I just had a blast attending the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus – Texas Can Do Better workshop. I hesitated at first to sign up, as it was going to include all the Democratic Senators for the state.
I thought perhaps it wasn’t suitable for me – a mere Precinct chair! – to attend. Thankfully I did sign up and go, and it was a lot of fun. Always remember that the Democrats are the party of transparency and inclusiveness, and even the bottom rung of the party level is welcome at these events.
Moving on to the proceedings, the event was hosted by Senator Kirk Watson – the chair of the Senate democratic caucus, a very pleasant gentleman! However, almost the entire contingent of democratic state senators was present – including Fort Worths’ own Wendy Davis. I’m not sure if they were all present, but I believe they consist of Senators Davis, Ellis, Gallegos Jr, Hinojosa, Lucio Jr, Rodriguez, Uresti, Van De Putte, Watson, West, Whitmore and Zaffirini.
Our first task was to write down a list of items. These included one thing we loved about Texas, one thing we didn’t love, one thing we would like to see done differently, and one thing we personally would do different.
Senator Watson had a few people from the crowd deliver their responses to provide us some food for thought, and then commenced the table decisions.
Each table had a Senator – or an aide – sit down with them our Table had an aide named David, who worked for Senator Ellis) and run through a worksheet to get our input or thoughts on the governing or operation of Texas as a whole.
This led to lots of lively debates – and im sure some disagreements at some tables! – and was really quite enjoyable. Next we were tasked – at the table level – in generating a short message of what we would like to see changed/done differently/etc… and each of these summaries was delivered to the Senators (and the other participants).
A lot of the talk focused on the deficiencies in our education system (I’ve noticed there are a lot of teachers present at the convention!), safety net issues, womens’ rights, teen pregnancies (this one surprised me a little). There was a lot of solid talk – including at my own table – about the need to produce a solid message of what Texas Democrats stand for, advertize this message, and promote it party wide. Unfortunately this will require some discipline, but I hope we can make it happen!
This was really a great exercise, and seeing our senior leadership actively reaching out to the party membership for their thoughts and input was very gratifying. I’d have to say this was the highlight of the convention to me, and I really think it demonstrates one of the great reasons why the Democratic party appeals to me – it is the party of everyone.
At the end of our discussion we received the good news that there was a free t-shirt and sticker for all (hey, it is a convention after all!!) We also got the chance to signup to the official ‘Texas Senate Democratic Caucus Better
Texas Team’ and pledge our support.
I’m usually relatively cautious about this type of thing, but was very excited to sign up!