Be Interesting

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Here at the Watson Wire, I try to subscribe to one big rule:

Be interesting.

It's actually more like a goal. If it were really a rule, then I'm guessing I've proved that rules really are made to be broken. But I give being interesting my best shot.

Maybe that means talking sense about border security.  Maybe it means regaling you with stories about giant vermin that seem, you know, hard to believe. And maybe it means keeping you posted on one of the best parties in town every year.  (Really, go sign up right now. You're gonna hate yourself if you miss this deal.)

But whether it's a hard and fast rule or my hopeful aspirations, it definitely means trying new things. In that spirit, I'll be rolling out a few new features and events here at Watson Central over the next few weeks.

And there's one I'm announcing today that I'm pretty excited about.

UStream and my friend Chris

Between now and Election Day, we'll be doing a series of online, interactive video town hall meetings, via UStream, with folks who are in tightly contested races for re-election to the Texas House of Representatives.

The first of these town hall meetings will be with Representative Chris Turner. It's set for Tuesday, August 31, at 6:30 p.m. You can, and should, RSVP for the event here.

I've known Chris for a long time. In fact, he worked on my first campaign – back when I ran for Austin Mayor. He's a great public servant, and we're lucky to have him in the legislature. He's running for his second term representing the Arlington area in the Metroplex.

We did the first one of these UStream town hall meetings about a month ago, when I sat down with Bill White. We broadcast over UStream for an hour, took questions wherever we could get them – Twitter, Facebook, you name it – and talked a lot about the need for fresh leadership that's committed to taking Texas in a new direction. (You can watch the video here.)

It went really well. And I'm hoping that keeping the ball rolling with some of our House candidates will help people – in these districts and all over Texas – learn about the big issues facing our state and get fired up for Election Day.

And besides, Chris's race – and others like it – represent some of the most important decisions on the ballot this year.

What's at stake

The race for Governor, of course, has gotten most of the attention in 2010. That's good. It's appropriate. It's a critically important contest at the top of the statewide ballot that everyone needs to weigh in on.

But the race for the House of Representatives is, in many ways, just as important. The folks who control either the House or the Senate have an enormous amount of control over which bills come up for a vote, which bills pass, and how Texans' lives will be affected.

For years, the 150-member House has been a place with perhaps the widest range of voices in state government.

And as I keep saying, we simply can't achieve big goals in this century without figuring out new ways to hear voices by using traditional web sites, social media functions such as Facebook, Twitter and UStream, and whatever else someone will think of in a year or two.

These new tools aren't valuable just because they're new, or neat, or fun. They're valuable the same way that campaigning and organizing have always been valuable.

Folks who organize on Facebook have the same goals as folks who go knocking on doors. Twitter feeds serve the same purposes as community newsletters. A candidate's website is really just a more complete and meaningful version of a door hanger.

And UStream town halls are great for the same reasons that regular, traditional town halls are great – they allow real people to ask important questions about where Texas is and where it needs to be heading.

So I invite and encourage you, once again, to sign up for the UStream Town Hall meeting with Representative Chris Turner on August 31 at 6:30 p.m.

Click here to RSVP. I'll see you there.

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