusive, prosperous, and sustainable.

“We have worked hard to create the city we love, but we need to grow and adapt to new technologies and advance by updating our opportunities for a healthy future, our economic prosperity, social well-being, and environmental health must go hand-in-hand.

“As we move forward, Pasadena must be a place that works for ALL citizens with one goal:  Strength Together.”

Wagner was born and reared in Galena Park but got to Pasadena as soon as he could. That was 25 years ago after working in Pasadena after school, on weekends and during summers. When he graduated from Galena Park High School, he became the youngest-ever Galena Park Police Reserve officer.

Wagner joined the Houston Police Department as soon as he turned 19.

He is as a graduate of Cadet Class No. 113 in 1983, having been inspired by a solo motorcycle officer named Tommy Gage. “I wanted to be just like him,” Wagner said. Now Gage serves as sheriff of Montgomery County.

Officer Wagner trained with the Park Place Rangers and spent time in Special Operations, the Jail, Central Patrol, South Central Patrol, Southeast Patrol and Clear Lake.

Pasadena has a history of taking a liking to retired HPD personnel. In fact, three retirees have succeed one another as chief of police of this great suburban city – Floyd Daigle, Tommy Shane and (current chief) Mike Thaler.

Nothing like having this great legacy alongside the prospects of having a former Park Place Ranger as mayor of the city.

Wager’s an admitted “team player” who doesn’t like to toot his own horn. The record clearly shows that he has been known to distinguish himself for outstanding police work. In 1989, the 100 Club of Greater Houston presented Wagner with Officer of the Year honors after the then Southeast Patrol officer came upon an automobile engulfed in flames. The driver was trapped inside. Wagner broke out the driver’s side window, untangled the driver from his seat and pulled him out as the flames kissed the Houston sky.

Right after Officer Wagner pulled the driver out, the car exploded.

That same year, the now-defunct Houston Police Patrolmen’s Union (HPPU) named Wagner Patrol Officer of the Year for his actions in a different event. There was a man standing at the top of a four-story building threatening to jump to his death. Officer Wagner went up to the far reaches of an HFD ladder truck and talked the man down.

Wagner served on Pasadena’s City Crime Control Board for two terms before being elected to City Council. Jeff is also a Lifetime Member of the Pasadena Livestock Show and Rodeo.
He married his wife, Ginny and together raised two daughters they couldn’t be prouder of.  Jeff and Ginny now have a grandson and granddaughter.​​​ The candidate is the son of a chemical plant valve repair technician who worked on the Houston Ship Channel and a stay-at-home mom.

Pasadena’s city council has a mayor, two at-large members and six others who serve single-member districts. The mayor serves a four-year term.