TX Uncategorized

Texas Senate Democratic Caucus Better Texas Team!

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!

TX Uncategorized

Texas State Convention 2012

Having arrived for the Texas Democratic State Convention earlier in the day, my first act of business was to sit in on the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) meeting. Never having attended one of these events before, I was curious to see what would take place.

At the door was a sheet where you could sign-in and pick up a name tag, but since all Democratic Party meetings are open to anyone, there was no great formality – I could have just walked in anonymously had I wished.

As it turned out the meeting was remarkably similar to the County Level Committee meetings. After a lot of mingling and small group chit-chat, the meeting began. Basics such as the call to order and pledge of allegiance were performed. There was also a moment of silence for our men and women in the armed forces on deployment, and for those unfortunate enough not to return.

A roll call was taken by the secretary – it was quite an extensive list, but not everyone that attended there. It’s unclear to me exactly who gets put on that list – perhaps it is a full list of the SDEC members? I’m hoping someone can make this clearer to me in the future. It may also have tied to the reserved seating list, I’ll look at this more deeply after the convention is over and update appropriately.

There was raised seating up front for various important people. I had originally expected this to be for the SDEC members, but turns out I was thinking too small. I suspect the group was a combination of Democratic National Committee members representing Texas (some of the seating signs said DNC) and senior level personnel for the state party. While it’s not important, I am curious to know! Please let me know if you have the answer.

Chairman Boyd Richie chaired the meeting, as the top Democrat in Texas. He took a few minutes to issue his farewell address, as he is stepping down from the office he has held since 2006.

After roll call was completed – and proxies noted – a quorum was declared present and business got underway. The minutes from the April 28th 2012 SDEC meeting were adopted, and various visiting dignitaries were welcomed (and duly applauded).

A brief financial report was issued, indicating party revenues of $598K, and expenses of $601K, for January thru May of this year; everyone was urged to contribute financially to strengthen the party and help our candidates. An idea of which I strongly approve!

Various committee meetings had been held earlier in the day. The only one that produced anything of note/controversial was the SDEC Resolutions committee. They proposed a resolution relating to campaigns affiliated with someone named LaRouche (whom I got the impression is a rather nasty customer!) The resolution stated that Kesha Rogers – who has such an affiliation – does not need to be supported by Texas Democrats.

Before the meeting I had a chance to visit with a couple of candidates. Well, more honestly they visited with me – and everyone else! I met US Senatorial Candidate Paul Sadler. That was a bit of a thrill, since I had cast my vote for him in the primary a couple of weeks earlier.

Gilberto Hinojosa also did the rounds, he is running to replace Mr Richie as state chairman. I was nice to meet him and see our (prospective) future leader at the State level.

After what seemed a relatively short period of time – less than an hour – the meeting was adjourned, and the State Convention declared open for business.

Overall I would say the SDEC meeting was an interesting experience. If they were held locally to me I would probably attend regularly just to keep my finger on the pulse. Whilst I would not call it entertainment for the masses, for the politically involved it makes for good theater!

Next on my agenda is the TDP Kickoff Reception tonight at 6pm. I’ve worked up an appetite driving from Forth Worth to Houston this morning, and then feeling my way around the convention this afternoon – so I’m hoping they will have a good layout of food:)