Just a few years ago, Lake Houston businessman Mike Sullivan was earning his associate degree from Lone Star College-Kingwood.
Today, he’s announcing that he is a candidate for the Lone Star College Board of Trustees, Position 8.
“This is an important seat,” the native Houstonian told The Tribune. “The college system is transitioning from all at-large positions to specific districts to serve geographic areas. This will be the first time Lake Houston voters have a choice to elect someone who is local, who knows Lake Houston and has a history of public service across many forms of government.”
Voters will go to the polls on Nov. 6 to determine who will hold three places on the Lone Star College System's nine-member board of trustees, said Helen Clougherty, vice chancellor, chief of staff and board liaison for Lone Star College. Up for election are Districts 1, 2 and 8. The terms are for six years. Individuals seeking to be elected in District 1, 2 or 8 may file as candidates by submitting the required paperwork from Monday, July 23 through Monday, August 20.
Sullivan has already received a number of endorsements.
“I am fortunate and honored to have been endorsed by Houston City Council Member Dave Martin, Texas State Representative Dan Huberty, City of Humble Mayor Merle Aaron, and Humble ISD board members Keith Lapeze and Robert Sitton as well as Republican precinct chairs and community leaders,” he said.
Mike and Kim Sullivan, married for more than 30 years, have lived in the Lake Houston area since 1991. They have one adult daughter, Paige, and son-in-law, Luke.
“When George W. Bush was elected governor,” recalled Sullivan, “I took our daughter to the swearing-in ceremony in Austin. Paige and I walked the halls of the Texas Capitol, ate barbecue on the grounds. Listened to speeches. Watched the parade.”
On the drive back to Houston, Sullivan phoned his wife and told her he wanted to run for office.
“With her support, the rest is history,” Sullivan said. “While I lost my first two races, I refused to give up and was elected to the Humble ISD Board of Trustees. Frankly, losing those first two races was humbling, but I would not trade that experience for the world.”
In addition to the Humble ISD Board, Sullivan also was elected to three terms as District E representative on the Houston City Council and he served a term as Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector.
“And the last three Texas governors, Bush, Perry and Abbott, have appointed me to a board or commission,” Sullivan added.
After 40 years as a small business owner and 12 continuous years in elected office, Sullivan found what he terms ‘the perfect place’ as director of governmental and public affairs for Group 1 Automotive, an international Fortune 500 company based in Houston that owns and operates 175 automotive dealerships, 230 franchises and 48 collision centers in the United States, United Kingdom and Brazil.
Sullivan’s Group 1 responsibilities are only with the domestic operation. His governmental affairs duties involve interfacing with state and federal agencies, local municipalities and elected offices, while his public affairs duties involve working with numerous charitable organizations that Group 1 supports as well as chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, trade associations, and community events.
While he was still a small business owner and an elected official, Sullivan enrolled at Lone Star-Kingwood. He graduated from Lone Star with an Associate of Arts degree, transferred to the University of Houston-Downtown and, at age 56, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
“I could never have done it without Lone Star,” Sullivan confessed. “I know first hand the value that Lone Star provides to students, our community and our businesses.”
As a successful small business owner and official elected to three different positions, Sullivan believes he has a unique perspective on public service.
“My focus as a Lone Star trustee will be as a good steward of taxpayers’ money, ensuring programs are adequately funded, and giving a voice to the residents of District 8,” he said.
Sullivan found his political interest originally by volunteering on radio host Michael Berry’s city council races. He worked closely with Berry during Berry’s six years in office and Berry was the person who encouraged Sullivan to run for Houston City Council.
“I’ve always focused on what I did not want to be or how not to be perceived,” Sullivan said. “Some elected officials think the office is about them. They quit listening to their constituents. I definitely do not want to be that elected official, so I pride myself on listening to constituents, taking lots of advice, and seeking opinions from stakeholders.”
Sullivan said he has chosen to run for Position 8 because both he and his family are committed to public service and are strong believers in the education system.
“Not everyone wants or needs a four-year degree,” he said. “Lone Star College fills that role, enabling students to earn dual credit in high school, workforce certificates, associate degrees that prepare students to immediately enter the workforce, and allows students to transfer their credits to any university they choose. All in all, Lone Star College can prepare virtually anyone in our community to learn new skills and be gainfully employed.”
For more information about Mike Sullivan, visit MikeSullivanCampaign.com.