We are reaching the last days of the 85th Legislative Session in Texas. There have been many horrible bills passed, but many have died or been altered thanks to the incessant phone calls from you, the voter in McLennan County. Thanks for the many volunteers that have worked in the office, made phone calls, written letters, visited Austin, demonstrated at congressional offices. This is the difficult work of citizenship. Here is a recap, through April
JANUARY 20- We hosted with the Texas Democratic Women an Indivisible Training that coincided with the Inauguration. We observed a moment of silence. We learned. We planned. We had fellowship over a great pot luck meal. It is what we needed at that time.
JANUARY 21- Hundreds of local activists attended the March in Austin on the Saturday after the Inauguration. Several made it to the big march in DC. That march will mark a pivotal day in the history of this nation. We marched on Saturday. Then we showed up at an office on Tuesday. Or on the phone. On on social media. The revolution began on January 21.
FEBRUARY 4- MCDP hosted a Meet and Greet with Representative Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso. He was coming through Waco and wanted to meet with local party people. At that time he was thinking over a bid to run against Ted Cruz in 2018. Over 75 people attended this event.
FEBRUARY 10-We took a group of 7 to meet with Doc Anderson. Specifically, Bill Gaventa eloquently explained why cuts to health care would be catastrophic and Peaches Henry with the NAACP shared her concerns over criminal justice reform and education funding. We talked about possible funding cuts in K-12 education. We all shared our feelings about the Bathroom BIll. We covered all the bases with Anderson, knowing full well that he was probably going to vote against our positions on the issues.
FEBRUARY 10-13- McLennan County Democratic Party officers and volunteers were honored at the Texas Democratic Women’s state convention in Austin. Jackie Rhodes and Susan Kocian received awards for their tireless work on voter registration and office organization and VAN updating. Waco’s own, Ambassador Lyndon Olson accepted the Oscar Mauzy Award and delivered a rousing and encouraging speech.
FEBRUARY 11-Thanks to Toni Herbert and Carmen Saenz for organizing a meeting for us while we were away at the TDW state convention.
FEBRUARY 15- We trained newly appointed Precinct Chairs. Several have come from the ranks of the Centex Action Network group. I attend their meetings and share when asked.
FEBRUARY 16- We organized a voter registrar training at Kathy Van Wolfe’s office. I think we trained 15 or 16 more Voter Registrars. That is not counting all of you that have gone by and trained individually.
FEBRUARY 24- We met with Representative Bill Flores at his office in Waco in February. We took a group of 4 (that is all he wants in a meeting) and we took written concerns about the upcoming session.
FEBRUARY 25- We attended the NAACP Scholarship Banquet. Jackie Rhodes was honored for her work with Project Vier. It was a great evening of networking with other like minded folks.
MARCH 7-17- Stonewall Democrats followed the SB 6 bill and made numerous visits to House and Senate members, making a difference every step of the way.
MARCH 20- Local Democrats participated in Equality Texas Day
MARCH 25- MCDP hosted Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa as he has criss-crossed the state to talk about the future of the Democratic Party in Texas. Our Lt. Governor Candidate, Mike Collier also attended and met with local Dems! Thanks to Ambassador Olson for helping underwrite this event.
APRIL 1- MCDP and the Baylor Democrats met Beto O’Rourke for coffee at Common Grounds on his first day of campaigning for Ted Cruz’s seat in the Senate. Even with the early hour, the event was well attended. Over 100 people came out to hear what Beto had to say.
APRIL 1-2- TEXAS DEMOCRATIC PARTY LEADERSHIP SUMMIT- County Chairs and grassroots organizers met for a two day, action packed set of meetings and panels. Much of our efforts moving forward will be planned using the strategies we learned at this gathering.
APRIL 10- McLennan County Democratic Party and Texas Democratic Women attended the Blue Ribbon Lobby Day in Austin and met with staff of our congressional delegation. We went to the “lobby” outside the House chambers and found Doc. We also got a chance to say hi to old friends, Chris Turner, Donna Howard, Richard Raymond, Royce West and Gina Hinojosa. .
APRIL 18- MCDP Chair and Mary Mann with TDW attended the Bill Flores lecture at Baylor and asked questions about the lack of a face to face town hall meeting.
APRIL 19-20- Many of us participated in tele-town hall meetings and asked questions.
APRIL 20- MCDP Chair was invited to attend The Brazos Electric Co-op Annual Business Meeting in Waco. Brazos Electric is a clearing house supplier for power for 19 rural electric cooperatives. There were over 100 folks there from all over central Texas representing consumer owned and controlled utilities.
April 22- CEC meeting was held. Several new Precinct Chairs were voted in. We now have more precinct chairs than the other guys. We have over 15 Grass Roots Organizers signed up to work in precincts to help Chairs do their canvassing.
April 25- Met at 3221 Franklin to look at property that could be new office location. Voted to move there pending approval of property by the Disabilities Vice-Chair of the Texas Democratic Party.
May 9- VAN training at East Waco Library for Precinct Chairs and volunteers
May 12- Received word from Disabilities Vice-Chair that the property would comply with the two minor changes.
May 13- Chair signed 1 year lease on property at 3221 Frankin Avenue.
May 15- VAN training at West Waco Library for Precinct Chairs and volunteers
Move office by June 1.
Thanks to those that have taken part in demonstrations and protests at Bill Flores office and at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame. We continue to resist.Your phone calls have changed the way Washington and Austin works. Keep it up! We have much to do. We have just about 6 weeks left in this session.
Heartfelt thanks to everyone that has taken part in these events, to those that have faithfully make phone calls, visited offices, or written letters to the editor or editorial columns.
Since our last meeting, we We have launched a new initiative to systematically clean up our VAN lists and create a usable base to walk blocks in 2018. Initial work began on Tuesday, May 25. Thanks to those that have volunteered to be part of the first wave.
Special thanks to Linda Lewis for alerting us to the elections code violation last week with Wanda Green. We got onto that, and with a couple of letters, and a few phone calls, we got Kathy Van Wolfe’s response, a letter indicating retraining and a personal phone call from Ms. Van Wolfe to Wanda Green apologizing for the way she was treated in her office. This is a far cry from what has happened in the past.
Our office has been monitoring the constant changes in the Voter ID law and Redistricting court cases. Our hope is to be able to stay on top of these changes and make sure that voters here are not disenfranchised.
We have had a flood of volunteers to become election judges. No longer do we have to double check to be sure that our Democratic Election Judges are really Democrats. We even have a short on call list of possible judges. Thanks to everyone for stepping up!
Summit Training on April 1-2, 2017 -Report by Tammie Hartgroves
Grassroots Organizers GRO- We have appointed over 12 new Grass Roots Organizers. These are people that will work in conjunction with Precinct Chairs to clean up VAN lists and makes phone calls and build community in that voting area.
VAN User Agreement- we all need to be on the same page working with the Texas Democratic Party VAN. That is where our unity will come from in 2018 and beyond. We must use our data base, not anyone elses.
Community Canvass – social events in various neighborhoods geared to developing relationship and solidarity. Project Vier is planning several around voter registration events. June 17th is one date to put on your calendar. There are a couple more as well.
We will be contacting you for your signed copy of the party oath form. This form on file will keep your VAN access current. If we did not get it on Saturday, we will be calling so you can come by and sign one.
Texas Democratic Party County Chairs Association will be in Waco this summer. McLennan, Hill, Bosque, Bell and Falls County Chairs will host the meeting- July 21-22. We will have 4-6 training opportunities with experts from across the state on many topics. Voter Registration tips, Social media management, consistent messaging, fun event planning and others that will help us grow our group here in central Texas.
Social Media FB pages:
TDW of Central Texas (by membership request)
McLennan County Democrats
Stonewall Democrats of McLennan County
McLennan County Liberals and Democrats
Democratic Precinct Chairs of McLennan County (unofficial)
Citizens of 17
Texas Democratic Party txdemocrats.org
Indivisible Guide indivisbleguide.com
McLennan County state and national reps phone numbers:
Rep. Bill Flores- 254-732-0748 202-224-6105
Senator John Cornyn- 512-469-6034 202-224-2934
Senator Ted Cruz- 512-916-5834 202-224-5922
All other US Senators or Congressmen- (202) 224-3121
Senator Brian Birdwell- 1-512-463-0122
Rep. Doc Anderson- (56) 254-754-3892 512-463-0135
Rep. Kyle Kacal (12) 979-774-7276 512-463-0412
Texas Capitol Switchboard- 512 463-4630
Lt.Gov. Dan Patrick 512-463-0001
Governor Greg Abbott- 512-463-2000