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Annie's List Endorses New Slate of Progressive Female Candidates Ready To Win In 2014


by: Shelby Alexander

Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:00 AM CST


Annie's List has proven one victory after another over the past ten years that their strength in changing the face of power in Texas continues to grow as the public continues to demand for real representation in their government.

In 2012, Annie's List contributed to some of the biggest wins for Democrats statewide by helping elect Nicole Collier, Mary González, Mary Ann Perez, Toni Rose, as well as assisting in Wendy Davis' re-election along with several other endorsed incumbents. In 2013, they were also instrumental in re-electing Mayor Annise Parker in Houston. Their most recent victory includes contributing along with a strong progressive coalition to State Representative-Elect Celia Israel's win with almost 60% of the vote this week in HD-50's runoff election.

While Annie's List endorsed Leticia Van de Putte and Wendy Davis for Lieutenant Governor and Governor early on, they've also begun endorsing a new batch of progressive women candidates to maintain and take back key swing districts in the Texas House and Senate. These candidates have not only stood out strong to perform in Democratic primaries, but against the Republicans they'll face in November. The candidates include community activists, advocates, and public stewards from around the state such as Carol Donovan, Libby Willis, Susan Motley, Kim Gonzalez, and Susan Criss.

Read about the newly endorsed Annie's List candidates below the jump!

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The first announced candidate for the Texas House 2014 campaign cycle is Carol Donovan in House District 107. A longtime resident of Lakewood, Carol is seeking to replace Republican Kenneth Sheets, who unseated Democrat Allen Vaught in 2010. In 2012, Sheets won 50.88% against Democratic challenger Robert Miklos with 49.11%. This competitive swing district includes parts of East Dallas, Garland, and Mesquite.

Donovan touts decades of experience as an attorney-mediator, who wants to use her skills as a bridge builder and no-nonsense negotiator to bring sensibility back to her district. As she states on her website: "I've lived in District 107 almost all my life, and I have observed the polarization in Austin long enough to know it's time to return to common sense, civility and progress. We need to find common ground to deal with critical issues. Extremism has only led to deadlock." Carol also has extensive experience as a non-profit executive and community leader, working with groups such as the League of Women Voters, Peacemakers Inc., the Dallas Summit, Leadership Dallas, and Dallas Healthy Start.

To replace Wendy Davis' Senate seat in District 10, Annie's List endorsed Fort Worth community leader Libby Willis. Willis is a historic preservation consultant who has served as the first executive director of Preservation Texas, and is a member of Fort Worth's Central City Revitalization Committee. Willis has contributed to promoting quality education while serving on the Fort Worth ISD District Advisory Committee and on the site base management team of Amon Carter Riverside High School. Willis has strong roots in this community, serving in a wide capacity by holding leadership roles on the MAPP Steering Committee for Tarrant County Public Health, and the Pipeline Safety Advocates. She has immense grassroots support, and has been endorsed by five former Tarrant County Democratic Party County chairs.

"Libby Willis is a community leader with a passion for serving the people of Senate District 10. She has always worked with stakeholders to find solutions to local issues," said Annie's List Executive Director Grace Garcia in a statement. "That practical approach is often missing in Austin." Republicans are gearing up in an attempt to take over SD-10 with a long line of extreme Tea Party candidates. As Wendy Daivs' leadership has shown, this a district that values common sense, and having the support of Annie's List will help Libby win in November.

In HD-105, Annie's List has endorsed civil rights lawyer Susan Motley to run against Republican Linda Harper-Brown, who won in 2002 and has kept her seat ever since. Harper-Brown won this swing district including Irving and Grand Prairie with only 50.06% over Democrat Rosemary Robbins with 48.26% of the vote in 2012. Motley has served Texas as a civil rights lawyer for 16 years, spending the last five years at a non-profit public interest law firm, working many times for clients pro bono.

Susan Motley has worked on civil rights cases for workers, unions, and people with disabilities in cases affecting housing, jobs, and access to basic services. "Susan takes the lead on issues that matter to her community. She has excelled as an advocate in her career and she isn't afraid to stand up for what's right. That's the kind of leadership we need in Austin," said Grace Garcia regarding Annie's List's endorsement of Motley.

Kim Gonzalez has been endorsed to represent the Coastal Bend area of House District 43. Gonzalez will face Jose Manuel "JM" Lozano, who first ran as a Democrat in 2010, and then switched to the Republican Party in 2012. Former State Representative Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles narrowly lost to Lozano by 48.46% to his 51.53% last cycle. Kim Gonzalez was born in Corpus Christi and currently lives in Portland.

She is an Assistant District Attorney in Nueces County and has committed her career as an attorney to protecting children. "Kim understands what it takes to serve Texas families while being a good steward of taxpayer dollars," said Grace Garcia. "We are proud to endorse such an experienced advocate to represent District 43."

Susan Criss is running to replace Craig Eiland's seat in HD-23. Criss is seeking to keep the Democratic leaning district (which Eiland won with 53.89% in 2012). Born and raised in Galveston County, Criss served as Judge of the 212th District Court for 15 years, until she resigned to run for State Representative. Susan spearheaded tougher sanctions against sex offenders and fought for stronger child protections during her time as District Judge, and previously served as Assistant Criminal District Attorney for Galveston County. She directed the Gulf Coast Task Force on Jail Diversion for the Mentally Ill, a group that seeks to secure treatment for non-violent mentally ill offenders in the community while saving taxpayers money and freeing up jail space for violent criminals. On her website she states: "I want to do right for the people of Texas' 23rd District." Criss' strong record of justice and public service is sure to maintain this Democratic seat.

This new group of candidates shows a strong coalition of women ready to work with the progressive voices that are currently serving in the legislature. In addition, Annie's List continues to build their coalition by not only training women candidates, but women campaign staff to pave the pathway to success. And with a revolutionary pair of candidates at the top of the statewide ticket, Annie's List is looking to give the most impressive overhaul to our state government yet!



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