As Hurricane Ike was finishing with his damage to our city, many politicians were holding press conferences and co-ordinating with local leaders about transitioning into recovery mode. The mayor and the county president held frequent press conferences with members of the congressional delegation present. Both Texas senators were visible and working on providing assistance and solutions to problems,too.
One member of the state congressional delegation missing in action was Rick Noriega, the state representative currently challenging Senator Cornyn for his Senate seat. Noriega likes to bring attention to his experience in response to Hurricane Katrina in our city - he served as Incident Commander - and even pointed out this position in a press release explaining why he wasn't in the city of Houston tending to the needs of his constituents.
Where was Noriega in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike? He was campaigning in Killeen. Noriega was at a forum hosted by a veterans advisory committee. Senator Cornyn, however, was not in attendance. Cornyn was in Austin with the Governor and he was surveying damage. Cornyn made his staff available to those in need, and doing what he could to be sure the response at the federal level was forthcoming.
Noriega likes to boost his credentials by pointing to his service in the Texas National Guard - he is a lt. colonel who was deployed to Afghanistan - yet when his experience was needed in his own district he was MIA, serving himself first. His wife, Melissa, parlayed Noriega's deployment into a political career advancement of her own. She stepped in when he deployed and filled his seat in Austin, then ran for Houston City Council as he returned. She now serves on the City Council.