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Discrimination Sunday

Discrimination Sunday

Every mother since the dawn of time has had to navigate society to prepare her children for what they will face in the world.  Each generation has their own cross to bear, but as a mom of two I kind of wish they were growing up when I did in the 80’s and not today’s crazy environment.

The world constantly reminds us that it is dangerous and there are those who wish us harm.  The other night at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester a suicide bomber blew himself up along with 22 others, mostly young girls.  It makes me sick and scared and want to pull my children closer to me.

Nationally, Trump’s proposed federal budget released today outlines his priorities, namely increasing the military, cutting taxes for the richest and services like Medicare and food stamps for the poorest.

Locally, over the weekend Texas was in the news for passing some of the most discriminating legislation in modern times.  Heck, it even started being called “Discrimination Sunday” on social media!

SB6 says high school transgender students have to use the bathroom of their gender at birth.  Another bill allows child adoption and foster care agencies to refuse to place children with non-Christian, unmarried or gay parents due to religious objections.  SB8 cuts off access to abortion after 14 weeks and forces mothers to pay burial costs for the fetus.

Photo: equalitytexas.org

How do I explain to my children that there are real threats (terrorists) and imagined ones (i.e. – gay and transgender people can’t be trusted around children) and that a small group of very conservative men in government who run things can’t seem to tell the difference between the two?  How can I explain why they want to punish people for being poor and take away the rights of women to have control over their own bodies?

The honest answer is that I can’t explain it, because the ultra conservative populist reasoning makes no sense to me and isn’t based on facts, just their own personal beliefs and biases.

But what I can explain is that the only way to change this is to stand up, speak up, and vote in progressives who envision a world that is inclusive.

Globally, progressives believe in keeping our country safe in a smart way, not by building some ten foot chain link wall or enacting a Muslim Ban against countries where none of the terrorists were even born, but by properly and selectively vetting people who mean to do us harm.

Progressives respect intelligence agencies like the CIA and FBI and facts versus conspiracy theories.  Progressives believe in alliances with our NATO partners and when a country like Israel puts their people on the line to share intelligence with us about ISIS, our president would never share that code-word classified information with the Russians!

Nationally progressives can be pro-life without being anti-choice.  The world isn’t black or white; it’s many shades of gray and the decision to become a mother (or not) is one of the most impactful choices a woman can make.  We believe that only she knows what’s best for her own specific situation and her own body, not a panel of middle-aged men pretending to be holier-than-thou and passing blanket judgments that impact all women, but especially poor ones.

Let’s be frank.  If you are a woman of means and decide after the 14 week mark that you want to have an abortion, you have the option to take a bus or plane ride to a different state.  But if you’re poor?  Where are you going to go?

Locally, the Texas legislature has been railing about defunding Planned Parenthood and changing laws to make “choice” effectively a non-choice for many women who can’t afford the travel costs to an out-of-state clinic.  The government wants to effectively punish low-income women for having sex and not wanting to be a mother.

These same politicians, so concerned about the unborn, seemingly care even less should the baby actually be born.  The new healthcare bill that passed the House delivers massive tax cuts to the wealthiest and cuts Medicaid from the poorest.  The CBO estimated that 24 million people (including babies) will lose their health care coverage.

The Republican congress wants to eliminate essential benefits, such as maternity care.  And if your baby is born with a heart condition, like Jimmy Kimmel’s was, well that’s a pre-existing condition.  Good luck paying the bill.

Progressives believe in a woman’s right to choose, and if she chooses to become a mother progressives want her and her baby to have proper medical care, and food stamps too if they’re needed.  Because progressives wouldn’t let a mother and her babies go hungry so the richest 1% can get an extra tax cut that they don’t even need.

But wishing for progressives to run things isn’t going to change anything, talking about it on Facebook doesn’t do anything, but if you actually contact your representatives at town halls, in their office, on the phone, by mail or online, now you are making your voice heard.

The Texas legislature ends on May 29th.  Want to tell your reps what you think?  Click here to find out contact information for your rep.

And if your representatives don’t listen to you, then it’s time to do absolutely everything that you can to get them out of power and get progressives in their place.

thelillithfund

Let’s start at the local level.  Of the progressive candidates identified by Marchers, 16 of them have runoff elections!  Help them get the vote out.  Knock on doors, donate to their cause, remind your friends and family to vote.  Click here for more information: Support the June 10th runoff elections!

When our children are hurting, a kiss from mom makes everything better.  Our nation is hurting now and it’s up to all of us to take action.  The only way things will get better is if we put sane, competent people in power.

 

 

 

Artist Activist Ciena Valenzuela-Peterson Explores the Pain the Mexican-American Community is Feeling in Her Art

Artist Activist Ciena Valenzuela-Peterson Explores the Pain the Mexican-American Community is Feeling in Her Art

I picked up a copy of RESIST!, the women’s rights graphic newspaper released just before the Women’s Day March in January and was captured by Ciena Valenzuela-Peterson’s illustration, “Temo.”  I did a little digging to find out more about the artist and realized that there wasn’t much online because she is sixteen years old and at the beginning of her career.  It took a bit to find an email address, but I was able to establish contact with her and she agreed to an interview.  Here is it in full:

Kelly McMichael (KM):  How old are you and how did you get started making art?

Ciena Valenzuela-Peterson (CVP):  “I am 16 years old, and I’ve been making art throughout my whole life. As a child, I grew up in an environment where my creativity was fostered and encouraged. My art grew from crayon scribbles to pencil fairies to graphite eyes and now digital faces. Most of the art I make nowadays is for my AP Art class in school.”

KM:  What led you to paint “Temo?”

CVP:  “Temo” is my attempt to consolidate all the pain felt by the Mexican-American community over Trump’s election into one image. It’s my rawest and most emotionally potent work of art, because I started working on it the day after the election and channeled as much of my emotional energy into it as possible. The shock and despair on the girl’s face mirrored my own. The Mexican flag and the American flag are side by side as the girl’s tears to show that both identities are equally valid, despite those trying to convince us that they must be mutually exclusive. The flowers represent everything that is beautiful about Mexican culture, but above them I wrote every vile thing Trump has said about Mexicans or Mexican immigrants. Trump and his supporters ignore our rich and vibrant culture and have no regard for the inherent worth and dignity of every person, instead believing shallow and racist lies. I grew up believing in hope and kindness and respect, but waking up to the news of Trump’s victory on November 9th truly made me feel like hatred had won. That is why I needed to create this artwork.”

KM:  Do you consider yourself an artist activist—or is this painting a one-off because of something more personal?

CVP:  “This painting was my first artwork of the kind, but certainly not the last. What brought the painting to life was my incredibly strong emotional reaction to the events going on in the world. I was moved to create, and so I did. I cannot imagine I will never be motivated to make more political art, especially with the way a new horror seems to be unfolding every day. However, I wouldn’t call it activist art. To me, activism demands and creates bigger changes. My art is much more self-reflective, expressing my interpretation of this struggle. By sharing it, I hope I’ve stirred emotions in like-minded people and perhaps even in those who would typically disagree with me, but to call the art in and of itself activism seems too self-important to me. After all, I created “Temo” for myself, to release some of the pain I had been feeling and express what I couldn’t quite say with words; it was only after I looked back on the finished product that I thought, “Hey, you might have something here,” and decided to submit it to publications like Resist. I do think activism is now more important than it has ever been in my lifetime, and I will participate in any way I can.”

KM:  I see that you are donating all of the proceeds from selling your print to border Angels and the ACLU.  Can you tell us why these organizations are important to you?

CVP:  “The ACLU has an incredibly long history of standing up for civil rights in America. They are well known, reliable, and have been behind so much positive legal action and change. Most recently the ACLU has been taking on Trump’s Muslim ban, another issue I feel is horrifically wrong and deeply important to combat.

Border Angels is a smaller organization that aims to protect and empower Mexican migrant workers. These people face so much discrimination, racism, and struggle, and the looming threat of deportation allows employers to manipulate and exploit them even more. Border Angels gives migrants access to education, immigration consultations, and necessities like water that save the lives of those trekking through the desert.”

KM:  What’s next for you?

CVP:  “I will attend all the marches and protests I can, donate to organizations besides ACLU and Border Angels, and stand up for what I believe in. My mentality is this: If I’m going to get so upset about what’s going on, spend so much emotional energy on politics and civil rights, then I better be putting actions to my words. I will not allow myself to be inactive and complacent. And if I find myself moved again, the same way I was when making “Temo,” then I will absolutely make more art.”

You can purchase a print of Ciena Valenzuela-Peterson’s “Temo” from her website http://etcetezine.bigcartel.com/product/temo-art-print

Learn more about artists who are activists on www.howtocopewithtrump.com

My Obamacare Story

My Obamacare Story

Dear Senator Cornyn:

You sent out a newsletter requesting stories about how Obamacare affected us and our family.  Let me start by telling you what life was like before Obamacare.

huffingtonpost

My daughter was born in June 2007, a strong and beautiful little girl.  The first time we took her to the hospital was that October.  There was a fire burning in our town, matched only but the heat of her fever.  While others were moving towards cleaner air we headed into the smoky clouds where the hospital was located.

It ended up being a urinary tract infection and after the doctor gave her some antibiotics we went home.  But something wasn’t right.

Every six weeks or so she got a new infection, or was it the same one?  Her pediatrician didn’t know.  Each time there was the 102 degree fever, the catheter inserted inside her tiny body for a sample as she screamed in agony and I had to watch helplessly.

Have you ever had to hold a child – your child – when she’s in pain?  As tears stream down her perfect cheeks and she looks at you, as though questioning why you can’t fix it?  Have you ever had to hold your baby still as they strap her limbs down so she can’t twist as a giant machine x-rays her?  I hope you haven’t, because it’s terrifying.

During this time I was offered a dream job that would have paid me $10,000 more in base salary.  I turned it down.  Do you know why?  Because we didn’t know what was causing these infections.  We didn’t know if she had pre-existing conditions.  We couldn’t risk the six month lapse in health insurance before the benefits in the new job would kick in.

I also began to worry about my current job because I had to take off a lot of time from work to take her to doctor appointments.

When your baby is sick it’s hard to concentrate.  There was a budget presentation I had to give and as I gathered up my papers a framed photo of my baby in her pink onesie giggling caught my eye.

I began sobbing, and ran into the ladies room, shaking with fear.  Her test at the Children’s Hospital was the next day and I was petrified.  Would she be ok?  If she wasn’t, what if the insurance said this was a pre-existing condition?  How would I pay for her care?  Would I ever be able to leave this job for a better one?

Have you ever felt trapped before?  That’s what it felt like.  Like there was no air, just fear.  I had a job with healthcare but life before Obamacare meant insurance companies made the rules and, bottom line, they didn’t care about my baby; they cared about their own corporate bottom line.  It was sick and I do mean that in ever sense of the word.

We were lucky.  My daughter was fine.  But what about all the other babies who aren’t?  We are the richest nation in the world and no parent should worry about whether or not their baby will get treatment.  Having a child who is sick is gut wrenching enough, why should we go back to the days when a pre-existing condition could bankrupt you as well, just so some insurance CEO gets a multi-million dollar bonus?

And now let me tell you another story, about life after Obamacare, since you asked how it affects my family.

AARP

My brother works two jobs.  He is an adjunct professor of history at a community college and was also a bank teller at the time.  Even though he worked two jobs they both made sure that his hours were kept below a certain limit so they wouldn’t have to pay for medical benefits.

When Obamacare passed he went to the doctor for the first time in almost a decade to get a physical, not because he thought there was anything wrong.  The doctor told him it was a wonder he was still alive.  He had diabetes, high blood pressure and rickets and was essentially a walking heart attack ready to happen.  Through medicine, lifestyle changes and access to healthcare my brother is alive today.

The positive impact of Obamacare doesn’t stop there.

I have pre-existing conditions (cancer) and my husband is in his fifties and we can rest easy knowing that we won’t be priced out of the market.  I’m no longer held hostage to a job for the medical benefits because I can afford to pay for them on my own.

I’ve lived through the nightmare of healthcare before Obamacare was in place and I’ve felt the relief of being on an Obamacare silver plan (which actually cost us less money than paying for our own coverage.)

According to the AARP under the proposed AHCA plan my husband’s insurance rates could increase five times higher and if Texas decides to get rid of essential benefits I can only imagine the cost to my family to have to go into a high risk pool.

The government shouldn’t punish its citizens for getting sick or growing older, or like millions of Americans having pre-existing conditions.

If you pass the AHCA it will directly impact me, my immediate family and my extended family.  Societies are judged not by how they treat the wealthy and the powerful but by how they care for the most vulnerable among us.

And if it were your baby hot with fever, tears spilling down her face (and your own) would you care one iota about lining insurance executives pockets or would you want to know that doctors would do absolutely everything possible to save her life, regardless of pre-existing conditions?

Answer honestly.  Let us keep our healthcare.

Artist Activist Abigail Gray Swartz and Rosie the Riveter in her knitted Pink Pussy Hat

Artist Activist Abigail Gray Swartz and Rosie the Riveter in her knitted Pink Pussy Hat

You may know Abigail Gray Swartz’s work.  She’s been getting a lot of attention lately because of her Rosie the Riveter cover on the New Yorker magazine.  But Rosie is a woman of color, and she’s sporting a knitted pink pussy cap. Swartz says of attending the march and producing the New Yorker cover,
“On the Monday following the (women’s) march, I started thinking about the art I wanted to make in response to my own experience, as well as the collective experience of women nationally and worldwide.

I adored seeing the images flooding in of the sea of women (and men) in pink hats. So much pink! I saw a headline from a newspaper that read “She the People” and I thought, “She The People: The revolution will be handmade.”

Read More

Election Results!

Election Results!

Yesterday was a step in the right direction!  Of the 70 candidates March On! identified, we had 11 wins and 9 of those were women!

Heather Jefts and Anne Duffy celebrating their win

Congratulations to:

  • Gloria Carrillo – Grand Prarie
  • Sammy Casados – Pasadena
  • Anne Duffy – Cedar Park
  • Shirley Fleming – Killeen
  • Mike Floyd – Pearland
  • Shirley Gonzales – San Antonio
  • Heather Jefts – Cendar Park
  • Esmeralda Lozano – La Feria
  • Nakisha Paul – Texas City
  • Candace Valenzuela – Carrollton/Farmers branch
  • Tammy Young – Round Rocks

Runoffs:
We have 12 in a runoff and of those, 8 are women! This does not include the San Antonio Mayoral election where there will be a runoff between Ivy and Nirenberg. Nor does it include the College of the Mainland where there is a runoff between 2 identified progressive candidates, both women.

Here is a link to the spreadsheet with all the May 2017 election results.

Much work ahead, including pitching in on the runoffs, but this is a great first step.

Marching On to a blue Texas!

Terrilynn Quick and the Uterus Flag Project:  Crafting Women’s Health Awareness

Terrilynn Quick and the Uterus Flag Project: Crafting Women’s Health Awareness

Thursday the House of Representatives narrowly passed a measure to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, and the Huffington Post referred to the proposed bill as a “’Coordinated Attack’ on Women’s Health Care.” While this round of legislation appears particularly harmful to women, the state of women’s health services have been at the mercy of men and a male-dominated medical profession for too long.

Artist activist Terrilynn Quick recognized this problem and began to address it through her work.   She started the Uterus Flag Project in 2010, which is an investigation into the socio-political concerns around women’s health issues, looking specifically at the overuse and misuse of hysterectomies in America. The project serves as a beginning point of conversation for women who are often silent about their health concerns and too trusting of doctors, who may recommend a hysterectomy without considering other options or a woman’s long term health plan.

The project is based on the idea of the sit and stitch, which is grounded in the feminist ideals of “sharing, conversation, consciousness raising, and craft.” It’s a time for women to create but to also engage with each other about their health concerns and other issues that women face in society today. Women have a long history of this type of collaboration but have not engaged in hand-work like this as much in the late 20th and early 21st centuries as in the past. The Uterus Flag Project is just one attempt at bringing this type of collaborative coordination among women back.

Image courtesy of Terrilynn Quick

Like all craftivism, it is yet another way of giving a voice—both visually and through testimonies of participants—to issues of social justice. In this case by bringing awareness to unnecessary hysterectomies, especially for women who are unaware of the options available besides uterus removal. About 600,000 hysterectomies are performed annually in the United States and it is the second most common surgery performed on women of childbearing age (cesarean sections are the first.) By the age of 60, more than one third of all women have had some form of a hysterectomy.

While some hysterectomies are necessary, such as with invasive cancer, many are not, and the surgery carries risks that many women are not made aware of, such as damage to other organs such as the urinary tract or bowel, that can cause long-term complications. Additionally, young women who have hysterectomies are at an increased risk for heart attacks, stroke, and early menopause. The surgeries have also been associated with serious urinary issues, sexual dysfunction, and depression.*

Thoughtful consideration and conversations should be engaged in prior to a woman’s consenting to a hysterectomy. Many are avoidable, especially if the condition is not causing any problematic symptoms. Learn more about the risks and alternatives to hysterectomies at the National Women’s Health Network.

Find more images of the Uterus Flag Project at www.howtocopewithtrump.com

*https://www.nwhn.org/hysterectomy/

Learn more about the Uterus Flag Project here and here.

Check out this video about the uterus flag project.

Volunteers are Crucial to High Voter Turnout

Volunteers are Crucial to High Voter Turnout

This week’s Marching Orders asked people to get out and vote in the local municipal and school elections that end today.   Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

This contest is for school boards, local officials, and even a few mayoral positions. In the past, many Texans have not bothered to vote in municipal elections. Most did not find out who was running or even what positions were contested.

But voting in these local elections is the most fundamental aspect of a practicing democracy, and these are where a person’s vote can have the most impact. If you ever believed that your vote didn’t matter—these local elections are where you can see one or two people deciding the fate of a community.

For example in Collin County, voters will approve or reject six bond propositions that will fund street, public safety, and park improvements, as well as monies to build new recreation centers and libraries. One of the bonds will impact local historic preservation. Five cities will cast votes for mayors, a government representative with whom constituents can have almost daily contact.

The good news is that voter apathy appears to be much lower in this year’s municipal elections, in part due to the efforts many volunteers have engaged in for specific candidates. Volunteers, many of whom marched in one of the Women’s Marches in January, have taken that excitement and relayed it into a steady commitment to activism, volunteering their time and money to help progressive candidates, some of whom are running in their first election. Volunteers have manned phone banks and hit the pavement, going door-to-door to talk with potential voters.

These efforts are having a huge impact. The first day of early voting resulted in record-breaking turnouts across the state, exceeded by the second day of voting. Here are some early numbers: In Harris County, 73,542 votes were cast as compared with 51,578 votes in 2012 on the second day. In Travis County, 38,079 votes were cast, as compared with 16,382 votes on day two in 2012.

It’s not too late for you to vote. The only way to turn Texas blue is to vote for progressive candidates. None of the other efforts matter if we do not show up at the polls. Get out there and make your voice heard.

Find out more about what is on the ballot.

 

Gulf Coast Progressive Candidates

Gulf Coast Progressive Candidates

The May Elections Are Almost Here!

We asked Marchers to identify progressive candidates for the past ten weeks and they came up with over 70; 45 of them women!  While March On! Texas endorses no one, we want to get the word out so you can make your own decisions.   Here is a map and a spreadsheet of these candidates.

We reached to all of them and some gave us personal statements.  We grouped these candidate statements by region so they are easier to find and we hope you find this helpful and informative.

Did we miss any candidates?  TELL US!  We want to get the word out for all progressives!

Basic Voter Info

The May 6th General Election will fill seats on local school boards, city councils, and mayoral offices. The path to turning Texas blue starts at the local level – so get out and vote, and take your friends.

Things you should know:

When can I vote?

Where can I vote?

What kind of ID do I need?

Here are candidate statements they have forwarded to us, in their own words, so you can make an informed decision.

Gulf Coast Candidates

Abby Whitmire – Humble ISD Board of Trustees, Position 4

Humble ISD covers over 90 square miles of northeast Harris County, including the communities of Humble, Atascocita, Kingwood, Fall Creek, and Eagle Springs. The population in the district is expected to rise from 40,500 to approximately 52,000 by 2025 – necessitating the construction of six new schools by 2022, including one high school, the seventh for the district. The district is 19.1% African American, 34.1% Latino, 40.9% White, and 5.9% Other. Almost nine percent of Humble ISD are Limited English Proficient and almost 34% are considered economically disadvantaged.

In the summer of 2016, the school board hired a controversial superintendent who had helped implement a private school voucher program in her previous job. The hiring of Dr. Liz Fagen as Superintendent was done over the very vocal objections of a large segment of the district. Many people in the district are still upset about that, and upset about how the board handled her hiring and how they tried to explain it to the public. A group of parents organized against this hire, and while we were ultimately unsuccessful in that objective, we have continued to serve in the role of watchdog for board and general district matters.

I believe all children in Texas deserve a great, well-resourced school with respected and empowered teachers, regardless of where they live or how much money their family makes. I’m hoping to earn the votes of concerned parents in the district who want to protect public education.

We know what works in education: Small class sizes, rich curriculums, experienced and accomplished teachers, and a system of support that helps to manage problems when students lose focus or fall behind. It’s simple, but it’s not easy. If I am elected to the school board, these will be my priorities.


Jessie G. Campbell, Katy City Council, Ward B

As a City Council member, I will provide sensible, solution-oriented leadership. I believe strongly that good governance comes from having both an open mind and strong values and from choosing to treat people with dignity and respect.

My top three priorities will be: support Katy’s charm with managed growth, create more transparency, and plan to keep Katy moving forward.

(1) I will work to protect Katy’s charm through managed growth, smart economic development, and flood management. One of my top priorities will be to address the construction in Historic Downtown Katy to better support the local small business owners.

(2) Katy citizens have a right to know what is going on in their city. I will work aggressively to make the City more open and transparent, starting immediately with an updated website.

(3) Finally, as Katy grows, it needs a road map to know where it is going. I will work to create a long-term City plan with 5-year and 10-year benchmarks, including both economic and cultural goals.


Nakisha Paul, Texas City ISD Board of Trustees District 3

Hello, my name is Nakisha Paul, and I am running for Board of Trustee for the Texas City Independent School District 3. I have 6 years of experience governing School Board issues while advocating for children, parents, and the community.

I am asking for your vote because I believe that I have an ability to influence change while making lasting impressions and creating relationships. I CARE about my community. I am COMPETENT to demonstrate an exceptional capacity for professional leadership, inquiry, and activism on behalf of culturally and linguistically diverse communities. And, I am COMMITTED to working with students, parents, and staff in educationally challenging situations.

I am a product of private and public schools in La Marque, TX. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration at Texas State University and, in 2011, a Masters of Business Administration from Texas Woman’s University. Building on my education, I established myself as an innovative entrepreneur, change agent and leader working within a large hospital system where I designed and successfully implemented new systems and services.

Leadership Experience
As Board President, I led adoption of a financial solvency plan that was approved by the Texas Education Agency and increased the district fund balance to $6,900,000. I also served as a Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) delegate for two years, voting on education issues in the state of Texas at the association’s assembly. My achievements have been recognized by nomination for TASB leadership. Now, a Master Trustee, the highest designation of a school board member, I provided consultation and support to school board members throughout the state.

Volunteer Service
I have also contributed significantly to community service as a volunteer. I proudly serve as secretary/treasurer for the La Marque Alumni Association. I assist with articulating the association’s vision and mission to donors, alumni, volunteers and the business community. I have led fundraisers and helped raise more than $10,000 for student assistance. I have also chaired four community wide parades for MLK.
With these experiences, I am prepared to serve in this important role, and again, I ask for your vote.


 

The election is May 6th.  VOTE!!!!

And when you do, why not post a picture of yourself with your “I voted” sticker and your reason for voting?  Use #WhyIVote and tag us on it.

Central Texas Progressive Candidates

Central Texas Progressive Candidates

The May Elections Are Almost Here!

We asked Marchers to identify progressive candidates for the past ten weeks and they came up with over 70; 45 of them women!  While March On! Texas endorses no one, we want to get the word out so you can make your own decisions.   Here is a map and a spreadsheet of these candidates.

We reached to all of them and some gave us personal statements.  We grouped these candidate statements by region so they are easier to find and we hope you find this helpful and informative.

Did we miss any candidates?  TELL US!  We want to get the word out for all progressives!

Basic Voter Info

The May 6th General Election will fill seats on local school boards, city councils, and mayoral offices. The path to turning Texas blue starts at the local level – so get out and vote, and take your friends.

Things you should know:

When can I vote?

Where can I vote?

What kind of ID do I need?

Here are candidate statements they have forwarded to us, in their own words, so you can make an informed decision.

Central Texas Candidates

Anne Duffy – Cedar Park City Council, Place 3

I aim to promote progressive priorities and bring fresh ideas to city council.  I was looking for a way to give back, and get involved.  Like many of us, I am frustrated by the lack of diversity in representation, on the local, state, and federal levels. I grew up in a family of public service. My parents were civically engaged and their influence taught me the value of participating in opportunities to help others and give back.  I have served in multiple Leadership roles throughout my adult life. I know what it takes to set goals, provide vision, work closely with a team, be empathetic to needs of others, and be willing to initiate and influence change.  I am committed to preserving a healthy, vital community, focused on quality of life, and celebration of our diverse population.

I am a Bachelor’s Prepared Registered Nurse and Cedar Park Resident for 17 years. I served 13 years in US Naval Reserve as a Hospital Corpsman and Navy Nurse Corps Officer;  have served in Nursing Leadership for >10 years;  married to Derral, Leander Police Lieutenant;  2 children, Addison & Padraig;  driven to serve: volunteer coach for CPYL softball, Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) for LISD


David Sray – Georgetown City Council, District 2

My name is David Sray and I’m running for Georgetown City Council, District 2. Georgetown is a thriving city that is bursting with potential, and I want to see it realized. I believe that city council needs to carefully manage our economic growth, while maintaining support for the arts and promoting our uniquely historical downtown areas that make Georgetown a great place to call home. I also believe that our government needs to be transparent, accountable, and open to new ideas that help improve our community.

Georgetown has many wonderful neighborhoods and parks, but the explosive growth over the last several years means prices have skyrocketed. The city should require developers submit plans with creative solutions that promote affordable workforce housing options and provide incentives that benefit the community such as streets, schools, and sidewalks and bike paths. We also need to make sure we’re planning for and adopting smart, common-sense measures that enhance the travel experience for everyone, whether that’s additional lanes, considering roundabouts in place of traffic lights, looking into diverging diamonds, or reviewing public transportation options. I’m excited to see the city rolling out a fixed bus route this year, and hope our residents will find it a welcome additional mobility option.

With 17 years of experience in the high-tech sector, I know the importance of working with many different people to come together to create solutions. I’ll work to ensure that city council promotes economic planning and development, encourages programs that make city services accessible to all residents, and keeps our neighborhoods beautiful and safe for our families.


Heather Jefts, Cedar Park City Council Place 5

I’ve called Texas home for over 14 years. When we first moved to Cedar Park, there were around 35,000 people. Today, it is over 61,000. The city has nearly doubled since we moved here. Yet, with all this growth, the makeup of our city council has remained unchanged. The same philosophies govern our city; the same interests have the ear of those elected. To say they are “entrenched” would be an understatement. But right now, we have an opportunity to change the direction of our city. People are tired of developers being more important than our quality of life. Our city government needs to work for all of us.

I’ve always been a behind-the-scenes person, preferring to do the hard work without being up in the front for recognition. But like so many people, especially women, I am fired up. I’m ready to put myself out there; I’m ready to do the hard work because I believe it’s time. It’s time to make some real changes to our local governments. It’s time to bring transparency, accessibility, and accountability to city councils. It’s time to make private citizens, small local businesses, and our first responders a priority over developers, big business, and the entrenched Chamber crowd. I want to have open office hours, stop our tax dollars from funding billionaire developer strip malls, use social media to engage all residents in our government, and preserve our parks. I want to ensure our first responders can afford to live here and retire securely, make sure small local businesses are given the best chance of succeeding, and bring community back to Cedar Park. Thank you for your support!


Tammy Young – Round Rock City Council, Place 1

As a resident and local Realtor, I have watched Round Rock’s explosive growth and felt the impacts of that growth.  Prior to beginning my real estate career, I taught in Round Rock public schools, advocated for children with disabilities and was Chapter President of a national non-profit organization for several years.

Round Rock is a great place to live but we are definitely feeling the pinch from all the new development and the convenience, affordability and quality of life we cherish, is slipping away.  This is a pivotal time for our city.

We have to do a better job at engaging the community in our city’s vision and priorities.  It is time to reinvest in our existing  neighborhoods that are in need of the basics, like sidewalks and streetlights.  We have to do more to minimize the traffic and parking implications of the decisions being made as we grow.  We have to make sure our police department is fully staffed to maintain the safe community we count on. We have to protect the quality of life of those of us who already live here above anything else.

It is time for a fresh perspective on our city council – one that is not biased towards the status quo, one that is tuned in to the desires, needs and concerns of the ordinary people of Round Rock.  I am that person.


Ron Nirenberg – Mayor, San Antonio

I’m running for mayor because I want you to have the city you deserve – a place you’d choose even if you could live anywhere else on earth. It should be an exciting place where all sides of town can say. “I love it here.” The way I see it, the city you deserve delivers good-paying jobs, rewarding careers, safe streets, beautiful parks, museums, clean water, fewer traffic jams … It should be a place where our children flourish. You deserve a city that listens to you, that treats you with respect, that spends your tax dollars responsibly and openly. You deserve a city whose leaders are ethical and accountable and a mayor who has a vision for a bright and successful future. These are all things I’ve fought for as District 8 Councilman. These are things you shouldn’t have to wait any longer for.

Matt Robertson – Pflugerville ISD Board of Trustees Place 6

Matt Robertson

Pflugerville ISD is a school district that used to lead from the front. It is the reason I moved here sixteen years ago.  After serving in the United States Army, my wife and I were looking for a home to raise our family.  Moving to Pflugerville and making Brookhollow Elementary the foundation of our children’s education journey was the best decision we ever made. However, in recent years I have seen some things occur that make me question where indeed we are headed as a district, especially with the uncertainty in public education as a whole.

From teacher/administrator retention to facilities management and redistricting/rezoning, I see the need for strong leadership and someone who is willing to have honest conversations with the people.   As I have continued to dialogue with parents, teachers, community members and business leaders of PfISD, I realized I am not the only one that sees opportunity for improvement and a long term strategy that makes Pflugerville ISD once again a destination district for parents, students and teachers.
We can make this vision a reality. Through transparency, more coordination with the city and long term strategic plans that are student/teacher centric, our pathway forward can be promising. We owe our children the best K-12 education experience and our community the most responsible management of their tax dollars.
I am not a politician, nor do I seek a political career beyond this position.  To the contrary, if elected I will push hard for term limits. It is a long held belief that within the confines of an elected term, ones job should never be to seek reelection. That time should be spent working tirelessly on all the items you campaigned on.

This May I seek your partnership in doing the necessary work to restore Pflugerville ISD as the shining district within Central Texas and beyond.

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The election is May 6th.  VOTE!!!!

And when you do, why not post a picture of yourself with your “I voted” sticker and your reason for voting?  Use #WhyIVote and tag us on it.

North Texas Progressive Candidates

North Texas Progressive Candidates

The May Elections Are Almost Here!

We asked Marchers to identify progressive candidates for the past ten weeks and they came up with over 70; 45 of them women!  While March On! Texas endorses no one, we want to get the word out so you can make your own decisions.   Here is a map and a spreadsheet of these candidates.

We reached to all of them and some gave us personal statements.  We grouped these candidate statements by region so they are easier to find and we hope you find this helpful and informative.

Did we miss any candidates?  TELL US!  We want to get the word out for all progressives!

Basic Voter Info

The May 6th General Election will fill seats on local school boards, city councils, and mayoral offices. The path to turning Texas blue starts at the local level – so get out and vote, and take your friends.

Things you should know:

When can I vote?

Where can I vote?

What kind of ID do I need?

Here are candidate statements they have forwarded to us, in their own words, so you can make an informed decision.

North Texas Candidates

Elisha Demerson for Amarillo City Council Place I

Former Potter County Judge, Councilman Elisha Demerson is running for re-election to the Place 1 Council position on the Amarillo City Council. Demerson, a Department of Energy/NNSA Distinguished Service Career retiree and current council member, is running for a second term, citing some important goals he would focus on achieving during his second term.

During my first term, I spearheaded the comprehensive assessment of the Amarillo Police Department that resulted in many changes, including bringing back community policing. I also collaborated with others to do an economic assessment of the more impoverished sections of Amarillo, which will serve as a template for future development. I want to replicate this kind of assessment in other older parts of the city, like San Jacinto and Pleasant Valley, for example. These assessments result in neighborhood plans that ultimately make for stronger neighborhoods.”

“I would also like to see more collaboration between local governmental entities. Our metropolitan region is nearing 250 thousand population and it’s time for strategic thinking to advance our entire community for the future. We need to meet with business and community leaders now to position Amarillo for the next 25 years!” I want to continue to champion the reassessment of our city’s “one stop shop” them more business and community friendly. We aren’t there yet.”

“I will need your support and guidance to get these things done. I have tried to be an independent thinker on the Council and a steady and calm leader. I try to look ahead and not behind so I focus on the community and not on the Council itself. I’m counting on you to help me continue to be a positive force on the council and to take care of this community’s agenda.”

Demerson holds both a B.A. and a M.S. from West Texas A&M University.


Michelle Beckley – Mayor, Carrollton

Diversity and Inclusion – I have an inclusive vision of how the City of Carrollton should represent and work to the benefit of ALL of its constituents equally – regardless of race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender-identity or economic status. I want to engage in a two-way conversation with our community, to hear everyone’s ideas and concerns, and to represent all of Carrollton’s citizens.

ROI and Accountability – All taxpayers who contribute to the City’s revenues should expect to receive a Return on Investment (RoI). Carrollton’s citizens should expect the City to spend their tax dollars wisely and equitably across the whole spectrum of the community. We should not spend municipal funds on federal programs. There must be accountability for any expenditures which do not benefit the community, or which benefit only a small sector of the community.

Simplification – In speaking with business-owners and residents alike, it is apparent to me that there are too many City ordinances which do not serve the best interests of the community. Unnecessary and cumbersome red tape needs to be addressed, and ordinances which prove to be harmful to residents and business-owners, and which provide little or no benefit to the community, must be rewritten or scrapped. But let me be clear; I fully support ordinances which protect the health and well being of the citizens of Carrollton.

Transparency – The City Council works on behalf of the citizens of Carrollton, and therefore the details of all of its decisions, policies and actions should be information which is freely- and widely-available. I want to improve and expand upon the existing information framework, and open two-way channels of communication to ensure all perspectives are heard. By increasing transparency, we increase accountability, which is a cornerstone of public engagement and confidence in the City’s civic leaders and the departments they oversee.


John DeLorme – Carrollton/Farmers Branch ISD School Board

I am a civic leader who has fought for open government and lower taxes, I believe we should keep our public school PUBLIC and oppose vouchers that will bankrupt the public school system. I support term limits for our school board so our voters can routinely elect new leadership to foster new ideas and opinions. I will support a balanced budget and higher teacher pay since we are below market for other districts around us. Since our tax increase for M/O passed last November we have the revenue for this. I support the maintaining our facilities and being up to date with our ever-changing technology.


Viccy Kemp – Carrollton/Farmers Branch ISD Board of Trustees

I am running for school board to ensure we maximize the power of our community and resources so all our children will thrive, which, in turn, creates a community that thrives. Current leadership in various government departments is threatening the very fabric of the public school system. As parents of students, we have a responsibility to ensure they are provided with an education that will prepare them for the future, without financial restraints and impaired technology access. Our children deserve a well-rounded, well-funded PUBLIC education. It’s what your tax dollars should be funding. An essential component of achieving and maintaining this platform is an assumption of net neutrality, where schools are not charged a premium for accessing the Internet. Every school board in America needs to be paying attention to this issue because it will directly impact students in America.


Candace Valenzuela, Carrollton Farmers Branch Board of Trustees

I am running on the following issues:

Technological Literacy: I want kids to get an introduction to coding in elementary school.

Fact-Based Education: I want to make sure that the district picks curriculum that respects peer reviewed research, not the whims of politicians in Austin.

Inclusive Environment: I want to make sure that schools are appropriate learning environments for ALL our students. That means not enforcing the bathroom bill. That means not letting ICE into our schools without a warrant, and training teachers and staff for the possibility of children suddenly not having their parents. That means cultural training for teachers that involves not just ethnicity and nationality, but also sexuality. Finally, that means that we make sure not to punish any one ethnicity disproportionately.

Transparency: People are willing to pay more for good education; it’s good for our kids, it’s good for our property values, and it’s good for society. Raising taxes without saying what they’re for, however, is not something people can get behind. We need to account for what we want to spend money on. We also need to improve communication in general. Our websites are in desperate need of repair, and as a result it almost looks like the district wants to obscure its practices. We need to not just commit to communicate, but also commit to communicate well.

Trade programs: We have an excellent array of programs available in Career and Technology Education, but at times they’re under respected or poorly maintained. We need to make sure that the students in these programs are provided for and valued. Term limits: My competitors have been on the board for 12 and 18 years respectively. This is far too long. We need to limit our board members to three 3-year terms. We need to focus on retention of teachers, not board members. Thank you for considering me for this position!


K.D. Warach – Frisco City Council, Place 6

My platform includes standing with the working people of Frisco, income equality, fair tax structure where wealthy and corporations in Frisco pay their fair share, equal rights for everyone, top notch public schools for our children and diversity for people of all races, religions, genders and sexual orientations. Priorities:

— Make Frisco a vibrant community where everyone feels welcome to live, work and play

— Solve traffic problems by relieving congestion and making commute an enjoyable experience for Frisco residents

— Celebrate and promote our diversity by providing a safe and fun atmosphere for every resident and encourage their participation at every level

— Be a good steward of our existing resources and infrastructure

— Build a reliable public transportation system for Frisco

— Plan responsibly for our future by keeping up with Frisco’s rapid growth

— Support a fair and balanced budget that maintains core city services and protects the most vulnerable

— Keep Frisco affordable while providing essential services to all existing and future residents

— Encourage high quality public education that focuses on early childhood development and parental involvement

I am running because I truly love Frisco and want to contribute to the growth of this amazing city. I’ve been living in Frisco for almost 4 years now with my wonderful wife Amna and 3 great children. My volunteer services include coaching my son and daughter’s youth soccer teams and speaking at FISD career day, among others. I have been a practicing engineer for 20 years. My experience in heavy civil infrastructure construction management field has prepared me to tackle the problems of Frisco’s rapid growth. My problem solving and analytical skills make me a perfect candidate for Frisco City Council.


Trish Patterson – Plano ISD Board, Place 6

I’m committed to making your voice heard with Plano Independent School District.  Like you, I want to play an active role in making our schools the best possible place to educate our children, and making our community a great place to raise them.  Currently, I am the President of Plano Community Forum, a 501c3 that gives scholarships to PISD students, and the Co-Chair and Organizer of Plano’s Martin Luther King Day celebrations.  In addition, I am a substitute teacher for PISD and an adjunct professor for Richland College.

Every child deserves an opportunity to realize they have that “something special” to give to their community and a chance to reach their fullest potential.  As Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  As a PISD School Board Trustee, I will listen to students, parents, teachers and staff, and taxpayers, while acknowledging the diverse needs of our children and our communities.

BE PROUD, BE STRONG, BE PLANO, VOTE TRISH PATTERSON FOR PLANO ISD BOARD PLACE 6!!


Stirling Morris – Plano City Council, Place 8

A native Texan, I was born in San Antonio, raised in Central Texas, and married in Lewisville. Shortly after the birth of my son in Grapevine, my family moved to Plano. I’ve spent a lot of time in North DFW, and now I’mready to serve our community.

There is so much to love about Plano, and I want to be on the ground, with my sleeves rolled up, helping to keep Plano beautiful and vibrant. I want to help our city be the best possible version of itself–a city in which all its citizens, from the elderly, to the young; the religious to non-religious; the immigrants and minorities—proudly call home.

I’ve spent the last fifteen years in the construction industry, working with developers, architects, contractors, and even cities to build various projects that benefit and enhance communities. I’ve worked on projects that were added to the National Register of Historic Places, and I understand what goes into preserving our community treasures as well as how new development impacts existing infrastructure and the environment. I’ve served on non-profit boards, volunteered for charitable organizations, and been part of executive steering committees.

Beyond my work life though, I’m qualified for this position because I’m a citizen of Plano. I live and shop here. I eat here. I form relationships and friendships here. While I’ve never held a political office, I’m a firm believer that government should always be, as Abraham Lincoln put it, …of the people, by the people and for the people. As citizens, we should all feel empowered to add our voices to the government, and that often starts locally. Not everyone comes from politics, but everyone should have an opportunity to add their voice to the conversation.


Kashif Riaz, Richardson City Council Place 5

As the new Richardson City Council Place 5 member, I aim to promote progressive priorities and bring fresh ideas. I served at multiple levels of leadership roles. I know what it takes to set goals, provide vision and be empathetic to the need of others. I have a bachelors with business major. I am currently serving as president of Moroney Farms HOA. I have 16 years of technology experience in Fortune 500 companies.  Previously, I served as president and founder of a technology company.


 

The election is May 6th.  VOTE!!!!

And when you do, why not post a picture of yourself with your “I voted” sticker and your reason for voting?  Use #WhyIVote and tag us on it.