On the RecordRSS
The Texas Tribune recently published a chart with you listed as the 2nd “most liberal” Democrat in the Texas Senate. Conservatives tend to use the word as a pejorative, but it must be a badge of honor as the Democratic Senator from Austin?
KW: It is what it is. I don’t tend to take much stock in labels — I’ve found the best governing happens when folks are able to throw them away. I’m proud to be Chair of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate and I will say that for more than a year, Senate Democrats have stressed that Texas can do better for people who are here now as well as for future generations. If you mean that, and you govern like you mean that, you’re naturally going to be looking for ways to make progress. If that makes me progressive, then yeah, it is a badge of honor — in Austin or anywhere else.
Democrats are above the crucial 1/3 mark in the Senate, but, to be successful you have work across the aisle, how have you managed to do that as an outspoken progressive?
KW: Being in the Senate probably does make it easier. There are only 31 of us, so, if you are wiling to work at it, you get to know your peers and counterparts pretty well. The better you know folks, the easier it is to work with them. People generally know where we’re coming from and what we’re trying to achieve, and we know the same about them. That usually makes it easier to work toward solutions that everyone can agree on. Besides, because it takes two-thirds of the Senate to pass anything, senators have to seek out coalitions that are broader than political party lines. It really does force us to work together if anything’s going to get done. Continue Reading »
Message from the ChairRSS
I am grateful to the TCDP’s County Executive Committee for its confidence and support in electing me by acclamation to follow Andy Brown as party Chair. Andy did a terrific job in his years as Chair, and his hard work strengthened the foundation that his predecessors established. I want to thank Andy for his outstanding stewardship of the party, and I pledge to continue and build upon his important work and that of the many terrific people who have served our party. I am honored to be the first woman elected to serve as County Chair in more than three decades, and I am committed to pave the way for those who will follow me.
We are fortunate to have many exceptional Democratic elected officials in Travis County, and I really appreciate their support and encouragement. I want to thank Congressman Lloyd Doggett and Senator Kirk Watson, both longtime friends, for making a special effort to attend the County Executive Committee meeting at which I was elected. I am very thankful for Senator Watson’s most generous donation to the party to help insure a successful transition.
I was struck by something Paul Begala said at the Battleground Texas luncheon last week, “Texas is not a red state – it is a non-voting state.” Of course he’s right — we all know that the Texas election results do not reflect our values or those of our neighbors. I feel a special sense of hope and excitement about turning Travis County a deep and uniform blue, and about our county leading Texas once again to be the Democratic stronghold it can be.
If we plan, organize, and do the necessary hard work, we can come together to engage and motivate tens of thousands of new potential voters to register and vote. We can recruit strong Democratic candidates for every position on the ballot. We can raise the funds necessary to build the infrastructure we need to run strong coordinated campaigns. We can persuade voters in all parts of our county that they need to turn out to elect Democrats. And we can work together to turn this state around.
I am committed to ensuring together we expand and strengthen the Travis County Democratic Party. With national political attention focused on the efforts to Turn Texas Blue, it’s critical that our local Democratic Party is stronger than ever.
I have enlisted some help to ensure we can achieve our goals. I’d like to announce that we have hired JD Gins to serve as Executive Director of the TCDP. Many of you know JD from his work with Texans for Obama and the Obama campaign. Starting as a volunteer in East Austin, JD worked his way up to Texas Field Director for the President. He has also served as Campaign Manager and Deputy Campaign Manager for several Democratic candidates in Austin and Texas. JD and I plan to work together to implement the Obama model of “Respect, Empower, and Include” to engage Precinct Chairs and Democratic activists to build an even stronger party.
I am also very thankful that Joe Deshotel, our very talented Communications Director, will be staying on to help serve Travis County Democrats. Joe is a terrific writer, strategist, and Democratic campaign director, having been immersed in Democratic politics all his life. We are extremely fortunate to have such a skilled and knowledgeable member of the team. I hope you will join me in welcoming JD and in thanking Joe for his continued service.
I would also like to thank Rachael Torres. As an interim “part-time” staff member, Rachael maintained the party office and worked hard to support Chairman Andy Brown. She deserves our appreciation for her work, and for cleaning up and overhauling the TCDP office, coming up with the idea to raise funds to replace the dirty carpet with a new floor and paint the dingy walls. Come volunteer and take a look — the office looks great! Everyone in the Travis County Democratic Party owes Rachael a debt of gratitude for her dedicated service.
I will be working to raise the funds needed to expand our staff to build the organization required to turn Travis County completely blue and to lead the way in turning Texas blue. I hope that you will assist us with your financial contributions and your volunteer efforts. We cannot do this without your support.
In the coming weeks I look forward to hearing your thoughts about growing our Democratic Party, and I hope to engage the County Executive Committee, the local Democratic clubs, and any other interested groups in discussions and planning sessions on how to move forward. I know the most important ingredient needed to
Turn Texas Blue is you. If you are interested in becoming involved, please email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 512.583.0451. I am thrilled to be working with my fellow Democrats as we move ahead toward 2014!
P.S. Sorry for the long email. I am just very excited to get to work! TCDP will also participate in this year’s Central Texas Juneteenth 2K Freedom Run/Walk & Parade June 15th at 9:30 a.m. For more information visit here.