I hope you had a good week. I certainly did. Seeing Cecile Richards speak at the Planned Parenthood dinner on Sunday night gave me added hope for the future of Texas. And as we said in our note last week, we hit a record of over 129,000 straight ticket Democratic votes in Travis County, we knocked on over 125,000 doors, and, countless volunteers in Travis County made calls to help our President.
As we emerge from this election cycle, I want to alert you to three great events coming up that aren’t the normal subject of this newsletter, but are all very much in line with what we do as Democrats:
1. Texas Green Network. This Thursday at 6 p.m., please join the Texas Green Network at the Austin Energy Building at 721 Barton Springs Road for An Evening of Conversation and Post-Election Wrap-Up with the Green Business Community, featuring Commissioner Karen Huber, State Representatives Eddie Rodriguez and Mark Strama, and moderated by TCDP Chair Andy Brown. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Austin 500 Club: This Friday at 8:30 a.m., please join the Austin 500 Club as we host the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas and learn about their work serving 48,000 people per week, about 41% of whom are children. Suggested donation, all of which goes to the Capital Area Food Bank, is $50. Details here.
3. LBJ State Dinner: It is a new day for our Democratic Hero LBJ. The LBJ Library permanent exhibit is undergoing a total renovation with plans for completion in December of this year. To celebrate the reopening of the exhibit, the LBJ Foundation is planning The State Dinner, An Evening at the LBJ Presidential Library, on December 1st, 2012. We invite you to join us as we step back to the ‘60s for an evening to remember – preview the new exhibit, dine under the stars on the Plaza, and dance to the sounds of Motown at this magical extravaganza. Tables are from $5,000 to $100,000, and individual tickets are $500. Please let me know if you are interested by return email.
Let’s not forget about Republican attempts to silence Democrats in Central Texas as it relates to their refusal to let us have our own Congressional district. Luckily, we still have our Congressman Lloyd Doggett — and a good chance to get a better district for him during this next legislative session if we work together.
Since being elected to Congress in 1995, Doggett has been the target of Republican redistricting. He has represented the 10th, 25th and now the 35th Districts and has seen each of those districts change shape and demographics according to how Rick Perry and his minions hoped to carve him out of contention. In this most recent election, Doggett won 64 percent of the vote in a new district that stretches from East Austin into downtown San Antonio.
Redistricting is only one tool the Republican legislature has tried to use to suppress Democrats and turn back the blue tide that sooner or later will sweep across Texas. Travis County, which has long held a strong Democratic majority, has been sliced and diced into five districts — although the courts forced an interim map that will be taken up again in the next legislative session.
In the 2011 session, waving the fictional flag of voter fraud, one of the most restrictive and backwards voter ID laws in the country was passed, clearly targeting Latinos and other minorities, as well as students and the poor. The Department of Justice and federal courts rejected it, but misinformation was perpetuated by right-wingers throughout the campaign in an attempt to keep people away from the polls. In a last-ditch effort, the State of Texas even tried to purge “dead” people from the rolls who were not only alive but had voted a few weeks earlier in the Democratic primary!
We succeeded in the November elections, but we must not be complacent. Redistricting will return as a hot-button issue in the 2013 session, and Attorney General Greg Abbott, who spent more than $2 million of taxpayers’ money on lawsuits against the Obama Administration, has vowed to continue his fight — including asking the Supreme Court to overturn portions of the landmark Voting Rights Act.
We must continue to support our great Democratic legislators and work together to keep the TCDP strong. I look forward to continuing our work together in the coming months. The election is over, but the work begins again! Join us!
Travis County Democratic Party Chair