March On! Texas

Category: Elections

Sylvia Holmes Marched – Now She’s Running

Sylvia Holmes Marched – Now She’s Running

The 2018 midterm elections are upon us and women are running for office in record numbers.  One such woman, Sylvia Holmes, went from helping to plan the Women’s March in Austin, the largest march in Texas history, to deciding to run for office herself.

The Women’s March in Austin. Photo By Mike Holp Photography

The other week we sat down to discuss why she wants to be elected to the people’s court, the merits of a UT vs. Texas A&M game and sitting on a bale of hay.

Here are my questions and her answers, slightly edited for clarity.

Tell me something about yourself

I’m a lifelong Texan who’s lived in Austin for over 20 years.  I’m a “Bridger,” born in 1981, so I’m a Millennial, but I also remember using a rotary phone.  I was born in Houston, but I grew up in Anderson County, a rural community.  I lived there with my family between kindergarten and 6th grade.

I was a Daddy’s girl.  We had 50 acres for cattle and crops like corn and watermelons which we sold at the Farmer’s market.  I loved it.  We plowed that field all on our own, dug posts and drove tractors.  My favorite picture from that time is of me sitting on a hay roll with a big smile after helping my dad with the harvesting.

Sylvia Holmes at her farm

Most people would consider my family as being poor because we lived in a mobile home, but we were better off than many others.  My dad was one of only a few in the town who went to college and worked a office job with benefits.

Once, Governor Ann Richards came and spoke at my school in Slocum.  It was a huge deal and I got to see her up close (think 1-2 feet away).  It absolutely shaped my perception of what women could do because I had just turned 9 and no one told me it was odd to have a female governor.​

We moved to Austin when I was in the 6th grade.  Have you heard of the Yogurt Shop Murders in 1990s off Anderson Lane?  It was really bad.  At a yogurt store in Austin four young girls were murdered and the mystery was never solved.  That case shook the state and laws about child labor were passed after that so teenagers wouldn’t be left alone to close a business.  My father became a child labor investigator and we moved to Austin.  I went from elementary-middle-high school population of 300 to just a seventh grade class with over 200 students.  It was a huge change.

Sylvia with her grandfather in Brazoria, Texas

How was that?

At first, I was teased for being an overweight redneck.  I had an East Texas accent and said words funny.  I also had to stop saying “going to town” to mean “going to the grocery store”.  It was an adjustment.  In Austin we had sidewalks and doorbells; you don’t need doorbells in the country.  In the country, if someone’s walking up your driveway it’s because they know you.

However, I’ve been a city girl ever since arriving in Austin and love my city.

What’s your proudest accomplishment from ages 7-14?  Why are you proud of this?

Successfully moving to Austin in 7th grade and then in 8th grade in Round Rock.  Twice I was thrust into new schools and excelled at both.  It was great coming to Austin and meeting kids from other backgrounds and cultures.

What position are you running for?

Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3.

What political experience do you have?  Formal or otherwise

I’m Associate Director of Legal Services for Students at UT.  My office represents all enrolled students in civil small claims and criminal misdemeanors, so I’m at the Justice of the Peace and County Court every day.  This office is covered by a tiny part of their tuition (about $5 a year) and was started in the 1960’s by student government to help out the students.  We are like a general practice law firm in a town of 50,000 people.  We advocate locally, statewide and nationally for all of our students.

I’m new to running for politics (and proud of it!) but experienced at justice.  My job involves solving problems for people on both sides in a fair way.

I’ve had a lot of clients who really embraced me, beyond ‘you’re just a lawyer.’  I’ve changed their opinion because they’ve felt their voice was truly being heard, not just listened to, but heard.

Sylvia Holmes at work

What does a Justice of the Peace do?

You’re the judge in the people’s court.  In Texas that means you’re in court for a criminal ticket, but it’s a minor enough offense that you can’t be sent to jail.  This includes traffic tickets, underage drinking, park issues, littering, trespassing (like sneaking into parks after hours), curfew violations (students leaving school during lunch), dog bites, marriages, car accidents and home repair disputes to name a few.

You don’t need a lawyer to file a lawsuit or to defend yourself in a people’s court but people often don’t want to go or ask for help for fear of cost, retribution, or for fear of looking foolish.

As a judge, I don’t want those fears to be barriers.   I’ve been the poor kid from rural America.  I’ve been poor, I’ve been rural, I’ve been fat, I’ve been fit, I’m still the same person, so I know what it’s like to feel insecure.  Everyone should have a little empathy, especially a judge.

The way I see it is ‘You’ve made a mistake, so let’s make this a learning moment’.  Let’s make this useful and not just the judge yelling at you.  I’d like to ease the anxiety because everyone needs to feel confident that justice will be served even if you can’t afford to hire a lawyer.

Why do you want to be a Justice of the Peace?

I want to help people.  Use my experience and knowledge of the law to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and equitability and leaves feeling respected by the situation.  If you broke the law you’ll have to pay a fine or pay the consequences but there’s a way to make it a rehabilitative moment.  I want to help restore faith in government.  Our courts are truly the people’s court and we need to ensure that it’s fair.   Minorities, people who aren’t wealthy, and people who are undocumented, should feel respected from start to finish because the court is there to serve the community.

What makes a good judge?

Someone who has a wide variety of experiences who can empathize with variety of situations, who is flexible.  A judge need to be friendly, because you deal with marriages, contracts below $10,000 and traffic tickets.  Unless you get jury duty, arrested or have to visit divorce court, you’re not going to see most courts. Since this is likely to be the only experience in court that you’ll ever have, the judge must represent the judicial branch well.  

What are the biggest issues your constituents are facing?

Lack of knowledge about Texas laws and consumer protection.  Texas is a “buyer beware” and owner-friendly state.  It’s completely on you to do your research.  As a renter you have fewer rights and greater responsibility because you’re borrowing someone’s house for a period of time.

I’m a landlord, so I’ve seen both sides.  I’ve seen both sides.  As a judge it comes down to the facts of the case and the lease.  Young adults getting ready to graduate would benefit if the court did preventative education at the schools, or even just posting basic information on the court’s website.

Another issue is older adults entering a new phase and not being prepared.  I want to get information out there to start talking to senior centers about getting ready for retirement.  Lots of people are going to senior or assisted living houses or renting out their spaces as Air BNB.  I want to ask them, ‘Do you know your rights and responsibilities?’ and then guide them to accurate information.

The last issue is affordability.  Some judges give the harshest fines no matter the circumstance.  I don’t feel like a senior citizen on fixed Social Security income should have to pay the highest fine because they forgot to hang the handicapped placard on their rearview mirror one time.  Justice should be to serve a purpose, not simply to serve a punishment.

If you are elected, how will you help your constituents?

I don’t believe in rubber stamping things, like payday loans and car title loans.  If you’re here for a breach of contract, you have to bring that contract.  I won’t just rule and give you a win by default.  Does it take some time?  Sure.  But that’s how it should be done.

We could have a heck of an impact.  One thing that’s specific to a JP court is that you get issue awareness.  We notice trends –fraud, and scams become trends.  A JP can report that trend to city council and if it’s happening in the nicest part of Texas, what’s happening in the rest of Texas?  As a judge, I can’t make the law, but I can point out potential risks to the city council so they can.

I want to establish a night court, at least once a month.  People don’t all work 9-5 jobs.  It’s hard for people to get off work to get to court at 2pm.  Other counties have night court, why not in our district?

I’d also love to establish community outreach programs to educate everyone about the justice system.  Let’s bring students and parents out to see a trial.  Let people see how our justice system works; too much is hidden right now.

What is the biggest impact you want to make?  You’re biggest goal

This has nothing to do with my job as a JP, but I’d love to reinstate the UT vs. Texas A&M game.  They could even do a spectator game.  Thanksgiving just hasn’t been the same.

As a person who has decided to run for office for the first time, what advice you have for other people interested in running in the future?

Get started as early as possible.

What’s the time commitment to run?

It consumes every waking hour.  Short of my 40 hour job, this is my second full-time job.  It starts at 7:30 a.m. and cuts off at 9 p.m.  I have to make voice mail calls all day long.  Every day twice per week I call other successful candidates for advice, I call people who’ve donated to other judges, and cold fundraising calls to strangers.  It’s hard for me to ask for money, and it amazes me how many people I’ve met on the campaign trail who have given me $25 – $50 after one meeting.  I am grateful for their support and aim to make them proud of their candidate.

Beyond that I’m contacting union leaders, community chairs, HOAs, updating myself on news and going to marches.

Sylvia at rally against white supremacy

What made you decide to run?

I like helping people.  I’m good at turning difficult legalese to understandable sentences.  There are different types of judges.  I’m friendly and flexible but follow the rules.  The law needs to be applied based upon the specific facts of the case so we cure the current problem, and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Sometimes you need to understand that a senior who forgot to hang her handicap placard shouldn’t have to pay the full fine if she’s living on social security.  You need to use your judgement and not throw that book at everyone just to collect fines.

Where can people reach you?

http://www.sylviaforjp3.com

Thanks Sylvia for speaking with March On! Texas!  We will be following her as she campaigns for the 2018 midterms.

Why Doing Something Matters

Friday night I started watching my Twitter, on edge that these young, college kids that were still at UVA for the summer were not equipped for what they may face. I watched Twitter until my eyes were scratchy and I couldn’t keep them open any longer.

Waking up Saturday I immediately opened my Twitter and didn’t take my eyes off of it. I sat, teeth unbrushed, still in pajamas, on the floor next to the wall where my phone was charging looking back and forth from my phone to my laptop. My chest started getting tight, I cried on and off, I didn’t eat, I called my mom yelling into the phone, not at her but at the world. After hanging up and feeling guilty that my mom was now worrying about me thousands of miles away and that crying wasn’t doing anything, I decided, enough.

So I refocused my attention to the great work we do here at March On. While it didn’t stop the car, or any of the poles and punches that crashed into incredibly brave counter-protestors, it channeled the anxious energy to action that will result in change locally here in Texas.

Not all of you would have seen our School Board campaign that started in the 12 districts with open seats this weekend, but some of you did.  And some of you may file to run for the School Board because of it. And because of that some good has been set into motion; the books that are read and the way Texas children are educated may soon change because we have more progressives in these seats. And this may give critical thinking skills to know when to question or to research what’s fake or not, and give hope and less hate to children to create a better future. What I did wasn’t direct activism, but it was “proactivsm” and that’s what we focus on here at March On! Texas (while still getting our butts out to marches and supporting other great groups in Texas!). We feel that getting progressives in the position to make decisions is incredibly important.

If you’d like to consider running for School Board the 12 districts with open seats are: Houston ISD, Klein ISD, Leander ISD, Los Fresnos ISD, New Caney ISD, Schertz-Cibolo ISD, Spring ISD, College Station ISD, Aldine ISD, Alief ISD, Bryan ISD, and Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. The last day to file candidacy is August 21st.

If you’d like to learn more or sign up to volunteer, check out our website or email me – jenn@marchontexas.com.

March on y’all!

The Importance of Schools and Tolerance

The Importance of Schools and Tolerance

This week (every week?) has been filled with distractions from the Executive branch.  I heard a comedian once liken Donald Trump to a monkey in a theatre flinging feces at the audience so no one would pay attention to the actual play going on.

His divisive remarks about Charlottesville, saying that somehow the “alt-left” was partly to blame for Neo-Nazis and the KKK causing chaos leaving three people dead, is dangerous but unsurprising from him.  We all knew what he really thought about diversity.

Once again, we must look to ourselves for leadership.  One of the most eye-popping articles I read was about a father repudiating his 30 year-old son in his local newspaper for joining the alt-right/white supremacists rally:  He didn’t learn this at home.

Another article that connected with me was an interview with the former high school teacher of James Alex Fields Jr., the man who used his car to strike counter protesters killing one and injuring 19.  The teacher said that Fields was bright but misguided and handed in a paper basically glorifying Nazi views.  The teacher felt like he failed because he wasn’t able to counter this young man’s skewed views.

Sierra PTO

These two articles resonated with me because it brings back the importance of making sure our students are educated with facts and not revisionist history distorted from the dark corners of the alt-right internet.  The information that young men and women fill their brain with matters.

While no one has control over the world wide web, we do have a say in the text books they read. That’s why there was such an uproar in 2015 when the Texas Board of Education approved textbooks that said Moses was a Founding Father and slaves were “workers” from Africa.  Now, more then ever, it is important that we teach tolerance and truth from a very young age.

After this weekend’s events many were left asking, “How can I get involved?  What can I do?”  Let’s think local.

There are 12 school districts that have seats open on their school boards.  These districts include: Houston, Klein, Leander, Los Fresnos, New Caney, Schertz-Cibolo, Spring, College Station, Aldine, Alief, Bryan and Cypress-Fairbanks.

Wouldn’t it be great if these school boards had some progressive candidates elected to them?  The deadline to file candidacy is Monday, August 21.

Know someone that lives in a district that would be great candidate? Share this post with them or tag them in it!

We must do what we can at the local level to ensure that tolerance is taught to the greatest assets we have, our children.

March on y’all

P.S. – If you do know a progressive running, please email lisa@marchontexas.com.  We’d love to hear and help!

 

5 Progressive Candidates Won in Texas Runoffs!

5 Progressive Candidates Won in Texas Runoffs!

March On! Texas wants to give a big shout-out to all progressive candidates who made it to the runoff elections this past weekend and, more importantly, to all of YOU for showing up and voting.

In the initial election last month, to recap, Marchers identified 70 progressive candidates; 11 won and 16 had runoff elections.  Just counting the winners, that’s a success rate of about 16%.  Not great, but at least 9 of those 11 candidates were women, which is success in and of itself and also this is Texas.

Here’s the news that we find particularly encouraging.  Of the 16 candidates in runoff elections, 5 progressives won!  That’s about a 31% success rate.  Now there are lots of reasons why that number may have increased, but we have to think that voter turnout played a part.

Ron Nirenberg, winner San Antonio Mayor

So again, we want to take this moment to THANK YOU for tuning in, getting friends and family to vote, and showing up yourself on election day.  It clearly made a difference.

Let’s build on this momentum.  The 2018 midterm elections are barely 500 days away.  Do you want to turn Texas blue?  Because we sure do.  There will be volunteer opportunities coming up to help register people to vote, so stay tuned for more on that.

Do you know a Progressive candidate running in 2018?  Please let us know!  Email lisa@marchontexas so we can add them to our spreadsheet.

We CAN make a difference.

March on, y’all!

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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!

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.

 

 

Volunteer Opportunities!

Volunteer Opportunities!

Here are some volunteer opportunities forwarded to us from Round Rock candidates Hilda Montgomery – Mayor Round Rock, Tammy Young – City Council Place 1 and Tracie Storie – City Council Place 4.

Hilda Montgomery – candidate for Mayor of Round Rock

Get Out the Vote – Saturday
Saturday, April 22 starting at 10:00 am
1201 Lacey Oak Loop, Round Rock, TX 78681
– Blockwalk: 10:00 am
– Blockwalk: 2:00 pm
**Come at the listed times or whenever works for you.
Contact: Allison Heinrich, 713-297-1650 or by email

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