Sometimes words like “historic” just don’t get the job done. But if this weekend’s events weren’t already historic enough to show the capabilities of our nation’s young people with the March For Our Lives events on Saturday, some young Southeast Texans decided to forge yet another new path.
From Patrick Svitek of the Texas Tribune, here’s the story on today’s event…
BELLAIRE — For several hours Sunday, an auditorium at Bellaire High School played host to an uncommon sight in Texas politics: an organized attempt at unity.
Hosted in part by Texas High School Democrats and Republicans, the Day of Unity that was held here drew two of the state’s most well-known partisans: GOP U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio. And it brought together the Democratic and Republican state party chairmen — Gilberto Hinojosa and James Dickey — for what was billed as their first joint appearance ever.
In describing the need for the event, one of the organizers, Adam Hoffman, a student at Robert M. Beren Academy and chairman of the Texas High School Republicans, said the country’s “being ripped apart from within. Our social fabric is tearing.”
The Day of Unity also featured appearances by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, and the city’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, who provided a proclamation recognizing the day. On the panel featuring Dickey and Hinojosa, the state’s party chairs, things got chippy on the topic of gerrymandering, through the two reached something of a consensus on polarization being less of a problem when elected officials are closest to their constituents.
Yep, you read that right… the living human known as Texas Senator Ted Cruzactuallyshowed up for this event… in Texas. An impressive feat if there ever was one.
Oh, sorry… the point of this post was Civil Discourse. Still working on it, I guess.
In coverage leading up to the event with Houston Matters‘ Joshua Zinn, organizers Adam Hoffman and Alex Kontoyiannis discussed how the goal of the event was to be expressly non-political. By all measures that goal was a success. Though the first event occurred in Texas, Hoffman and Kontoyiannis also revealed that the Day of Unity Texas is quite possibly the start of a national movement, as other student leaders from across the country have already expressed interest in hosting similar events.
Democratic Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro says he’ll boycott Buc-ee’s after the popular roadside megastore chain endorsed right-wing Republican Dan Patrick for lieutenant governor.
“Won’t gas up there anymore since they support a fear mongering immigrant basher,” Castro, D-San Antonio, wrote on Twitter on Monday.
“Wonder how Bucees patrons in Freeport, Lake Jackson stores feel abt their endrsmnt of DP who spoke abt immigrants bringing diseases to TX,” Castro added.
Patrick was the top vote-getter in last Tuesday’s primary, and he is favored to defeat incumbent David Dewhurst in a runoff for the GOP nomination. The winner will face Democrat Leticia Van de Putte, who is Latina, in November.
“To my great delight after our win Tuesday I got a call from the owners of Buc-cees who said they wanted to meet and support me,” Patrick wrote on Facebook on Sunday, above photos of himself with the chain’s beaver mascot and its two owners.
Patrick once said immigrants are bringing “Third World diseases” to the U.S., and he recently called immigration from Mexico an “illegal invasion.” Patrick has challenged Congressman Castro’s brother, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, to a debate on the issue. Mayor Castro retweeted his brother’s tweet about Buc-ee’s on Monday.
Buc-ee’s is quickly becoming one of Texas’ most beloved roadside institutions. It’s a must-stop for me any time I pass by one of the flagship stores. Even when I don’t buy a lot of stuff, I love to go in, rest my eyes from the road and just look at all of the quirky items they have on display. And of course, SUCH CLEAN BATHROOMS… I mean it boggles the mind!!
As much as one may love Buc-ee’s, Dan Patrick is reason enough to join Congressman Castro in the boycott. All the Beaver Nuggets in the world can’t make up for the terrible things Patrick says on an almost daily basis. It’s time to send a message to Arch “Beaver” Aplin III and Don Wasek (pictured below with Patrick in the middle) that everyone doesn’t agree with the State Senator’s views. And lest you think that the owners of Buc-ee’s are perhaps naïve of the political sphere, think again. Aplin ran for political office back in 1996 and is a proud Republican, so he knows what he’s getting into. Of course there’s nothing wrong with being a proud Republican, but Patrick’s anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT views are far too extreme.
If you choose to join the boycott, you can also use Buc-ee’s online contact form to let them know why. Let’s find out how much they care about customer feedback.
The ride-sharing service called Uber is coming to Houston, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs explored both the pros ((Part I) and the cons ((Part II).
Neil at All People Have Value made some more posts in this new blog. Please look around and offer your comment. All People Have Value is part of Neil Aquino.com. Please consider checking out the full NeilAquino.com site.
After being inundated with with the Conservative rantings at CPAC this week, here’s an event that got far less press coverage, but it is just as important. As a lone Liberal voice in the Washington wilderness, the Center for American Progress gave the most in-depth analysis of how to shift the red tide in Texas. The keynote speaker for the forum was US Congressman Joaquin Castro, and he spoke the absolute truth about how Texas presents many real opportunities for Democratic growth.
Followed by the Congressman’s comments was an expert panel that discussed these opportunities, as well as the challenges that probably lay ahead for groups like Battleground Texas. Those challenges may be large, but they’re definitely conquerable.
Finally… the Turn Texas Blue movement is getting the right kind of attention from the national Democratic base. If you missed this during CPAC blunder, be sure to check it out, and share with as many people as possible.
Before any true goal can be realized, it must first be visualized, idealized, and then actualized.
Over the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of buzz about the Texas Democratic Party… lots of talk about how it’s only a matter of time before Texas becomes a swing state. I’ve certainly done my fair share of prognostication too (See here from before the 2012 election and here for afterwards). But now in February 2013, has anything concrete taken shape to make this goal a reality?
The current answer is… kind of. The biggest news out of Texas’ blue prospects is the creation of Battleground Texas, a left-leaning money group that is meant to help revive Lone Star Democrats. The group has pledged to put big money into the efforts, and have an aggressive media presence. If that is their true intent, it seems that they are off to a slow start. There is a website up, but it hasn’t had any activity since January 29th, and the site still lists as “Under Construction. Same for the Facebook page… no updates or activity. Of course, 2013 is not an “election year” in Texas, at least not for state-wide offices, but make no mistake that this is a critical time for political mobilization in the state. The Legislature is convened from now until June, and local elections will be held all over the state this November in cities like Houston. Without a Presidential or Gubernatorial race, it may seem like an off-year. But in my opinion, it’s anything but.
Of course it’s not like a true Texan to wait around for someone else to get a job done. Texas Democrats are working hard to get ready for 2014 right now. Groups like the Harris County Democratic Party (Houston) and the Dallas Democrats have launched new websites geared for social media organizing, and are off to an impressive start in fundraising. In Harris County, the party is focused on holding year-round events and community efforts, to not only raise money for Democrats to stay competitive, but to keep voters actively engaged year-round.
These are the types of cues that the national Democratic party should take in Texas. In order for this state to turn blue, it’s going to take serious grassroots organizing, just like we typically see in Ohio, Florida and the other “traditional” battleground states.
The other essential factor for blue state success in Texas? Strong candidates. Thankfully, the Texas Democratic bench is looking stronger than ever before. 2014 will bring state-wide races for 3 critical offices… Governor, Senate and Lieutenant Governor. Eventhough some candidates like Julian Castro have decided to sit out 2014, there are still some very capable Texans that can compete in a state-wide race.
One person to definitely watch is State Senator Wendy Davis from Ft. Worth. In a swing district that voted for McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012, Senator Davis defeated a Republican Incumbent for her first trip to the Senate, and won again in 2012. A tireless advocate for Texas public education, she has garnered much attention by mounting aggressive opposition to Republican lawmakers. If Ms. Davis were to run for either Governor or Senator, she has a serious shot, and is my TOP contender for 2014. Make sure to put her on your radar!!
Houston Mayor Annise Parker has garnered an impressive record in her nearly two terms leading the nation’s 4th largest city. She has taken bold steps to help Houston weather the economic downtown, and now public sector employment is being restored. Houston has also been a national leader in job growth during the Recovery, and all signs point continued prosperity for the city in 2013 and 2014. Not only jobs, but Mayor Parker has also worked hard to improve the quality of life for Houstonians through massive investments in the city’s infrastructure, parks and bike trails. She’s managed to do it all through meticulous work on the city’s budget, and partnering with local business leaders. Though Mayor Parker has already committed to run for a third term, Texas Democrats can expect big things from her in the near future.
Equally impressive at the local level is San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. He garnered national attention last year after delivering the keynote address for the Democratic National Convention. Thanks to that, more Americans now know his name. But what they may not know is how hard he’s been working on behalf of the great city of San Antonio, whose voters not only re-elected Castro by a whopping 82 percent in 2011, but approved a landmark new early childhood initiative in 2012. Pre-K for SA establishes city-wide Pre-Kindergarten for all San Antonio kids, and is funded by city taxpayers. It’s sure to be a national model not unlike what President Obama mentioned in the 2013 State of the Union speech. Thanks to Mayor Castro’s leadership, San Antonio is getting is done. Texas Democrats… don’t be surprised if President Obama shows up in Texas soon. And if he does, expect Mayor Castro to be in the vicinity. For the moment, Castro has again committed to run for a 3rd (and final) term as Mayor of San Antonio. With such hearty commitments to Texas’ children, Wendy Davis and Julian Castro would make quite a team on a state-wide ballot.
Mayor Castro’s twin brother is U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro. Though he’s a freshman in Congress, Joaquin is no slouch to Austin politics having just finished a 10-year run in the Texas legislature. He’s built his political career on a solid record of bi-partisan accomplishments, and has lately become a very popular commentator with the national news media. As Immigration reform continues to be a hotly- contested issue on Capitol Hill, we should all expect Congressman Castro to be a key figure. That alone would be enough to put him on the radar for a state-wide office.