Friday, October 26, 2018

Greg Abbott and GOP Controlled Texas Legislature fails Texans economically

By Faith Chatham - Oct. 26, 2018
As of June 2018, Texas ranks 21st highest (out of 51) in UNEMPLOYMENT. Under Abbott and the GOP controlled Texas Legislature, the annual growth in GDP (5 year increase) has not trickled down to the middle class. Growth in GDP can mask the overall wealth of the average Texan because GDP can reflect wealth which flows through Texas companies to out-of-state or international stock holders. EMPLOYMENT FIGURES reflects wealth actually in the accounts of residents which is available for housing, food, clothing, education, recreation. These are the expenditures which fuel the local economy. Under Abbott, higher percentage of Texans are unemployed than in 30 of the nation's other states. Since Texas is one of the states with the greatest population, 4% of Texans is a much greater number of unemployed people than in any of the other states with higher rates of unemployment.
BOTTOM LINE: Under Greg Abbott's watch, more people in Texas are unemployed than in most other places in the United States. The growth in wealth in Texas is channeled into the bank accounts of a relatively few people instead of being spread out throughout the population. Despite a 1.9% increase in job creation, the majority of new jobs are either not full-time or at pay rates high enough to rank as "living wage pay rates".

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Political Take Over of Texas

By Faith Chatham - Oct. 21, 2018
THE POLITICAL TAKE OVER OF TEXAS spilled over into an alliance between those who financed the hit ads in the 2002-2006 election cycles which led to redistricting (gerrymandering) in Texas which solidified Republican control of the state wide offices and judiciary and solid Republican pro gun majorities in both the Texas Legislature and Texas' US delegation to Congress Gregg Abbott has strong ties to the gun advocate groups who fronted as the Law Enforcement Alliance to run hit ads against his Democratic Opponent in the 2002 Attorney General's race.
That has morphed into a take-over of the NRA by right wing political operatives with an agenda much more far-reaching than gun safety. Despite solid evidence that the NRA aligned itself with Russian government sponsored gun rights money interest who funneled (money laundered) millions of Russian rubles into the US Presidential and many US Congressional races in 2016, Greg Abbott refuses to distance himself from the corrupted (actually treasonous) NRA!
This year in Texas there is a sane, gun totting actual law enforcement professional challenging Greg Abbott for Governor. Lupe Valdez is much more closely aligned with the original mission of the NRA (when it actually used membership dues to educate people on gun safety and to get gun owners to lock up their weapons to keep them out of the hands of children) than Greg Abbott, whose entanglement with the NRA is most probably tied to his addiction to their generous monetary support of him.
Valdez does not have her hands and never has had her hands in the pockets of the NRA or any gun lobby like Greg Abbotf does (and has since 2002). She is always armed and supports gun ownership but unlike Greg Abbott, sees gun violence as a problem which must be address by strict background checks, keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and those with histories of violence.
Valdez says: "People who do not settle their disputes without violence have no business being armed." Abbott says everyone has the right to buy any arm they want. Valdez (a retired Captain of a US National Guard Tank Battalion) says: "Some guns are designed for military use - to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. They have no business in civilian use on our streets."
Texans have a clear choice this year. It is between a sane, solid "unbought and unbossed" former law enforcement administrator and an opportunist who uses sound bites to create the illusion which are contrary to what he actually does or promotes.
We need a governor who will face the tough realities of Texas instead of the "pay to play" Abbott whose appointees are usually his campaign donors or former lobbyists who are agents of his campaign donors. Lupe Valdez is the sane choice for Texans this year for Governor.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Who do you trust? Her or Him?


By Faith Chatham - October 20, 2018
Article 4: Section 7 of the Texas Constitution names the Governor as COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF MILITARY FORCES. "He shall be Commander-in-Chief of the military forces of the State, except when they are called into actual service of the United States.  He shall have power to call forth the militia to execute the laws of the State, to suppress insurrections, and to repel invasions."
Lupe Valdez - Retired Military officer served as Captain in the US National Guard leading a tank battalion. She also has 17 years of  Federal Service as a civilian in addition to being the former Sheriff of Dallas County. She was :
  • Inspector for the General Services Administration (GSA)
  • Senior Federal Agent, working undercover in Latin America on drug interdiction and money laundering.
Valdez was elected Sheriff of Dallas County in 2004 and re-elected three times:
  • She was the first Democrat to be elected county wide in Dallas County in decades.
  • The only woman or person of color ever to serve as Sheriff of Dallas County.
  • She was re-elected 3 times before retiring in Dec. 2017 to run for Governor of Texas.
Valdez inherited a department which was out of compliance for jail overcrowding, being understaffed and unsanitary. She had to persuade the County Commissioners and citizens  to appropriate funds and seek grants necessary for substantial improvements at the jail. She was not able to solve all of the problems immediately, but once she got the jail into compliance, she kept it that way.She implemented community policing, placing people of color and women in supervisory roles, and redeployed officers so that they more closely represented the people in the neighborhoods. She told her officers: "The first time someone meets you shouldn't be when you are arresting them. Get out there and meet people doing community service."
Valdez says: "Most people in the jail have not been convicted of anything. Even those who have should be treated with respect."
Valdez is accustomed to standing out in the crowd. She was the only Latina Sheriff in the USA and oversaw the 7th largest Sheriff's department in the USA.
Standing_out_in_the_crowd.PNG
Photo from LupeValdez.com
The daughter of migrant farm workers, Lupe Valdez worked three jobs to pay her way through college. She prioritizes education and seeks to give all people in Texas a pathway upward. "I am where I am because this state gave me the opportunity to get an education, to work and to serve. I want everyone to have the opportunities that I've had." She say that "I've got mine, too bad about yours!" is an attitude that too many elected official have which for sake of the people of this state should to stop!
DOWlpj9VQAEtuCW.jpg
Most of Lupe Valdez’ adult life has been in uniform. She enlisted in the US National Guard as a young woman, and rose to the rank of Captain over a mostly male tank battalion before entering Federal Service.
Photo from LupeValdez.com
Valdez faces incumbent Greg Abbott in the General Election. Abbott has a war chest, rich with special interest money acquired during decades as a state official, which is 51 times bigger than Valdez's.  Abbott continues to raise money and is channeling millions into the campaign coffers of other Republicans (especially those allied with Donald Trump and the Freedom Caucus.
Abbott, a darling of the gun lobby, and Valdez disagree on gun laws. Valdez, who is always armed and has been continually in a profession where being armed is requirement, favors concealed carry. Unlike Abbott, who rose to power through the support of the gun lobby, Valdez sees gun violence as a threat to civil society. Abbott seeks no restraints on gun ownership.
Shootings in schools have the attention of both candidates. Abbott held a highly publicized town hall on School Violence after a recent massacre at a central Texas school. His solution is arming teachers, a proposal very unpopular with most classroom teachers who have concerns about being able to secure a firearm in a classroom of children or teenagers.
Valdez opposes arming teachers.
She says: “We must provide security for the schools. It is the teachers job to teach and our job to keep them safe.” Valdez is emphatic: “Those who cannot settle disputes without violence, have no business carrying a gun.”  
Long before the NRA endorsed Abbott for Governor, he forged an alliance with the gun lobby.
Abbott’s history with the gun lobby dates back to 2002  when the gun lobby used a law enforcement front group to quietly help elect Abbott as Texas attorney general. Frank Smyth wrote in 2017: Back then, Democrats still held a majority in the Texas state house and in the Texas delegation to Congress. It was a time when the gun lobby was learning how to reach out to other right-leaning groups, forging alliances that predated both the Tea Party and the Trump campaign. It was the beginning of a redistricting or “gerrymandering” process that has since helped bring the Republican party in Texas and other states to unprecedented political power.

...
But ever since he ran for his first Texas legislative seat more than twenty years ago, Abbott has been a steady advocate for expanding Texans’ access to guns. He has earned a 100 percent approval rating from the National Rifle Association, and is proud of it.
Valdez is also an advocate for private gun ownership, however, unlike Abbott, she has no ties to the gun lobby. She favors stronger background checks, keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, domestic abusers and other persons with a history of violence.
She says that ‘some weapons are designed for military combat, designed to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Those weapons have no business on our streets.’ 
Valdez lives simply and her campaign reflects her down-to-earth basic lifestyle. She has driven herself, usually with one staffer, from town to town in her pickup truck this year, being on the road constantly since January when she declared for Governor.
ILupeRR2MG_1593.JPG
Valdez greets citizens at a campaign stop in Round Rock, Texas Friday afternoon, Oct. 20, 2018.              Photo by Linda Brooks
Now she has embarked on a 4700 mile but trip for to make almost 50 campaign stops in ten days this month. She is on bus with other statewide Democratic Nominees (Mike Collier for Lt. Gov,., Kim Olson for Agriculture Commissioner, Joi Chevalier for Comptroller, Justin Nelson for Attorney General and other). When that ends, she will head out again to  meet citizens in other towns where they live. They are keeping in touch with supporters through the twitter hashtag: #FairShotTour
Some view Valdez’s campaign with wistful nostalgia. A daughter of San Antonio, this is the Tri-centennial celebration year of the founding of Lupe’s home town.  One of her campaign buttons reflects her historic race as the first Latina woman to run for Governor in the history of Texas. A win in 2018 for this San Antonio native would is seen by many as another millestone to celebrate for the Alamo City. It is also the anniversary of Democratic women being granted the right to vote in the Texas Primary.  She is the first Latina to win the nomination for Governor in the history of Texas. In the state’s history, only two women have been governor. Ann Richards was the only one who was not the first lady who assumed office after her husband. 
 
20180801_170506.jpg
Valdez is a native of San Antonio and is running for Governor during the Tri-centennial year of her birthplace.
The polls reflect Abbott’s stronger name recognition and financial might. However, Valdez has always been viewed as an underdog who had little or no chance of winning, yet she has never lost an election. The Dallas Morning New always discounted her, sometimes vehemently opposing her, but the majority of voters have always chosen her. She was shocked when she won her first race as Sheriff and honored all three times she was re-elected.
She was seen as one of the least likely to win of the 9 candidates for Governor in 2018 Democratic Primary, yet came within 2 points of avoiding a run-off. She beat the son of former Governor Mark White, a candidate whose income from his tech businesses gave him many more financial resources than Vadez in the run-off, after coming in first against 8 men in the Primary..
She has not gotten as much press as Beto O’rourak and did not start the campaign with a Congressional war chest. However, she resonates with “ordinary people” she meets on the campaign trail because she comes from a Texas “working stock” family and understand what it means to not have health insurance when a family member is ill or how hard it is to struggle to work multiple jobs to provide for your family or to pay you way through college. She is a problem solver who looks for ways to improve things for the people she meets.  She is plain spoken, down-to-earth, and compassionate. She is a problem-solver who focuses on making things better for the people she meets.

Whatever the outcome November 6th, she has elevated the public rhetoric from the divisive pettiness of Abbott’s previous campaign, shifting the focus to public school finance reform, affordable health care, solving the state’s maternal and infant mortality crisis which is more dire than in any other part of the developed world, and giving all citizens a fair shot at providing for their families. She balances the need to protect our borders with our responsibility to be humane and not separate children from their parents or unfairly vilify border communities which have lower crime statistics than many communities in the state’s interior as “crime ridden communities.” 

Lupe Valdez, as governor, would be a breath of fresh air in a state whose legislative agenda has stalled on wedge issue bathroom bills and drastic cuts to public school financing. Lupe Valdez brings strength and common sense to every office she holds. Unlike Abbott who pushed through Campus Carry legislation during a time when school shooting was escalating, Valdez is the voice for balance — respecting the rights of law abiding citizens while calling for policies to curtail the proliferation of arms in the hands of criminals, the mentally ill and those with histories of violence.

As importantly, she would put an end to Abbott’s practice of “Pay to Play Politics” where most political appointees are campaign donors or their agents. 
To donate to Valdez's campaign: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/lupetx

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Neutralize Louie Gohmert


By  Faith Chatham - April 22, 2018
Shirley McKellar is fighting to rid East Texas of the stupidity of Louie Gohmert. 
An article in the Longview News Journal during the primary earlier this year, discounted US Texas 1st District Democratic Congressional Nominee Dr.Shirley J. McKellar, PhD, RN, Maj. (ret) as "just an Army Nurse."

My response is:
  1. McKellar has created more jobs in East Texas than most governmental programs
  2. She is responsible for helping meet the mental health needs of veterans and military families in 12 East Texas counties.
  3. As an officer on the Veterans Administration Mental Health Advocacy Council, she is "at the table" fighting cuts to women's mental health services and at the table fighting to expand mental health services for all veterans.

McKellar doesn't just talk about supporting veterans, McKellar puts her talent and personal resources into helping veterans.

  • She brings Housing for Homeless Vets to East Texas. Last year, when at a ribbon cutting for a housing complex in Dallas for Homeless Veterans, she asked:"How can we get a similar one in East Texas."She did not let the current party of the majority of Congress or the current occupants of the White House deter her.She pulled together a steering committee of local stakeholders, donated some of her own land, and worked diligently with HUD and the VA to "make it happen."


  • On March 3rd, 2018 ground was broken for the new complex in Smith County where homeless veterans can use their VA Benefits to buy their own condos.

  • She prioritizes Education and knows how to enable children to succeed. For 20 years she operated an early childhood education center in Tyler providing care and education until midnight 7 days a week for infants through 13-year olds. It closed when she was deployed to the Middle East, She has tracked the progress of the children they served. EVERY child served by that center has graduated from High School and gone to college. One is currently in law school. That program could serve as a pilot program for how to do it right!

Shirley McKellar understands that the more responsibility you have, the more you don't know which you need to know. She is always learning and improving her skills so that she can serve people effectively.. She has a PhD in nursing, a MS in Criminal Justice and has almost completed another masters in Political Science.

  • Her expertise in economic development, small business incubation, job creation and non-profit organization equips her to serve the people of this district. During Mr. Gohmert's tenure the unemployment rate and number of persons living in poverty in most of the district has escalated. Under Louie Gohmert's watch one third of the residents of the US Texas 1st District have descended below the poverty line! He seems oblivious and does nothing to combat the deep poverty of the people of this District. He does not listen. He does not act.

Shirley McKellar listens to people. Shirley McKellar observes, verifies and researches.
Shirley McKellar collaborates and brings solutions that serve people.
This is the leadership we need in Congress.

Someone with the Longview News referred to her as "just an ArmyNurse!"
  • She is "just an army nurse" who implemented much of the women's health care for the US Military in the European Theatre.
  • She is "just an army nurse" who established the only comprehensive breast center in the US Military serving men and women.
  • She is "just the army nurse" who partnered with UT Medical School to determine why the mortality rate for men and women of color who have breast cancer is significantly greater than for white women and to look for treatments which give better outcomes.
  • "She is "just the army nurse" who co-founded (with UT Medical School) the African American Breast Cancer Awareness and administers a $5 Million grant for finding solutions for people with breast cancer..
  • She is the "just an army nurse" who got 61.9% of the 2018 Primary vote in a contested primary where she was outspent nearly 3 to 1 by her opponent.
  • She is "just the army nurse" whom East Texan know and trust because she is always there serving beside them, working with them and fighting for them.

The best outcome for East Texas in 2018
is for Louie Gohmert to be replaced
with this "just an army nurse!"

Please donate to Shirley McKellar for Congress to enable her to continue building the infrastructure necessary to turn the First District Blue. She does not need to match her opponent dollar for dollar. She has demonstrated that she knows how to stretch your contribution. Let's give her more to stretch. Let's give her a better shot at ridding the U.S. Congress of the stupidity of Louie Gohmert.

HELP SHIRLEY NEUTRALIZE THE TOXICITY OF LOUIE GOHMERT IN CONGRESS.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Texas 2018 Possibilities

By Faith Chatham April 13, 2018
So refreshing to see the national pundits seeing Texas Democratic Nominees for Congress as Possible!. The first thing which makes it POSSIBLE is that for the first time EVERY DISTRICT will have a Democratic Nominee. You can't win if you don't run. This year folks are running and GOP incumbents without opposition will not look strong by default.

2. With numerous GOP incumbents resigning or not running for reelection, the incumbent advantage is not operative in a considerable number of districts!

3. For the first time in decades a significant number Democrats challenging GOP incumbents for Congressional seats reported raising $200K+ by Dec. 31 of 2017! Yikkes. Folks you cannot imagine how big that is. In Texas in 2014 the average non incumbent Democratic Nominee had less than a nickel per registered voter to spend in the Primary and General Election combined. This year there are several candidates who have funds to truly communicate with votes.

4. Candidates ran in contested primaries with other Democrats running from the top to the bottom of the ballot in contested primaries. This means that the media covered those races. When a candidate runs unopposed, they usually do not even get mentioned on voters guides. It is difficult enough to build name recognition, but if you aren't even mentioned during the primary, it is much more difficult to get enough before the end of the General. This year Democratic candidate ran in contested primaries and got some of the spotlight which previously only went to GOP nominees.

5. We have good candidates running. We've had good candidates running in previous years too. But this year we have MORE of them and they are raising money and many nay sayers are ceasing to spout off their old wet blanket lines which discourage volunteers and donors from stepping up to help Democratic Nominees Win!

6. A New York Times article mentions a few. However, we have many more which are exceptionally impressive. Some have run previously and have already build campaign organizations. Jan McDowell is one who should be watched carefully. She may continue to astound folks with her low key, grassroots, persistent, solid reasoning and well managed campaign. In districts which are exceptionally difficult for Democrats like East Texas, Shirley McKellar is not running as the lone candidate this year on many of the ballots. It is difficult to win if you are the only candidate of your party running in that region except for the top of the ticket. Retired Army officer McKellar persistently builds her organization and base. Each year she draws more supporters to her ranks and her volunteers and staff grow and level the playing field. Everywhere she goes, she creates opportunities for East Texans. This race is based on helping more East Texans understand that she is already doing more for them than most incumbents. She is the person who brought mental health services for veterans and military families to 14 counties which were not served. She is the person who is bringing housing for homeless veterans to East Texas. She is the person who has brought a medical training program and nursing program to an East Texas college which had none. She is the person who has already brought jobs to East Texas. Her strategy is to continue doing what she knows is right and communicating with others. Might not be the "sexiest" strategy but it is an honest strategy by an incredible Texan. 

Even out in District 11 there is life this year. Jennie Lou Leeder is running in a district which runs just west of Dallas all the way to the New Mexico Border. It takes over 7 1/2 hours to drive from one side of the district to the other. They haven't had a Democratic candidate jump in and attempt a serious campaign there in decades. Jennie Lou is a 2nd generation High School coach and school counselor. She is also a former Democratic County Chair. Folks know her there and she understands them. She carried every precinct in her home county in a contested primary. She knows that there aren't enough Democrats on the voter rolls to win. That is not a deterrent to her. Her strategy doesn't rely on just reaching the few folks who have voted Democrat in a district where frew Democrats have run. She is building political infrastructure and she might astound everyone and win this one.

7. One advantage few people mention is that when incumbents have not been truly challenged in a while, they forget how to run. They stop paying to train their campaign staffs if they don't have to fight to win. Give them enough free rides and they end up like first time candidates, having to build a campaign organization in one election cycle.

Truly, anything can happen in the Lone Star State this year. It won't be easy. The districts are still gerrymandered. The distances to travel are greater in several districts than the land mass of six to nine states combined. There are 22 media markets and most districts include many different media markets. However, this is Texas. Things are rarely easy in Texas. Watching these folks run is a better show than watching most H

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Wise Women Won't Wait Any More: Wow! What an Army Nurse!

By Faith Chatham Feb. 15, 2018

An article in the Longview News Journal earlier this month discounted US Texas 1st District Democratic Primary congressional candidate Dr. Shirley J. McKellar, PhD, RN, Maj. (ret) as "just an Army Nurse."


My response is:
McKellar has created more jobs in East Texas than most governmental programs. In addition the two businesses mentioned in this article, she is responsible for helping meet the mental health needs of 12 East Texas counties military families and veterans. As an officer on the Veterans Administration Mental Health Advocacy Council, she is "at the table" fighting to restore cuts to women's mental health services and to expand mental health services for all veterans. 

Instead of just talking about supporting veterans, McKellar puts her talent and personal resources into helping veterans. Last year she attended a ribbon cutting for a housing complex in Dallas for Homeless Veterans. She asked: "How can we get a similar one in East Texas." She did not let the current party of the majority of Congress or the current occupants of the  White House deter her. She pulled together a steering committee of local stakeholders, donated some of her own land, and worked diligently with HUD and the VA to "make it happen." On March 3rd there will be a ground breaking for the new complex in Smith County where homeless veterans can use their VA Benefits to buy their own condos.

For 20 years she operated an early childhood education center in Tyler which provided care and education until midnight 7 days a week for infants through 13 year olds. When she was deployed to the Middle East that facility closed. However, she has tracked the progress of the children they served. EVERY child served by that center has graduated from High School and gone to college. One is currently in law school. That program could serve as a pilot program for how to do it right!

Shirley McKellar understands that the more responsibility you have the more you don't know which you need to know. Therefore she is always learning. She has a PhD in nursing, a MS in Criminal Justice and has almost completed a masters in Political Science.

Her expertise in economic development, small business incubation, job creation and non-profit organization equips her to serve the people of this district. During Mr. Gohmert's tenure the unemployment rate and number of persons living in poverty in most of the district has escalated. Shirley McKellar listens to people, verifies and researches, collaborates and brings solutions that serve people. This is the leadership we need in Congress. 


Someone with the Longview News referred to her as "just an Army Nurse!" 
--She is "just an army nurse" who implemented much of the women's health care for the US Military in the European Theatre. 
--She is just an army nurse who established the only comprehensive breast center in the US Military serving men and women. 
--She is just the army nurse who partnered with UT Medical School to determine why the mortality rate for men and women of color who have breast cancer is significantly greater than for white women and to look for treatments which give better outcomes. 
--She is also the Army Nurse who co-founded (with UT Medical School) the African American Breast Cancer Awareness. 

Somehow, I think the best outcome for East Texas in 2018 is for Louie Gohmert to be replaced with this "just an army nurse!"



Donate to Shirley McKellar for Congress at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/justarmynurse?refcode=ArmyNurse

Related Publications

The Arlington Texan, a portal to news and coverage of issues and events of and about Arlington, Texas. DFW Regional Concerned Citizens is a sister-site of Grassroots News You Can Use. Visitors can subscribe to issues-specific and county specific action alerts using a simple form on the site. About Air and Water focuses on DFW Regional air quality and water/gas drilling issues. We welcome your feedback.