Austin, TX– Today, the Texas Democratic Party reiterated our support for the first round of progressive candidates enrolled in our Project LIFT (Local Investment in the Future of Texas) program for the crucial election taking place on November 3.
Project LIFT is a program designed by the Texas Democratic Party, in concert with local party leaders and progressive partners, to recruit, train, and support candidates with a special focus on winning local, non-partisan races.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:
“Across the state, our Texas Democratic Party Project LIFT candidates are taking up the fight on behalf of their families, friends, and neighbors. Patriots are rising up to fight for and deliver progressive solutions so that every Texan has a fair shot to get ahead.
“After unprecedented turnout in the primary elections, the primary runoffs, and the 2018 election, these candidates know that when we build locally and reach out to our communities, we can change our cities, counties, state, and nation.
“We’re proud to have these great Democrats running for seats on city councils and school boards today, and there’s more to come.”
Meet the Texas Democratic Party’s First Round of Project LIFT supported candidates:
Killeen City Council
Ken Wilkerson is a retired Army Officer, former Small Business Owner, and Public Educator and Coach. Enlisting in the Army at the age of 17, he served as a paratrooper in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Ken rose to the rank of Master Sergeant, before earning his commission as a Logistics Officer, and deploying on two occasions to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. After retiring from the Army in 2015, Ken successfully owned and operated a business that helped elementary and middle schools raise funds to provide students with a leadership and fitness curriculum. That inspired Ken to become a Teacher and Athletic Coach at Copperas Cove High School.
Ken has come to know Killeen and it’s community through his business endeavors and volunteerism. Now, he is ready to use a lifetime of experience to bring in new business growth, improve Killeen’s quality-of-life, and deliver the results Killeen families expect and deserve.
Quentin’s story and the experiences he and his wife Monique faced when moving to Pearland over 13 years ago are representative of the thousands of families that now call Pearland home – families fleeing devastating effects of natural disasters or pandemics, families looking for jobs, families looking for great schools, families looking for safe and diverse neighborhoods, and families looking for community. Quentin’s commitment to his family, his faith, and the Pearland community show why he is ready to lead Pearland into the future. It’s time.
Round Rock City Council, Place 1
Tina Steiner is a native and 52-year resident of Round Rock and attended Round Rock ISD primary and secondary schools and is a graduate of Round Rock High School. She is a Behavioral Management doctoral student with two Masters degrees in Education. Tina has been employed in various degrees with Round Rock ISD since 1998 and is an educator at the district’s secondary DAEP. She volunteers for numerous organizations and received the 2016 Sertoma Club’s Service to Mankind Award.
Tina believes strongly in community and has been an advocate for such. For far too long, small businesses, historic neighborhoods, and the heart of Round Rock have fallen victim to unjust and inequitable policies. Tina is running to bring a different perspective to the council- one where every voice is heard.
Cedar Park City Council, Place 6
Heather Jefts is a small business owner, community leader, and former member of the Cedar Park City Council who’s been proud to call Cedar Park home for 15 years. She is dedicated to servant leadership, shown by her numerous volunteer roles. Heather had careers as a surgical vet technician and as a lab technician in the Genomic Sequencing and Analysis Facility at UT before starting her own business teaching and coaching swimming. She is running to restore civility and productive collaboration to Cedar Park City Council and ensuring a focus on proactive, progressive solutions to the challenges we face.
Mayor of Waco
David is a proud graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where he earned his BA in Environmental Studies. He also earned his Graduate degree in Computer-based Education from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California. As a former member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, he’s seen exactly how investment in modern infrastructure and transportation can have a positive impact on our communities and the environment.
Dave has also been trained by the US EPA in emergency management and evacuation related to natural disasters, chemical and nuclear releases, and security threats. He has a deep understanding of the current COVID-19 pandemic and is prepared to lead Waco toward economic recovery. As a planner and engineer, Dave understands the City’s capabilities and weaknesses. He will ensure public safety to the greatest degree possible.
Euless City Council, Place 4
Mubasher is an IT Consultant and currently working with a reputed IT firm. He is running for City Council Elections in Euless place 4. He is a community leader and firmly believes in community service. He actively worked to raise funds to buy PPE’s for first responders when the pandemic initially spread in NY & NJ areas. He organized appreciation meals for first responders in Euless and organized a Food Drive for the families lost jobs due to COVID19. Mubasher wants upgraded infrastructure of Roads parks and playgrounds in Euless.
Waco ISD Board of Trustees, At-Large Position 7
Hope Balfa-Mustakim is the Executive Director of the Waco Immigrants Alliance, and the proud mother of two Waco ISD students Ezra (6) and Esther (4). Hope is a native of Lafayette, Louisiana and comes from a large traditional Cajun family. She moved to Waco in 2009 and went on to earn both a Bachelors and Masters of Social Work in Community Practice, at the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University.
Round Rock City Council, Place 4
Frank is a lifelong Texan, and has called Central Texas home for over 34 years. Over the course of his life, Frank has always heard and responded to the call for action and engagement. He’s fought hard to fix injustices he’s seen, right wrongs where he could, and leave this world a better place than when he found it. Now, he sees an opportunity to do so again, and to give back.
On the Round Rock City Council, Frank aims to get our city planning ready for a new and changing future by tackling major infrastructure and mobility challenges, and addressing affordable housing and gentrification issues. He hopes you will join his campaign in putting in the work it will take to bring a brighter future to Round Rock.
Carrollton City Council, Place 2
Adam Polter grew up in North Texas and has been a Carrollton resident for 18 years. An Army combat veteran and a graduate of both Leadership Metrocrest and Leadership North Texas, Adam has also served on Carrollton’s Parks & Recreation Board as well as the Capital Improvements Plan Advisory Committee. With a degree in Technical Management and more than two decades providing enterprise-level IT services and direction for companies including UPS and Boeing, he creates solutions while also promoting transparency, agility, and continuous improvement. A regular volunteer with Metrocrest Services and other area organizations, Adam believes that a more involved community leads to a brighter future for Carrollton and all of North Texas.
Cedar Park City Council, Place 4
Jim Penniman-Morin is a West Point graduate decorated for his combat leadership in Iraq and Afghanistan. While completing his military service and providing for his growing family, Jim attended Georgetown Law at night and has been negotiating complex business deals for his clients for the last 12 years, while staying active in his local community and in progressive politics. Jim is running for city council because Cedar Park needs battle-tested leaders who can bring people together to implement smart solutions for this fast-growing city’s challenges on traffic and sustainability.