* Was elected DA of Harris County, TX in 2016, with help from George Soros
* Aims to decriminalize small-scale drug offenses
* Seeks to eliminate the cash bail system
* Claims that the Republican Party stands for “hate” & “discrimination”
* Aims to minimize the use of capital punishment
* Supports transgender surgeries for minors
Kim Ogg was born in Houston, Texas in 1959. Her father, Jack, was a Democrat state representative and senator who represented the Houston area from the late 1960s until the early ’80s. Kim graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1981. She also earned a J.D. degree from the South Texas College of Law in 1986.
From 1987-1994, Ogg served as an assistant district attorney at the D.A.’s Office in Harris County, which contains the city of Houston. From 1994-1999, she was the director of Mayor Bob Lanier’s Anti-Gang Task Force in Houston. Ogg then became executive director of the Crime Stoppers of Houston in 1999, a post she would hold for the next 7 years. In 2006 she started a private legal practice, through which she helped implement a private-public partnership called the “Clean & Green” program, to protect Houston’s waterways. In 2008, she became the managing partner at the family-owned Ogg Law Firm.
In 2013, Ogg launched a bid to become the Democratic nominee for District Attorney of Harris County — the third most populous county in the United States. According to KHOU.com, “Ogg said [that if she were to be elected,] she won’t prosecute drug cases where there was only trace evidence, and she said she would work to free up jail space and court time for serious criminals.” But she ultimately lost to incumbent Republican DA Devon Anderson in 2014.
Ogg challenged Anderson again for Harris County DA in 2016. Leading up to that election, leftist billionaire George Soros spent $500,000 on advertising that promoted Ogg’s candidacy. Ogg’s campaign also received $135,000 from a PAC linked to wealthy Democrat donor Steve Mostyn. Moreover, her campaign garnered the endorsements of influential leftwing activist groups like EMILY’s List, Planned Parenthood, and the Harris County AFL-CIO Council, as well as the support of major media outlets like The Houston Chronicle and the Jewish Herald Voice. Running on a platform that featured proposals for relaxing the enforcement of anti-marijuana laws, reducing the prison population by finding alternatives to incarceration, and eliminating the cash bail system (which Ogg’s campaign described as “an unjust ‘plea mill’” and “a tool to oppress the poor”), Ogg prevailed to defeat Anderson in November 2016 with 54% of the vote.
The following month, Ogg informed nearly 40 prosecutors within the Harris County DA Office that their contracts would not be renewed at the start of 2017.
Ogg formally took office as Harris County District Attorney in January 2017. By February, she was pursuing the decriminalization of possession of less than four ounces of marijuana. While engaged in that effort, Ogg: (a) downplayed the harmful physical and mental effects of marijuana, and (b) argued that the enforcement of drug laws in the past had “produced no tangible evidence of improved public safety.” In a similar vein, her official online platform called for law enforcement to stop “wasting time arresting those in possession of small amounts of marijuana.”
In April 2017, Ogg defended her efforts to decriminalize marijuana and eliminate cash bail, stating that: “Holding low-level offenders who can’t bond out because they’re too poor is against the basic principles of fairness.” “I want poor people out of the jail if they don’t pose a safety threat to the rest of the community,” Ogg added, “and I don’t want rich criminals to be able to buy their way out simply because they have the money regardless of their threat level.”
During an August 2017 interview with OutSmart Magazine, Ogg spoke about the struggles she had allegedly endured throughout her academic and professional career because of her status as an open lesbian. She recalled that the Republican Party’s opposition to same-sex marriage in the 2004 presidential race had caused her to feel more justified than ever before about her choice to be a Democrat: “I was never going to be for a party that stood for hate and that used discrimination as a platform, as a literal political platform.” When asked about the “argument that transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination laws lead to sexual assault” – e.g., as in cases where biological boys claiming to be transgender have raped or molested females in restrooms designated specifically for girls and women — Ogg replied that such complaints were nothing more than a “red herring” and a “manufactured issue that’s intentionally divisive.” Ogg also asserted that under her leadership, the new approach to immigration-law enforcement in Harris County would be “pro-American,… pro-public safety, and … anti-Trump.”
In October 2018, Ogg praised a grand jury’s decision to indict Cameron Brewer, a black deputy sheriff who had fatally shot an unarmed black man who was refusing to comply with Brewer’s orders and was walking with the waist of his pants down low around his ankles. “Our democracy depends on the public’s trusting that police are here to protect us,” Ogg stated. “When they exceed their lawful authority, our community holds them accountable, and that’s exactly what this grand jury of ordinary citizens did.” Sheriff Brewer would be found not guilty in a courtroom trial the following year.
In January 2020, Ogg’s office highlighted the DA’s unwavering commitment to keeping “her promise of holding police officers accountable for civil rights violations.” Indeed, her office emphasized the fact that over the course of the three years that Ogg had theretofore served as DA, no fewer than “29 police officers have been indicted or stood trial for use of excessive force, lying on government documents, and murder.” That figure easily surpassed the total of 15 indictments/trials that had taken place during the five-year tenure of Ogg’s Republican predecessor.
Seeking re-election to the office of DA, Ogg won the March 2020 Democratic primary with 54.5% of the vote. She overcame challenges from several of her former assistant district attorneys who claimed that Ogg had not been true to the promises of her initial 2016 platform.
After the infamous May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ogg swiftly denounced police officer Derek Chauvin as a “killer” who had perpetrated “an act of cruelty and lethality…an act of murder.” Regarding the widespread protests sparked by Floyd’s death, Ogg lauded the “grieving” demonstrators who were publicly taking to the streets to register their “legitimate complaint” against Chauvin’s actions. Moreover, Ogg emphasized that her “team of civil rights prosecutors” was “exclusively dedicated to investigating every single instance of police-involved shootings,” all of which “will be subjected to a grand jury review of the investigation.” Ogg also articulated her own sense of pride in the fact that she and her fellow prosecutors in Harris County had sought to have their district emerge from the George Floyd protests with “the lowest possible number of arrestees.” And finally, Ogg expressed her hope that Mr. Floyd’s “memory [will] fuel the efforts of everyone around the country who strive to make our systems more equitable and just.”
Ogg and her office dismissed a total of almost 800 criminal charges against local protestors and rioters who, in early June 2020, had been arrested for their disruptive behavior in the aftermath of Floyd’s death. A majority of the dismissed cases involved charges of trespassing and the obstruction of highways.
In September 2020, Ogg told OutSmart magazine that her efforts to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cocaine and marijuana were, at their core, a function of her pursuit of racial justice: “Where Black and Brown communities were most disproportionately impacted by arrests was with drug offenses. I wanted to decrease the unnecessary over-policing of communities where drug arrests were often used as an excuse. Drug use is equal in all communities, but you get more enforcement in Black and Brown communities.”
Ogg also told OutSmart of her support for programs that would expunge the criminal records of convicted felons as a means of improving their prospects for eventually becoming law-abiding citizens: “If we make people more employable by eliminating criminal records that should be expunged or non-disclosed, then we strengthen our workforce and make our community safer. Having a job is the best type of crime prevention.”
In November 2020, Ogg won re-election as Harris County DA by defeating Republican Mary Nan Huffman with 54% of the total vote.
In September 2021, Ogg acknowledged that Harris County was in the midst of a protracted “crime crisis” wherein multitudes of felons were becoming repeat offenders after having been released on bond. Specifically, Ogg’s office issued a report noting that the number of defendants who were accused of committing new crimes after their release from custody increased from 6,344 in 2015, to 18,820 in 2020. And in December 2021, KRPC-TV News reported that the homicide rate in Houston had likewise increased by a large amount from 2020 to 2021.
In December 2021, Kristin Houle Cuellar — executive director of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty — cited Ogg as having been a major factor behind the overall decline in the use of capital punishment statewide, noting that “Ogg has pursued the death penalty in [just] two cases since she was first elected” in 2016.
After Texas’ Republican Governor, Greg Abbott, ordered the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate the performance of transgender surgeries on minors as a form of child abuse, Ogg declared her opposition to the order. “I want transgender children and their families to know: you are safe from prosecution in Harris County,” she affirmed. Ogg also released a statement condemning Abbott’s order and its enforcement by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton:
“As District Attorney of the most populous county in Texas, I oppose attempts by Gov. Abbott and AG Paxton to designate life-saving care for transgender children as ‘child abuse.’ As a member of the LGBTQ community myself, I am particularly sensitive to the invidious nature of this order — it turns family members against each other at the expense of their children. It is a remnant of a hateful past that I had hoped our society had matured beyond. I will not prosecute any parent, any facility, or anyone else for providing medically appropriate care to transgender children.”