Race for Mayor: Ben Hall


Thomas Hopkins

Ben Hall is a candidate for mayor of Houston. He discussed his plans for educational reform, infrastructure and city beautification in a recent interview.

Marialuisa Rincon, Staff Writer

Ben Hall is a familiar name to Houstonians. After an unsuccessful campaign in 2013, the former City Attorney is back for another shot at City Hall.

Hall’s administration would be a louder advocate for educational reform in Houston than what the mayor’s office has been in the past. He hopes to create an advisory council of educators to guide him in prioritizing schools.

Regarding infrastructure Hall says, “I think my solutions are the best of the table.” He proposes consolidating the “behemoth” 23- department system currently in place and cutting out services he thinks are unnecessary to the city — like the city crime lab or the public IT department.

Hall says the city already has excess revenue and it’s just being misallocated — traditionally, the city has used the single-highest-pay-period method to calculate pensions for city employees. The money saved from his departmental consolidation would provide funding to cushion pension shortfalls and stop the cycle of issuing more debt to pay pension obligations.

“It’s a poor leader who simply solves the temporary problem,” he says, criticizing the current administration for its mishandling of the dismal traffic and transport problem. He claims traffic congestion, flooding concerns and road repairs can be fixed by his SMART tunnel, which will redirect water flow and add much needed roads, “that is the future of the city.”

“I have not heard — from any of the opponents — anything that I think is outstanding in terms of the policy positions that cause them to be concerning to me.”

Ben Hall talked about his opposition to the HERO ordinance, and what he would do as mayor of Houston.
Thomas Hopkins
Ben Hall talked about his opposition to the HERO ordinance, and what he would do as mayor of Houston.

Hall says his most difficult hurdle will be other people’s opinions — not necessarily another candidates. “It’s going to be how they fall on the bathroom ordinance. If they believe I’m right on it, then I’m likely going to win.”

Hall is not in favor of HERO, which would allow transgender males to use female bathrooms. “I’m so strong on this being a dangerous ordinance.” Backed by a self-administered poll, he says that after HERO got a place on the November ballot, numbers and views changed drastically and says that the controversial ordinance will, “drive a lot of the outcome of the election.”

“I’m a walking conflict,” he says about his faith, “America is a wonderful contradiction between freedom and a faith-based country.” As well as being an attorney and businessman, Hall is an ordained preacher and even broadcasts sermons on his own radio station.

As an individual, he holds strong personal convictions, but maintains his religious views will not interfere with his role as mayor. “I’m not running to be pastor of Houston.”

Hall is also determined to “beautify” Houston. “I think the way the city presents itself to the world as we move forward. We’re competing on the international stage — we can’t have an ugly city.” With the effort spearheaded and influenced by his wife, he hopes to raise the parks and recreation department’s priority in the city’s legislative agenda.

Who do you think will be the next mayor of Houston?

  • Chris Bell (36%, 15 Votes)
  • Steve Costello (31%, 13 Votes)
  • Adrian Garcia (14%, 6 Votes)
  • Ben Hall (10%, 4 Votes)
  • Sylvester Turner (10%, 4 Votes)
  • Bill King (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Marty McVey (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 42

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Hall’s family plays front and center in his campaign. With her own biography on his website, Saundra Hall has been her husband’s right hand throughout his campaign — and he says she will have a large role to play in his administration. “She is a brilliant and strong person, and I think she would make a very good example of leadership in the city.”

As mayor, Hall’s priority seems to be ending the bureaucratic quarrels that slow progress and hinder Houston from moving ahead.

According to Hall, his campaign has identified about 82 thousand voters firmly in their camp. “I think so,” he replies to being asked if he thinks he could sway any more people to his side, “but I feel pretty comfortable where we are right now.”

“I have not been self indulgent in this enterprise, so I haven’t looked forward to establishing a legacy,” he says about his life after a term (or three) as mayor. “When I get out of the mayor’s office, I want people to say that man had great solutions for a great city.”


Editor’s note:

This is not an endorsement from the The Egalitarian. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of The Egalitarian or its staff.

This is the fourth post in our Race for Mayor series where Marialuisa Rincon will be interviewing the top Houston mayoral candidates. You may contact her at [email protected]