He announced his political plans at a press conference held outside the Danville Veterans Memorial Hall at 2 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 2. His declaration comes after speculation that he would run on the Republican ticket for the 11th U.S. Congressional District seat, which is currently being occupied by Democrat Jerry McNerney.
"My commitment is to Contra Costa County no matter what the outcome is," Houston said. "I bring a unique combination of experience."
"Collectively, it's going to be an exciting campaign," he added.
District 3 comprises Danville, Alamo, Blackhawk, San Ramon, Diablo, Dougherty Valley, Walnut Creek, Byron, Brentwood, Discovery Bay, Tassajara and Knightsen. Supervisor Piepho's term expires next year. Piepho is a resident of Discovery Bay, and she was first elected to the office in 2004.
Piepho said she was surprised to hear Houston's decision.
"I considered Guy to be a friend," she said after the announcement last Thursday. "He was the first person to encourage me to run for this office when I was a staffer in his office. I feel disappointed. He called me this morning."
Nonetheless, she said she plans to run for re-election when her term expires.
"I'm committed to serving the county," she said. "We have made huge financial structural changes to put the county back on the road to recovery."
She noted that progress has been made while she's been in office and the county has moved toward balancing the budget and rebuilding financial reserves.
"I certainly welcome the challenge," Piepho said. "I'm committed to the county where I was born and raised."
Houston said Republican leaders in Washington, D.C., and California said he was not conservative enough to win the Congressional seat. He noted they felt Dean Andal, a former Stockton assemblyman, was more conservative, which made him a more winnable candidate. District 11 was represented by Richard Pombo of Stockton until he was defeated by McNerney in his re-election bid in 2006.
Houston is also headed to a civil trial with his father Fred Houston in September for allegedly defrauding seniors in an investment scheme although he did not mention this as a reason for lack of Republican support for higher office.
Houston stood outside the Vets Hall with his wife Inge and his three children Bartlett, Sumner and Glynnis Rose. He reported he has raised $300,000 for his campaign although it was raised while he was serving in the Assembly. He said Tuesday that most of these funds can be used for his supervisorial compaign.
Houston, 46, who graduated from San Ramon Valley High School, will be termed out in the Assembly in 2008. While there, he has focused on legislative work to bring more equalization funds to the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. He said his work in making Dublin a viable location for business and development when he was mayor is one of his greatest achievements.
Danville Town Councilwoman Candace Andersen has endorsed his candidacy.
"I think he would do an excellent job in the county due to his state experience," she said. "As a former Dublin council member and mayor, he understands how cities work. I think he brings valuable skills."
"My style is to work with everyone and build consensus," Houston said. "I pledge to work with all stakeholders in Contra Costa County to solve the problems. The time for action is now; we cannot afford to ignore the issues any longer."