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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!

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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:)

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TX-Tarrant-3054-May-12-2012

Keller May 12th, 2012 Election Results

Well the results of the May 12th 2012 local elections are in.

I am happy to say that both the challengers for the KISD School Board Trustee positions were successful in dislodging the incumbents.  The citizenry is definitely frustrated with the way our school system has been functioning lately, and I think this result reflect that.

For the Keller City Council Place 4 election, Bill dodge defeated Marcus McCrary in what was a relatively close fought race – roughly 58% to 42%.  That was only a 60 vote margin, so our individual votes counted in that race!

Turnout was very poor, with only 3.2% percent of registered voters participating in the school board elections and a slightly higher 5.2% having their say to pick the new council member. To our credit, precinct 3054 (which was grouped with precinct 3471 for reporting purposes) did register a slightly higher turnout.

While these low participation rates are disappointing, it does mean that those of do who do take the time and make the effort to get out and vote have a sizable effect on the results!  So a thank you to everyone who made it out:)  Now don’t forget to vote in the primaries on May 29th!!

Keller May 12th, 2012 Election Prelude

Early voting for our Precinct takes place at the City of Keller Town Hall – 1100 Bear Creek Parkway Keller, Texas 76248.  Note that only early voting occurs at the Town Hall.

Early voting for the May 12,2012 local election has now began, and runs from April 30th thru May 8th.  Get down there and vote at your earliest convenience.

Keller City Council Places 1 and 2 are uncontested races for incumbents Ray Brown and Gary Reaves respectively.  City Council Place 4 is a two way contest between Bill Dodge and Marcus L. McCrary –  I am not going to make endorsements in this particular non-partisan race – though I think Mr Dodge will get my vote – but I have embedded links to the candidates website so you can see what they have to say.

There are two contested Keller ISD School Board contests in this election also.  For Place 6 Brad Schofield is competing against incumbent Wendy Collins, and for Place 7 the incumbent Melody Kohout faces a challenge from retired teacher Ruthie Keyes.

Mr Schofields campaign seems to revolve around two main points.  The first – and this is obvious if you have seen any of his bright yellow campaign signs – is that he is in favor of restoring the old school bus service to its former glory.  His second selling point, as taken from some of his published talking points, is that with his accounting experience he can avoid further budget miscalculations like the one the school board encountered at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.

Ms Keyes experience as a teacher promises to make her a very useful board trustee.  Teachers are traditionally under represented on the Keller ISD school board, yet have a lot more real insight into how the schools operate – and particularly as to how to best teach our kids.

I believe Brad Schofield and Ruthie Keyes will both enhance the quality of our school board, and am throwing my support behind both of them.  They can consider themselves officially endorsed!

If you are voting on Election Day you cannot vote at Town Hall, you must go to the correct voting location for Precinct 3054.  This is  Shady Grove Elementary School.

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TX-Tarrant-3054

Tarrant County, Precinct 3054

Precinct 3054 Democratic Precinct Chair

I (Steven Jones) am the Democratic Party Precinct Chairman for 3054 in Tarrant County. I am your local goto person if you have any questions about registering to vote, getting to the poles, or other voting related issues.

Please feel free to contact me at stevenjonesdem@gmail.com, on facebook or to give me a call at (817)380-5854.  Live in the neighborhood but not in my Precinct?  No problem, I’ll help any Democrat out!

Precinct Location

Map of Precinct 3054, Tarrant County Texas
Tarrant County Precinct 3054 in Texas is located in the Southwest corner of the City of Keller.

It is bordered on the West by US Highway 377, on the North by Rapp Road, and on the East by Rufe Snow Dr.

The Southern border of the precinct roughly follows the line of Bursey Road where Keller meets the City of Watauga.

Precinct 3054 Elections and Voting Locations

 

Keller November 6th, 2012 Election Prelude

This is the big one.  It is time to pick our President for the next 4 years, plus vote our preferred Senate and Congressional candidates.  I strongly urge all voters to vote early.  Not only does this ensure you don’t forget (please don’t!) it also allows the Democratic party to focus their get out of the vote efforts on those who have yet to vote.  There are – unfortunately – many voters who have difficulty getting to the polling place, so please do your best to cast your vote as soon as possible.

This years early voting schedule allows you to cast your ballot as early as 8am on October 22nd.  While early voting allows you to cast your vote at any Tarrant county early voting location, our local polling place for early voting is:

Keller Town Hall
1100 Bear Creek Parkway
Keller, Texas 76248

If you wait until election day – November 6th – to vote, you will have to vote at our designated precinct polling place.  This is not Keller Town Hall!  Vote early at Town Hall and avoid long lines!

 

Past Elections

May 29th, 2012 Election

May 12th, 2012 Election

 Precinct 3054 Representatives and Districts

Texas State Senate – District 9
Texas State Representative – District 98 – Rep. Vicki Truitt
Texas State Board of Education – 11 – Ms Patricia Hardy

US Congress House – District 98

Tarrant County Commissioner Precinct 3 – Gary Fickes
Tarrant Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 –
County Constable Precinct 3 – Zane Hilger
County College District – TC4 – Bill Greenhill

Keller City Council – Mayor – Pat McGrail
Keller City Council Member Place 1 – Ray Brown
Keller City Council Member Place 2 – Gary Reaves
Keller City Council Member Place 3 – Tow Cawthra
Keller City Council Member Place 4 – Up for Grabs!
Keller City Council Member Place 5 – John Hoffmann
Keller City Council Member Place 6 – Doug Miller

Keller ISD Board Trustee Place 1 – Jim Stitt
Keller ISD Board President Place 2 – Kevin Stevenson
Keller ISD Board Trustee Place 3 – Cindy Lotton
Keller ISD Board Trustee Place 4 – Craig Allen
Keller ISD Board Trustee Place 5 – Lara Lee Hogg
Keller ISD Board Vice President Place 6 – Wendy Collins
Keller ISD Board Secretary Place 7 – Melody Kohout

Sorry, I’m still trying to finalize what our districts are after the big redistricting of 2012.  I’ll update when I am certain of the information!

 

Do You Want To Volunteer In Precinct 3054?

Are you interested in calling democratic voters, block walking, or driving voters who do not have cars to the polls on election day? There are many things you can do to help with getting out the Democratic Vote.  Please reach out to me and let me know what you would like to do!  Election judges and Poll workers are needed too.

 

Want More Information On The Democratic Party?

If you want to know about the local Democratic party visit Tarrant Democrats, the site for the County Party.

I hope this information has been useful; again please feel free to reach out to me – or friend me on facebook – if  you have any questions or wish to help!

If you are a Democratic Party Precinct chair who would like a web presence, let me know and I will set you up with access to a page on this site!

Steven Jones
email: stevenjonesdem@gmail.com
facebook: Steven Jones
phone: (817)380-5854.
Precinct Chair 3054
Tarrant County, TX

 

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Senate District Conventions – EyeWitness Report From A New Democratic Activist

Credentials for the SD ConventionOne important activity for the involved Democrat is to participate in political conventions.  Today was the date of the 2012 Democratic County/Senatorial District conventions in Texas.  This was my first time as an attendee at a political convention, so I thought I’d provide a view from the ‘new guy’ for any other new activists who are just now getting involved.

In rural counties, where the entire county is contained within one state Senatorial district, this local convention is a County Convention.  However, in large urban counties such as Tarrant County – where I live – that include pieces of several Texas Senate districts, Senate District conventions are held instead.

After redistricting, Tarrant includes pieces of Texas SD 9, SD 10, SD 12 and SD 22; and all four Senatorial districts were represented at the county level convention today at Trimble Tech High School in South Fort Worth.

Usually the delegates for these conventions are determined at the individual precinct conventions that normally occur earlier in an election cycle.  However, due to redistricting these did not happen this year, and SD Convention Delegate slots were open to all registered voters who live in Tarrant County and that were willing to take an oath of affiliation to the Democratic Party.

The first action delegates-to-be took upon arrival was to register with the friendly volunteers and get their official credentials for proceedings – mine are pictured. They then had the chance to mingle with various Democratic candidates, collect campaign swag from their campaign staffs, and also to meet representatives from several of the Democratic groups with a presence in Tarrant County.

Cardboard President Obama And MeI personally took the time to have my photo taken with a cardboard version of President Obama – unfortunately he had other commitments today, and was unable to make it in person to the Tarrant County conventions:)

At a little after 10:00 am everyone made their way to the High School Auditorium for the beginning of official business.  First was a display by the local color guard, a lovely rendition of the national anthem, and a recitation of the pledge of allegiance.

Following this the Tarrant County Chairman for the Democratic Party, Stephen Maxwell, welcomed us all warmly.   He was lavish with his praise for all the work done by the volunteers – and the local High School administration for Trimble Tech – in getting the convention up and running. I was a first time attendee at this type of event, and I do have to say it was very well organized.  Kudos to all involved, I am sure a lot of work went into putting all the pieces together!

After Mr. Maxwell completed his kick off speech, all the Democratic candidates present got a brief chance to address the collected delegates – at this stage all four Senatorial Districts were still seated together.  Surprisingly they all kept to the assigned script (say your name and what you are running for), it may have been the threat of the presence of a trapdoor beneath them on the stage that kept them short and sweet…

The Keynote speaker was the sitting Texas State Senator for District 10, Wendy Davis.  She is a very effective speaker, and received quite a few standing ovations and much applause.  Ms. Davis gave quite a stirring speech outlining her accomplishments since coming to office, and emphasizing to us all the importance of helping out the campaigns of all our Democratic candidates.  Hopefully this will motivate all of us – not just precinct chairs – to help out campaigns with block walks, phone banks, donations, and the like.

Next on the agenda for the day were the individual Senatorial District conventions.  The mass of delegates left the auditorium, and headed to the appropriate room for their individual Senate District.  The delegate credentials were color coded by SD number, which made it easy to tell who belonged where.  If you found yourself wondering where to you go you could just follow someone wearing a badge the same color as yours.

At the convention which I attended, there was a little delay at the start.  There are rules that must be followed as to how these events are ran, and apparently one of the first things that should occur is for the list of delegates to arrive and be approved before voting on any issues of importance could occur.

Unfortunately this list of delegate credentials was a little late in arriving. I got the impression that they had extended the registration deadline a little to allow latecomers a chance to check in, but not being in the thick of things I’m not entirely sure.

While waiting for this paperwork to arrive some business was conducted however.  A lot of time was used up by candidates dropping by to speak to our Senate District people specifically.  They got to speak a few minutes to us, which was quite a bit longer than they had earlier in the day.  We probably heard from 8 or 10 candidates before the proceedings were adjourned.

Once the candidate list finally arrived things really got under way.  Because of the redistricting delays, many of the rules of the convention were altered to cater to the reality of the 2012 election cycle.  There was a reading of the revised rules – as agreed upon by the Rules Committee. There was also voting for a permanent Convention Chair and permanent Secretary who would actually run the convention.

Everyone who wished to be a delegate to the Texas Democratic State Convention in Houston in June from our Senate District was easily found a slot in our roster.  This made life easy for the SD Nominations Committee for 2012, as they did not have to determine who would get to go!  This very important – arguably the most important – piece of business was thus completed quickly without a hitch.  Another potential complication, apportioning delegates according to their presidential preference, was also no issue since everyone was backing Obama.  This made things a lot simpler in 2012 than during the contested Obama/Clinton convention back in 2008 I am sure.

The Resolutions Committee went off into the corner with over a dozen resolutions to review.  They were busy for quite some time before coming up with a slate of resolutions they were in favor of, and a couple they were not.

After some discussion, a motion was passed to vote for the favorable slate as a whole.  This motion passed, and the resolutions were passed.  My understanding is that they will now go to the State Convention and be considered again there at higher level in the party – I will admit I’m a little fuzzy on that.

That was the last official activity for the day, and thus the SD convention was adjourned.  I found it a very educational and rewarding experience to be involved in our political process at this level, and met many nice people whom I hope to see again in Houston for the Democratic State Convention – which I will be attending as part of the official Tarrant County Delegation for my Senate District!