National Herald: Cargas Wins Runoff

AUSTIN, TX – Greek-American James Cargas won the Democratic runoff for Texas’ 7th Congressional district on July 31 and will face incumbent Republican John Culberson in November.

Cargas has a lot of public service experience, especially in Washington, DC. When opportunities drew him to Texas, his focus became more local, and his Washington interests went into hibernation. The noise of the Tea Party woke him up.

He quickly got fed up with their oversimplification of issues, “and how obstinate they are.” He said their attitude is “my way of the highway…system broke down because of that.” Compromise has become a dirty word.

“That’s just not how the Founding Fathers set up Congress. They separated power so there would be compromise and negotiation.”

Compromise may not be on Culberson’s agenda. Last month he joined “127 House Republicans led by Michele Bachmann and Jim Jordan in a letter to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor…urging them not to advance any legislation that provides or allows funds,” to implement President Obama’s healthcare reforms, according to Culberson’s website.

Cargas told TNH his opponent is a major Tea Party proponent and he realized that “the only way to change Congress and get it to function again is to defeat these people one at a time.”

Cargas is the grandson of Greek immigrants from the environs of Tripoli and Sparta. His maternal grandmother was actually born in Chicago, but her family returned to Greece when she was a child. Eventually, she went back to Chicago as a teenager where she met Cargas’ grandfather.

His father owned restaurants, giving Cargas a firm understanding of what it takes to be a small business owner, vital knowledge for the Greek-American community and America as a whole.

His wife Dorina neuroscientist at the Baylor College of Medicine’s Department of Neuroscience, is from Athens. Cargas at first was looking forward to a wedding in Greece but they ended up getting married in his home town of Detroit to make it easier for friends and relatives. They are now members of Houston’s Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

Cargas’ Detroit ties remain strong. Peter Marudas, who was retired Senator Paul Sarbanes’ Chief of Staff for many years, was a good friend of his father when they were growing up. And Marudas’ wife Irene grew up with Cargas’ mother. When Cargas decided to run for Congress, Marudas “was one of the first people I called.”

According to his official biography, “James Cargas first worked in the U.S. Congress as a Capitol Hill intern. Then in 1988, after graduating from the University of Michigan…he returned to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Press Secretary to a Michigan Democrat.

James Cargas won the Democratic party runoff for Texas’ 7th Congressional district.

“In 1992, James graduated from the American University’s Washington College of Law. Upon graduation, he worked first in a large law firm and later as environmental counsel to a major interstate pipeline company. He left the private sector and joined the Clinton/Gore White House…

“After leaving the White House to work on the Gore Presidential primary campaign…Cargas rejoined the administration under Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson. When Bill Richardson returned to New Mexico…James permanently moved to Houston and became Deputy Director of the non-profit North American Energy Standards Board.”

Cargas told TNH “With my energy experience, coming to the energy capital made a lot of sense.” And then, his decision was further validated when he met his future wife.

“In 2008, Mayor Bill White hired him as the City of Houston’s energy counsel…Today, he works for Mayor Parker’s City Attorney and also advises the City on contract, environmental, real estate and regulatory matters,” according to the biography.

True to the Boy Scout motto – Cargas is an Eagle Scout – he believes he is well-prepared to represent his district and to help make a difference in the nation’s capital.

His campaign web site declares he “is looking forward to returning to the U.S. House of Representatives as part of a reenergized Congress willing to put egos and personal ideologies aside and focus on moving our nation forward again. He is promising that gridlock, government shut downs and threats of default that cause havoc to a weak American economy will not be part of his agenda.”

Cargas noted in his biography that he first went to Washington when Texan Jim Wright was Speaker of the House and Ronald Reagan was President. It was a time when the Republicans controlled the White House and the Democrats Congress, and they discussed their differences, put aside hardcore and obstinate ideologies, worked hard to find solutions that kept the federal government operating, and remained focused on serving the American people that elected them. It was how Congress had operated successfully since its formation in 1789.”

He thinks he can help steer the car back onto that road.