TOP Statement on Rep. Gene Green’s Retirement

Congressman-Green

The following statement is from Michelle Tremillo, executive director of the Texas Organizing Project, in reaction to Rep. Gene Green announcing today that he is retiring:

“For more than four decades, Rep Gene Green has tirelessly defended the working and immigrant families of his district and the country, standing with community and union members fighting for immigration reform and demanding health care resources for medically underserved communities.

“On behalf of TOP’s members and staff, many of whom live in the 29th, I’d like to thank Rep. Green for his service. He will be leaving big boots to fill.

“At TOP, we will be working to engage Latino voters in 2018 to ensure that any candidate looking to fill these boots will be as accountable and dedicated as Rep Green. We wish Congressman Green the best in his retirement.”

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Texas Organizing Project organizes Black and Latino communities in Harris, Bexar and Dallas counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.

SA Mayoral and Council candidate forum

SA4All platform

SAN ANTONIO – Time is winding down leading to the General Election in May.

A candidate forum was held on the West Side Monday night to allow people to get to know the top candidates who could soon lead the city of San Antonio.

Questions from the audience were at times tough and often rooted in personal experiences.

Texas Organizing Project hosted the forum.

The group identified four key areas important to voters; including wages, immigration rights, criminal justice reform, and improving neighborhoods.

Organizer Laquita Garcia with TOP said, “We encourage people to vote on issues that affect their families and everyday lives and it’s important when they go to the polls they remember who are champions two issues that affect the most.”

Candidates were asked to sign an agreement that if elected they would honor campaign promises.

The group that hosted the forum plans to announce endorsements Tuesday.

This story originally aired 4/10/2017 on News4SA.

Let’s give everyone a fair shot

Victoria Advocate Pat

Up until the last few years, politics had little place in my day to day life. I was a news junkie, raised on TIME magazine, “Meet the Press” and dinner table discussions of world affairs; but the only thing political I did was vote. Politics meant Democrat or Republican, how everyone voted and who won.

The presidential election of 2016 blasted away my complacency and, apparently, that of millions of other Americans. Our belief that the power of the traditional two-party institutions would prevail proved untrue for both parties. 2017 opened the doors to a new political reality, resistance, the power of individuals motivated by inspiration.

The resistance movement was embraced by most Democrats but also by the unaffiliated, the nonpartisans, nonvoters and the anti-party. Callers, letter writers, tweeters and marchers are taking time out of their busy schedules to be heard – not as party members but as individuals who feel unheard and overlooked.

A whole industry of apps and programs related to political activism have blossomed on our smartphones and iPads. Check out apps like 5 Calls, Political Tracker, BuyPartisan and Congress.

In this new way, politics is becoming part of many people’s everyday lives. Even Facebook has a Town Hall button now that connects the individual to his or, more frequently, her representatives.

Inspirational politics has led to the formation of a myriad of groups that mobilize online first and face-to-face second. Groups like Indivisible, #resistance, Texas Pantsuit Republic, Planned Parenthood Votes, Our Revolution Texas, Voto Latino, Texas Organizing Project, Emerge USA and scores more.

Annie’s List, promoting progressive women in Texas politics, held a luncheon March 31 in Houston, attended by some 2,500 supporters.

In August, Dallas will host the national conference of the Young Democrats of America. Yes, in Texas. Monthly meetings of the Victoria County Democrats Club have been standing room only.

All this new energy will either water down or enrich the power of the party as an institution. Party leaders must learn new ways to identify and reach out to these passionate voices, many of which are critical and others whose truths make us uncomfortable. If the Democratic Party cannot come together with a meaningful agenda that reaches across geography, race, age and gender, then we are doomed to remain out of step with our own future.

Many feel the ugliness that the Trump presidency represents may be the shock it takes to get us to face up to the social and economic problems that we have allowed to fester for decades. Racism, sexism, xenophobia and intolerance have been given a place at the table, and the invitation needs to be rescinded.

That’s what the resistance is about. It’s not about what party won or lost. It’s about every American having a fair shot at the “Blessings of Liberty” as enumerated in our Constitution.

Pat Tally is the chairwoman of the Victoria County Democratic Party. Before retiring to Victoria, she was the director of a clinical social work department in a large Dallas hospital system for 22 years. She may be emailed at pattally@outlook.com.

This story originally appeared 4/9/2017 in the Victoria Advocate.