We’re for Texas, and we’re with her

Dear friend:

Thousands of Texas Democrats gathered this weekend in San Antonio to affirm our values of equality, opportunity, and inclusiveness.

The top of the ticket is important, and we are in full support of the presumptive Democratic nominee, Secretary Hillary Clinton. We also honored Senator Bernie Sanders, who has fought hard to bring much needed attention to issues like income inequality.

We noted the attendance in San Antonio of the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, who came into town to beg for money from the same Republican establishment he said he didn’t need.

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With other Texas Democrats addressing Trump

Let’s be clear. Trump doesn’t understand policy or our system of government, and he would be a huge disaster as a representative of our country when dealing with other countries on the international stage.

Of course, the presidency is important, but the president is not an absolute dictator. That is one of the things that make this country great. So while the nation and much of the world will be paying attention to the top of the ticket, we’re also fighting for our state and our local communities.

Under our democratic system, every level of government requires our attention and engagement. It is just as important to vote in local elections for your school board, city council, and county commissioners, and in state elections for your state representative and state senator, as it is to vote in the presidential election. The only way we can make change is if we work hard to be engaged at every level.


In my arena, the Texas Legislature, Democrats are fighting for our public schools, not for vouchers; for health care for all, not just those who can afford it; for economic opportunity for all workers, not just for a few; for strong, vibrant border communities from El Paso to Brownsville, not for a militarized border; and for equality for all, including the LGBTQ community, not just the privileged and those sanctioned by the far right.

We know the state’s failed policies have real life and death consequences. Take for example our state’s foster care system. As a result of an underfunded, inadequate system, 171 Texas children died from abuse and neglect last year. What’s worse, at least a dozen children died over the past 16 months because the state conducted poor investigations — in other words, the state failed to protect our most vulnerable children.

Another example is the five million Texans who still don’t have access to affordable, quality health care. Last session, the state’s Republican leaders refused to expand Medicaid. Again, this has real life and death consequences. We’ve heard from so many who tell us that lack of access caused them, or someone they know, to not discover cancer or other illnesses until it’s too late. Yet, our state’s leaders are more concerned with scoring political points and winning their next primary.

Whatever form it takes, we must continue to push for a solution that will allow the state to accept billions in federal taxpayer dollars — our dollars — to provide affordable health care for all Texans.

In addition, we must adequately fund our public schools so that students in cities and rural areas, like El Paso and Presidio, have the same educational opportunities as our wealthy suburban communities.

Instead of addressing these issues, this last session, the state’s leaders prioritized and appropriated $800 million of your taxpayer dollars for “border security” — a wasteful, anti-immigrant obsession.

Unfortunately, too many of our state leaders have become Trumpistas. If that doesn’t fire us up, what will?


Senate Democratic Caucus and Convention notes


Great Senators in the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus

The convention brings together Democrats from all corners of the state, organized by Senate District. On the floor, delegates from each district vote on the party platform, for delegates to the national convention, and other party business. Off the floor, there are workshops, special interest caucus meetings, and booths and displays, among other events.


With El Paso delegates at the Senate Democratic Caucus workshop

On Friday, the first day of the convention, we got started bright and early with a breakfast for members of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus (SDC). On Saturday, the SDC hosted a workshop for delegates on voter turnout, legislative issues, and messaging.

The SDC has done great work in bringing us together, and I am looking forward to building on the solid platform of Democratic values that we share. Your engagement is critical, and over the summer we will be continuing the discussion with you, the Democrats who will help us bring balance to the Texas Legislature.


The convention took place in the Alamodome. The convention floor itself – the large seating area facing the stage – took about half the field area, and was separated from the booths and displays on the other half.

One could learn about a variety of issues like reducing gun violence or women’s health, take a picture with President Obama and our Democratic nominee, and pick up buttons and stickers for a number of candidates and issues.


On Friday afternoon, the party’s Hispanic Caucus convened. Its primary business is to elect representatives to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC). I was honored to be re-elected for another four-year term as the Hispanic Caucus male representative for the DNC.

The convention was an incredible experience, and renews our dedication to the task at hand, for Texas and for the union to which it belongs, the United States of America.


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