OBV Profile: Art Hall

As Texas' primary election approaches, not only will Texans be voting for their Democratic US presidential nominee but they will also nominate a candidate to run as one of their commissioners in the state.

Art Hall who while campaigning for the Democratic Party nomination, has rallied support for his own political race after he decided to put himself forward as a candidate for Railroad Commissioner.

Discussing the impending elections, Hall believes that, "Texans will vote based on the fact that they are fed up with the current administration and even some Republicans have disassociated themselves, these are people that the Democrats can pull into the party."

"I feel confident that America will have a Democrat president in November 2008."

The 37-year-old attorney and investment banker, left his position at Popular Securities, an investment banking firm, in December 2007, to focus full-time on his nomination.

As Railroad Commissioner, which at one point related to the regulation of railroads, the role now focuses on the regulation of oil and gas issues and; other international matters.

His decision to run stems from his interest in public service. Much of his ideals have always been about standing up for peoples' rights and fighting for those who are less privileged. For example, he led relief efforts during the 2005 Katrina floods in New Orleans.

"Texas was one of the first places where they [evacuees] came. We got a call saying that 20,000 people would be coming. So all the amenities like beds, restrooms, medical facilities - all this had to be arranged in 48 hours. The volunteer efforts that came out of our communities was absolutely tremendous," he says.

Aside from politics Hall is involved in a number of other projects. He is the owner of the investment company, Artah Holdings, which he established in 1999. He is also the partner of two private equity projects in Brazil, one involving a 35,000 acres farm producing corn and cotton and the other is an eco biodeisel project.

Hall's endeavours do not end there. He sits on several boards in the state, including the San Antonio Symphony, the Alamo Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the San Antonio Fire and Police Pension Fund, and the Health Pre-fund.

The married father-of-one was previously appointed to San Antonio City Council in 2003 to represent an area in San Antonio known as District 8. Although it is a predominately Republican district he continued to serve another term following re-election in 2005, stepping down early to focus on his campaign. As a representative of the council he served as an Environmental Advocate where he undertook issues concerning water supply issues, energy and water cultivation.

As a youngster he was very politically active. He sat on student councils and volunteered to help Democrat Michael Dukakis's 1988 campaign for presidency. Much of his political influences he attributes to the civil rights movement, inspired in particular by leaders like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.

Born of mixed parentage in an east Texas town known as Hempstead, Hall's mother is a trained nurse from the Philippines and, his father an African-American former military officer from Houston, Texas.

He was one of the only students out of 700 in his high school who was accepted to Harvard University, where he studied political science in 1993. He later went on to complete a law and business degree at Texas Tech Law School.

Having travelled to Ecuador in 1996 where he lived for two years to teach law and business, Hall spent the year of 2000 in Wales to study for a Masters degree in Law.

With three degrees to his name and a surmountable amount of experience Hall hopes that he will win his bid to be a candidate and eventually become the next Railroad Commissioner in Texas.

As the owner of a small ranch in Houston where he enjoys horse riding, Hall has no plans to leave the forefront of US politics, "A lot of equality issues and economic issues are out there and still issues of injustice are not being addressed. I want to make sure I am there to address those issues."