A campaign to retake Texas House District 148 began Wednesday, March 12, in a quiet, unassuming restaurant on Houston’s north side. With the huge sign out front announcing the campaign kick-off reception, Chris Carmona’s effort to wrest the district from decades of neglect was formally launched. The largest private event room at Fiesta Guadalajara filled quickly with enthusiastic supporters as Carmona began the undertaking of a mission to bring people power back to the legislative table.

Fresh off a primary race win, Harris County Treasurer Orlando Sanchez gave the crowd a heartfelt, humorous, rousing introduction of Chris. Sanchez didn’t do the normal, “I’m Republican, he’s Republican, so let’s go vote!” spiel you normally find at these gatherings. This was a specific, detailed, and issue-driven endorsement of a candidate. Not only does Sanchez thoroughly understand the campaign issues he addressed when introducing Carmona–especially with relation to House District 148; he knows that Chris Carmona is exactly the leader the district needs.

Now, I have known Chris for a while. We have worked together with both the Houston Young Republicans and the Harris County Republican Outreach Committee while Chris was chairman. But, when he took the microphone to a standing ovation, the Chris Carmona I saw on Wednesday night was not one I’d ever seen. I’ve been to lots of campaign events, whether they were forums or rallies, meet and greets or press conferences. But the Chris I heard speak on Wednesday night was different. This was no typical, run-of-the-mill Republican red meat speech; this was a passionate embrace of a compelling cause:

With this campaign, it is not enough to just say our goal is to win, but we have to be worthy of winning. As the late Jack Kemp used to state, our party has always been the party of optimism, always been the party of the future. The purpose of a truly great party is to provide superior ideas, principled leadership and a compelling cause.

Chris addressed issues such as parental choice in education, opportunity scholarships, economic opportunity districts, empowering communities, and fighting for women victims to have greater access to justice. The issues Carmona is running on are specific, detailed, and very timely, and anyone in the room could see and hear that Chris feels deeply and passionately about the issues driving his campaign. These issues are at the forefront of the minds of the constituency he could soon represent, and vague platitudes like the ones they’ve heard for the last twenty years just won’t cut it.

Talking with people around the room before and after the speech, I noticed that the crowd was extraordinarily diverse: young, old, black, white, and Hispanic voters were all in attendance. Some made the drive from Montgomery County, and even as far as Dallas. While the campaign kick-off event was supposed to last about an hour and a half, people stayed and visited with one another. It ended up lasting over three hours, with people seemingly reluctant to leave, and with many holding or wearing a “Carmona for 148″ t-shirt.

In Chris Carmona, the voters in House District 148 finally have an excellent opportunity to have a voice in Austin. Republicans who seek to grow the party by embracing youth and diversity have an ideal, passionate and motivated candidate in Chris. Those who seek soldiers for the front line against Battleground Texas can find a compelling cause in the candidacy of Chris Carmona.

He has my full support. He deserves yours, as well.

Vladimir Davidiuk | University at St. Thomas | @VladDavidiuk