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!



GohmertBillbordbySteveCraine.JPG
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!



23519025_387207698406382_3168091126110558472_n_%281%29.jpg
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! 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Wow! What an Army Nurse!

By Faith Chatham Feb. 15, 2018


An article in the Longview News Journal earlier this month discounted US Texas 1st District Democratic Primary congressional candidate Dr. Shirley J. McKellar, PhD, RN, Maj. (ret) as "just an Army Nurse."


My response is:
McKellar has created more jobs in East Texas than most governmental programs. In addition the two businesses mentioned in this article, she is responsible for helping meet the mental health needs of 12 East Texas counties military families and veterans. As an officer on the Veterans Administration Mental Health Advocacy Council, she is "at the table" fighting to restore cuts to women's mental health services and to expand mental health services for all veterans. 

Instead of just talking about supporting veterans, McKellar puts her talent and personal resources into helping veterans. Last year she attended a ribbon cutting for a housing complex in Dallas for Homeless Veterans. She asked: "How can we get a similar one in East Texas." She did not let the current party of the majority of Congress or the current occupants of the  White House deter her. She pulled together a steering committee of local stakeholders, donated some of her own land, and worked diligently with HUD and the VA to "make it happen." On March 3rd there will be a ground breaking for the new complex in Smith County where homeless veterans can use their VA Benefits to buy their own condos.

For 20 years she operated an early childhood education center in Tyler which provided care and education until midnight 7 days a week for infants through 13 year olds. When she was deployed to the Middle East that facility closed. However, she has tracked the progress of the children they served. EVERY child served by that center has graduated from High School and gone to college. One is currently in law school. That program could serve as a pilot program for how to do it right!

Shirley McKellar understands that the more responsibility you have the more you don't know which you need to know. Therefore she is always learning. She has a PhD in nursing, a MS in Criminal Justice and has almost completed a masters in Political Science.

Her expertise in economic development, small business incubation, job creation and non-profit organization equips her to serve the people of this district. During Mr. Gohmert's tenure the unemployment rate and number of persons living in poverty in most of the district has escalated. Shirley McKellar listens to people, verifies and researches, collaborates and brings solutions that serve people. This is the leadership we need in Congress. 


Someone with the Longview News referred to her as "just an Army Nurse!" 
--She is "just an army nurse" who implemented much of the women's health care for the US Military in the European Theatre. 
--She is just an army nurse who established the only comprehensive breast center in the US Military serving men and women. 
--She is just the army nurse who partnered with UT Medical School to determine why the mortality rate for men and women of color who have breast cancer is significantly greater than for white women and to look for treatments which give better outcomes. 
--She is also the Army Nurse who co-founded (with UT Medical School) the African American Breast Cancer Awareness. 

Somehow, I think the best outcome for East Texas in 2018 is for Louie Gohmert to be replaced with this "just an army nurse!"



Donate to Shirley McKellar for Congress at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/justarmynurse?refcode=ArmyNurse

Friday, February 9, 2018

TCBD Town Hall Part 1

By Faith Chatham Feb. 9, 2018



I was honored to be present when this town hall was videotaped. These six women are running for U.S. Congress in 2018 in the Democratic Primary in Texas. All except Dallas Councilwoman Carroway are running in districts currently occupied by GOP incumbents.

This year there are Democrats running in all of the Congressional Districts in Texas. Most of these women are in contested primaries.

If you are a woman or if you are a veteran or if you are a person of color, you have only 20% representation in the US Congress.  These women are articulate, accomplished, compassionate,  informed, persistent fighters for what we need in our communities and nation. They are neither "out of touch" or uninformed. Any one of them will be an improvement over most of the current members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Please share this video with your friends.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Marvin Sutton is the Best Choice for Arlington City Council - Run Off June 6th

By Faith Chatham - May 12, 2017

South East Arlington Councilman Robert Rivera has a new job with the Texas Lottery Commission. His seat is open and Democrat Marvin Sutton and Tea Party favorite Roxanne Thalman are on the ballot for the June Run-off.

Both candidate have served our community. Sutton has served longer and in many more capacities. His understanding of government, process, and commitment to Civil Rights and economic development elevate him, in our opinion, as the best qualified person for this seat.

For the past three state and federal election cycles, the majority of voters from South East Arlington have favored progressive candidates. Rivera, a Republican, always attracted bi-partisan support and for  over a decade  had little competition in retaining his City Council seat.. It is probably that Ms. Thalman is out of step with the vision and needs of the majority of residents in that part of the City.

Arlington is the largest city in the United States to not have any form of mass transit other than Handitran and a pilot shuttle program that runs from UTA to the Trinity Rail Station. It is part of  an important air corridor and Sutton's governmental experience in Transportation can be  a plus on the City Council. As an Air Traffic Controller, he understands logistics which can prove invaluable when facing some of the complexities of providing currently needed services and planning for future growth.

Arlington competes with younger suburbs yet has little land available for new development. The challenges of a land-locked city with a greying population in a city where the largest employer is the University of Texas requires balance and presents a unique bundle of challenges for policy makers. It is our opinion that Sutton has a clear comprehension of these realities and the determination to face them seeking solutions that  benefit the residents of this city.  His maturity, life experience, professional career, and rich network of community activists places him in a position to listen, research and respond to the unique needs of the people of this community.

Marvin Sutton will bring balance to the City Council. Even though this is a non-partisan race, most voters understand the party affiliations of those who serve on the Council. Arlington is a "purple city" and the district seat which will be filled in June is one in which the majority of every precinct in that region featuring contested races was carried by Democratic candidates  for Congress, Texas House and US President. There are no Democrats currently serving on the Arlington City Council. Many think that this is the best opportunity voters have had in many election cycles to add a council person who will be responsive to all the residents in the district and who can provide some balance.

Even though Sutton got the highest percentage of votes in the May election, should the Tea Party and GOP candidates unite, they could take the seat. It will require work and to gain this seat, donations are needed. To Contribute to Marvin Sutton's Campaign
Note:   This article has been edited to correct a mistatement. Robert Rivera is a life-long Republican and never switched from Democrat to Republican. 

Embracing the Heart and Soul of America

By Faith Chatham - May 12 ,2017


When we meet those who understand
    what the heart and soul of America is about, 
 
embrace them. 

Some have roots that go back to Colonial times. 

Others are immigrants who comprehend what we have/are 
     because it is dream they sought in their pain and oppression 
     and cherish now that they are here. 

Some are folks who are perpetually change makers who are too busy 
     extending large and small acts of kindness, 
     endeavoring to make things a little better for all they meet 
to be very introspective. 

Some are writers, poets, teachers and musicians. 

Others are the Grandma or Grandpa of the neighborhood 
     down the block 
     who manages to have a kindly listening ear when needed.


© J. F. Chatham, Arlington, TX 2017

Thursday, November 24, 2016

By Faith Chatham - Thanksgiving Day 2016
I am thankful today for people who are kind.

I am thankful for people who understand that no one exists merely to "serve them" or for their personal gratification.
We may serve and we may gratify, but that is not the reason any of us exist.

I am thankful for those who are clear enough in their own minds and hearts
and consistent enough externally
that I do not have to expend excessive amounts of energy trying to understand where they are coming from
or what hidden agenda may detour others (me) who are proceeding along some of the same paths of their journey(s).

I am thankful for no longer being so young
that I am still trying to prop myself up by accomplishments, externals, or other things.

I am thankful that I am part of a network of people of various ages,
and that so many of us with grey hair are still on the road of investigation and awe.

I am thankful that there are experiences, encounters, successes and failures,
overcoming and coasting in the "afterglow" behind me
that give both stability and wisdom and expectation to the present and future.

I am thankful that neither God nor that basic Fr
anciscan formation or the joy of work has ever failed me.
Sometimes the people or institutions or organizations associated with those have come up short,
but they were merely attachments to the whole, and despite the illusions which seem to indicate otherwise, never really "in charge."

I am thankful for light and color and sound and touch and taste.
They create mosiacs which can be entertaining, communicative, comforting or poignant or energizing.

I am thankful that sunsets and sunrises are still new every morning,
that all of us require grace and forebearance and compassion,
that laughter is common and humility not rare among those in “my circle.”

I am thankful that so very many people in my world understand that we are each a part of each other
but none of us are here totally for anyone else’s domination, command or control.

I am blessed by many,
encouraged by some,
and esteemed by a few.
For me this is balance.

I am at times “in awe” of some of you.
Occasionally I am even a bit in “awe” of what comes through me,
especially when in concert with you.

I am thankful for the ability to pick and choose what I work on,
who I work with,
and where I work
and what I work for!

I am thankful that enough people know me
that I do not have to be perpetually presenting myself or “selling myself”
to become involved in projects and causes which matter to me
and where the gifts, abilities and contacts which revolve around me
can easily be part of the mix which makes things better.
I am thankful for the ride we have been on together.

I am in awe of our “Hillary journey” because
I know we are drawn together by shared values,
determination to make the world a better place,
where truth is not shifting political sands but reality based on facts
and substantiated by data and track records.

I am thankful for leadership and comradery.
I am thankful for kindness and for your commitment to kindness.
I am thankful that “kindness” does not morph into silence
or suffering fools to placate
rather than to transform and protect those deserving our support.

I am thankful that we are still growing together as we mourn and
we are working despite the darkness
and endeavoring to keep the wolves at bay
while we are attempting to raise the "window shade" to another, hopefully, better day.

I am thankful for a few of the people who “broke my heart” in previous eras,
because today it is stronger and wiser
and they mattered enormously while we were enmeshed in the same adventure.

I am thankful that despite how sad I am, have been, or can be,
or how long a list I have of things and people that inspire (merit) thanksgiving from me,
I continue to think of others which haven’t been listed yet.

I am thankful for the discernment and ability to include or exclude people, things, causes, experiences
from my plate, wall, circle, portfolio at times and sometimes forever.

I am thankful for knowing others who are discerning in their associations.

I am thankful that I am at last old enough and wise enough to realize
that none of us have to attempt being all things to all people
or allowing all people to take anything they want
any time they wish from us
any way they desire.

I am thankful that despite the deterioration of my body by age,
there are things I still need to learn,
experiences I still need to taste,
and people I still need to meet and be pressed close to for a while.

There is a line in a Phillips, Craig and Dean song that sums up my philosophy of life:
I am thankful that “God’s grace come up fresh every morning.”

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Cogs which work or break down

By Faith Chatham - Nov. 19, 2016

I am disappointed to learn that the County Chair in Smith County, the largest county in East Texas, decided to step down without giving advance notice to the Democrats in her county. A few years ago, our County Chair in Tarrant County encountered personal conflicts which prompted him to vacate his office between elections. Texas Democratic Party rules specify that a County Chair vacancy is filled between terms by a vote of the pct. chairs at a CEC meeting within 20 days after the County Chair steps down. However in large counties, the best way (thoughtful way) for that to occur is for the County Chair to notify the CEC in advance of the intention to vacate and stay on until the precinct chairs (and hopefully other Democrats in the community) are notified. It is not necessary for the vacancy to be filled by a precinct chair. Notifying the community in advance gives a bigger pool of candidates.

Watching what has /is occurring in Smith County really gives me an even richer appreciation for Steve Maxwell (our previous County Chair in Tarrant) than the rich appreciation I already have for him. Steve absolutely did it the "best way." He assessed his situation and evaluated the needs of the county. He announced his intention several months in advance. He gave the CEC opportunity to announce the date his office would be vacant (several months in advance). He allowed candidates to step forward and to form campaign committees and to compete for his office. There was a public forum at UTA where all candidates who had announced spoke to the public.

They announced in advance what the date would be for the CEC meeting when the precinct chairs would elect the new County Chair and he stepped down once that election was held instead of merly showing up at a CEC meeting and resiging that night!

Also, Steve has remained at Deborah People's side as one of her strongest supporters, advisors and has chaired capital fundraising drives for the party. He is dedicated to the Democratic Party and is invested in seeing that the current chair is as successful in the job as he possibly can enable her to be.

This is how it should be done. I fear that in Smith we are not seeing this kind of transition. I commend Mr. Tolbert in being willing to serve. I regret that the resignation and election occured at the same CEC meeting, and that meeting occurred without an agenda being published and widely distributed in advance announcing an election for replacement of the County Chair. It is also regrettable that it occurred at the very time that Smith County was seeing an important milestone for the Black Community --the installation of Tyler's first Black Fire Chief.

Mr Tolbert needs lots of help. Texans need the Smith County Democratic Party to be robust. I was honored to travel a lot this past year into the many counties in US -TX 1. I was impressed with the hard work and zeal of Democratic volunteers througout East Texas. Crunching the numbers between US TX 1 and the rural East Texas counties of US TX 3, it is obvious that there is a 10 point gain in US 1 over the rural counties in US 3 where no Congressional Candidate ran and /or built infrastructure.

It seemed to me, as an outside observer, that the support and leadership in Smith County did not match some of the leadership of County organizations in some of the other counties in US-1. I saw new political clubs and groups emerge in other East Texas counties in US 1 but not much seemed to be coming out of the Smith County Democratic Party. Smith had a first term County Chair and it takes time to learn the job. Yet Smith is the more “affluent county with the largest number of voters!” They now have another new county chair.

The two most important roles that this County Chair needs to fill are. 1. Parliamentarian. The parliamentarial needs to understand Roberts Rules of Order and know the Rules of the Texas and National Democratic Party backwards, forwards and sideways. This person should be dedicated to the ideals of the Democratic Party and passsionate about ensuring that the process unites instead of divides us. Process is what we rely on as we debate and contest different visions of how we should accomplish what we must for our community, nation and party. I think that if the Parliamentarian had insisted that instead of electing a new county chair Thursday night, they scheduled the election within 20 days and announced the vacancy, the person elected would be on sounder ground than they have propelled this new County Chair into 2. Financial Committee. Without money the Smith County Democratic Party will never be able to reach the voters with the messages necessary to engage and enlist and persuade.

I am so very thankful that in Tarrant, our previous County Chair continues to do everything he can to augment what his successor does for the common good of all of us.

What occurs in the larger counties in Texas impacts people throughout the state
. The lack of Democratic turn-out in a few larger counties determines statewide and federal elections. This year Texas was only 600K votes away from giving all of our state's electoral votes to Hillary Clinton! We saw a few resources coming into Texas from the Presidential campaign for the first time in over three decades this year, but they did not reach to most of the counties. The showing that Texas made in GOTV efforts this year is largely due to the zeal and dedication (and enthusiasm) that volunteers have for our candidates and especially for Hillary Rodham Clinton. Instead of waiting for a national campaign to lead or fund GOTV efforts, we saw individuals stepping forward to create, lead, and execute GOTV campaigns. I saw this pattern in East Texas and in other parts of the state. I am very proud of the people I know and what I saw our “rag tag band of determined Democrats” accomplish this year. I wish we’d have more to work with and that we had not been “discounted” so much and ignored so long by so many! I wish more Texans had believed in ourselves sooner and stronger because that lack of faith from within ourselves held us back. Combatting this is one of the most important roles of county and state and national party leaders.

Fundraising and leadership from a few of the larger counties (and Smith is one of the larger counties) either propells us there or moves us away. I watched Shirley McKellar and her volunteers raise the turn-out for the top of the ticket 10 points above what occurred in neighboring counties in US 3 where there was not a Democratic Congressional Challenger working to bring Democrats together to support the ticket. I wonder what might have occurred if the Smith County Democratic Party had been at the top of their game instead of merely 'coasting by.'

Smith is an exceptionally "hard nut to crack" for Democrats.
Racism is engrained in Smith. Unfortunately Smith County has lots of company in that. Also, the level of education of the White population in Smith does not seem to be on par with some other parts of the state. More than one in every four children in US-TX1 Congressional District lives in homes where the household income is below the National Poverty Level despite many of these children living in households where both parents work. The unemployment rate in East Texas is among the highest in the state and nation, yet the marjority of voters continue returning the same old people to office! Too many people continue pulling the lever and voting straight Republican while retaining their preconceptions that Democratic liberialism is responsible for their “not getting ahead!” I specifically mentioned “white” because I observed a different attitude between most of the minority and most of the white citizens I met while at the Smith County Fair!

Poverty is not limited to minorities in East Texas.
It is obvious from the data and from meeting the people, that it is rampant throughout all racial groups in the region.

I was appalled when I visited the Smith County Fair and spoke with people there. Among minorities it seemed similar to those I met at other events in other counties. When I spoke with whites, as a white woman, I was both shocked and stunned. I felt that many I encountered were more in the socio economic and on the educational level of Appalachia than with other East Texans. As a native daughter of East Texas, I have few illusions. However, I have always seen Tyler as being one of the leading centers in East Texas. Somehow, now, their excellent hospitals, incredible civic institutions and beautiful buildings make less of an impression on me now that I have seen the faces of so very many really poor people who are not thriving, not progessing, and are not voting to promote the welfare of their children or others in the community. Too many people vote against their own best interest in Texas.

The nation knows that Louie Gohmert is not the brighest person in Congress. However, many of the voters in other counties have never met him. In Tyler, there is absolutely no excuse for anyone not knowing him. In Tyler there is absolutely no excuse for the local residents not knowing that he has failed to attract jobs to their communities. It is not just the responsiblity of the candidate who runs against him to communicate the failures of a Congressman to address the needs of the community. The Local and State Democratic Party should be continually calling the failures of incumbents to the attention of the voters through every messaging and 'bully platform" possible. Campaigns are short-term (even though they seem to last perpetually). Party organizations are supposed to be robust 12 months of every year. Campaign committees come and go. The Party should be the RESIDENT infrastructure which leads, builds, messages, fundraises, guides, trains, elists, encourages, inspires.The County Chair must be on his or her game to protect the voting rights of all voters in the area. It calls for perpetually viligance and multi-tasking.

It is difficult to attract Democratic candidates to run for public office in counties where few offices are held by incumbents from their party. The new County Chair in Smith County will have to work to attract candidates. This means he must learn how to support candidates and how to inspire others to support candidates.

I do not envy him. The job is difficult in Blue counties. In Red or Purple Counties is is hundreds of times more daunting. The outcome impact every man, woman and child in Texas, and in Presidential Election years, in the entire nation.

I hope this will cause people in other places to think. I hope that it will inspire those in other places thinking of stepping down to think about the absolutely BEST WAY to go about it and to help make the smoothest transition possible.

My mother taught me when I was in elementary school that it was unfair to nominate a friend for an office unless I was going to do everything possible to help that friend succeed. I wonder how many of the people present at the CEC meeting in Tyler Thursday night are committed to doing everything they possibly can do to enable the new county chair and the Smith County Democratic Party and potential future candidates succeed?

When voting becomes a ‘formality” we are weaked. This year, more than any time in my lifetime, Americans must accept that voting is more than just a responsiblity. It is the survival of everything we hold dear. It isn’t just the election of a President which determines our fate. It is the election and service of everyone of us in a multiplicity of roles and offices and slots from volunteer on a local race up the ladder and up the ticket that makes our process work. We cannot reliquinish the responsiblity because we are discouraged or afraid. When we are disheartened or disgusted is when it becomes even more important than it usually seems for us to redouble our efforts and find better ways of understanding and communicating and enlisting and persuading.

We have to be even more Strategic in Hard to Win Counties, States and campaigns because we don’t have the resources, attract as much outside help, and we get more people discouraging us and others to do our/their part. Perhaps if eventually they abolish the electoral college we will see a bigger push to reach all the states, but even then there will be a discrepancy between the attention that is given areas with fewer Democratic Incumbents. The sad mentality of the Democratic Party is that we ignore the hard to win races and pay the greater attention to incumbents and those running in the bluest places.

It is sad that the patterns prevelant in allocating resources for Democratic campaigns resembles the pattern seen in Eastern Europe during the rise of Nazism. You have heard the story: “They came for the Jews and I watched. They came for the gypsies and I watched. They came for the catholics and I watched. When they came for me there was no one left.” As Democrats in Texas (and in the nation) we have focused on the races we preceived to be the most “viable” for so long that the seats held by Democrats has dwindled so much that there are not enough left to protect us from the policies of Donald Trump. Only supporting candidates in the easiest to win seats has left us with few incumbents! It has also caused us to have fewer “easy to win seats!”

We must develop new ways of viewing the world, viewing our situation, viewing our resources, and developing strategies. It means that we must be more thoughtful in how we conduct our local, state and national party affairs. We can’t go about business as usual. We live in a time when there is no longer a time which is “usual.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Hillary Brings Us Together



This is a 15 min. audio op-ed by Faith Chatham. The text was published Monday under the title: "Despite this Bloodbath of a Campaign, We Aren't As Divided As We're Made Out to Be."
You are welcome to repost, broadcast or publish, but please give credit to Faith Chatham.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Ignorance is no excuse for VOTING STUPID in Texas


By Faith Chatham


Texans have elected some really corrupt obnoxious people to office. For decades they have elected Agriculture Commissioners who barely are able to recognize a cow when they see one let alone know how to help farmers and ranchers; They ignore crimes committed by candidates and elect them Attorney General. They bypass a really smart woman senator and elect an obnoxious bigot who does what he said he would and wrecks havoc on local taxing entities and the state's property tax system in his first term of office. Will they vote Donald Trump into the White House? I honestly don't know. I'd like to believe that the record turn-out in early voting is a surge of folks who have sat on their hands for decades and stayed home instead of getting out to vote. We are having record turn-outs state wide for early voting. It appears that minorities are voting in record numbers. Historically Democratic voters turn up on election day and Republicans win by the Early Voting and By Mail margins. There has been a big push by the Democrats to change those patterns and to get our voters out early.

Heck, The Cubs won the World Series this month. Perhaps Texans will break the pattern and elect the woman who always shows up prepared, having done her homework, to serve people instead of the blow-hard guy in the suit who brags about how many women he's screwed and has ripped off almost every business partner or investor who has ever trusted him. Perhaps they'll actually vote for someone who is skilled in ways that relate to the job instead of the guy who obviously is inapt in every conceivable way related to the tasks that must be accomplished to get what matters accomplished! Perhaps they'll weigh whether electing someone who operates as an agent of theSuperpower Russia is riskier than electing someone who used a private email server (as did her last three predecessors in the SOS office). Perhaps Texas voters will break the pattern and do the right thing for the people of this state and nation. I hope so. I'd also like to wake up and realize that the years Greg Abbot was AG and Rick Perry was Governor were only a bad dream or were an alternate reality and really Texas had sound state government all those years!

I keep reminding myself that I actually lived to see Ceasceau overthrown in Romania, to see the Berlin Wall come down, and now the Cubs win the World Series. Entrenched patterns can change. Perhaps this is the year that despite gerrymandering, enough people will vote for a smart retired military officer phd instead of Louie Gohmert for Congress in East Texas and folks down on the Gulf Coast will choose a decent law enforcement officer over animal house idoit Blake Farenthold. Maybe folks in Houston will listen to the Editorial Boards and retire Culberson who pretends to be for business while voting to weaken Glass Stengall and closing down American manufacturers lender of last resort (the Import Export Bank)!. Returning Culberson to office instead of electing James Cargas makes no sense, but they have done it before, despite warning from the Houston Chronicle’s Editorial Board. Maybe this is the year that they'll ignore party affiliation and look at who is the smartest and more sensible than just who is already in office. Maybe 2016 is the year. Maybe this is the year that we turn things on their head in Texas and break old patterns of electoral stupidity. I hope so.

I remember sitting with my mother in her hospital room watching the overthrow of Ceasceau. I'd made a couple of trips to Romania and the Soviet Union and understood some of the horror the entrenched political leaders in those countries imposed on the people. Here in Texas the majority of my neighbors have persisted in electing people who strip CPS of resources resulting in a perpetually broken Child Protection Service Agency, who transfer dedicated funds from road and bridges and delay maintenance to get folks to think that paying private interests more to build and operate taxpayer funded roads and bridges is sound fiscal policy.

Maybe 2016 is the watershed year in Texas. We don't have the DNA to be perpetually stupid, but for a very long time there is evidence that Texans have been really gullible. Are they gullible enough to believe that a reality TV star who has never done anything for anyone other than himself will actually help lift others out of poverty? Will they wake up and realize that the hype about Texas' continuing prosperity doesn't mesh with the unemployment rate in many of the GOP occupied Congressional Districts?

In Louie Gohmert's district (one of the most beautiful regions of the USA) more than one out of every four children are living in households where the family income is below the national poverty level despite most of their parents working multiple jobs. In the two rural counties of US TX 6 (Joe Barton's district) where the majority of the voters pull the lever for him, the unemployment rates and poverty rates are as dismal. Somehow those who seem to vote Republican for Congressmen in Texas usually live in Districts with the highest rates of unemployment, yet they keep re-electing the same guys who keep on doing nothing constructive to make things better.

When will enough folks wake up? I hope 2016 is the year. I truly hope 2016 is the watershed year and stupidity washes off in waves throughout the Lone Star State.

Texas is not an awful place. We have mountains and sea shores and forests and breathtaking deserts. We have folks with keen senses of humor and compassion. We have authors and poets and musicians and saavy businessmen and businesswomen. We even have some folks who try to do the right thing when elected to public office! We need to elect more folks who not only try, but succeed at doing the right thing. We need to to it now.

On both sides of my family tree, pioneer widow women brought their families to Texas in covered wagons. It takes fortitude to keep your sanity while driving a car load of kids between Virginia or Alabama and Texas today, let alone to move a household from Alabama or Virginia to Texas in a wagon pulled by teams of oxen in 1838 and 1850! Those were tough women on my mom’s and dad’s family tree. I wonder if those women are looking down when their descendants pull the lever for some of the folks I know my relatives vote for? On her death bed my mom told all of her daughters (except Nancy) to go vote. She said that Nancy should stay home. My retired Federal Bureaucrat mom knew Nancy would vote for George Bush!

I encountered Lynda B. Johnson Robb outside of the Wells Fargo Center at the close of the National Democratic Convention this year and we talked about how we’d love for our mom’s “to be able to see Hillary nominated for president”. She said she thought our mom’s were watching “and Liz Carpenter too!” I like to think that the curtains will part a bit and Mollie Ivins and Ann Richards and every American woman who had to get a man to co-sign when she applied for a loan to buy a car or house with her own money or to sell her own property gets a glimpse when this nation finally elects a woman president who will see this nation becomes a much more fairer place for women and girls. I hope this is the election when Texas women stop voting against our own best interest.


I hope this is the year when folks look at what happens in Texas with the same amazement as we felt sitting in that hospital room watching the Berlin Wall fall and Ceasceau overthrown in Romania. I truly hope I can say to the folks who chose the slate of candidates to endorse for Daily Kos that “I kept telling you good Democrats can win challenger races in Texas”. I hope I can show them the election returns to prove it.


Ignorance is no excuse for pulling the lever for Donald Trump this year, folks.

Ignorance is no excuse for not putting the Congressional incumbent's name in a search bar and finding out what he has or hasn't done since the last time you voted for him.

Stop blaming your hometown newspaper for not telling you enough,
and use your fingers on the key board to find out what is going on BEFORE YOU VOTE.

For the sake of all of us, stop imposing the most stupid, corrupt people on the rest of the nation!

Who you elect to Congress helps determine what you receive in your pay envelope. It helps determine whether you pay more for health insurance than the rest of the nation. It helps determine whether more children live in poverty in your neighborhood than in the rest of the state because employers are smart enough to avoid districts where stupid incumbents make things harder for businesses and for workers. Who you elect to Congress and to the White House really matters!

This really isn’t a diary. It’s merely the thought that I woke up with, the thoughts that continue haunting me as I work with candidates and travel the state trying to help decent people be change makers in a state and nation worth the effort.


PS. It is not too late to help Shirley McKellar pay for her TV ads to help her defeat Louie Gohmert or to support the Shop and Share GOTV program. To donate: http://bit.ly/TexasButton or http://bit.ly/GOTVTXMcKellar

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Why did Texans stop voting for Smart People?

By Faith Chatham - Nov. 2, 2016


We sent Ann Richards to the Governor’s mansion, LBJ to the Congress and the White House and Jim Wright to Congress! Now we’ve uleashed Blake Farenthold, Louie Gohmert, Ted Poe, Bill Flores, Ted Cruz and Joe Barton on the nation. What has happened to the cognitive abilities of the Texas electorate? There hasn’t been that drastic a shift in the gene pool, so what gives? Perhaps its from “natural methane emissions” from all that manure or from environmental pollutants from over a hundred years of fossil fuel production?! Whatever, the cause, the reality is that Texas has some exceptionally smart Democratic Congressional Nominees, yet they receive pennies compared to the thousands of dollars that flow into the campaign coffers of egregious Republicans.


2016 is our Year of Opportunity to Crack the Tea Party and Elect More Texas Democrats to Congress
We have Democratic Nominees in 29 of Texas' 36 U.S. House Districts. With the Affordable Care Act, Women's Right to Choose, Pay Day Fairness and ratification of the President's U.S. Supreme Court Nominee on the line and the threat of Donald Trump in the White House, the unthinkable has occurred. No one thought Texas would become a swing state in 2016. Yet it has, and the Democratic party is scrambling to keep up. Outside dollars aren’t flowing into (or staying) in most of Texas’ Congressional District. The Clinton campaign is running some advertising in the largest markets, but most of the state is dark when it comes to Democratic messages. Yet the voters are ripe for the plucking. When the DNC phones Texas donors, if we say “We’re giving to Texas candidates” they ridicule us! No polls were run before the national Democratic Party eliminated all but one of Texas Congressional Districts from the list of “red to blue districts” to receive GOTV resources. As the ground began to shift in Texas, and Republican incumbents started stepping forward to switch party’s. no reassessment was made to deploy more resources. Most Texas candidates are left on their own without assistance with polling, ad buys or consulting. Some continue to fight valiantly.


it is essential that we do our part to change the composition of Congress. Texas Republicans elected some of the nation's worst obstructionists to Congress. 2016 is a year of opportunity for Texas Democrats to change that.


Democrats are usually elected to Congress in Texas during Presidential election years.


The GOP is in disarray
We have highly qualified nominees running in Texas this year
All contributions to the TEXAS FEDERAL BLUE SEED PAC stay in Texas to help our nominees defeat GOP Congressional Incumbents on the ballot in Texas and to keep the White House Blue.
For decades Texans have ignored our Congressional challengers. We give to help Congressional Candidates in other states awhile ignoring our own.

NO ONE CAN SAY THAT TEXANS DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE.


There is a stark Contrast between the 2016 Democratic Nominees for Congress and the GOP Incumbents they are challenging.

One race to keep an eye on is in US-TX 1. TX-1 Incumbent Louie Gohomer (R) vs Shirley McKellar (D) (Maj. ret), PhD
Shirley J. McKellar, R.N., PhD, Maj. (ret) 2016 Democratic Nominee for Congress US TX-6 McKellar is a problem-solver, a communicator, a policy wok, a woman who combines great intellect with a servant’s heart who has never stopped serving her country and community. Gohmert is notorious for blowing off his mouth without thinking. One newspaper publisher in his district told me: “It would take up all our time and resources if we fact checked everything he says, because very little that he says is right.” Reality and what is expelled from his mouth is so frequently incongruous that he is known as “Liar, Liar Louie Gohmert”. Some of Gohmert’s proposals include establishing “colonies” in Texas for the LGBT community “so they won’t contaminate the rest of the population.” He’s argued that women have inferior intellectual abilities than men and girls do not need math and science. Gohmert’s vote on renewing the Charter of the Import Export Bank cost Texas 7,000 jobs and prompted employers to move thousands of more American jobs off-shore.

While the rest of the nation has recovered economically, East Texas still suffers. During the past 12 months over one in four children in the US TX First Congressional District lives in a home where the family income is below the national poverty level. McKellar has a track record of creating jobs in East Texas. Gohmert has chased jobs away. She is running on issues that resonate with people of all political party’s.

Many East Texans see Gohmert as a disgrace. They have a good choice this year. It’s a big district. There are 12 counties in the district that stretches from Tyler to Lufkin. Media advertising is needed to help those who are oblivious get to know the Democratic Congressional Nominee. She has an active phone bank and block walking organization but needs TV buys to bring it “home” for a win.

McKellar has worked consistently and persistently for six years building a political base and the political infrastructure to claim the First District’s Congressional seat from Louie Gohmert. When candidates run in easy to win districts national PACS usually help with the advertising. Except for one District, none of Texas’ GOP held districts at near the top of the nation’s easier to win districts. Candidates in Texas are on their own. The Democratic Party transfers donations by Texans to races in other states.

We are seeing a trend begin of GOP incumbents in Texas changing party’s. The first two judges to switch from the GOP to the Democratic Party are on the bench in US-TX 1.

McKellar has led the GOTV effort for candidates from the top to the bottom of the ticket. Where she goes, things happen. McKellar is endorsed by the AFL-CIO, Texas Federal Blue Seed PAC, and many other progressive organizations.

Polls show that Hillary is neck in neck with Trump in Texas. It has been 40 years since a Democratic Presidential candidate has carried Texas and few expected Texas to be a swing state this year. The most persistent work in East Texas has been by the McKellar for Congress Campaign. Her efforts help draw out voters for Clinton/Kaine. While the state and national party slept, Shirley McKellar was preparing for battle against the Tea Party. She is in place. We need to help her. The only Democratic TV ad buy I know of in US-TX 1 is McKellars. She needs help keeping her TV spots on the air. $200 pays for a spot. $100 goes a long way. $50 helps.

To donate: http://bit.ly/AdBuyETx 5 Comments

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

James Cargas Challenges CongressTo Get To Work on Gun Violence and Respect Voters' Demands

By James Cargas - Cargas for Congress - US Congress TX 7th District

 Kudos to the House Democrats that conducted a sit-in protesting the Republican leadership’s refusal to call a vote on legislation designed to curtail gun violence.

 Using Civil disobedience they tried to shame the majority into taking the ethical and constitutionally correct action. After so many innocent lives lost and so many families broken forever, House Democrats, under the leadership of John Lewis (D-GA), openly violated House rules Wednesday night to demand Speaker Paul Ryan (R-KY) do his job as Speaker and schedule legislative votes. Instead, the Republican majority shutoff the cameras and lights.

Thursday, John Culberson voted to shut down the House without holding a vote on the "no-fly no-buy" bill and started his week-long Fourth of July vacation early. Yes, when the Nation demanded action on gun violence, Congress went on vacation. Ryan, Culberson and the Tea Party are afraid to even discuss options. #NoBillNoBreak

 There is no guaranty that keeping people on the no-fly list from buying guns, tightening background checks, or the other proposals will prevent the next mass shooting. But, doing nothing is no longer an option.

 Barring the 47,000 people on the no-fly list or the 700,000 people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list (the vast majority of whom are not in the US) is a simple and logical starting point for Congress. While the people of Congressional District 7 demand Congress take action on the no-fly list and background checks, John Culberson does nothing but take vacation.

 These past few weeks I have attended many memorials, spoken to Republicans and Democrats, to conservatives and liberals, and independents -- everyone agrees that keeping guns away from suspected terrorists and applying background checks uniformly are easy steps that should be law. If Republicans cannot or will not pass such simple legislation, then Democrats should be given an opportunity to govern this November. The voters' demands cannot be ignored.

James Cargas Challenges CongressTo Get To Work on Gun Violence and Respect Voters' Demands

By James Cargas - Cargas for Congress - US Congress TX 7th District

 Kudos to the House Democrats that conducted a sit-in protesting the Republican leadership’s refusal to call a vote on legislation designed to curtail gun violence.

 Using Civil disobedience they tried to shame the majority into taking the ethical and constitutionally correct action. After so many innocent lives lost and so many families broken forever, House Democrats, under the leadership of John Lewis (D-GA), openly violated House rules Wednesday night to demand Speaker Paul Ryan (R-KY) do his job as Speaker and schedule legislative votes. Instead, the Republican majority shutoff the cameras and lights.

Thursday, John Culberson voted to shut down the House without holding a vote on the "no-fly no-buy" bill and started his week-long Fourth of July vacation early. Yes, when the Nation demanded action on gun violence, Congress went on vacation. Ryan, Culberson and the Tea Party are afraid to even discuss options. #NoBillNoBreak

 There is no guaranty that keeping people on the no-fly list from buying guns, tightening background checks, or the other proposals will prevent the next mass shooting. But, doing nothing is no longer an option.

 Barring the 47,000 people on the no-fly list or the 700,000 people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list (the vast majority of whom are not in the US) is a simple and logical starting point for Congress. While the people of Congressional District 7 demand Congress take action on the no-fly list and background checks, John Culberson does nothing but take vacation.

 These past few weeks I have attended many memorials, spoken to Republicans and Democrats, to conservatives and liberals, and independents -- everyone agrees that keeping guns away from suspected terrorists and applying background checks uniformly are easy steps that should be law. If Republicans cannot or will not pass such simple legislation, then Democrats should be given an opportunity to govern this November. The voters' demands cannot be ignored.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Prospects for Reclaiming Texas' U S Congressional Districts

By Faith Chatham - CFO Texas Federal Blue Seed PAC - May 13, 2016
LINK to donate: bit.ly/5forTX

Democratic Nominees are running in 29 of Texas' 36 U.S. House Districts this year.A state where less than 8% of the Federal Delegation women but is over 51% of the population is female, Texas voters have the opportunity to add five more women to their Congressional delegation.

THE WOMEN
The Texas female Democratic Nominees who are challenging GOP incumbents for seats in Congress include:
Shirley McKellar PhD.
Dr McKellar is a retired officer in the US Army Nurse Corp A nurse clinician, McKellar led in the implementation of women's health services for the US Military in the European Theatre. Shirley is challenging GOP incumbent Louie Gohmert for the 1st Congressional Seat.

Tawana Cadien, RN.
Tawana is also a nurse clinician nursing administrator. She is one of the first graduates of the Thurgood Marshall School of Public Affairs to earn a Masters of Public Administration. Tawana is challenging GOP incumbent Mike McCaul for the10th District seat.

Jan McDowell, CPA. Jan is a community activist who understands the dollar and cents value of clean air and water. We need someone in Congress who can read a balance sheet and has understands the difference between short term cuts which cost more in the long run. Jan is challenging GOP incumbent Kenny Marchant for the 24th District Congressional seat.

Ruby Woolridge is challenging GOP incumbent Joe Barton for the 6th Congressional District Seat. Ruby is an ordained (Methodist) Minister who is currently serving at the Potter's House and is a public school teacher. She is a strong advocate for veterans. Her son Troy was injured on active duty in the middle east when he was in his twenties. He died of his injuries last year after years of rehab and disability. Ruby was his caretaker.

Kathi Thomas is a business owner and former county chair. She is challenging GOP incumbent Roger Williams for the 25th District Congressional seat.

Democratic Incumbents Congresswomen Shelia Jackson Lee (District 18) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (District 30) are running for re-election in "safe Democratic majority districts."

To donate directly with one click to the campaigns of these women congressional challengers and Hillary Clinton and the federal pac which supports progressive candidates running for Federal offices on the ballot in Texas go to: www.bit.ly/5forTX. You can also choose to give more or nothing to some and less to others. You are given the option of making a one time donation or splitting you gift into monthly installments

Link to Donate: www.bit.ly/5forTX

THE LANDSCAPE

Texas is frequently dubbed a “red state” but demographically, it is much more blue than is reflected in the election results. A combination of apathy, savvy marketing/outreach by deep-pocketed special interests, and gerrymandering with an abandonment of the fight by most progressive donors has enabled some of the most obnoxious Texas politicians to win and retain seats in the state and federal government. Being under indictment for fraud, bribery or political corruption seems to be a plus for many of the State’s GOP incumbents. Yet there is a bright ray shining through the darkness in the Lone Star State.

Democrats turn out in higher numbers during presidential election years. All of the 11 current Democratic US House members except Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson were initially elected in Presidential election year. Texas has 11 districts that are majority Democratic and one truly swing district (23). Most of the other districts have had no serious resources devoted by progressives in Congressional challenger races for many election cycles. In 2014 on average apx. 2 ½ cents per voter was all the funding received by non-incumbent Democratic nominees who were challenging GOP/TeaParty incumbents for Congressional seats in the primary and general election combined. For 2 ½ cents it is impossible to even effectively communicate with those who already know they want to vote for you, let alone convince others that you are the best candidate. Most GOP incumbents in Texas have gotten a free walk to re-election for decades. They amass large war chests and use them to help fund down-ticket candidates. The outcome of most election in Texas have little to do with “merit” or “integrity” and more to do with non engagement from the left and business “as usual” from the right.

Democratic "normal GOTV efforts" in Texas

Examination of voter rolls shows that as Democrats stop running in contested Democratic primaries for state and local offices, Democratic voters stopped voting,. Most did not become Republicans. As spending and outreach ceased by progressives, apathy won and more and more Texans appeared on the rolls as folks who used to vote but do not any more, In presidential election years more will show up than in other election years. The state Democratic Party has a long history of focusing more attention on internal party affairs than on prioritizing winning General Elections. However, there are some encouraging developments this year.

2016 is a year of opportunity for reclaiming seats from GOP incumbents in Texas. It will require funding. In 2015 Republican candidates for Congress in Texas received $4 to every $1 donated to Democratic Congressional Candidates, During the FEC financial report ending March 31, 2016 the gap had narrowed. Republican received $2.82 dollars for every dollar donated to Democratic candidates. The gap is still deplorable, but the trend is headed in the right direction. The quality of the Democratic Nominees is substantial. Their challenges can be addressed by generosity from donors — large and small. Outside money will not come gushing in to Texas Congressional races. However, Texans have the resource to fund these races. Small donors and deeper pocketed donors uniting with the unique synergy of the 2016 Presidential race and the impact of both of the top of the ticket candidates on the electorate can realistically turn additional districts blue.
Source: FEC.gov

Factors for Optimism

1. A push on increasing Democratic turnout for by mail ballots paid off in the 2016 Democratic Primary. Significant increases in Democratic voters by mail occurred in the counties which invested in the BY MAIL campaign. Historically, Republicans have had by mail margins high enough to claim numerous seats in Texas. This improvement removes the GOP/Tea Party’s advantage in several of Texas’ largest counties.

2. Texas State Law was changed allowing the State Party to hold primaries in counties without Democratic County Chairs. Glen Maxey worked tirelessly to get legislation passed which allowed every registered voter in Texas to vote in a Democratic primary this year even if there were no county chair in their county. Once the law was passed, Glen faced the monumental task of getting the paperwork filed and to recruiting workers and polling places in counties without a chair, Although the actual number of voters involved is rather small, the change is enormous. At the last SDEC meeting several new county chairs were sworn in who stepped up and volunteered to serve from counties where they previously had been unable to vote in a Democratic Primary. It is a constructive beginning. For decades Democrats have ignored most of the rural counties. Cumulatively, rural voters determine the outcome of many elections. To overcome the GOP incumbent advantage, reaching out and increasing Democratic turnout in rural counties is essential.

3. Demographic shift in population, age and income impacts the state. Texas’ white majority is dwindling. The Republican base is aging and dying off faster than the Democratic base in Texas. The percentage of Latino and Black Texans is increasing. Both Democratic and Republican parties try to enlist Hispanic voters. Republicans have skillfully used social issues to depress Hispanic voter turnout. In the 2014 Governor’s race many Hispanics were conflicted between their religious beliefs regarding abortion and the Republican hardline anti-immigrant posturing. A percentage of them simply stayed home. In 2016 Republican rhetoric repels and motivates many who stayed home to get involved. Blacks and Texans of Hispanic lineage are among Hillary Clinton’s most enthusiastic supporters. With Donald Trump at the top of the Republican ticket, it will be much easier to engage Tejano, Hispanic, Muslim and Black voters in Texas.

4. Hillary at the top of the Democratic ticket will draw more minority voters that Sanders. During the primary in Texas, despite the large number of older white women which remain a strong part of Clinton’s base, larger numbers of Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians turned out as delegates for Clinton at senatorial conventions than for Sanders. In the Tarrant (largest part) of Senate District 9, in the Clinton delegation:

60% minority; 40% whlte
60% female; 40% male
11% under age 36
14% LGBT
in the Sanders Tarrant Senate District 9:
74% white; 26% minority
59% male; 41% female
24% under age 36
18% LGBT

This is a snapshot of 3/4th of one urban Senate District (Tarrant 9). (Dallas Senate 9 did not break down their delegates demographically.)

Hillary attracts more minorities and women than Sanders. Hillary attracts young voters but Sanders attracts twice the number of younger voters. Hillary’s following among women is 1/3 larger than Sanders. Sander’s following among men is 1/3 larger than Clinton’s. Both resonate with LGBT voters. Hillary has fewer problems with minority voters than Sanders (74% for Clinton and only 26% for Sanders.)

With Clinton at the top of the ticket, the large minority population of Texas should place more races in play in the state if the “coat tail effect” carries over to down-ticket (especially Congressional) races. The party is working to enlist younger and minority voters into the Party. Older female voters remain the most loyal dependable voting block of Democratic voters. The majority of this “most loyal” voter demographic group are Clinton supporters. This is a good sign for down ticket candidates, especially for older, educated, highly qualified candidates who are challenging GOP incumbents.

Despite the spin that “Sanders is defining the issues”, there is solid evidence that Clinton delegates have more education than the majority of Sanders or Trump voters. Clinton supporters value “problem-solving” and pragmatic incrementalism. They trust her experience, the through vetting given her, and appreciate her ability to get policies and programs implemented. Many of Clinton’s supporters do not think that Bernie has changed Hillary’s positions substantially. They see her as a progressive political leader who has always worked to increase minority voter participation, fought for accessible affordable health care, denounced discrimination by championing the rights of women, minorities, LGBT and handicapped individuals throughout the world.

National Pattern


In the Primaries and Caucuses held thus far this year, more Republicans turned out in their primaries than Democrats in theirs in states where Sanders had more votes than Hillary. In the states which Clinton carried, she got more votes than the leading Republican and more Democrats turned out to vote than Republicans overall. This is a very good sign because she has carried more states than Sanders and she has carried larger states than Sanders. It is unlikely that she will carry Texas in the General Election. Having Cruz off of the ticket is beneficial. If she selects a young, Latino favorite son from Texas as her running mate, that may bring Texas into play. A Clinton/Castro ticket may not turn the state blue enough to garner the electoral votes from the Lone Star State, but the activity may be a shot-in-the-arm for some Congressional races and help Democrats gain a few additional seats in Congress in Districts the national pacs are not targetings as Red to Blue.

THE MEN

Texas has also nominated several strong, highly qualified Democratic men for Congress this year. In addition to the 8 Democratic Congressmen who are running for re-election, there are men running in 12 of Texas’ Congressional Districts. One district is a truly Democratic majority district (15). Congressman Hinojosa is retiring so that is an “open” seat in a majority Democratic District. Vicente Gongalez and Juan "Sonny" Palacios are in a run-off for the Democratic Nomination for US-TX 15 Congressional District on May 24th.

Former Democratic Congressman Pete Gallego is challenging far right-wing Tea Party incumbent Wm. Hurd for the seat in Texas’ only truly swing district.

The 23rd Congressional District has more land mass than any district in Texas. The land mass of 9 states will fit into this incredible Congressional District which runs from the outskirts of San Antonio to the outskirts of the City of El Paso. It includes National Parks and most of the Texas/Mexico border. Gallego has continued as a private citizen to work to further the interests of the people of the district.

Hurd has focused only on divisive religious positions and has ignored the economic and environmental needs of the District. Gallego, as a private citizen, is credited with bringing passenger air service back to a poorly served part of the district. Despite Gallego’s deplorable vote on the Three State Nuclear Waste pact while he was an incumbent, Gallego is much more of a champion for the District's National Park (Big Bend) than incumbent Hurd. Gallego has proven to be much more responsive to the needs of the people of the district than incumbent Hurd. This race is targeted by the DCCC as a Red to Blue District and will probably be the only non-incumbent challenger Congressional race in Texas to receive funding from the DCCC and the Democratic Majority PACs.

James Cargas qualifies as an environmental/developmental rock star. Cargas is one of our state’s leading pragmatic visionaries. An Oil and Attorney, James worked on Capitol Hill as an intern as an undergraduate and returned, after he graduated from the University of Michigan, during the Reagan administration while Jim Wright was Speaker of the House to serve as Press Secretary to a Michigan Democratic Congressman. He graduated from The American University’s Washington College of Law where he served as President of the Environmental Law Society and Article Editor of The American University Journal of International Law and Policy and The American University International Law Review) in 1992. During law school, he was law clerk to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Admitted to practice law in Texas, West Virginia, Washington D.C, and Michigan, he represented large interstate pipeline companies before leaving the private sector to join the Clinton administration on the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, promoting clean wind and solar energy, hybrid vehicles and sustainable resource development. He left to work on the Gore Presidential campaign and returned to serve under Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. He was hired in 2008 by former Houston Mayor Bill White as the City of Houston’s energy counsel, and continued as counsel to Mayor Parker. During his stint with the City of Houston, Cargas has negotiated energy contracts and helped the City of Houston become recognized as the governmental entity that has purchased the most sustainable energy in the nation, exceeding the purchases of the DOD and EPA. Cargas is married to a medical research scientist doctor and is especially cognizant of the roadblocks facing medical research in the USA. Cargas is the Democratic Nominee challenging GOP incumbent John Culberson for Texas' 7th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Bill Matta, PhD is challenging GOP incumbent Bill Flores for the 17th District US Congressional Seat. Matta is one of three Democratic Nominees in Texas who are retired military officers with doctoral degrees. A navigator in the USAF, Matta served with NATO in Bosnia, at the US Air Force Academy and at the Pentagon. A graduate of UT Austin, Matta has pursued a dual career track, blending his military service with teaching. Currently he is the chair of the Linguistics, Speech and Engilsh at McLennan County Community College.

Mark Gibson JD is a retired Colonel and Brigade Commander with the US Army. He earned is Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law, and his Master’s in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He earned his BBA in Management Information Systems from University of Houston, As a Senior IT Manager and small business owner, Mark Gibson, understands the challenges facing business owners. He fights for veterans and military families, is committed to fighting for equal rights for women, pledges to”push for absolute assurances of banning weapons from schools, synagogues or worship centers, shopping malls, stores, and our schools” and will fight for breaks for small businesses and term limits.

Gibson is challenging GOP incumbent Pete Olson for Texas' 22nd District Congressional seat.

Mike Cole,is the Democratic Nominee for Texas’ 14th US Congressional District. Cole is challenging GOP incumbent Randy Weber for the 14th US Congressional Seat. An educator, Cole’s struggle with onset juvenile diabetes gives him insight into medical challenges which reach far beyond what is normal for a young man. He is skilled at engaging others in projects that enhance and improve people’s lives.

He is running an energetic campaign against Randy Weber which involves college students and senior citizens.

The 14th is a coastal district. Challenged by natural disasters and the aftermath of BP’s Horizon Blowout/Oil Spill, the district requires diligent service by a Representative who will balance the economical developmental needs with the environmental challenges facing people of the district.

Mike Cole, Tawana Cadien, James Cargas and Pete Gallego are the Democratic Nominees who are positioned to give better service to the people of the Texas Gulf Coast and US Mexican Border. You can help them directly with one click using this link:
http://bit.ly/4TXCoastDs

To split your donation between the four coastal candidates and the federal PAC which supports progressive challengers for federal office on the ballot in Texas use this link http://bit.ly/4TXCoastDs

It is not necessary for Texans to live under the skewed worldview of the Tea Party and ;the state's GOP incumbents. We do not have to continue subjecting this nation and the world to the stupidity that passes between many of Texas so-called public officials. It will not be easy, but it is definitely "worth it!" The key is setting aside defeatist attitudes, stepping forward and doing what we can when we can and enlisting and welcoming others to do what they can.