Wendy Davis Minimum Wage

Vote For $10.10: Wendy Davis Pledges To Raise Texas Minimum Wage

Texas is often heralded for being the most prolific job creator in the United States.  One look at the basic employment rolls reveals that in itself, that is a true statement.

What is often missed in that purely quantitative assessment of the roaring Texas job factory?  Too many Texans are forced to work in low-wage jobs that have no benefits, and are living paycheck to paycheck with little ability to meet their most basic needs, much less plan for their future.  This is the painful reality that occurs in a state that has encouraged corporations to put profits over people for far too long.  As revealed in a recent study by The Economic Policy Institute (via Fortune Magazine), it turns out that Texas needs an increase of the minimum wage more than any other state…

Which state needs a minimum wage increase the most?

The Economic Policy Institute tried to answer this question by examining how many state residents would be directly affected by a minimum wage hike to $10.10 and what sort of state stimulus such a raise would produce.

After crunching the numbers, there was a clear winner: Texas, where the current minimum wage is the federally mandated $7.25 an hour.

Out of an estimated total workforce of nearly 11 million in Texas, a $10.10 minimum wage would directly affect 1.95 million people – in other words, that many Texans would get a raise because a $10.10 wage would surpass what they currently make. (Another 920,000 Texans would be indirectly affected since they make just above $10.10 and a minimum wage hike would likely adjust pay scales overall.)

With so many Texans struggling to make ends meet, one would think that calls to raise the state’s minimum wage would be growing louder. In recent months, there have been several prominent protests from national sources, but not as much organizing done exclusively at the state level.

The grand irony here?  Raising Texas’ minimum wage wouldn’t just benefit low-wage workers, but would likely be a huge boon to business across the state as well.  Here’s more on that, again from Fortune Magazine…

What outpaces other states even more is the economic benefit that Texas would receive from a $10.10 minimum wage. The EPI estimates that the state would see a gross domestic product impact of $3.1 billion, that’s nearly $2 billion more than the potential stimulus in Florida — again the runner-up.

It’s not just the total number of workers in Texas – the second most populous state in the U.S. – that puts the state in this position. It’s also the state’s incredibly large low-wage workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 400,000 workers in Texas whose hourly wage is at or below the federal standard of $7.25 – more than double that of any other state. While that’s a lot in absolute terms, it also represents a large portion of the state’s overall workforce: 6.4% — the fifth highest percentage in the country, behind Tennessee, Idaho, Arkansas and Alabama.

Many business leaders have figured out that raising wages is good for them.  Take for example Buc-ee’s… the gas station and knick-knack chain that is quickly becoming a Lone Star institution.  Key to their undeniable success?  The fact all workers are paid wages starting at $11.50 per hour.   Contrary to all the horror stories people tell about stores collapsing if they’re forced to pay employees more, and prices of goods surging out of control, Buc-ee’s is doing just fine.

Right now, people in every corner of the Lone Star State are making critical decisions in the voting booth about education, health care, and future government priorities.  Though the actual minimum wage may not be up for a vote in 2014, you can be sure that this issue is on the ballot.  If you support raising the minimum wage for the state of Texas, then you should also support Wendy Davis… the only candidate that has pledged to do just that.  As a former minimum wage worker and single mom, she knows that even if politicians and news media aren’t always talking about it, establishing a living wage for Texas will have a drastic effects on millions of people’s lives.

Here’s what Davis said last month, via the Victoria Advocate

Raising the minimum wage suddenly became a hot issue in the Texas governor’s race just after Labor Day, with Democrat Wendy Davis endorsing it, and Republican Greg Abbott opposing it.

The national campaign by fast-food workers calling for raising the minimum wage helped spark the discussion.

“I’ll fight to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 because this is a family issue,” Davis declared Thursday at a rally at the University of Texas-San Antonio, during her multicity tour of universities.

“Half of the 2.8 million people in Texas who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage are supporting families,” Davis said.

“$7.25 an hour is $15,000 a year, and I know from experience that is not enough to support a family,” Davis said.

Leticia Van de Putte, the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, also supports raising the state’s minimum wage.  As the state’s highest elected officials, Davis and Van de Putte would truly have the ability to bring this need to light and commit the legislature to a wage increase.

On the other hand, Davis’ opponent Greg Abbott remains a vigorous defender low-wages for the Lone Star state.

A lot of people think that elections don’t matter, or that their vote isn’t going to make a difference in an election.  But in 2014 for the state of Texas, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  If Texans show up to the polls during Early Voting and on Election Day, they will have Wendy Davis as Governor.  And that decision could result in a living wage for literally millions of people.  This time, it’s just too important to sit out.

‘Can’t survive on $7.25?’  Then vote for Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte.  Vote for $10.10.  

 

lapel cam

Body Cameras Protect the Police Too

An important reminder from neighboring New Mexico the that the push to equip police forces across the country with body cameras isn’t just about potential victims of abuse.  Those same body cameras will also be there to protect officers that have done nothing wrong.  One officer in Albuquerque knows this to be very true.  Here’s the story from KOB 4 News

Arrested for drunk driving, an Albuquerque woman tried to flip the script on an Albuquerque Police officer, accusing him of sexual assault. Cops say 23-year-old Deanna Griego padded her bra with something extra as she was placed under arrest for DWI earlier this month.

It turns out that’s what ended up giving her away.

[...]

Frazier arrested Griego for DWI. She blew a .13 blood alcohol content at the station, way over the legal limit of .08.

Then she said she had to pee.

“Bathroom’s on your left,” said Frazier, taking off Griego’s cuffs. “Your other left. There we go.”

Fraizer says he heard Griego talking in the bathroom, asking “How can I get this officer in trouble?” 

Then he remembered Griego had slipped her cell phone into her bra back at the stop. It’s clear on the officer’s lapel cam video.

From inside the bathroom, Griego argues with Officer Frazier and says he’s violating her rights by opening the door. He points out he can’t see her, and then comes this accusation:

“[You were] inappropriately touching me while I was waiting in the car,” said Griego.

“Please don’t touch me,” she said, coming out of the bathroom.

“The whole thing’s on video ma’am; you can say whatever you like,” Frazier responded.

“Now she’s saying I touched her when I put her in the car,” he said.

But when Griego asked for medical attention, Frazier called EMTs.

“Basically the whole thing’s on video,” he tells the paramedics. “She’s accusing me of touching her.”

APD says a sex crimes sergeant and detective conducted a full investigation and cleared Officer Frazier of the allegations.

Contrast this story with what could have happened had Officer Frazier not been wearing a camera.  Being accused of such a charge could cause Frazier to be removed from the field and suspended pending the investigation.  Had he been found guilty, this officer could have been terminated from his position and subject to criminal charges himself.

This is a textbook example of why body cameras are so desperately needed across the country.  With unedited footage, they serve as an objective witness, and can only speak the truth about what happened.  It is very good that Officer Frazier’s department was smart enough, well-funded enough or lucky enough to invest in this equipment, and it is high time that every officer in the United States be given the same resource.  Let’s hope police forces like HPD and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office take note of this story to improve their case for cameras as well.

 

(photo credit:  Damian Dovarganes via New York Daily News

 

Wendy Davis Closer

Wendy Davis’ Closing Argument? Education

After a tough and complex campaign season, there are some tell tale signs that the end is near.  One of them?  In the seemingly endless barrage of negative television ads, you start to get more that look less like pure attacks, and more like closing arguments. These ads finally show the candidate’s face, and try to leave a lasting impression on voters with the issue they care about the most.

On Wednesday morning, Wendy Davis released the ad that she hopes will send her to victory.  Titled “Our Kids”, it is one with a simple message that reaches voters from every part of the political spectrum.  Check out the full text and video below…

Education led me from a life of struggle to one filled with hope. I want every Texas child to have the same opportunity.
But that can’t happen when Greg Abbott goes to court to defend $5 billion dollars in cuts to our schools.

How much learning will your child do in a classroom crammed with 36 kids?

These are our kids, and this is their future.

I’m Wendy Davis. Let’s make Texas stronger for every hard-working Texan.

As campaign pieces go, this is one seems to be very effective.  It reminds Texans that the devastating 2011 cuts to education had real consequences… ones that many Texas school districts are still dealing with today.  There are kids in our state right now sitting in packed classrooms, teachers and school employees that lost their jobs in 2011, 2012 and 2013 because the districts, faced with tough decisions, had to get rid of entire programs like Art and Music, or severely pair back on after school opportunities.

Sure… after seeing this devastation up close, it’s true that the legislature restored some of the funding in 2013.  But the current funding levels are still not enough to meet the needs of a rapidly growing state.  And for the kids who had to suffer from the loss of a teacher or vital program, they will never get that instructional time back.

Let’s not forget that these same cuts have also been passed on to Texas taxpayers in school districts.  If you’re a voter in the Katy ISD tax zone, you probably know very well about the $748 million dollar bond referendum that is being decided at the polls right now.  If state funding sources had been available over the past two and a half years, would Katy ISD officials have to ask for so much money in 2014?  We all know that education dollars are an investment, and it’s quite possible that those disastrous cuts are causing schools to have to make up for lost time and resources now.    Katy ISD is just one of the 600 Texas school districts that are suing Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, and all of the irresponsible GOP legislators that enacted those 2011 funding cuts.

In 2011, the state legislature abdicated its promise to invest Texas kids, and in the future of the state.  In her closing argument, Wendy Davis is right to remind voters of that promise, and that with the right leadership, there is a better way forward.  Let’s hope they listen, and vote.

 

Harris County Courthouse Dome

Texoblogosphere: Week of October 20th

“Voting freshens your breath, whitens your teeth, and improves your sex life.” — Molly Ivins

The Texas Progressive Alliance reminds you that EARLY VOTING HAS BEGUN as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff published an interview with John Cook, the Democratic nominee for Land Commissioner.

Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and Daily Kos is sickened by the corporations are people Supreme Court of John Roberts for allowing Greg Abbott to disenfranchise 600,000 American citizens in Texas of their right to vote. TX GOP, Greg Abbott stand by Discrimination and Disenfranchisement.

Two special days in the blogosphere last week: Blog Action Day for inequality was a global initiative, and Texas blogs dropped a money bomb for Wendy Davis. PDiddie at Brains Eggs has details on both.

After this week’s big announcement, Texas Leftist is left to wonder… Did the Dallas Morning News editorial board incorporate facts into it’s Endorsement process for Governor? If so, maybe this week’s decision for Greg Abbott would have went the other way. Clearly DMN should’ve taken a few minutes to read their own paper.

Republican racism revealed in TWIA emails about storm damage to Brownsville ISD property. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme encourages everyone in South Texas to go vote. You can stop the racism. VOTE!

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. Two campaign ads to check out, Must See TV – Great Ads From Mike Collier and Sam Houston.

Neil at All People Have Value wrote about things he is doing to make a difference in the 2014 elections in Texas. Neil says you can make a difference as well. APHV is one of many interesting things to see at NeilAquino.com.

===========================

And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Dan Solomon speaks from personal experience when he says that the Wendy Davis wheelchair ad shines a long-overdue light on the devastating effect tort “reform” has had on victims of medical malpractice.

The Lunch Tray keeps fighting the fight for healthier school lunches and snacks.

Grits for Breakfast calls on Texas jails to opt out of the Secure Communities program.

Texas Vox documents the big heat waves of 2013.

Socratic Gadfly was pleasantly surprised by the SCOTUS ruling that overturned the Fifth Circuit order allowing HB2 to go into effect pending appeals.

Helen Philpot would like for someone to explain to Greg Abbott where babies come from.

LGBTQ Insider compares Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott’s positions on LGBTQ issues.

Andrea Grimes has the GIF-based explanation of the HB2 timeline that you’ve been waiting for.

 

(Feature photo is the interior dome of the Harris County Courthouse, taken by Texas Leftist.)

Harris County Courthouse Dome

 

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Texas Leftist 2014 Endorsements

For those interested, here is the full list of Texas Leftist endorsements for 2014.  Some candidates will also have individual or group posts regarding their endorsement, which will be linked via candidate name from this post.  If a candidate participated in this year’s Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, that information will appear beside their party affiliation.

Texas Leftist has chosen to endorse candidates because they have demonstrated a commitment to advancing public policies that will improve the lives of Texans.  Though each person’s individual positions vary, they are generally candidates that stand for equality, social justice, healthcare expansion, living wage, economic prosperity and common-sense governance.

Today is Election Day!!  Early Voting has begun for the state of Texas, and runs from October 20th until October 31st.  For any questions on where or how to vote, check out this previous post or visit the My Texas Votes website.

 

Though not endorsed by Texas Leftist, candidates Ron Hale, Ron Reynolds and Matthew Whittington did participate in this year’s Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire.  Please consult their interviews for more information.  

 

Federal Races

U.S. Senator:                                                    David Alameel (D)

U.S. Rep. District 2:                                      Niko Letsos (D)

U.S. Rep. District 7:                                      James Cargas (D)

U.S. Rep. District 14:                                    Don Brown (D)

 

State Races

Governor:                                                           Wendy Davis (D)

Lieutenant Governor:                                 Leticia Van de Putte (D) [TLCQ]

Attorney General:                                         Sam Houston (D)

 

Comptroller of Public Accounts:                Mike Collier (D)

Commissioner- General Land Office:     John Cook (D)

Commissioner of Agriculture:                      NO ENDORSEMENT

Railroad Commissioner:                                   Steve Brown (D)

 

State Senator, District 15:                               John Whitmire (D)   [TLCQ]

State Senator, District 17:                               Rita Lucido (D)   [TLCQ]

 

State Rep. District 16:                                         Michael Hayles (D)

State Rep. District 23:                                          Susan Criss (D) [TLCQ]

State Rep. District 132:                                       Luis Lopez (D)  [TLCQ]

State Rep. District 133:                                       Laura Nicol (D) [TLCQ]

State Rep. District 137:                                       Gene Wu (D)

State Rep. District 144:                                       Mary Ann Perez (D)

State Rep. District 148:                                       Jessica Cristina Farrar (D)

State Rep. District 149:                                       Hubert Vo (D)

State Rep. District 150:                                       Amy Perez (D)

 

District Races

1st Court of Appeals, Place 3                           Jim Sharp (D)

113th Judicial District                                           Steven Kirkland (D)

308th Family Judicial District                           Jim Evans (D)

309th Family Judicial District                           Kathy Vossler (D)

314th Family Judicial District                           Natalia Oakes (D)

District Attorney                                                      Kim Ogg (D)

 

Harris County Races

County Judge:                                                              Ed Emmett (R)

County Probate Court No. 3                             Jerry Simoneaux (D)

County Probate Court No. 4                             James S. Horwitz (D)

County Clerk                                                                Ann Harris- Bennett (D)

County Treasurer                                                      David Rosen (D)

County School Trustee Pos. 7                            Melissa Noriega (D)

 

Propositions

State of Texas Proposition 1 (Infrastructure)             FOR

Lone Star College System, Proposition 1                       FOR

 

 

 

AP subpoenas2

City Revises Subpoenas, Removes Request For Sermons

Since the story caught wildfire and continues to ricochet across the internet, the City of Houston has decided to revise the HERO Subpoena request.  Here’s more from Mike Morris of the Houston Chronicle

Mayor Annise Parker on Friday followed through on her pledge to narrow the scope of subpoenas sent to local pastors who led opposition to the city’s equal rights ordinance earlier this year.

Though the subpoena’s new wording removes any mention of “sermons” — a reference that created a firestorm among Christian conservative groups and politicians, including Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who accused Parker of trying “to silence the church” — the mayor acknowledged the new subpoenas do not explicitly preclude sermons from being produced.

“We don’t need to intrude on matters of faith to have equal rights in Houston, and it was never the intention of the city of Houston to intrude on any matters of faith or to get between a pastor and their parishioners,” Parker said. “We don’t want their sermons, we want the instructions on the petition process. That’s always what we wanted and, again, they knew that’s what we wanted because that’s the subject of the lawsuit.”

As readers know, the subpoenas became the quick subject of national news, rising up through the Conservative blogosphere, and landing major fodder for every media outlet from Fox News to Time magazine.  And yes of course, Texas Leftist was also reeled in hook, line and sinker.

Further into the press conference, Mayor Parker reveals to ABC 13 reporter Miya Shay that she doesn’t regret the city’s actions

Miya Shay: “Mayor do you think you would’ve bothered to change the language if not for all of the attention?”

Mayor Parker: No, we wouldn’t have.  They knew what we wanted. [...] There was nothing inappropriate with their request, but it was worded in a way that allowed misinterpretation.  But no, we wouldn’t have weighed in if it hadn’t been brought to our attention.

Attorney Feldman also commented that the other side broke protocol in an effort to gain press attention.

Feldman:  In the normal discovery process… if the other side has a problem your discovery request, before you file a motion to quash, you are supposed to confer about the issue.  Had they done that in this case… they could have told us they had an issue with this request, and we would’ve agreed.  But they decided to make it a media circus.

From watching the press conference,  it seems pretty clear that the issue has caused a fair amount of stress for the Mayor’s office, due to the heinous amount of hate mail it has likely generated.  Parker was very direct with her responses, and probably just wants the saga to be over. In the end though, it is much better that the City revise and clarify the subpoenas so as not to mislead people assuming sinister intentions.

Firestorm aside, the most important aspect of these cases is yet to come.  The actual trial to determine if there will ever be a HERO referendum takes place in January.  Just remember that as was seen this week, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is still needed, and in fact laws like it need to be expanded to citizens across the state.  Kudos to the Mayor and the City Attorney on fulfilling a promise they made earlier in the week.  For the sake of all Houstonians, let’s try to move forward from this misstep.

Check out the press conference below…

 

Luis Lopez2

TLCQ 2014: HD 132 Endorsement

With the recent construction of the Grand Parkway segment linking Katy and Cypress, the West Harris County area, apportioned as Texas House District 132, is a community destined for rapid growth and diversification. It is home to Katy ISD and Cypress-Fairbanks ISD… two of the largest school districts in the state, and both of which have been burdened by the massive, Republican-led 2011 education cuts, while bursting with more young minds to educate than ever before.  Residents in this area have traditionally favored Conservative leadership, but as the area grows, new populations and new challenges have created space for more political diversity as well.  What the area needs most is common-sense representation in Austin that can see multiple perspectives and work with them all, but still remain focused on the realities facing their constituents.

Presumed front-runner Mike Schofield is seasoned veteran of Texas Republican Party line politics.  On his campaign website, he professes that HD 132 “needs legislators that will put the needs of taxpayers first, and place principle above political gain.” But his actual record does not live true to these ideals.  Instead, he boasts about authoring the divisive Texas Voter ID law, and being a close adviser to Governor Perry… all indications that for Mr. Schofield, it’s politics that come first.

But the people of HD 132 have a better choice in this election… Democrat Luis Lopez.  Born in Mexico, Luis remembers well the struggles of working just to make ends meet, and knows that better government representation could make a huge difference in the lives Texans, especially those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.  Despite his early struggles, Luis overcame them through good educational opportunities and hard work.  After graduating from Lamar University, he is now a father, accountant, small business owner and public servant.  He put himself through high school and college working construction jobs in the Beaumont area.

Amassing such a rich life experience, it’s no wonder that a young man in his mid-twenties feels such a call to service.  Mr. Lopez believes strongly that proper government investment and stewardship are critical to the future of HD 132.  In his own life, he saw clearly the value of a good education, and wants those same opportunities not only for his young daughter, but for all the students in the district. Lopez truly lives the future of Texas. Mike Schofield on the other hand, continues to champion missteps of the past.

It is time for a new direction in West Harris County… a direction pointed towards its future.  The pick for HD 132 is Luis Lopez.

A Voice for the Rest of Texas