Friday, May 13, 2016

Prospects for Democrats Regaining Congressional Seats in Texas

By Faith Chatham - CFO Texas Federal Blue Seed PAC - May 13, 2016
LINK to donate: bit.ly/5forTX

Democratic Nominees are running in 29 of Texas' 36 U.S. House Districts this year.A state where less than 8% of the Federal Delegation women but is over 51% of the population is female, Texas voters have the opportunity to add five more women to their Congressional delegation.

THE WOMEN
The Texas female Democratic Nominees who are challenging GOP incumbents for seats in Congress include:
Shirley McKellar PhD.
Dr McKellar is a retired officer in the US Army Nurse Corp A nurse clinician, McKellar led in the implementation of women's health services for the US Military in the European Theatre. Shirley is challenging GOP incumbent Louie Gohmert for the 1st Congressional Seat.

Tawana Cadien, RN.
Tawana is also a nurse clinician nursing administrator. She is one of the first graduates of the Thurgood Marshall School of Public Affairs to earn a Masters of Public Administration. Tawana is challenging GOP incumbent Mike McCaul for the10th District seat.

Jan McDowell, CPA. Jan is a community activist who understands the dollar and cents value of clean air and water. We need someone in Congress who can read a balance sheet and has understands the difference between short term cuts which cost more in the long run. Jan is challenging GOP incumbent Kenny Marchant for the 24th District Congressional seat.

Ruby Woolridge is challenging GOP incumbent Joe Barton for the 6th Congressional District Seat. Ruby is an ordained (Methodist) Minister who is currently serving at the Potter's House and is a public school teacher. She is a strong advocate for veterans. Her son Troy was injured on active duty in the middle east when he was in his twenties. He died of his injuries last year after years of rehab and disability. Ruby was his caretaker.

Kathi Thomas is a business owner and former county chair. She is challenging GOP incumbent Roger Williams for the 25th District Congressional seat.

Democratic Incumbents Congresswomen Shelia Jackson Lee (District 18) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (District 30) are running for re-election in "safe Democratic majority districts."

To donate directly with one click to the campaigns of these women congressional challengers and Hillary Clintonclinton.com"> and the federal pac which supports progressive candidates running for Federal offices on the ballot in Texas go to: www.bit.ly/5forTX. You can also choose to give more or nothing to some and less to others. You are given the option of making a one time donation or splitting you gift into monthly installments

Link to Donate: www.bit.ly/5forTX

THE LANDSCAPE

Texas is frequently dubbed a “red state” but demographically, it is much more blue than is reflected in the election results. A combination of apathy, savvy marketing/outreach by deep-pocketed special interests, and gerrymandering with an abandonment of the fight by most progressive donors has enabled some of the most obnoxious Texas politicians to win and retain seats in the state and federal government. Being under indictment for fraud, bribery or political corruption seems to be a plus for many of the State’s GOP incumbents. Yet there is a bright ray shining through the darkness in the Lone Star State.

Democrats turn out in higher numbers during presidential election years. All of the 11 current Democratic US House members except Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson were initially elected in Presidential election year. Texas has 11 districts that are majority Democratic and one truly swing district (23). Most of the other districts have had no serious resources devoted by progressives in Congressional challenger races for many election cycles. In 2014 on average apx. 2 ½ cents per voter was all the funding received by non-incumbent Democratic nominees who were challenging GOP/TeaParty incumbents for Congressional seats in the primary and general election combined. For 2 ½ cents it is impossible to even effectively communicate with those who already know they want to vote for you, let alone convince others that you are the best candidate. Most GOP incumbents in Texas have gotten a free walk to re-election for decades. They amass large war chests and use them to help fund down-ticket candidates. The outcome of most election in Texas have little to do with “merit” or “integrity” and more to do with non engagement from the left and business “as usual” from the right.

Democratic "normal GOTV efforts" in Texas

Examination of voter rolls shows that as Democrats stop running in contested Democratic primaries for state and local offices, Democratic voters stopped voting,. Most did not become Republicans. As spending and outreach ceased by progressives, apathy won and more and more Texans appeared on the rolls as folks who used to vote but do not any more, In presidential election years more will show up than in other election years. The state Democratic Party has a long history of focusing more attention on internal party affairs than on prioritizing winning General Elections. However, there are some encouraging developments this year.

2016 is a year of opportunity for reclaiming seats from GOP incumbents in Texas. It will require funding. In 2015 Republican candidates for Congress in Texas received $4 to every $1 donated to Democratic Congressional Candidates, During the FEC financial report ending March 31, 2016 the gap had narrowed. Republican received $2.82 dollars for every dollar donated to Democratic candidates. The gap is still deplorable, but the trend is headed in the right direction. The quality of the Democratic Nominees is substantial. Their challenges can be addressed by generosity from donors — large and small. Outside money will not come gushing in to Texas Congressional races. However, Texans have the resource to fund these races. Small donors and deeper pocketed donors uniting with the unique synergy of the 2016 Presidential race and the impact of both of the top of the ticket candidates on the electorate can realistically turn additional districts blue.
Source: FEC.gov

Factors for Optimism

1. A push on increasing Democratic turnout for by mail ballots paid off in the 2016 Democratic Primary. Significant increases in Democratic voters by mail occurred in the counties which invested in the BY MAIL campaign. Historically, Republicans have had by mail margins high enough to claim numerous seats in Texas. This improvement removes the GOP/Tea Party’s advantage in several of Texas’ largest counties.

2. Texas State Law was changed allowing the State Party to hold primaries in counties without Democratic County Chairs. Glen Maxey worked tirelessly to get legislation passed which allowed every registered voter in Texas to vote in a Democratic primary this year even if there were no county chair in their county. Once the law was passed, Glen faced the monumental task of getting the paperwork filed and to recruiting workers and polling places in counties without a chair, Although the actual number of voters involved is rather small, the change is enormous. At the last SDEC meeting several new county chairs were sworn in who stepped up and volunteered to serve from counties where they previously had been unable to vote in a Democratic Primary. It is a constructive beginning. For decades Democrats have ignored most of the rural counties. Cumulatively, rural voters determine the outcome of many elections. To overcome the GOP incumbent advantage, reaching out and increasing Democratic turnout in rural counties is essential.

3. Demographic shift in population, age and income impacts the state. Texas’ white majority is dwindling. The Republican base is aging and dying off faster than the Democratic base in Texas. The percentage of Latino and Black Texans is increasing. Both Democratic and Republican parties try to enlist Hispanic voters. Republicans have skillfully used social issues to depress Hispanic voter turnout. In the 2014 Governor’s race many Hispanics were conflicted between their religious beliefs regarding abortion and the Republican hardline anti-immigrant posturing. A percentage of them simply stayed home. In 2016 Republican rhetoric repels and motivates many who stayed home to get involved. Blacks and Texans of Hispanic lineage are among Hillary Clinton’s most enthusiastic supporters. With Donald Trump at the top of the Republican ticket, it will be much easier to engage Tejano, Hispanic, Muslim and Black voters in Texas.

4. Hillary at the top of the Democratic ticket will draw more minority voters that Sanders. During the primary in Texas, despite the large number of older white women which remain a strong part of Clinton’s base, larger numbers of Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians turned out as delegates for Clinton at senatorial conventions than for Sanders. In the Tarrant (largest part) of Senate District 9, in the Clinton delegation:

60% minority; 40% whlte
60% female; 40% male
11% under age 36
14% LGBT
in the Sanders Tarrant Senate District 9:
74% white; 26% minority
59% male; 41% female
24% under age 36
18% LGBT

This is a snapshot of 3/4th of one urban Senate District (Tarrant 9). (Dallas Senate 9 did not break down their delegates demographically.)

Hillary attracts more minorities and women than Sanders. Hillary attracts young voters but Sanders attracts twice the number of younger voters. Hillary’s following among women is 1/3 larger than Sanders. Sander’s following among men is 1/3 larger than Clinton’s. Both resonate with LGBT voters. Hillary has fewer problems with minority voters than Sanders (74% for Clinton and only 26% for Sanders.)

With Clinton at the top of the ticket, the large minority population of Texas should place more races in play in the state if the “coat tail effect” carries over to down-ticket (especially Congressional) races. The party is working to enlist younger and minority voters into the Party. Older female voters remain the most loyal dependable voting block of Democratic voters. The majority of this “most loyal” voter demographic group are Clinton supporters. This is a good sign for down ticket candidates, especially for older, educated, highly qualified candidates who are challenging GOP incumbents.

Despite the spin that “Sanders is defining the issues”, there is solid evidence that Clinton delegates have more education than the majority of Sanders or Trump voters. Clinton supporters value “problem-solving” and pragmatic incrementalism. They trust her experience, the through vetting given her, and appreciate her ability to get policies and programs implemented. Many of Clinton’s supporters do not think that Bernie has changed Hillary’s positions substantially. They see her as a progressive political leader who has always worked to increase minority voter participation, fought for accessible affordable health care, denounced discrimination by championing the rights of women, minorities, LGBT and handicapped individuals throughout the world.

National Pattern


In the Primaries and Caucuses held thus far this year, more Republicans turned out in their primaries than Democrats in theirs in states where Sanders had more votes than Hillary. In the states which Clinton carried, she got more votes than the leading Republican and more Democrats turned out to vote than Republicans overall. This is a very good sign because she has carried more states than Sanders and she has carried larger states than Sanders. It is unlikely that she will carry Texas in the General Election. Having Cruz off of the ticket is beneficial. If she selects a young, Latino favorite son from Texas as her running mate, that may bring Texas into play. A Clinton/Castro ticket may not turn the state blue enough to garner the electoral votes from the Lone Star State, but the activity may be a shot-in-the-arm for some Congressional races and help Democrats gain a few additional seats in Congress in Districts the national pacs are not targetings as Red to Blue.

THE MEN

Texas has also nominated several strong, highly qualified Democratic men for Congress this year. In addition to the 8 Democratic Congressmen who are running for re-election, there are men running in 12 of Texas’ Congressional Districts. One district is a truly Democratic majority district (15). Congressman Hinojosa is retiring so that is an “open” seat in a majority Democratic District. Vicente Gongalez and Juan "Sonny" Palacios are in a run-off for the Democratic Nomination for US-TX 15 Congressional District on May 24th.

Former Democratic Congressman Pete Gallego is challenging far right-wing Tea Party incumbent Wm. Hurd for the seat in Texas’ only truly swing district.

The 23rd Congressional District has more land mass than any district in Texas. The land mass of 9 states will fit into this incredible Congressional District which runs from the outskirts of San Antonio to the outskirts of the City of El Paso. It includes National Parks and most of the Texas/Mexico border. Gallego has continued as a private citizen to work to further the interests of the people of the district.

Hurd has focused only on divisive religious positions and has ignored the economic and environmental needs of the District. Gallego, as a private citizen, is credited with bringing passenger air service back to a poorly served part of the district. Despite Gallego’s deplorable vote on the Three State Nuclear Waste pact while he was an incumbent, Gallego is much more of a champion for the District's National Park (Big Bend) than incumbent Hurd. Gallego has proven to be much more responsive to the needs of the people of the district than incumbent Hurd. This race is targeted by the DCCC as a Red to Blue District and will probably be the only non-incumbent challenger Congressional race in Texas to receive funding from the DCCC and the Democratic Majority PACs.

James Cargas qualifies as an environmental/developmental rock star. Cargas is one of our state’s leading pragmatic visionaries. An Oil and Attorney, James worked on Capitol Hill as an intern as an undergraduate and returned, after he graduated from the University of Michigan, during the Reagan administration while Jim Wright was Speaker of the House to serve as Press Secretary to a Michigan Democratic Congressman. He graduated from The American University’s Washington College of Law where he served as President of the Environmental Law Society and Article Editor of The American University Journal of International Law and Policy and The American University International Law Review) in 1992. During law school, he was law clerk to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Admitted to practice law in Texas, West Virginia, Washington D.C, and Michigan, he represented large interstate pipeline companies before leaving the private sector to join the Clinton administration on the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, promoting clean wind and solar energy, hybrid vehicles and sustainable resource development. He left to work on the Gore Presidential campaign and returned to serve under Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. He was hired in 2008 by former Houston Mayor Bill White as the City of Houston’s energy counsel, and continued as counsel to Mayor Parker. During his stint with the City of Houston, Cargas has negotiated energy contracts and helped the City of Houston become recognized as the governmental entity that has purchased the most sustainable energy in the nation, exceeding the purchases of the DOD and EPA. Cargas is married to a medical research scientist doctor and is especially cognizant of the roadblocks facing medical research in the USA. Cargas is the Democratic Nominee challenging GOP incumbent John Culberson for Texas' 7th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Bill Matta, PhD is challenging GOP incumbent Bill Flores for the 17th District US Congressional Seat. Matta is one of three Democratic Nominees in Texas who are retired military officers with doctoral degrees. A navigator in the USAF, Matta served with NATO in Bosnia, at the US Air Force Academy and at the Pentagon. A graduate of UT Austin, Matta has pursued a dual career track, blending his military service with teaching. Currently he is the chair of the Linguistics, Speech and Engilsh at McLennan County Community College.

Mark Gibson JD is a retired Colonel and Brigade Commander with the US Army. He earned is Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law, and his Master’s in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He earned his BBA in Management Information Systems from University of Houston, As a Senior IT Manager and small business owner, Mark Gibson, understands the challenges facing business owners. He fights for veterans and military families, is committed to fighting for equal rights for women, pledges to”push for absolute assurances of banning weapons from schools, synagogues or worship centers, shopping malls, stores, and our schools” and will fight for breaks for small businesses and term limits.

Gibson is challenging GOP incumbent Pete Olson for Texas' 22nd District Congressional seat.

Mike Cole, Democratic Nominee for Texas’ 14th US Congressional District running for U.S Congress in Texas. Cole is challenging GOP incumbent Randy Weber for the 14th US Congressional Seat. An educator, Cole’s struggle with onset juvenile diabetes gives him insight into medical challenges which reach far beyond what is normal for a young man. He is skilled at engaging others in projects that enhance and improve people’s lives.

He is running an energetic campaign against Randy Weber which involves college students and senior citizens.

The 14th is a coastal district. Challenged by natural disasters and the aftermath of BP’s Horizon Blowout/Oil Spill, the district requires diligent service by a Representative who will balance the economical developmental needs with the environmental challenges facing people of the district.

Mike Cole, Tawana Cadien, James Cargas and Pete Gallego are the Democratic Nominees who are positioned to give better service to the people of the Texas Gulf Coast and US Mexican Border. You can help them directly with one click using this link:
http://bit.ly/4TXCoastDs

To split your donation between the four coastal candidates and the federal PAC which supports progressive challengers for federal office on the ballot in Texas use this link http://bit.ly/4TXCoastDs

It is not necessary for Texans to live under the skewed worldview of the Tea Party and the state's GOP incumbents. We do not have to continue subjecting this nation and the world to the stupidity that passes between many Texas so-called public officials. It will not be easy, but it is definitely "worth it!" The key is setting aside defeatist attitudes, stepping forward and doing what we can when we can and enlisting and welcoming others to do what they can.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Retired Army Officer Challenging Tea Party Incumbent Louie Gohmert for East Texas Congressional Seat

By Faith Chatham - Texas Federal Blue Seed PAC - September 3, 2015

Shirley McKellar officially kicked off her 2016 Campaign for Congress in the shadows of the Smith County Court House. Earlier this year, KLTV Tyler introduced Dr. Shirley McKellar as one of East Texas' Freedom Fighters. Joan Hallmark features area soldiers who serve in combat zones in the U.S. Military.

KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

http://www.kltv.com/story/27989678/freedom-fighters-shirley-mckeller
"Shirley McKeller served 18 years in the U.S. Army as a nurse. Eighteen months of that time was during "Operation Iraqi Freedom" in an Iraqi Field Hospital that was under bomb threat every day and in a hospital in Germany where wounded soldiers were sent for further medical aid. 
An accident ended McKeller's Army career, and she found out firsthand how difficult it was for veterans to get into the system for medical aid.

McKeller has become an advocate for veterans, and in she 2014 ran for Congress in the 1st District on the Democratic ticket. Although McKeller lost the election, she hasn't ruled out a future run."  - KLTV Joan Hallmark



McKellar combines elegance with the toughness of an Army medical officer who has seen duty in the combat zone. A native of Tyler, McKellar's family tree leads back through generations of small business owners. Working, serving, solving problems, using logic and common sense and getting as much education as possible to be able to understand more, and to be more effective, is automatic to her.

She is a woman who is not easily deterred. When she knows something needs to be done, is convinced that something should be done, she goes into action, almost as though on auto-pilot, to see that it happens. Multi-tasking while giving personal attention to everyone she encounters is innate with Shirley McKellar. She has lots of titles, all earned, but does not see her PhD or retired status as a Major in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps or honoree of so many awards that it is difficult to list them, as anything that should set her apart from others. She says she lists the PhD and other titles to show that she has done "her homework" and is prepared to serve. Her focus is always on how to get things done to improve the lives of others and to make our community and nation an even better place to live.

As the number of women soldiers (and women veterans) increased, the U.S. Military and Veterans Administration lacked many of the medical services women need. McKellar was at the forefront, helping to establish medical services for women. She was instrumental in establishing the Breast Cancer Awareness program for the European Theater of the U.S. Military. She was one of 16 clinicians from around the world to travel to Berlin and establish, "The Best Clinical Practices for Treating Breast Cancer Around the Globe".  Baylor University Health Services named her their  "International Breast Cancer Advocate" for Europe, to represent America at the 4th European Congress at a conference where her speech on the "Healthcare Disparities Among African-American Women" was aired to over 250 Comprehensive Breast Cancer Centers in the world, including The University of Texas at M.D. Anderson in Houston. 

Once back in the U.S., it was natural for her to partner with UT Austin Health Science and launch the African American Breast Cancer Outreach Program and to serve as site manager for the program at UT Tyler. She served as the sexual harassment officer and EEOC officer in the military. In civilian life, she used her non-profit organization to employ social workers and nurse clinicians to provide sexual abuse and domestic violence services to women and children in 12 Texas counties.

McKellar did not intend to end her military career two years short of her 20 years of active duty. However, on the border of Iraq and Turkey, a fall down a flight of stairs abruptly changed her life. She spent over a year in Brooks Medical Center in San Antonio and some who knew her during that time reported that it was difficult to keep the patient, Shirley McKellar, from serving others. Some of her closest associates and most ardent volunteers today were other injured soldiers whom she met during those dark days while she was undergoing numerous surgeries and physical rehab.

Injured or not, she remained alert to the circumstance of others around her. She remained a thinker always looking for a solution. She was an "encourager".  She worked hard on her own rehabilitation, fighting her way back from injuries which often seemed insurmountable. She didn't fight just for her own recovery. Shirley was fighting for others, some of whom were too injured to fight for themselves.

Shirley has never been a person who fought just for herself. She is someone who always is extending an invitation to others "to get on the bus."  She has done that as an educator, as a founder/director of a Non-profit organization, as an military officer, as a wife and mother and grandmother and friend. "Until we all have succeeded-none of us have succeeded" and "Reach one, Teach one" are more than mottos for Shirley McKellar. 

Some solutions are "high tech" or require enormous co-operation and legal /legislative involvement.  However, there are some obstacles which deter people which can be solved with application of common sense and basic East Texas community co-operation when there is someone to lead. Frequently Shirley McKellar is the person who leads, who enlists others, who mentors, and who monitors until it is accomplished and implemented.

The US-TX First District has one of the state's highest rates of unemployment.
Shirley has worked consistently to create jobs and to enable people to get vocational training for available jobs. She problem-solves to remove obstacles preventing people from becoming or staying gainfully employed. As an R.N. she knew that there were jobs in the medical profession which were unfilled. She also knew there were jobs in the community working shift work or weekends. She heard the frustration of parents who needed work but did not have safe, appropriate child care for evening or weekends. Through her non-profit organization, she partnered with others to establish a 24/7 childcare center.  This fall she is launching a medical transcription school in Tyler to train people to fill some of those unfilled medical slots. These are things which she has accomplished as a private citizen. It frustrates her to see the Congressman from East Texas "grandstand for soundbites" and "neglect tackling issues which are truly life and death for East Texas families."  She is determined to change things for the better. She knows that she can do more for people as a member of Congress than as a private citizen.

Running for Congress has almost become a way of life in the McKellar household. Most candidates set-aside other community service and focus only on campaigning. McKellar campaigns while serving. She doesn't stop doing whatever she can to make things better. She doesn't stop meeting people and hearing their stories and viewpoints. She doesn't stop building and fine-tuning her campaign organization. She works the phone and internet as her driver shuttles her from one city to another, between places where she volunteers and serves on boards to campaign events and team meetings.

EDUCATION REALLY MATTERS
Education is a way of life in the McKellar household.  All children matter. Realizing that "education had to start earlier than the first grade and that much of the human brain is formed by age 3," Dr. McKellar and her friend,  Dr. Sally Sanders, RN, MSN, started an early childhood education school serving ages 6 Weeks-Kindergarten. They also launched an after school mentor-mentee program and provided care for children until midnight for the children of parents whose jobs required "shift work". It evolved into a different non-profit which employs social workers who provides service to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in 12 counties.

McKellar's husband, Bro.  Danny C. McKellar,  is an educator who retired from the  Dallas Independent School Systems, and  now serves on the pastoral staff of a church in Tyler as Minister of Christian Education. Juggling children, community, military service, church, and education was a constant in their household. Somehow they pulled it off and frequently amazed people with how effortlessly it appears from the outside. From the inside, there is teamwork and mutual affirmation. She is about building, nurturing, healing, leading. Both of their children are grown; now they have five grandchildren.


She leads a multi-ethnic rainbow coalition and resonates with people of all ages. She has friends and associates that stretch back to her public school days in Tyler or University or years while she was serving in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. Some related to her because she shares their ethnicity and understands their history. Other gravitate to her because she is   "delightful, intelligent, accomplished, human and caring." Her staff have variations in skin color but share her determination to make things better for everybody. Instead of talking about what needs to be done, she attracts people who do what they can wherever they are to make things better while evaluating what needs to be done next.   
She doesn't want to just end the discrimination that shoved people to the back of the bus, she wants to help people overcome there not being a "bus to get on."  It is important to understand who we are and where we come from in order to find our way to a better tomorrow. It won't be done with hatred and name calling. It must be forged with respect and hard work. Earlier this year, she took a bus load of folks from East Texas to walk across the Selma Bridge. It would probably have been easier for her to just go with a friend or two or by herself. But is not who and what she is. It was wonderful for her to be able to share the experience with many who probably would have been unable to go if she had not "instigate it."

CONTRAST BETWEEN MCKELLAR AND LOUIE GOHMERT

Instead of working to bring jobs to East Texas, the Republican Incumbent Louie Gohmert's positions frequently make it more difficult for employers to keep people working. For over two years he fought to close down the Export Import Bank. He called it "Corporate Welfare" even though not one cent of taxpayer money was required for its operation. In fact, the fees and interest charged foreign borrowers who utilized the bank's services to finance their purchases of goods and services produced by American businesses employing American workers generated a profit which was transferred to the U.S. Treasury. In 2014 over $674Bil went into the U.S. Treasury after all expenses were paid by the Export Import Bank. It made no sense for Gohmert and others (who frequently voted for tax breaks and subsidies for their pet industries) to target the Export Import Bank. Yet they did. One of the last acts on June 30th, before Congress adjourned for their break, was Gohmert, Jeb Hensarling, and others succeeding in blocking the renewal of the 81-year old Export Import Bank's charter.  There action is one which is causing American businesses to lose contracts to foreign competitors. It is  an act which,  in the short-term,  is costing the U.S. Treasury the millions of dollars a year in profits the bank earns on interest and fees and, if not rectified, will cost the American economy in the long-term. The immediate consequence was loss of several large contracts by American based manufacturers. Without these contracts, corporations are announcing lay-offs. Loss of one satellite contract is prompting Boeing to announce the cut of 3,300 American workers by December 2015. There are reports of similar job cuts in almost every state in the nation. Why? Because some members of Congress decided to end our nation's bank of last resort for exports.

This makes no sense to Shirley McKellar. She views it as "an unnecessary and illogical move. Instead of focusing on solving real problems and working to keep American jobs here, and working to create new jobs, Congressman Gohmert's position in the Export Import Bank is causing American manufacturers to have to turn to foreign governmental banks to finance their exports." These governments are requiring that their citizens are employed instead of American workers. Without jobs, people do not earn. Without earnings, people are not taxed. Without taxes, the government has greater deficits. It makes no sense to many people and it certainly makes no sense to this problem-solving, logical, intelligent, obstacle attacking former U.S.Army Nurse and Officer.


 CONTROVERSY NOT NEW TO GOHMERT
 Gohmert's time on the bench as a judge had been filled with controversy. Once he even overstepped his authority and ordered a couple to marry within 24 hours under duress. He promised to commute the man's sentence only if he married his girlfriend. McKellar saw a pattern of failing to follow the Constitution and failing to focus on solving the real problems facing people in East Texas from Congressman Gohmert.


2016  will be the third time she has challenged Louie Gohmert for the US-TX 1 seat in Congress. The first time, was a learning experience. The second time she was able to build a campaign organization. This time she is strengthening her organization and reinforcing her network.

She also is host or co-host of three radio shows per week. She recruits volunteers locally and nationally. Working from a virtual office in Kentucky, co-host Rhena Piegols is a key part of McKellar's campaign staff.  Traveling with her to many of her campaign events, Ellis County resident First Sargent (ret). Eddings is a familiar sight. They met in Brooks Medical Hospital, both injured soldiers who were helping others.


Her schedule is tight.  Between campaign events, she always sandwiches in service at the V.A. Hospital in Dallas. It is not unusual for her to drive from Tyler on Tuesday morning, serve at the V.A. Hospital in Dallas until 2 or 3 in the afternoon, make a meeting or two that afternoon, drive to East Texas and speak at a Club or Democratic or Community gathering in Tyler, Longview, Marshall, Carthage, Nacogdoches or Lufkin and return to Dallas on Wednesday to serve again at the V.A. Her newly redesigned campaign logo reflect the many hats and roles this multi-faceted human being brings to everything she does. She is the great great granddaughter of one of East Texas' noted rose growers. She described growing up on "500 acres of roses and cabbage" in an interview with Joan Hallmark of Channel 7-Tyler. Her family has been farmers in business in Smith County for over 5 generations. Several generations of her family owned and operated Mitchell Erwin Roses of East Texas, which was a major supplier for roses for Tyler's Rose parade. She says: "I learned from watching them. They started businesses and ran businesses and employed the family and other people."


She has a strong network of supporters in East Texas and a network that spans across the United States. From former military associates, to educators and medical associates, to leaders in numerous groups and associations, and listeners on her radio programs which are broadcast in the Tyler/ET market, and across then nation on Blog Talk USA, she engages people. As people grow to know her, her supporter base grows. She is an individual who does not accept what is "hard" as being "impossible." She sees working for improving things as a calling and refuses to be deterred. Every time Congressman Gohmert distorts the facts or lies to the media or the people of East Texas, it strengthens her resolve and energizes her to continue communicating with people, to continue doing what she can whenever she can to improve things, to continue treating people respectfully and fairly.

In July 2015 Gohmert addressed the Lions Club in Carthage and stated that "President Obama lied when he said no money would be transferred from Medicare to fund Obamacare." Gohmert continued, saying: "Over $70 Billion dollars over ten years was transferred from Medicare to pay for Obamacare." McKellar shook her head when asked about Gohmert's statement. No money was transferred form Medicare or Social Security to fund the Affordable Care Act. Gohmert knows this. He is probably counting   on retirees thinking that the rise in Social Security Supplement Insurance premiums in Texas is because "President Obama did something to cause it."


Dr. McKellar and others who have researched it know that Congressman Gohmert is misleading people. The rise in Social Security Premiums would be greater if the Affordable Care Act had not been enacted. It is based on the cost the insurance companies have to pay for medical services which are driven higher in proportion to the losses providers have to cover for service to uninsured patients. So where did Gohmert get the $70 Billion over ten years? It comes from an estimate of SAVINGS over ten years from improving the process which enables the government to detect Medicare Fraud. McKellar understand this, She knows her opponent. She knows health care. She understands the economic cause and effect of uninsured losses and the human costs of denial of access to medical care. She is appalled at the incumbent feeding the fear of senior citizens, his crass disregard for the truth, and his refusal to work to improve services which are lifelines for so many worthy Americans. She cannot change him. It merely makes her more determined to be better herself, to serve others, to respect our American process, to find solutions, and to Win so that she can do more for more people.

One difference between her 2016 Campaign and previous races is news coverage. She has continued building her coalition, strengthening her team, training and learning and teaching and sharing. Instead of contacting the media trying to get them to mention her, this year, the media contacts her. She has already been featured or included on more television interviews in the East Texas market this year than in her two previous campaigns combined. The January 2015 feature Joan Hallmark did on her for "Freedom Fighters" which aired on Channel 7 was excellent.  When Gohmert said he'd retire from Congress if the Iran Agreement became a Treaty she was interviewed again by Channel 7. "Skeptical. Of course I'm skeptical. He's just saying that to get news coverage." she said. "He doesn't intend to not run. I do agree with one thing he said. No one wants him in Washington anymore." She was referring to Gohmert's alienation of the Speaker of the House and G.O.P. party establishment. He is no longer chair or member of any important committees. When you challenge the Speaker of the House and lose, you become less effective at getting the job done for the people in your district. Gohmert only got 3 votes when he ran for Speaker in 2015.  He lost much more than he gained and with his decline, went opportunities to make substantive improvements for his district. His attempt to defund Homeland Security earlier this year led to the Republican American Action Network, the sister PAC of the Republican Congressional Leadershp Fund, spending $10K on digital advertising in his district. This was he first time that organization has advertised against one of their own party's incumbents.

The Longview News ran a story March  3, 2O15:
"After a week of legislative chaos over funding the Department of Homeland Security, a Republican group is taking aim at U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, in his East Texas district over his opposition to a DHS funding plan.
American Action Network, which calls itself a "center-right" advocacy group, has bought $10,000 worth of digital advertising in the district in the hope of building support for a congressional bill that will fund the Department of Homeland Security.
"Global threats against our security are increasing … and some in Washington are playing political games with our national security," the ad says. "Tell Congressman Gohmert: Fund Homeland Security."...
AAN and its sister Super PAC, Congressional Leadership Fund, have unofficial ties with House GOP leadership. Former leadership staffers work for AAN and CLF, and House Speaker John Boehner participated in a CLF fundraiser in 2013, according to Politico.

Both organizations are capable of spending millions during campaign season. This is the first time either group used negative advertising against sitting members of the GOP."

The 2016 Campaign in East Texas will be interesting to watch. It is a rematch between the multi-term far right of center incumbent who has alienated the leadership of his own party and a highly decorated retired East Texas female soldier who considers getting fewer votes than her opponent on election day as "not as a defeat but as preparation for when I come back and win it."

Shirley McKellar:
Born: Tyler, Texas

Married: Danny C. McKellar
Parents of a son and a daughter and five grandchildren

Education: R.N., Nurse Clinician, PhD

Bachelors, Texas Women's University:  

Nursing and Chemistry
Masters, University of Texas, with honors: 

Community Health Nursing
Criminal Justice  

Organizational Speech Communications

Community Minority Business Advancement
 
Doctorate, Columbus College of Public Health and Administration: 
Nursing Management with Dissertation on "Spiritual in breast cancer patients" written at the UT Health Science Center, Tyler, TX  
Military Services: U.S. Army Nurse Corps, Major (ret.)

  • Served 18 years active duty
  • Deployed overseas for 18 months in support of, "Operation Iraqi Freedom," and "Operation Enduring Freedom," serving in combat zone medical units in Iraq and at the U.S. Military Hospital in Stuttgart, Germany.
  • Served as Major (rank 66 H-8A,MOS for the 94th Combat Support Hospital, Seagoville, TX. 
  • Served as the Officer-in-Charge of Combat Life Saving School,
    Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC),
    Consideration of Others 
  • Served as Unit Sexual Harassment Team Officer
Member or serves with:
American Biographical Institute Research AssociatioAmerican Business Women's Association
National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer
 
National Black Nurses Association

The Intercultural Cancer Association 
 
National Sisters Network, (cancer awareness for black women)

American Biographical Institute Research Association

American Business Women's Association

Texas Democratic Women

North Tenneha Church of Christ

Numerous Veterans organizations

Other:
Radio Talk Show Host:
          Radio KGLD 13.30 AM  at Thursday noon , "A View From The Top," covering local and national topics
         "Marvelous Monday's with Dr. Shirley J. McKellar" on Blog Talk USA, Monday from  8 to 10 pm CST
          RGLO Baltimore, MD , co-host "Wellness Wednesdays with Donny Walker",  8 a.m. CST.


Two Texas Democratic women have declared their candidacy for U.S. Congress in 2016. The Texas Federal Blue Seed PAC has an appeal for funding for these two candidates. With one click a donor can contribute directly to these two candidate's campaign and assist the Federal multi-candidate PAC in its assistance to non-incumbent progressive Democrats who are challenging Republican/ Tea Party congressional incumbents in Texas' currently red Congressional Districts. Donors can use debit or credit cards or pay pal securely on-line. https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/6ormorenow

To contribute to her campaign from her website:   http://votemckellar.com/
To contribute to the two women (McKellar and Caiden) running in Texas and to the Texas Federal Blue Seed PAC (which supports them and other progressive challengers running against incumbent Republicans for Congressional Seats in Texas with one click:  https://secure.actblue.com/...
(Note: the part that is given to the candidates using this form does not count against the $5000 per candidate cap per election the PAC can give to them).
To contribute to the two former officers (McKellar and Cozad) running for Congress in Texas and to the Texas Federal Blue Seed PAC with one click:  https://secure.actblue.com/...

Sunday, September 06, 2015

New Contributors

By Faith Chatham - September 6,2015
Invitations have been extended to a number of new authors for this blog. Most are either 2016 candidates or leaders with activist groups. Some are staffers for progressive candidates running for office in 2016.

The best way for us to learn what is happening with these campaigns and groups is for them to post their news directly to this blog.

Some are also being extended invitations to post to "Wise Women Won't Wait Any More" and/or "Reclaiming the Texas Turf."


The articles are from the perspective of the campaign or author, not from the perspective of the site administrator or DFW RCC.
 

The Real Labor Day Story This Year: Congressional Assault on American Jobs

By Faith Chatham - Sept. 6, 2016 Republished from Daily Kos
Instead of working to create jobs and help American manufacturers  compete in the international market place, short-sighted, bone-headed members of Congress conspired to shut down America's 81-year old  Export Import Bank. Without the financing of last resort, American businesses have lost contracts to foreign competitors. Layoffs are being announced in almost every state in the nation.

Instead of local media calling the members of Congress to task for their direct action against the bank, most are ignoring the story. In Dallas, the DMN did cover the comments of the CEO of GE about their board's decision not to relocate their national headquarters (with about 5000 jobs) to Dallas. He directly cited Jeb Hensarling's assault on the Export/Import Bank. GE decided against investing in a region which elects members to Congress who are directly hostile to the bank which enables them to be competitive. Hensarling's statement on the Export/Import Bank angered C.E.O.s of businesses which relied on the Bank's services.
"This is a small step toward renewing a competitive free-market economy and arresting the rise of the progressive welfare state and the cronyism connected to it.  Ex-Im is not only corporate welfare, it is corporate welfare for foreign companies and countries." -Jeb Hensarling Press Release - June 25, 2015).


Americans who value their jobs should examine the position on the Export/Import Bank taken by the U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators elected to Congress from their Districts.  Failure to renew the Bank's charter is a direct assault on jobs. It is leading to more American jobs moving off-shore.

The Dallas Morning News failed to mention that Michael Burgess, Kenny Marchant, Louie Gohmert and Ted Poe have worked  with Jeb Hensarling  for over two years to get the Export/Import Bank shut down.  They have lashed out at the bank and the businesses which utilize its services, labeling its services "Corporate Welfare."

Ironically, the Bank does not cost the Taxpayers ONE CENT. All operation costs of the EX/IM Bank are paid by the fees and interest charged to the foreign borrowers who finance the American-made goods and services they import! In fact, in 2014, the EX/IM Bank transferred into the U.S. Treasury over $675 Mil which was profits it made after all their operating expenses were paid.

There is no substance to the claims of Tea Party extremist like Gohmert, Marchant, Burgess, Poe and Hensarling that this is "corporate welfare."

They don't consider services of commercial lenders who finance homes and automobiles "welfare." The borrowers of the Import/Export bank pay back the loans and pay fees and interest.  The Ex/Im Bank does not compete with private lenders. It is a lender of last resort. They step in after other lenders refuse to lend.

Granted, some of America's largest corporations use the services of the Export/Import Bank. Boeing, GE, General Dynamics utilize the bank for some of their contracts. The majority of the loans go to small to medium exporter. Even the larger corporation's contracts support small to medium sub-contractors.Helping to level the playing field for American businesses so that they can compete with foreign manufacturers is a legitimate role for our Federal Government. Large and small businesses are employers. Sometimes when a small business fails, hundreds of employees lose their jobs. That hurts the local economy. When a large business loses contracts, thousands of employees lose their jobs and the small to mid-sized businesses which do business with them are frequently also forced to down-size. That hurts the entire region and frequently has a negative ripple-effect that goes across our entire nation.

The Export/Import Bank has one of the lowest default rates of any lending institution in this nation! Renewing the Bank's Charter is a Win/Win for American and for American workers. However, a handful of boneheaded right wing zealots decided to torpedo American jobs by refusing to renew its charter.

Now American workers are losing their jobs. Some companies are turning to other nations to get financing for contracts they have invested a lot into and they will face big losses if they cannot secure. Without financing, buyers cannot purchase from our suppliers. So many are turning to countries such as Canada to provide the financing. These financial agreements usually require that the supplier employ citizens of the country which provides the financing.

In East Texas, Louie Gohmert (R) represents the Texas First District in the U.S. Congress. That district has one of the state's highest unemployment and under employment rates. Gohmert, despite his decade in office, has not helped the region solve its employment problems. He has not worked to help leaders in the region attract new businesses to the region. He has protected the fossil fuel industry by voting for tax breaks and subsidies. He does not see these direct transfers from the budget to his pet industries as "corporate welfare" yet calls the services of the Export Import Bank (which do not transfer any taxpayer money to anyone) "welfare!"

Dr. Shirley McKellar, PhD of Tyler is challenging Gohmert for the US-TX 1 seat in Congress.
The Texas Federal Blue Seed PAC issued this message this week utilizing talking points by McKellar on Gohmert's opposition to the renewal of the charter of the Export/Import Bank.


McKellar is a charismatic, multi-degreed Tyler businesswoman. An R.N., she enlisted in the Army and served 18 months of her over 18 years of Active Duty in Iraq and Germany supporting our troops medically. Injured in Iraq, she returned home and was told that she would have to wait 18 months for the medical treatment she needed to overcome her injuries. Her local Congressman (Louie Gohmert) voted for across the board cuts to Veterans services. The V.A. was in crisis. Shirley McKellar is a fighter. She fought for herself. She underwent numerous surgeries and excruciating rehab. Much of her treatment was at Brooks in San Antonio. There she listened, observed, and learned. She was determined to change things. As a civilian, she has stepped forward to help people solve some of the problems Congressman Gohmert has ignored. She is fighting to take his seat in Congress so that she can help solve more problems for people who live in the Texas First District.

Changing thing, improving things, is nothing new to Shirley McKellar. She has been doing that all her life. In business, before entering the military, she was a leader and educator in the health care field and a leader in her community.  In the military, she led in establishing medical programs for women soldiers. She was instrumental in establishing the Breast Cancer Screening Program for the European Theater for the U.S. Military. She implemented a critical response training program which saved the government money by  in-house training which helped to alleviate a shortage of trained medical staff. Back at home, after being forced to retire by her injuries, she was turned her attention to serving here. In conjunction with the UT Austin Medical School she established the African American Breast Cancer Awareness Program and served as site manager for the UT Tyler campus.

Lack of good paying jobs are one of her greatest concerns. She saw parents struggling to pay the rent and to provide for their children. Jobs were especially in short supply. Some were offered jobs working nights or weekends. Safe, affordable child care was not available in Tyler.. Dr. McKellar used a non-profit organization she had co-founded, and partnered with others to provide 24/7 childcare. This allowed parents to go to work and also created jobs for others caring for the children. Some solutions are not high-tech. Many require listening, observing, and using "common sense."

It appears that the Republican (Tea Party) former judge who the Texas First District has sent to Congress is short on using "common sense."  There is nothing "conservative" about costing the U.S. Treasury over $675Million dollars in profit from a bank which enables American businesses to be competitive in the world market and does not use one cent in taxpayer money for operations. "Common sense" does not lead to costing American workers their jobs by removing the financing which enables foreign buyers to purchase American-made goods.

In the US-7th District (Houston) incumbent John Culberson (R) also opposed the renewal of the Ex/Im Bank's charter. City of Houston Assistant Attorney James Cargas was the Democratic Nominee in the U.S. TX-7th in 2014. He's kicking off his 2016 Congressional Campaign in mid September. Cargas served under Bill Richardson in the Energy Department during Bill Clinton's administration. An Oil and Gas attorney, Cargas specialized in sustainable development. Houston, one of our nation's energy centers, has converted its municipal energy supplies to sustainable sources during Cargas' time with the City. He is not the only voice in Houston which moved the city in this direction, but it is probable that his training and expertise was one of the resources Mayor Parker relied upon during this transformation. This saved the City money and did not undermine the city's support for the fossil fuel intensive refinery and exploration companies based there.

Cargas understands the importance of exports in our nation's economy. Renewal of the Export/Import Bank's charter to protect American jobs is high on his list of things which must be accomplished. Culberson's opposition to the bank is costing Houston based businesses contracts. Loss of contracts leads to layoffs. Layoffs trickle down and impact other small to large businesses. Without pay checks, consumers cannot patronize retailers. This impacts the tax base of cities. Cargas understands this, but unfortunately, the incumbent in Congress seems to myopic to comprehend the importance of the 81-year old American Export/Import Bank.

No Republican or Democrat have filed yet to challenge Jeb Hensarling, Kenny Marchant or Michael Burgess. It will be unfortunate if they are allowed to get a free-ride to re-election in 2016. In addition to the loss of potential growth by the decision of GE not to relocate to Dallas, they are failing the business community of their districts and costing American jobs. General Dynamics is among the larger employers in the NT region who use the EX/Im Bank for financing. As the U.S. Military has cut back on aircraft purchases, DFW aircraft manufacturers and others across the US have converted some of their lines to building civilian aircraft. Loss of financing for foreign exports at at time when the industry is attempting to shift production into the civilian market makes it very difficult for these manufacturers to service contracts with foreign buyers, and to keep maintain their current workforce levels here in the United States.

Faith Chatham is the CFO/Developmental Officer for the Texas Federal Blue Seed PAC. She is a DFW-based activist/writer who frequently covers Environmental, Ethics, Public Policy and Campaign Finance. She was Chief of Staff/Strategist for the 2014 Cozad for Congress campaign. Follow her on Twitter @faithchatham or @txfedblueseed   or @arllngtonfocus


See Daily Kos post for articles documenting the impact of Congress not renewing the Bank's Charter on U.S. Jobs.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Guns and Upsurping Control from Local Citizens Tops Legislative Agenda this Session

By Faith Chatham - June 5, 2015
Some of the awful bills that were filed in the Texas Legislature this session died. Other truly awful ones were passed and in a totally irresponsible fashion, Gov. Abbott is bragging about signing them into law.

Brian Birdwell and Konni Burton head our Senate Wall of Shame this Session:

Birdwell, a decorated military man who was injured when the plane flew into the Pentagon, earns our biggest Senate Blaggard Award. It was a hard choice but he stands out on two fronts.
1. Attacking the benefits of other military veterans and their descendants with his bill that would reduce the number of Texas Veterans who qualify for education assistance under the Hazlewood Act. Birdwell's proposed eliminating eligibility for reservist and national guard who were called to active duty to qualify under the Hazlewood Act. Those men and women who were called to Active Duty during the Bush and Obama administration, many of whom were deployed abroad into combat for long tours of duty and retained abroad when those tours ended are disqualified for Hazlewood Act Benefits under Birdwell's bill. Birdwell also proposed shortening the number of years in which the education benefits could be used. For many soldiers, their children would not be old enough for college before the benefits expired. Thank You Brian Birdwell for being so callous to other Veterans! This bill is deplorable and Birdwell is too callous to even comprehend how very mean spirited this bill is. His service to this nation is noted. His attack on the welfare of other veterans takes him down several knotches in my estimation.  This bill dishonors the uniform he wore and the nation he served. He ranks as blaggard for refusing to honor the service of other veterans.

2. Birdwell earns the nickname of "Tote those Guns on Campus" for sponsoring the Campus Carry bill which was passed by both houses of the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Abbot. As drafted, the bill did not allow State Universities to prohibit guns anywhere on campus. To get it passed, it was amended to allow universities the option of establishing gun free zones. Because Birdwell represents Waco, in self-preservation when Baylor University objected to campus carry, Birdwell exempted private schools from having to allow guns on campus and reworded it to apply to State School. Gee. What a creep.  I truly hope he has a strong opponent in the Republican Primary who takes him out in 2016. I hope there is a strong candidate in the Democratic Primary who wages a good fight in the General Election. He's gotten a free ride in too many election cycles. His assault on Veterans removes the advantage he had from military service. Would be great for another vet (or 2) to challenge him and one of them claim that seat.

Then we come to Senator Konni Burton. She jumped in and carried water for the Oil and Gas Industry and put her name on an abominable anti-local governmental control bill which I think violates both the Texas and the U.S. Constitution. Named Senate Bill 40 because the Oil and Gas industry is said to be 40% of the Texas economy, the bill removes the right of local citizens to petition their government and vote in ordinances which regulate underground activities. Citizens in Denton, a city which is far from a liberal stronghold, voted overwhelmingly to ban fracking. Burton's bill not only restricts local governments from banning fracking, it nullifies all local ordinances which have been passed in the past five years which pertain to any underground activity.

Cities such as Arlington can no longer prohibit injection wells. With the rash of earthquakes in the Barnett Shale, which evidence shows are probably related to injection wells, and other Oil and Gas activity, passage of this bill places local landowners at greater risk of property damage. The sponsors of this bill are so proud of their service to the 50% yet they put the rest of the economy and all residential property owners at greater risk by removing local oversight totally from the Oil and Gas Industry. If the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality or the Texas Rail Road Commission actually did their job instead of being a full time state sponsored lap dog of the industry, state oversight would be a very different thing. Texans have litte reason to expect State Regulators to enact reasonable controls. Cities such as Fort Worth and Arlington which have hundreds of wells are pretty well screwed. Those who signed gas leases were informed of stricter local ordinances. Now that those ordinances are null and void thank to Konni Burton and a cadre of other fossil fuel agents, the environmental realities in many neighborhoods will probably deteriorate.  It is a shame that Burton tired of her Wedding Planning business. She is more suited to such endeavors than she is to legislation. Unfortunately, Senators serve 6 year terms and Senate District 10 is probably stuck with her until 2020!

Oh, there are rumblings that two of the freshmen have established policies that exclude constituency service to anyone who did not vote for them. Mollie White (TX-H Belton) and Konni Burton (TX-S 10) seem to fail to realize that once elected, they are supposed to serve EVERYONE. These two are reported to have instructed staff not to schedule appointments for people who live in their districts who were not their supporters!  Senate 10 has 602,461 Voting Age Residents. Since she only got 95,532 votes so according to her policy it appears that she intends to serve less than a 6th of the district! Maybe she can get 1/6 of her stipend and salary. Granted, the Legislature doesn't make that much, but for those who choose to cherry pick who is and who isn't constituents, they deserves less than they get!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bay Area Houston: Dan Patrick. When you lie with teabaggers

Bay Area Houston: Dan Patrick. When you lie with teabaggers: Texas State Senator Dan Patrick is a smart liar. Case in point, his comments about immigration from Peggy Fikac’s of the Houston Chronicle :...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Water! Water! It's about Water and Education for this Texas Senate District 9 Candidate

By Faith Chatham - Jan. 13, 2014
Gregory R. Perry is a quiet-spoken intelligent man. When asked why he is running for Texas Senate District 9, he replied: "Mainly Anger!"
When he begins talking about public policy and how it impacts his grandchildren, it becomes clear that Gregory R. Perry is determined to change the course of Texas public policy. Gregory is convinced that the trajectory of this state is at odds with the opportunities facing his grandchildren and their generations. Gregory R. Perry is a man with a purpose and he knows what must be done and is ready to get to work seeing that it gets done!
1. Education - "Without education no one is going anywhere!" Perry says that even highway funding is inconsequential if we do not educate our children. He is running in an urban district (Arlington,  Irving, Grand Prairie and the Mid-Cities) which has over 89,000 adults who have not graduated from High School.  Unopposed in the Democratic Primary, Gregory R. Perry is facing incumbent Kelly Hancock (R) in the General Election. Hancock voted to slash school funding in 2011 while in the Texas House. In the Senate he has done little or nothing to restore the funding or to strengthen the public education system in Texas. In the Senate, Hancock opposed Equal Pay for Equal Work for women.

2. Public Infrastructure - especially Water - For Gregory Perry it comes down to energy and water. The U.S. Government stopped building reservoirs in the 1980s. The Reagan administration tried to privatize building water reservoir. Perry, retired from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, specialized in water management and river engineering. He says that until the Reagan administration, the Army Corps of Engineers built three reservoirs per decade to keep up with water demands from population growth and expanded industrial usage. When Reagan tried to sell of the reservoirs and speculated that future reservoirs could be constructed by private corporations, they failed to factor in the impact of flood control and sovereignty.


Only the United States Government can claim sovereignty. When reservoirs have to open the floodgates in exercising flood control, the government can defend itself from law suits because of sovereignty. A private company cannot. Therefore, it is too big a risk for private corporations to invest in reservoirs. There is a water crisis in Texas and it will not get better. Deferring investment in water solutions -- long term investment in infrastructure is imperative for the quality of life and economic future of North Texans. Gregory R. Perry worked on the Joe Pool Lake, Lake of the Pines, Sam Rayburn, and Lake of the Pines Corps of Engineers water management projects. He understand water and he knows Texas aquifers. With the stress of trillions of gallons of water used by horizontal drilling/fracking in Texas during drought, water is a priority for this next legislative session. He has worked on the rivers and lakes of Texas and now Gregory R. Perry is prepared to bring solutions to the floor for consideration.

Commenting on the power plants which went off-line during the January cold spell, Perry explains that these plants are coal power plants and it takes longer for a coal plant to come on-line. Water powered power plants come on-line rapidly. However, in Texas we do not have the water to power new hydro powered plants.

We have to think ahead and be innovative and apply sustainable energy solutions throughout the state. "Fossil fuel is a limited resource. We must shift to renewable energy for powering our homes and businesses and save the petro chemicals for producing plastics." Perry sees the current use of fossil fuel as "squandering resources which are too precious to use on generating electricity."


3. Equal Pay for Equal Work - Gregory Perry says that failure to index the minimum wage to inflation has eroded the financial base of families and transferred costs to the government which should be included in the cost of business when making a profit. In Senate District 9, over 48% of the households in the district live on less than $50,000 a year.  About 45% of the households in the District are renters. The median gross rent is $850 a month. Transportation cost is high. The Texas Legislative Council estimates that 110,536 people were living in poverty in Senate District 9 in 2011 and the per capita income is estimated as $25,046. Gregory R. Perry believes all workers should be fairly compensated. Gender and racial workplace discrimination must stop. The percentage of Latino and African American workers are three times more likely to live in poverty than Anglo workers. Texas has a higher employment rate than many other states but 28.6% of Texas jobs are low-wage. Gregory R. Perry says that "Trickle-down economic is a dismal failure. Money flows to the top one percent and American jobs have gone off-shore. Money hasn't trickled down to the middle class. The earning of many of the middle class is now below the poverty level." Gregory Perry cites a 2011 U.S. Census Bureau report that the number of families living in poverty in the United States is now at the highest level in 50 years.





Perry sees education as the big divide between economic stability and opportunity.  The Texas Legislative Council reports 26.6% of the adults in Senate District 9 have Bachelor's Degrees or higher. However, 18.1% of the adults 25 years and older do not have high school diplomas. Many of the 45.8% of the district which have graduated from High School have difficulty affording a college education. In 2011 only 45,613 persons in the district were in college, attending university or trade schools. Gregory R. Perry says that lack of education combined with racial and gender discrimination in pay rates and job opportunities impacts the poverty level in the district. When families earn less, they have less to spend. This impacts the retail, housing and wholesale sectors of the district and impacts the overall economics of the region.


Gregory R. Perry does not think in sound-bites. He thinks like an engineer who is interested in macro economics. He views the big picture and looks for short-term solutions as a bridge while  long-term investments can be implemented to prevent future problems.

I found the conversations with Mr. Perry very stimulating. He does not duck and hide from the difficult questions. He is a family man who thinks of the future instead of just trying to put a band-aide on current problems. I find him refreshingly honest and intelligent. He is not a politician. He's neither polished nor evasive! He does have a plan and he has purpose. I like him. He is worth giving serious consideration for replacing the current incumbent in Senate District 9.

Visit his website at www.txsen9gregoryperry.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GregoryRPerrySen9/


Google+:
https://plus.google.com/114868630917640358013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New Campaign Rules Proposed for Tax-Exempt Nonprofits


The Obama administration on Tuesday moved to issue new rules that would curtail political activity by tax-exempt nonprofit groups, with potentially significant ramifications for one of the fastest-growing sources of campaign spending.
The proposed rules, announced by the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service, would expand and clarify how the I.R.S. defines political activity and then establish clearer limits for how much activity nonprofits can engage in. Such a change — long urged by government watchdog groups — would be the first wholesale shift in a generation in the regulations governing political activity.
The move to curtail nonprofits follows years of legal and regulatory shifts, such as the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010, that have steadily loosened the rules governing political spending, particularly by big corporations, labor unions and wealthy individuals.
The rules would not prohibit political activity by nonprofit organizations. But by establishing clearer limits for campaign-related spending, the new rules could have a significant impact on the big-spending nonprofit groups that have played a central role in national politics in recent years, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on political advertising and voter outreach.
The administration’s proposal would apply to nonprofit groups organized under Section 501(c)4 of the tax code, which are permitted tax exemption in exchange for devoting themselves primarily to the promotion of “social welfare,” which under current rules can include some political activity.
The largest political nonprofits — such as Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, co-founded by Karl Rove, the Republican operative, or Americans for Prosperity, backed by the conservative philanthropists Charles and David Koch, have exploited that provision to spend heavily on election-themed advertising.
But the proposed guidance, a broad swath of campaign-related activity — including any ads that mention a candidate within 60 days of an election — would be excluded from the definition of “social welfare.”
“Depending on the details, this could be dramatic,” said Marcus S. Owens, a former chief of the I.R.S.'s exempt organizations division.
The rules would also effect political activity by conservative and liberal grass-roots organizations, including Tea Party groups whose complaints of aggressive treatment and harassment by I.R.S. employees led to the resignation of several high-ranking agency officials last spring.
More details of the proposal were scheduled to be released later on Tuesday. The final rules are unlikely to be issued until after the 2014 election, after a lengthy public comment period, possible hearings and more deliberation by the agency.
“This proposed guidance is a first critical step toward creating clear-cut definitions of political activity by tax-exempt social welfare organizations,” said Mark J. Mazur, the assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy.
Unlike candidates, parties and “super PACs,” such groups do not have to disclose donors, giving rise to the label “dark money” for organizations that spend heavily on elections but claim to be engaged in promoting social welfare.
The vague — and inconsistently enforced — rules for political nonprofits, along with the anonymity they offer donors, have made them the vehicle of choice for wealthy individuals, corporations and unions seeking to influence elections in secret. From 2006 to 2012, election spending by tax-exempt groups rose to more than $300 million from less than $5.2 million.
Read more in The New York Times

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