Chris Hollins at the podium during a press conference
Chris Hollins at the podium during the April 6, 2023 press conference announcing his run for the Houston City Controller position. Credit: Jimmie Aggison

You can call former Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins a former candidate, but you would only be half right.

Today, Hollins officially withdrew from the race to become Houston’s next mayor while also declaring his candidacy for the position of Houston City Controller.

Here is Hollins in his own words, as shared on April 6:

When we embarked on this campaign 14 months ago, we were clear from the very beginning that this campaign wasn’t about me. It was about Houston, the city that raised me, the city that we all love, and the city that my wife Morgan and I are proud to raise our family in. A city that has been amazing in its upward trajectory, but a city that has some real challenges. Challenges that require real leadership.

And over the course of this journey, my love for the city of Houston and my passion for solving the problems that we face as a community have only grown. It’s grown because I’ve seen the lives we’ve touched. I’ve heard practical solutions that we can bring to bear. I’ve seen the children whose futures we have the opportunity to brighten. And so I wanna thank all the incredible Houstonians that I’ve met along the way. You’ve opened the doors of your homes to me. You’ve invited me in for a cup of coffee or a cold glass of water. You’ve shared your personal struggles and you’ve shared your hopes for a fairer, safer and more prosperous Houston. You’ve invested in our grassroots movement with your time, your energy, and your hard-earned dollars.

You prayed for us and you prayed with us. You’ve given us an opportunity to share our message with your friends and with your neighbors. And so, from the bottom of my heart, I thank each and every one of you all.

Now, I believe that I was called to serve this city, but my faith has taught me that a calling is bigger than any particular position or office. It’s not about any one person, but instead about the role that we each can play to help the city, we call home to reach the promise that lies ahead. Sister Ada Edwards, a fierce, yet noble freedom fighter who he recently laid to rest, put it simply. She said, ‘No one can do everything. But if everyone does something, it’ll all get done.’

And so, over these past couple of weeks, I’ve spent time with my supporters, with community stakeholders, with faith leaders like the ones joining us today, and with family praying and working to determine that’s something, that unique role that’s mine to play in moving Houston forward. And after much prayer and consideration, after seeking feedback from hundreds of Houstonians who care deeply about our city’s future, I’m proud to announce that I’m running to be Houston’s next city controller.

For those unaware, the job description of a city controller is best described as part auditor and part accountant for an entire city. The city controller oversees all city departments that handle any of the city’s money (water and utilities departments, parks and recreation, public works, etc.). However, as Hollins continued during his official announcement as a city controller candidate, he continued to sound like the mayor’s seat was on his mind.

“The challenges that we face as a city are real: guns on our streets at an all-time high, affordability in our neighborhoods at an all-time low and politicians in Austin, like Greg Abbott, who couldn’t care less, who’ve been focusing on banning books, on taking over our schools, on attacking reproductive rights, on sabotaging and free and fair elections. And so in these times, it’s gonna be strong local leaders who have to emerge as our last line of defense. And I’m proud to join that number,” Hollins said.

However, as Hollins continued, his words seemed to focus more on his task at hand.

“We have the potential to become the safest major city in America. We have the potential to have the strongest local economy, one that works for all of our residents. But to achieve that, we need more investment in infrastructure and critical services, not less. And we need a city government that’s both effective and efficient in fighting for the needs of Houstonians. As the chief financial officer of the city, the controller plays a pivotal role in ensuring good stewardship of our tax dollars. I will fight every day to increase transparency and accountability in our city government, ensuring that every single dollar we invest in our city pays real dividends for our community. I’m also excited by the potential for the office of the city controller to be Houston’s Chief Innovation Office. One that offers new ideas and best practices that will impact the lives of millions of Houstonians for the better,” he said.

Though Hollins never said what most have assumed — that Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s entrance into Houston’s mayor’s race initiated Hollins dropping out of that race — his words for Jackson Lee were nothing but glowing when asked if he was endorsing any specific candidates for mayor.

“I have nothing but the deepest respect and highest esteem for Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. She’s a personal hero of mine. She’s an icon. She’s been an incredibly hard worker for the 18th Congressional District and for Houstonians and Texans. And when I was fighting to protect and preserve democracy, she stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me in that fight.

“And just this past November, when I and many others were fighting to ensure that Harris County and this Houston area continue to move forward instead of backward, the congresswoman stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me in that fight, as well. So, I think she would make a fine mayor, and I told her, face-to-face, that I wish her the absolute best,” shared Hollins, who stopped short of making an official endorsement.

Many view the mayor’s race as a dual between Jackson Lee and State Senator John Whitmire. However, the one other African-American candidate running for mayor, former Houston City Councilmember Amanda Edwards, according to many politicos, is a much more viable candidate than the mainstream media is acknowledging.

Also running for city controller are Houston City Council Members Dave Martin and Michael Kubosh, and the current Chief Deputy Controller, Shannan Nobles. A Nobles victory in this race would give the city of Houston its first Black woman city controller.

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Aswad WalkerAssociate Editor

I'm originally from Cincinnati. I'm a husband and father to six children. I'm an associate pastor for the Shrine of Black Madonna (Houston). I am a lecturer (adjunct professor) in the University of Houston...