Convention Delegates Emphasize the Energy and Diversity of the Texas Democratic Party | #TDP14

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As the convention wound down on Saturday I had the opportunity to speak with delegates from all over Texas who were on the floor of the convention hall as we conducted party business.

To a person, everyone was energized, deeply informed about the issues, and ready to work hard to elect Democrats this November.

The people I spoke to also underscored the diversity in our party, and that there are hard-working Democrats in every corner of Texas organizing to get the job done.

Below the jump, check out my interviews with delegates from across our state.

Judy from El Paso, Texas

BOR: How would you describe the energy here?

Judy: It's fantastic! I couldn't believe it. I've been to several other conventions and this is the best I've been to. Democrats are more cohesive, there's less fighting, and it's really great.

BOR: What worries you the most about the Republicans?

Judy: A lot of things — particularly the Medicaid money that didn't come in to our state, and the attacks on women.

BOR: What are you going to do to help keep El Paso blue?

Judy: Lots of block walking and phone calling.

Wesley from Richardson, Texas

BOR: What was the most exciting thing at the convention?

Wesley: The most exciting thing was during all the speeches, to see all the candidates so fired up and so excited about the race this November. Their having that energy and transferring it to the crowd was the best part.

BOR: What events did you participate in at the convention?

Wesley: I attended the Texas Environmental Dems caucus, my Senate District caucus where I was elected to the rules committee, and the rules committee meeting.

BOR: What worries you the most about the Republicans?

Wesley: How far right they've moved. A lot of the candidates now are Tea Party candidates, so I think they've moved so far to the right they're leaving out the moderates and not being inclusive as we are.

Doris from Austin, Texas

BOR: What inspired you to run for delegate this year?

Doris: I really enjoy the political process and I've been coming for about ten years.

BOR: What do you find most alarming about the Republicans?

Doris: The most alarming thing is what happened a year ago, when they took away women's health care in Texas. I was just talking to a neighbor about how many clinics have closed.  It's all about just “me, me, me.” I believe in democracy and I believe we've got to take care of each other, and I think Wendy Davis is the person to do that.

Samuel from Dallas, Texas

BOR: How would you describe the energy here?

Samuel: It's been excellent, especially [Saturday] night with Leticia Van de Putte & Wendy, that was a real charge.

BOR: What events have you attended?


Samuel: The LGBT / Stonewall Caucus, our Senate District convention, and the opening night parties. I'm running into a lot of people that I know, and that's always fun.

BOR: What are you most excited about this year?

Samuel: The possibility of actually electing Wendy & Leticia, because that could stand in the way of crap that will come from the Republicans.

BOR: What do you find most alarming about the Republicans?

During the primary season, their move to the right, the waaay right — it is alarming to me. If we elected those people, to me it would be scary, the possibility of what could come out of that.

Ursula and Velva from Houston, Texas

BOR: How would you describe the energy here?

Ursula: Awesome, excited, participatory!

Velva: Great, wonderful, inclusive, everything.

BOR: What did you think of the speeches on Friday and Saturday?

Velva: Very informative.

Ursula: I agree — very informative, but not dull in their length of information, and energizing.

BOR: What worries you most about the Republicans?

Ursula: Their candidates, frankly! And their platform says it all. If one took time to read it, I would think many people would have cause for alarm. Substantively they make it very clear how they feel about a wide group of people and circumstances.

Velva: They are very dangerous, and it is so obvious that they don't care about a lot of people. They only care about wealth for themselves.

BOR: What will you do to elect Democrats this November?

Velva: Mobilize, energize, get out the vote.

Ursula: I'm a candidate for state court, so I will be talking to every voter I can to make sure people go out to vote.

Ernest from Comal County

BOR: How would you describe the atmosphere at the convention and during the speeches on Friday?

Ernest: Electrifying! I think it was indicative of the candidates and the promise they offer. Leticia's speech spoke to everyone – minorities, women, working people, professionals. And I think she showed us all what Texas mothers are about.

BOR: What do you find most alarming about the Republicans?

Ernest: Everything! But their election of Dan Patrick, of Ted Cruz, shows that they have given away all semblances of care of anyone else but corporations, and they've basically declared war on the middle class.

Kelli from Victoria, Texas

BOR: How do you think the convention went?

Kelli: The convention was great: lots of energy, lots of excitement.

BOR: What did you think of Friday night's speeches?

Kelli:They were amazing. Of course, Leticia, she's everything to me. I'm very excited about her. And Wendy did awesome as well.

BOR: What has stood out for you this year at the convention?

Kelli:Lots of orange! I think that's what invigorated a lot of people – what happened last summer.

BOR: What's going on in Victoria?

Kelli: We have our first TDP staffer in our area, and we have a Battleground Texas organizer. There is lots of block walking and phone banking — we're seeing an unprecedented amount of organizing in the Victoria area.

Michael & Sophena from Elgin, Texas

BOR: What inspired you to become delegates?

Michael: Coming to the convention is a great way to learn more about our slate of candidates and a great way to stay current on what's going on in our state.

BOR: How would you describe the energy here?

Sophena: It's extremely exciting! I've been seeing a host of candidates, and I was just TOO excited to hear Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte.

BOR: What do you find most alarming about the Republicans?

Michael: Their platform is alarming. I was just reading it the other day — abolishing the Voting Rights Act, some of the things they're trying to do to turn the clock back in Texas instead of moving forward and accepting the reality that we're a changing state with changing needs.

Ed. Note: Michael Flower is a candidate for Bastrop County Commissioner. Check him out!

Mindy, Vivian, and Gloria from Guadalupe County

BOR: How would you describe the energy here?

Mindy: Fabulous. Everyone is so excited. Great ticket, and we're ready for November!

BOR: What do you think is the biggest difference between Democrats and Republicans this year?

Vivian: Diversity, inclusion, and wanting to stand for the people.

BOR:What worries you the most about what's coming from the Republicans?

Gloria: Their lack of sensitivity, certainly their lack of common sense and being in touch with people, and their desire to go back in time. I grew up in the 1950's, I don't want to go back to the 1950's.

Addison & Michael from Plano, Texas

BOR:Describe the atmosphere here at the convention.

Addison: It's exciting! There's a lot of enthusiasm and I think people are really motivated to start change in Texas.

Michael It's incredibly energetic. There are a ton of people here.

BOR:What was your favorite moment at the convention?

Michael: I would say Leticia's speech, hands down. Her and Wendy both had incredible speeches but Leticia just grabbed the whole crowd.

BOR:What events have y'all attended?

Addison: We've gone to some education events, The Ladies Room, seen a lot of our senators, and attended cultural diversity caucuses.

Michael: We went to the Stonewall party, took a photo with Wendy Davis, and really enjoyed hanging out with our fellow delegates.

BOR:What issues matter most to you?

Addison: Public education. We're expecting a baby [Ed. Note: congrats!] and it's very important that we educate our children in Texas.

Michael: I'm a regional organizer for Save Texas Schools and that's how I got involved in politics. The legislature cut $5.4 billion from education, and it's really bad. The Republican Party platform calls for further cutting for public education and further reliance on the standardized test — that's terrifying. We have about five years before our newborn kid is in there and we've got to fix it.


About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.

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