Sunday, November 11, 2018

Join the Alert Texas Citizen network

By Faith Chatham Nov. 11, 2018



Join the Alert Texas Citizen Network
This network is for posting action alerts to help Texans be aware of developments and hearings or other actions.
Environment
Healthcare
Curbing Sexual Assault/Rape/Molestation 
Governmental Ethics
Women's Issues
Social Justice and Civil Rights
Immigration
School Financing/Reform
Insurance 
Disaster and post disaster management
Property Right Infringement
Governmental Power Grabs 
Corruption
Public Hearing on permits, proposed rule changes, etc.
This network is for posting notices of hearings, plans for demonstrations, and background on issues before we approach governmental (and other officials) on issues.

We are bombarded each news cycle. It is difficult to understand what is happening and what we can do and when to do it. This is a site for ACTION ALERT and INFORMATION. It is not a campaigning site. It is not a political discussion s
ite. It is a WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY, HOW, let's get moving site.

On twitter we will use #alertTexasCitizen.

On fb we have a closed group and a public page.

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This is a group of proud Texas Liberals to post alerts for action on issues before the Texas House and Senate and US Congress.  It is not a site to ba...

Friday, October 26, 2018

Abbott's Political Appointee - Secretary of State Knew About Hart Voting Machine Malfunction and Refused to Do Anything About It!

By Faith Chatham - Oct. 26, 2018 (Quoted from Texas Dems Website)
Austin, TX— This evening, ABC13 Houston reported that the Texas Secretary of State and election administrators knew about voting machine malfunctions for years and refused to do anything about it.
The malfunction can lead to straight-ticket Democratic voters casting a ballot for Republican Sen. Ted Cruz if they don’t review and correct their ballot before pressing the red cast button.
Highlights:
  • Ft. Bend County Election Administrator John Oldham said, “he’s talked to the Secretary of State more than once about the problem. It has not been fixed aside from signs provided by the Secretary of State to warn voters to check their selections.”
  • “Sam Taylor, at the Texas Secretary of State’s office, tells 13 Investigates the problem is “user error” and not something their office could fix. Taylor suggests a vendor could or should handle any upgrades, but the state has not asked vendors to do so.Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:
    “The first step in solving a problem is recognizing that you have one. And the Texas Secretary of State’s office has one. This is not a new problem, their office knew about potential flaws in their voting machines and chose to ignore them for years.
    “Instead of owning up to their mistake, Texas’ Republican government blamed voters and did nothing.
    “The Texas Democratic Party demands the Texas Secretary of State take responsibility for their failures and immediately take action to inform voters to double-check their ballots.”
    Actions the Texas Secretary of State could take right now to inform voters:
    • Launch a statewide public service announcement to inform voters on broadcast and cable television in multiple languages.
    • Launch a comprehensive voter information program in multiple languages through radio, digital, and print advertisements.
    • Train poll workers to verbally remind voters to double-check their ballot.
    • Post additional signs reminding voters to check their ballots before submitting.
    • Log all instances of machine malfunction. 

Under Abbott's watch Texas ranks high on the nation's states with the most people unemployed

By Faith Chatham - Oct. 26, 2018
As of June 2018, Texas ranks 21st highest (out of 51) in UNEMPLOYMENT. Under Abbott and the GOP controlled Texas Legislature, the annual growth in GDP (5 year increase) has not trickled down to the middle class. Growth in GDP can mask the overall wealth of the average Texan because GDP can reflect wealth which flows through Texas companies to out-of-state or international stock holders. EMPLOYMENT FIGURES reflects wealth actually in the accounts of residents which is available for housing, food, clothing, education, recreation. These are the expenditures which fuel the local economy. Under Abbott, higher percentage of Texans are unemployed than in 30 of the nation's other states. Since Texas is one of the states with the greatest population, 4% of Texans is a much greater number of unemployed people than in any of the other states with higher rates of unemployment.
BOTTOM LINE: Under Greg Abbott's watch, more people in Texas are unemployed than in most other places in the United States. The growth in wealth in Texas is channeled into the bank accounts of a relatively few people instead of being spread out throughout the population. Despite a 1.9% increase in job creation, the majority of new jobs are either not full-time or at pay rates high enough to rank as "living wage pay rates".

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Leaving it all out on the court!

By Faith Chatham - Oct. 21, 2018


I love how they fight for us with all they've got during session and then don't leave anything on the field during GOTV crunch time fighting to help other women win seats in the Texas Leg. 


Currently in the Texas Legislature:

AND SOME OF THOSE WOMEN INCUMBENTS  ARE REPUBLICANS).

That is 19% of the Texas House and 25.8% of the Texas Senate to represent women who make up 52% of the Texas Population.

In the US House and Senate Texas women are even more under represented. Here is a graphic which shows where we stand on the Federal side. We didn't gain a single seat in 2016!


YEP, THAT IS RIGHT. 2016 and 2018 have identical statistics. We did not gain one seat in 2016.


Therefore, we must vote in 2018 like our lives depend on it BECAUSE IT REALLY DOES!

On the Federal side,  Texas has two Democratic US Congresswomen (Eddie Bernice Johnson and Sheila Jackson Lee) and one Republican (Kay Granger) out of 36 members of Congress and two senators. 

When we go to court, there are probably going to be Republican men hearing our cases.

Gals,we have to stop putting these men in charge of everything without sending enough women to temper what cliff's they decided to drive us over!

Looking at the importance of the campaigns of Lupe Valdez, Kim Olson and Joi Chevalier this year:
Electing Lupe, Kim and Joi would put women into 
4 out of 9 of the statewide non-judicial offices.

Electing one would give women a 22% representation,
Electing two of the three will raise it to a 33% representation.
Electing all three (if the current Railroad commissioner is re-elected) will give 52% of Texas' population 44% representation on our non-judicial statewide offices.






I applaud Rep. Celia Israel, Gina Hinojosa and Donna Howard for putting everything they have out there to make this happen. They are traveling the state helping other women GOTV in towns outside their district. Lupe, Kim and Joi are traveling over 4,700 miles in 10 days during this last GOTV crunch to meet citizens in 50 towns!

Each of us needs to stop being shy about talking to neighbors and strangers about how important this election is. 

If you need an icebreaker, use a PINK WAVE Button.


EARLY VOTING STARTS MONDAY, OCT. 22 
and runs through NOV. 2nd. 

ELECTION DAY IS NOV. 6th.

We should do what Willie says: 
If we don't like the clowns we elected
then when election day rolls around again,
VOTE 'EM OUT!

It's here girls!
Let's VOTE GOOD WOMEN IN 
and GET THE BAD GUYS OUT!

The Political Take Over of Texas

By Faith Chatham - Oct. 21, 2018
THE POLITICAL TAKE OVER OF TEXAS spilled over into an alliance between those who financed the hit ads in the 2002-2006 election cycles which led to redistricting (gerrymandering) in Texas which solidified Republican control of the state wide offices and judiciary and solid Republican pro gun majorities in both the Texas Legislature and Texas' US delegation to Congress Gregg Abbott has strong ties to the gun advocate groups who fronted as the Law Enforcement Alliance to run hit ads against his Democratic Opponent in the 2002 Attorney General's race.
That has morphed into a take-over of the NRA by right wing political operatives with an agenda much more far-reaching than gun safety. Despite solid evidence that the NRA aligned itself with Russian government sponsored gun rights money interest who funneled (money laundered) millions of Russian rubles into the US Presidential and many US Congressional races in 2016, Greg Abbott refuses to distance himself from the corrupted (actually treasonous) NRA!
This year in Texas there is a sane, gun totting actual law enforcement professional challenging Greg Abbott for Governor. Lupe Valdez is much more closely aligned with the original mission of the NRA (when it actually used membership dues to educate people on gun safety and to get gun owners to lock up their weapons to keep them out of the hands of children) than Greg Abbott, whose entanglement with the NRA is most probably tied to his addiction to their generous monetary support of him.
Valdez does not have her hands and never has had her hands in the pockets of the NRA or any gun lobby like Greg Abbotf does (and has since 2002). She is always armed and supports gun ownership but unlike Greg Abbott, sees gun violence as a problem which must be address by strict background checks, keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and those with histories of violence.
Valdez says: "People who do not settle their disputes without violence have no business being armed." Abbott says everyone has the right to buy any arm they want. Valdez (a retired Captain of a US National Guard Tank Battalion) says: "Some guns are designed for military use - to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. They have no business in civilian use on our streets."
Texans have a clear choice this year. It is between a sane, solid "unbought and unbossed" former law enforcement administrator and an opportunist who uses sound bites to create the illusion which are contrary to what he actually does or promotes.
We need a governor who will face the tough realities of Texas instead of the "pay to play" Abbott whose appointees are usually his campaign donors or former lobbyists who are agents of his campaign donors. Lupe Valdez is the sane choice for Texans this year for Governor.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Who do you trust? Her or Him?


By Faith Chatham — Oct. 20, 2018
Article 4: Section 7 of the Texas Constitution names the Governor as COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF MILITARY FORCES. "He shall be Commander-in-Chief of the military forces of the State, except when they are called into actual service of the United States.  He shall have power to call forth the militia to execute the laws of the State, to suppress insurrections, and to repel invasions."
Lupe Valdez - Retired Military officer served as Captain in the US National Guard leading a tank battalion. She also has 17 years of  Federal Service as a civilian in addition to being the former Sheriff of Dallas County. 
She was :
  • Inspector for the General Services Administration (GSA)
  • Senior Federal Agent, working undercover in Latin America on drug interdiction and money laundering.
Valdez was elected Sheriff of Dallas County in 2004 and re-elected three times:
  • She was the first Democrat to be elected county wide in Dallas County in decades.
  • The only woman or person of color ever to serve as Sheriff of Dallas County.
  • She was re-elected 3 times before retiring in Dec. 2017 to run for Governor of Texas.
Valdez inherited a department which was out of compliance for jail overcrowding, being understaffed and unsanitary. She had to persuade the County Commissioners and citizens  to appropriate funds and seek grants necessary for substantial improvements at the jail. She was not able to solve all of the problems immediately, but once she got the jail into compliance, she kept it that way.She implemented community policing, placing people of color and women in supervisory roles, and redeployed officers so that they more closely represented the people in the neighborhoods. She told her officers: "The first time someone meets you shouldn't be when you are arresting them. Get out there and meet people doing community service."
Valdez says: "Most people in the jail have not been convicted of anything. Even those who have should be treated with respect."
Valdez is accustomed to standing out in the crowd. She was the only Latina Sheriff in the USA and oversaw the 7th largest Sheriff's department in the USA.


Standing_out_in_the_crowd.PNG
Photo from LupeValdez.com
The daughter of migrant farm workers, Lupe Valdez worked three jobs to pay her way through college. She prioritizes education and seeks to give all people in Texas a pathway upward. "I am where I am because this state gave me the opportunity to get an education, to work and to serve. I want everyone to have the opportunities that I've had." She say that "I've got mine, too bad about yours!" is an attitude that too many elected official have which for sake of the people of this state should to stop!


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Most of Lupe Valdez’ adult life has been in uniform. She enlisted in the US National Guard as a young woman, and rose to the rank of Captain over a mostly male tank battalion before entering Federal Service.
Photo from LupeValdez.com

Valdez faces incumbent Greg Abbott in the General Election. Abbott has a war chest, rich with special interest money acquired during decades as a state official, which is 51 times bigger than Valdez's.  Abbott continues to raise money and is channeling millions into the campaign coffers of other Republicans (especially those allied with Donald Trump and the Freedom Caucus.
Abbott, a darling of the gun lobby, and Valdez disagree on gun laws. Valdez, who is always armed and has been continually in a profession where being armed is requirement, favors concealed carry. Unlike Abbott, who rose to power through the support of the gun lobby, Valdez sees gun violence as a threat to civil society. Abbott seeks no restraints on gun ownership.
Shootings in schools have the attention of both candidates. Abbott held a highly publicized town hall on School Violence after a recent massacre at a central Texas school. His solution is arming teachers, a proposal very unpopular with most classroom teachers who have concerns about being able to secure a firearm in a classroom of children or teenagers.
Valdez opposes arming teachers.
She says: “We must provide security for the schools. It is the teachers job to teach and our job to keep them safe.” Valdez is emphatic: “Those who cannot settle disputes without violence, have no business carrying a gun.”  
Long before the NRA endorsed Abbott for Governor, he forged an alliance with the gun lobby.
Abbott’s history with the gun lobby dates back to 2002  when the gun lobby used a law enforcement front group to quietly help elect Abbott as Texas attorney general. Frank Smyth wrote in 2017: Back then, Democrats still held a majority in the Texas state house and in the Texas delegation to Congress. It was a time when the gun lobby was learning how to reach out to other right-leaning groups, forging alliances that predated both the Tea Party and the Trump campaign. It was the beginning of a redistricting or “gerrymandering” process that has since helped bring the Republican party in Texas and other states to unprecedented political power.

...
But ever since he ran for his first Texas legislative seat more than twenty years ago, Abbott has been a steady advocate for expanding Texans’ access to guns. He has earned a 100 percent approval rating from the National Rifle Association, and is proud of it.
Valdez is also an advocate for private gun ownership, however, unlike Abbott, she has no ties to the gun lobby. She favors stronger background checks, keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, domestic abusers and other persons with a history of violence.
She says that ‘some weapons are designed for military combat, designed to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Those weapons have no business on our streets.’ 
Valdez lives simply and her campaign reflects her down-to-earth basic lifestyle. She has driven herself, usually with one staffer, from town to town in her pickup truck this year, being on the road constantly since January when she declared for Governor.


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Valdez greets citizens at a campaign stop in Round Rock, Texas Friday afternoon, Oct. 20, 2018.              Photo by Linda Brooks

Now she has embarked on a 4700 mile but trip for to make almost 50 campaign stops in ten days this month. She is on bus with other statewide Democratic Nominees (Mike Collier for Lt. Gov,., Kim Olson for Agriculture Commissioner, Joi Chevalier for Comptroller, Justin Nelson for Attorney General and other). When that ends, she will head out again to  meet citizens in other towns where they live. They are keeping in touch with supporters through the twitter hashtag: #FairShotTour
Some view Valdez’s campaign with wistful nostalgia. A daughter of San Antonio, this is the Tri-centennial celebration year of the founding of Lupe’s home town.  One of her campaign buttons reflects her historic race as the first Latina woman to run for Governor in the history of Texas. A win in 2018 for this San Antonio native would is seen by many as another millestone to celebrate for the Alamo City. It is also the anniversary of Democratic women being granted the right to vote in the Texas Primary.  She is the first Latina to win the nomination for Governor in the history of Texas. In the state’s history, only two women have been governor. Ann Richards was the only one who was not the first lady who assumed office after her husband.


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Valdez is a native of San Antonio and is running for Governor during the Tri-centennial year of her birthplace.

The polls reflect Abbott’s stronger name recognition and financial might. However, Valdez has always been viewed as an underdog who had little or no chance of winning, yet she has never lost an election. The Dallas Morning New always discounted her, sometimes vehemently opposing her, but the majority of voters have always chosen her. She was shocked when she won her first race as Sheriff and honored all three times she was re-elected.
She was seen as one of the least likely to win of the 9 candidates for Governor in 2018 Democratic Primary, yet came within 2 points of avoiding a run-off. She beat the son of former Governor Mark White, a candidate whose income from his tech businesses gave him many more financial resources than Vadez in the run-off, after coming in first against 8 men in the Primary..
She has not gotten as much press as Beto O’Rourak and did not start the campaign with a Congressional war chest. However, she resonates with “ordinary people” she meets on the campaign trail because she comes from a Texas “working stock” family and understand what it means to not have health insurance when a family member is ill or how hard it is to struggle to work multiple jobs to provide for your family or to pay you way through college. She is a problem solver who looks for ways to improve things for the people she meets.  She is plain spoken, down-to-earth, and compassionate. She is a problem-solver who focuses on making things better for the people she meets.

Whatever the outcome November 6th, she has elevated the public rhetoric from the divisive pettiness of Abbott’s previous campaign, shifting the focus to public school finance reform, affordable health care, solving the state’s maternal and infant mortality crisis which is more dire than in any other part of the developed world, and giving all citizens a fair shot at providing for their families. She balances the need to protect our borders with our responsibility to be humane and not separate children from their parents or unfairly vilify border communities which have lower crime statistics than many communities in the state’s interior as “crime ridden communities.” 

Lupe Valdez, as governor, would be a breath of fresh air in a state whose legislative agenda has stalled on wedge issue bathroom bills and drastic cuts to public school financing. Lupe Valdez brings strength and common sense to every office she holds. Unlike Abbott who pushed through Campus Carry legislation during a time when school shooting was escalating, Valdez is the voice for balance — respecting the rights of law abiding citizens while calling for policies to curtail the proliferation of arms in the hands of criminals, the mentally ill and those with histories of violence.

As importantly, she would put an end to Abbott’s practice of “Pay to Play Politics” where most political appointees are campaign donors or their agents. 
To donate to Valdez's campaign: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/lupetx

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Ruby Woolridge ends US TX 6 Primary with more cash on hand than her Run-off opponent and the Republican front-runner

By Faith Chatham - May 19, 2018

Despite  campaign rhetoric about which Democratic US 6 Run-off candidate having a financial campaign advantage to face the Republican Nominee for the open seat US TX 6 Congressional seat vacated by Joe Barton, F.E.C. reports show otherwise.  True, Jana Sanchez raised more funds than Ruby Woolridge, but into the Run-off/General Election, it does not appear that Sanchez has a financial advantage over Woolridge.

To be competitive in the General Election, a candidate needs to raise enough money in the primary to enter the General Election on as level a playing field with the Republican Party's nominee financially as possible. This is determined by the cash on hand of the candidates following the Primary.
Sanchez raised more and spent more during the General Election than Ruby Woolridge. However, entering the Run-off/General Election, Woolridge has more cash on hand than either Sanchez or the presumed Republican Nominee Ron Wright.

Sanchez spent $220,338.03 to get 10, 880 Democratic Primary votes;
Woolridge spent $51,248.47 to get 10,895 Democratic Primary votes.

Sanchez spent 4 times the dollars to get 15 less votes than Woolridge.
On her May 2nd FEC report, Sanchez reported  $7,212 less cash on hand than Woolridge. 
Woolridge.
Republican front runner Ron Wright  reported having $1,670 less cash on hand than Democratic front-runner Woolridge

May 2nd Sanchez reported having $43,297.79 cash on hand;
Woolridge reported having $50,509.89 cash on hand
Republican front-runner Ron Wright reported having $48,839.59 cash on hand.

Ron Wright spent $172,770.09 during the Republican Primary to get 20,750 votes.

There were 45,960 votes cast in the Republican Primary and 29,487 votes cast in the Democratic Primary. 
Wright spent $8.32 per vote; 
Woolridge spent $4.70 per vote; 
Sanchez spent $20.25 per vote.
Source: F.E.C. May 2nd 2018 Candidate’s Campaign Reports and Texas S.O.S. March Primary Election Returns.

Assessment: Even though Sanchez raised more money during the primary, she does not enter the General Election with a financial advantage over Woolridge
Woolridge ran a tighter, more frugal campaign than Sanchez. 
It cost Sanchez four times what it cost Woolridge to draw a voter to the polls.
Republican front-runner Ron Wright enters the General Election with less cash on hand than Woolridge. 
Wright  spent almost twice per voter of  what it cost Woolridge to draw a voter to the polls.
He holds the party brand advantage in US TX 6 where 16,473 more Republicans than Democrats voted in the US TX 6 2016 primary than Democrats. 

Democratic Primary Run-off: _
Ruby Woolridge got 36.95% of the Democratic Primary vote and faces Jana Sanchez (36.90%) in the May 22nd Democratic Primary Run-off.
Ron Wright got 45.15%  of the Republican Primary vote and faces J.K. "Jake" Ellzey (21.76%) Tuesday, March 22nd in the Republican Primary Run-off.


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Eleven Women are Nominees in the Top 15 Texas House Swing Districts

By Faith Chatham - May 5, 2018
Women won the Democratic Party's nomination for Texas House in 11 out of the 15 districts where GOP incumbents are the most vulnerable. The nominees in two of these districts (47 and 23) will be decided in the Democratic Primary Run-off on May 22nd. Both run-off candidates in each of these districts are women.

House District 105 ranks as No. 1. Attorney, Civil Rights activist Terry Meza won the nomination and will face the state's most vulnerable Republican Incumbent (Rodney Anderson) in November. Meza is a former public school teacher, and will fight to fix the state's broken public education financing.

Texas slashed the public school budget several sessions ago.  Many teaching positions were slashed and more students were crammed into the classroom. The state does not adequately fund the Teacher's Retirement and only contributes a meager $75 a month toward the escalating health care medical insurance premium. Deductibles have escalated rapidly and many teachers cannot afford to use their health insurance. The State Legislature continues to "kick the can down the road" instead of addressing the tough questions of how to revamp the State's tax code to give equitable tax relief to residential property owners and adequately fund public education. The Lt. Governor and Freedom Caucus demand that school choice (tax credits for private school tuition) is a a prerequisite for considering the complexities of school financing.


Meza prioritizes education, and will help offset the stranglehold of the Freedom Caucus.   Contribute to Meza's campaign  /

 House District 134 - R. Incumbent Sarah. Davis is ranked as the second most vulnerable Republican incumbent. She will face Democratic Nominee  Allison Lami Sawyer in November. This district ranks as the 6th most Democratic on the Partisan Index. It led the state in having the most voters for Hillary Clinton in 2016.  The Houston Chronicle Editorial Board wrote: "Democrats in this race have a qualified and impressive alternative in Allison Lami Sawyer."


"Sawyer says Davis voted for the big state school funding cuts that have caused property taxes to soar and was a sponsor last session for SB4 — the so-called "show me your papers" bill — as well as the Blue Tarp bill, which made it harder to receive just compensation from insurance companies after Hurricane Harvey." 

Sawyer is a business woman who earned her MBA from Rice. She runs an international business which uses "Optics to detect gas leaks at oil and gas installations in the USA and abroad."  The 134th  district includes Rice University and the Texas Medical Center 

 To donate to Allison

House District 102 - R - Incumbent Koop is ranked as the 3rd most vulnerable GOP Incumbent in the Texas House. This district is ranked 2th in Partisan Index (most Democratic) and is 4th as the Republican district having the lowest number votes cast for Donald Trump in 2016.  Ana-Maria Ramos is the Democratic Nominee.

Ana-Maria is an attorney, professor and strong advocate for school safety and public education. She prioritizes the safety of school children and denounces the intrusion of the NRA into school politics. She pledges not to place loyalty to the NRA above the safety of our school children.

The Texas Legislature has cut back on school funding and placed the future of this generation in peril. The current House refuses to address the tough questions and find equitable ways to fund public education. Ana-Maria will prioritize education, affordable health care.  Her son is a public school student and her daughter is a Science Teacher who teaches in the Dallas Independent School District. She will be a good match for this North Dallas district which is bounded on the South by LBJ and which also includes Garland, Addison and Richardson.

House District 136 ties with District 113 for the 4th most likely district to go blue. R incumbent Dale will face Democratic Nominee John H. Bucy III in November in a district which is ranked the 4th most Democratic district of districts with GOP incumbents and as 7th with the lowest number of voters for Donald Trump in '16.

House District 113 - An Open Seat (R Burkett) iis ranked as tied with District 52 for the 5th most likely seat for a Democrat to claim in 2018.  Rhetta Andrews Bowers is the Democratic Nominee. This district is ranked as 3rd on the Partisan Index (3rd most Democratic) and was ranked 11th in the seats controlled by Republicans with the fewest voters for Trump.

House District 52 - An open district which was represented by R. Gonzales is tied with District 113   as the 5th most likely district to go blue. The Democratic Nominee is James Talarico. This district is the 7th most Democratic on the Partisan Index and ranked 8th in the lowest number of voters for Trump in '16/

House District 114 is an open district and is ranked  as the 6rh Most Vulnerable Texas State House District for a GOP Candidate to win., The Democratic nominee is John Turner. This district ranks had the third fewest vote for Trump in '16 and ranks as the 13th most Democratic out of the top 15 Republican controlled Texas House Seats.

House District 115 - R Incumbent Rinaldi is ranked as the Republican incumbent who is the 7th most likely to lose his seat to his Democratic opponent in November. The Democratic Nominee is Julie Johnson.

 It is surprising to see Carrollton included in a district where the Republican incumbent is ranked as vulnerable. Multi-term GOP incumbent Rinaldi is ranked as the 7th most vulnerable Republican in the Texas House of Representatives.

In 2016, this district ranked 5th in having the fewest votes cast for Donald Trump and  is currently ranked as the 9th most Democratic district in the Texas House on the partisan index. The Democratic Nominee is Carrollton attorney Julie Johnson.  Julie is a solid pro-public education advocate and is needed in Austin to help break the stranglehold of the Freedom Caucus.  To learn more about Julie Johnson: https://www.juliejohnsonfortexas.com/

House District 43 - Four term R Incumbent Lozano is ranked as the 9th most vulnerable Republican in the Texas House. He will face Democratic Nominee  Dee Ann Torres Miller in the General Election. This district ranks as the second most Democratic on the Partisan Index, Torres is an attorney who practices law in partnership with her brother in Corpus Christi.

House District 47 - This is a central Texas Austin area swing district which was drawn to favor conservative candidates. This year R incumbent Workman is ranked as the 10th most vulnerable Republican in the Texas House. Democratic business woman Vikki Goodwin faces Elaina Fowler in a May 22nd Run-off for the Democratic Nomination. This district ranked 9th in having the fewest votes cast for Trump and is the 11th most Democratic on the partisan index. To donate to Vikki Goodwin https://secure.actblue.com/donate/47goodwin

House District 112 - R incumbent Chen Button is ranked as the 11th most vulnerable Republican in the Texas House. This district ranks as the 12th most Democratic on the Partisan Index and was tenth in having the most votes cast against Donald Trump. Button will face Democratic Nominee Brandy K. Chambers in the General Election

House District 108 - R Meyer is ranked as the 12th most vulnerable member of the GOP delegation the Texas House. This district ranked 6th in having the fewest votes cast for Donald Trump. The Democratic Nominee is Joanna Cattanach.

House District 23 - An open district (R- Faircloth) is ranked as the 13th most likely Republican seat to go Blue in 2018. The Democratic Nominee is Amanda Jamrok. This district is the 10th most Democratic on the partisan index.

House District 45 - An open district (R- (Isaac) is ranked as the 14th most likely red seat to go blue in 2018.  It is the 8th most Democratic on the Partisan Index. Rebecca Bell-Metereau faces Erin Zwiener in the May 22nd Democratic Primary Run-off for the Democratic Nomination.

House District 138 - Incumbent Bohc is ranked as the 15th most vulnerable Republican in the Texas House. The district was 12th in having the least votes cast for Donald Trump. The Democratic Nominee is Adam Milasincic.


Friday, April 20, 2018

Destroying and Neglecting rather than Problem Solving -- East Texas, Why Louie Gohmert?

By Faith Chatham, April 20, 2018
I am a daughter of East Texas. My father's family settled on the north shore of the Cypress Bayou in 1839 and my mom’s settled on what is now the south shore in 1850. Although I no longer reside in the Piney Woods, I understand East Texas values. Common sense or what my relatives frequently referred to as "horse sense" was always held higher than "book learning."  There was a place for "book learning" but without common sense, we were warned, it would only get us in trouble. It takes both, we were told, to be successful.
As a people watcher and political scientist (perhaps that "book learning" gets me in trouble,) watching E Texas politics, I remain astounded. East Texas is in the deep south. It is definitely the Bible Belt. I grew up in Marshall, Texas and there was a service station and a church on nearly every corner. During the time I was there, we had three colleges, all church operated schools of liberal arts. These institutions each ran seminaries - two Baptist and one Methodist. Each of those schools taught religion. They taught the "Golden Rule." They taught how Jesus urged his followers to be merciful. They taught how He instructed followers to care for the orphans and widows and not to exploit the poor for profit. They taught about being a "good steward" and that mean more than just giving a tithe to the church. It means managing the resources entrusted to you, including budgets of the church and the community and government.

Having grown up in East Texas and knowing East Texas people and knowing that they were taught the same as I was, I am astounded at how many vote year after year for Louie Gohmert.  I was astounded that any of them voted for Donald Trump, but that has been hashed and rehashed to Infinium. Today, I am focusing on who my former classmates, neighbors and extended family and their families have consistently voted into Congress.
East Texans are usually patriotic. They wave the flag and honor our veterans. Most have either served in the military or have relatives who have or are serving. I could focus on the many stupid remarks that come out of Mr. Gohmert's mouth, but there are so many that no one would continue reading. Instead, I am looking at his record on attacking the fragile safety net our nation has constructed to assist our service men and women when they are injured or when they return to civilian life from active duty. It has never been vibrant enough to truly enable a smooth transition for those who are the most seriously injured, but it has always been a work in progress which most American's supported and were thankful existed. Veterans have always had to wait for services, but in recent years, the US Congress led by members of Mr. Gohmert's Freedom Caucus have worked to dismantle the fragile safety net which our nation extends to assist those most likely to crash to the bottom without some sort of social safety net. Veterans Benefits and Food Stamps and Housing Grants for Housing and Social Security assistance are among the programs which all Americans contribute to so that when Americans are faced with the "worst of times" it can be a journey where we have a chance of emerging from the other side of a very dark tunnel. Of these programs, the two most popular which almost every American of all political party's approved is Veteran's Benefits and Social Security.
Social Security is a program where workers pay every week for their entire working lives and in return should they become disabled before reaching retirement age, they have a safety net. Once we are too old to work, social security is supposed to kick in to give us a safety net. We are not taking other people's money but drawing from part of what we earned earlier. It is not welfare. It is called an "ENTITLEMENT" because it is OUR MONEY and we are ENTITLED to it through an agreement with the Federal Government. However, Mr. Gohmert and the Speaker of the House and others in Congress do not think that Americans should get what we are ENTITLED TO.

A similar situation exists with Veterans Benefits. Our government through our Legislature for generations has agreed to provide a safety net for those who put their lives at risk to protect us. We have Veteran's Hospitals to care for injured soldiers and Veterans. We have veterans housing benefits so that those who serve will not be homeless when they return home. We give veterans preferences to employment in governmental jobs so that those who leave their jobs to go defend our country have opportunities to rebuild their lives by returning to work when their military service ends. We give them educational benefits so that they are trained for civilian jobs when they return from the military These benefits are prat of our contract with the individuals we enlist into service. To change them is to break the contract, to betray their trust.

When I was growing up in East Texas I was taught at home, church and at school that you come to an agreement first and once the service or job is done, you stick with it. You do not take from someone and then change the rules to their disadvantage after they have served you. However, that is what Mr. Gohmert and others in the Freedom Caucus in Congress are ALWAYS ADVOCATING and VOTING to enact. It is not right. It is not fair. It is cruel. It is dishonest. It may be legal, but being legal does not make it right, fair or honest.
This is not a new practice with Louie Gohmert, yet people I know grew up being taught the same values I was taught, continue to vote for this many year after year!



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Photo from Steve Crain’s Facebook Page

So, what alternative do they have? They have a very good one. They have an excellent alternative. She is a daughter of East Texas. She is a decorated former military officer. She is a very intelligent woman who has both "good ole common horse sense" (in the words of my Uncle Bill and Daddy) and lots of appropriate "book learning."  She is a woman of great faith and is known as a person who lives her faith. She is an educator. She is a business woman. She creates jobs. She solves problems, she serves people. She brings people together to solve problems. She is Dr. Shirley J. McKellar, PhD, US Army Maj. (Ret.), CNS, a retired army nurse corps officer.
It astounds me that more East Texans voted for Louie Gohmert than for Shirley McKellar in 2014 and 2016. Before that perhaps they had not had enough time to learn about her. She continues to run. She continues to meet people. She continues to mentor, empower, equip and lead. Everywhere she goes she solves problems for East Texans. In the past 8 years she has created hundreds of jobs in East Texas through the businesses she founded and the initiatives she has led others to create.
Here is a thumbnail of what I have witnessed her do while Louie Gohmert was campaigning for Donald Trump and voting to dismantle affordable healthcare and to reduce funding for Veterans Benefits or trying to cut Social Security.
Shirley McKellar returned from serving in Afghanistan, injured, and spend a year and half in the hospital having numerous surgeries and physical rehabilitation. She was with soldiers whom she had helped in the field when they were injured. As an officer in the Army Nurse Corp, she saw the sons and daughters of her friends and neighbors bleeding, and at the point of death. She suffered as far too many of them died from their injuries, or were permanently harmed. She returned home and saw them discounted by Congress and watched Gohmert vote to cut funding for the VA t the very time when more of our Vietnam era vets were aging out and needing more services and we had new generations of soldiers Louie and his friends voted to send into combat returning home injured. She heard from veterans who were homeless. She learned that there were no mental health services for veterans in the 12 counties of East Texas where she lived. She saw nothing being done to address homelessness among the veterans who served. Instead of doing some of the much more which was needed, she saw Louie Gohmert and the Speaker of the House and others fighting to end or reduce the services which were already in place.

Shirley McKellar is a woman who lives the East Texas Values she was taught. She stands up for others. She lends a helping hand whenever and however she can to whomever needs it. So, she went to work.
While Louie Gohmert was voting to reduce funding to the VA and to dismantle the affordable care act, Shirley McKellar was pulling together a team of mental health professionals, forming a non-profit organization and getting the federal contract necessary to bring mental health services to the 12 counties in East Texas which had none! Louie could have done that. But he didn't. Was it stupidity or selfishness or plain stupidity and ignorance -- I don't know. I do know that it was needed, and it was something that usually we look to the leadership of our Congressional Representative to help us solve. In East Texas the Congressional Rep was Louie Gohmert and Louie wasn't solving problems. Instead he was working to make them bigger!



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Dr. Shirley McKellar, PhD, CNS, US Army Maj (ret), 2018 Democratic Nominee for US Congress, Tx US 1st District challenging incumbent Louie Gohmert

Dr. McKellar recovered from her injuries, she continued to serve veterans. After she no longer needed to go to the Veteran's Hospital regularly for medical care, she continued to drive to Dallas from Tyler twice a week to volunteer helping other veterans get the services they needed. She began serving as an officer on the Veterans' Administration Mental Health Advocacy Board. When Congress moved to cut services to women, she spoke out and mobilized others to save some of the programs which were on the chopping block. She continues fighting to get others restored.

While in the military, she arrived in the European theatre and found almost no health services for women. She helped implement women's health services in the European Theatre She noted that there was soldiers were dying from breast cancer. More women than men contract breast cancer but the death rate for men is much higher than for women. She opened the only comprehensive breast center in the US Military to screen and treat soldiers for breast cancer. The death rate among minorities is higher than among white breast cancer patients. Back in the USA, she partnered with UT Medical School and co-founded the African American Breast Cancer Awareness and administered a $5 million dollar grant. She is a problem solver who understands how to get things done in government and in the private sector and in the community.
Last year she attended a ribbon cutting for a housing complex for homeless vets in Dallas. HUD Chair Ben Carson was there. Shirley was never a supporter of his political aspirations, but he is he person in the chair at HUD. She approached him and inquired "What will it take to get a similar housing program for homeless veterans in East Texas?" She worked with the VA and with HUD and drew together a steering committee of local stakeholders. She donated some of her own land. Last month they had the ground breaking for the condominium complex where veterans can use their VA benefits to buy their own condos. This complex is in US District 1 in East Texas. Louie Gohmert did not do this. Shirley McKellar did. She did it because she cared enough and knew enough to be able to make it happen. Louie served in the JAG corps but does not seem to care enough or know enough or be willing to exert himself enough to bring solutions to East Texans. Thankfully, Shirley McKellar cares enough. Thankfully, Shirley McKellar knows enough. Thankfully, Shirley McKellar is never too tired or unwilling to exert herself enough to pull together the people and resources to serve the people she knows need and deserve to be helped and served.
So, why is it that more East Texans do not recognize that there are many more differences which truly matter between the Republican Incumbent and the Female Military Veteran who is running for Congress in US Texas's First District than just gender and skin color? How can so many decent people, who value "Common Sense" and decency, continue voting for Louie Gohmert?
When you encounter someone from East Texas, please ask them "Why do folks in East Texas vote for Louie Gohmert?" If they say they did or do, quiz them. Ask them if they think veterans deserve to have health services? Ask if they feel safer when veterans have mental health services? Ask them if they think there are enough jobs in East Texas. Then challenge them to show you what Louie Gohmert has done to solve any of these problems!