Great news from Jason Embry in First Reading — Democrats may have a very strong Lieutenant Governor candidate in 2010: Linda Chavez-Thomspon. A strong Democrat from San Antonio, Chavez-Thompson would bring some immediate firepower to the No. 2 spot on our ticket — and give Democrats even more to get excited about in next year's statewide elections.
From First Reading:
Linda Chavez-Thompson, a former executive vice president of the AFL-CIO, is leaning toward running for lieutenant governor as a Democrat, according to multiple sources familiar with her plans.
The San Antonio resident, born and raised in the Lubbock area, is now executive vice president emerita of the labor organization and is also a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. She was also a super-delegate during the 2008 presidential primary.
Among Democrats who know about her plans, there is already considerable excitement about a Chavez-Thompson bid. The thinking goes that her personal story — she quit school in the ninth grade so she could start working and earn money for her family — creates a contrast with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the wealthy Republican incumbent. (Of course, it’s worth pointing out that Dewhurst wasn’t born into wealth). And as someone who has risen to the top of the national labor movement and the top of the national Democratic Party, Chavez-Thompson has a myriad of contacts within the party from whom she can raise money. Plus, she is well-known in the San Antonio area.
Chavez-Thompson was born in the Lubbock area in 1944. According to her bio, she:
- Worked in cotton fields as a ten year-old, and had to drop out of school in 9th grade to support her family.
- At age 19, she took a job as a house cleaner and worked for $1 an hour.
- Four years later, in 1967, she took a secretarial position with the Lubbock local chapter of the Laborers' International Union
- In 1971 — after proving invaluable as a bilingual union worker — she went to work for ASFCME in Austin, then in San Antonio. By 1977, she was executive director of the San Antonio office.
Then her story really gets incredible:
Word quickly spread of the powerhouse Latina who was winning battles for workers throughout the state, and soon Chavez-Thompson was in demand for her negotiation and organizational skills. She saved the jobs of 33 community college workers by bringing about the public ouster of three trustees whose financial abuses the workers had reported. Chavez-Thompson organized emergency drivers to cover for workers on a wildcat strike, driving one of the trucks herself, and became known as a union representative who would risk arrest at protests and on picket lines to help the people she represented.
I could go on and on, but you should just read her complete biography — it's simply incredible.
By all accounts, Linda Chavez-Thompson is the emodiment of a community organizer who has made a difference not only in Texas, but across the country. Her narrative is inspiring — someone who has overcome every disadvantage in her path to improve the lives of those in her community. Contrasted with the exceedingly wealthy David Dewhurst, it provides an incredible contrast in the Lieutenant Governor's race for Democrats.
More on this later in the afternoon…but if Linda Chavez-Thompson does decide to get in the race, we could have the best 1-2 punch on our ticket in decades.