Amy Peck couldn’t beat Brenda Stardig, so she joined her.
Now she hopes to succeed her.
Peck first ran for the Houston City Council’s District A seat as a 24-year-old in 2009, when she finished third in an election won by Stardig. Peck ran again in 2013 and again lost to Stardig, who then hired Peck as her chief of staff.
Stardig is now approaching the end of her term limit, so her spot on the council will be up for grabs during the Nov. 5 election. Peck intends to take it.
“I’ve been working in the community for many years now,” said Peck, a Cypress Falls High School graduate who grew up in District A. “I think I know what the needs are of the community, and the community knows me at this point. I think I’ll have a better outcome this time around.”
While citywide races remain in their early stages – the filing deadline to get on the ballot is not until August – Peck is so far uncontested. She is the only District A candidate who as of Monday had filed a campaign treasurer designation form with the city secretary, which signals someone’s intention to run for office.
All 16 city council seats, including five at-large positions, will be on the ballot. So will the races for mayor and city controller, offices occupied by Sylvester Turner and Chris Brown, respectively.
Two other council members are approaching their term limits, District C’s Ellen Cohen and the at-large 5 position held by Jack Christie. The area served by Cohen, who also is mayor pro tem, includes the Heights, Garden Oaks and Oak Forest.
Six candidates have emerged in the race to replace Cohen: Heights resident and longtime city employee Bob Nowak, Garden Oaks resident Shelley Kennedy, realtor Nick Hellyar, attorney Abbie Kamin, businesswoman Daphne Scarbrough and Greg Meyers, a former president of the Houston ISD Board of Education who resigned as a trustee in 2016.
Attempting to unseat Turner as mayor are Kendall Baker, Tony Buzbee, Bill King and Demetria Smith. King has a Timbergrove rally scheduled for 5-7 p.m. Friday at Wakefield Crowbar, 954 Wakefield Dr.
As a potential successor to Stardig in District A, Peck hopes to continue the work done by her boss by focusing on infrastructure, city services and the safety of her constituents. Stardig has used her Council District Service Funds, a total of $750,000 annually, to pay for overtime for Houston Police Department officers and new equipment for the Houston Fire Department, initiatives Peck wants to continue.
Peck said she also wants to tweak the city’s Capital Improvement Plan, which allocates taxpayer money to districts based on project needs and often results in uneven disbursement among the city’s 11 districts. Peck would prefer for half of the funds to be allocated that way and the other half to be distributed evenly.
“Right now, the way it’s funded, it’s not fair and it’s not equal,” she said. “I want to make sure our constituents are getting back in services that they’re paying into.”
Even if she loses another election, Peck said she still wants to serve her community. She views her connection to Stardig, an adversary turned ally, as a testament to her commitment.
“When I lost, I wasn’t just going to say, ‘Well, I can’t be a community member. I can’t work for the community,’” Peck said. “I wanted to work for the community in any capacity I could.
“I don’t think I’m going to lose this time,” she added.
In The Running
The following city government candidates are incumbents or have filed campaign treasurer designation forms with the City of Houston Secretary, signaling their intention to run for office in November.
Mayor: Kendall Baker, Tony Buzbee, Bill King, Demetria Smith, Sylvester Turner (incumbent)
Controller: Chris Brown (incumbent)
Council District A: Amy Peck
Council District C: Nick Hellyar, Abbie Kamin, Shelley Kennedy, Greg Meyers, Bob Nowak, Daphne Scarborough
Council District H: Karla Cisneros (incumbent)