This post originally appeared on MSNBC.com
The last time a Democrat was elected to statewide office in Texas, pagers were still cool.
The era of Ann Richards and beepers may be long gone now. But 20 years, and a generation of smart phones later, Democrats are plotting a resurgence.
And leading the charge are two women, Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte, at the top of the Democratic ticket running for governor and lt. governor respectively.
Republicans, however, are fighting hard to keep alive the rotary phone days with a cast of ultra conservative white males seeking to defeat Davis and her running mate.
The likely GOP candidate for governor, Attorney General Greg Abbott is as conservative as they come. A close friend to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, Abbott too has made waves on the national stage. He has stood out in curtailing the voice of minority communities. Before the Supreme Court struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Abbott was at the helm of defending Texas’ strict voter ID law. Continue Reading
This post originally appeared on NBCLatino
It’s finally official. Texas state senator Leticia Van de Putte, otherwise known as LVP, is running for Lieutenant Governor next year.
This is a big deal and I’ll get to that in a minute. But first, a little background on the potential first Latina Lt. Governor of Texas.
It was 1990 and LVP was working as a pharmacist, raising six kids, all under the age of 9, and serving as a precinct chair in San Antonio. And as precinct chair it was her job to interview candidates to fill the vacancy to a local state house seat. After interviewing the half a dozen gentlemen running for the position she came away unimpressed and said as much to her husband – who suggested she run. She took him up on his suggestion, ran and won.
After serving a decade in the Texas House of Representatives LVP successfully ran for the state Senate seat she currently holds. Throughout her political career in the state house and senate Van de Putte has become a leading voice on veteran’s affairs, education, and economic development.
But beyond a particular issue, LVP’s brand has been that of making sure she’s at the table asking about the people who aren’t, whether that’s the veteran suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, the newly naturalized citizen from Vietnam who can’t read the ballot, or the Latina who is worried about her access to mammograms. LVP forces her colleagues, the majority of which are white affluent males, to put themselves in someone else’s shoes or at least listen to what she has to say. Continue Reading
This post originally appeared on NBCLatino.
Even before he had the presidential nomination George W. Bush hammered home the importance of treating immigrants with dignity and respect. And he wasn’t just doing this in Latino heavy primary states such as Texas or Florida. He was sticking his neck out for immigrants and immigration reform in the small towns of middle America.
Once elected, President Bush sought to put into practice what he had campaigned on –overhauling our immigration system. Between his inauguration in 2001 and the 9/11 attacks President Bush met with Mexican President Vicente Fox nine times to develop a comprehensive bi-lateral immigration reform.
In the words of former Mexican foreign minister, Jorge Castaneda, President Bush wanted the “whole enchilada” – he wanted a reform that combined a pathway to legalization, a guest worker program, and increased border security.
On September 6, 2001 both Presidents Bush and Fox publically endorsed a framework for comprehensive immigration reform to be completed by the end of the year. But five days later everything changed with the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Immigration reform wasn’t even put on the back burner, it was taken off the stove.
But in the lead up to the 2004 election, President Bush once again made room for immigration on the policy stove. The first week of January 2004 the President gave a major speech on immigration. He outlined a plan that would provide undocumented immigrants legal status and ultimately citizenship.