Sunday, November 19, 2017

Kathi Thomas, progressive Texan: "The Difference Between Running To Be Elected And Running To Serve"


TX-25 is another one of those gerrymandered Texas districts created as part of Tom DeLay's plan to disenfranchise Democratic voters. It twists and turns and winds its way from East Austin and the UT campus west and and south to Dripping Springs and north through Lake Travis and Gatesville all the way up to Burleson in the Fort Worth suburbs. There are 13 counties in the district, most of the voters living in Travis, Johnson, Hayes, Burnet and Coryell counties. McCain beat Obama there 56-43% and Romney did even better-- 60-38%. Trump underperformed both McCain and Romney, but he still beat Hillary 55.1% to 40.2%. The PVI went from an R+12 to an R+11. Still very tough ground for a Democrat-- though not nearly as tough as the Oklahoma state senate district where progressive Democrat Allison Ikley-Freeman beat Republican Brian O'Hara last week. Trump beat Hillary in that district by nearly 40 points! Races Beltway prognosticators said were "impossible"-- like TX-02 (Poe), TX-06 (Barton), TX-07 (Culberson), TX-10 (McCaul), TX-14 (Weber), TX-21 (open), TX-22 (Olson), TX-24 (Marchant) TX-25 (Roger Williams), TX-27 (Farenthold), TX-31 (Carter), TX-32 (sessions) and even TX-36 (Babin) are all, at least theoretically, in play. The DCCC is so not taking any of these seats seriously, that the imbecile chairman, Ben Ray Lujan, hasn't even used the several months since Jared Polis resigned as regional vice chair to find a replacement. Texas doesn't have one at all. Brilliant.

Anyway, back to TX-25. Progressive activist Kathi Thomas is the leading candidate, although Chetan Panda, Chris Perri and Julie Oliver are also in the race. In 2016 Williams spent $1,189,561 to Kathi Thomas' $50,015 and beat her 180,988 (58.3%) to 117,073 (37.7%). Williams is a far right crooked used car salesman, a multimillionaire scam artist who has been under various ethics investigations since he wormed his way into Congress by self-funding to the tune of $330,000. I asked Kathi to introduce herself to DWT readers, using a story she told me on the phone about her motivations for running. This is worth reading:
My Texas roots go back to before Texas was a state, but my daughter is an immigrant, born in Guatemala. We adopted her as a baby. She became a U.S. Citizen when, holding her in my arms, my feet touched American soil. She’s 16 now, and will have her driver’s license soon. Obviously Latina, she carries a copy of her Certificate of Citizenship everywhere in case she is stopped and asked for “her papers.” We’ve had that difficult discussion about what she says if she’s pulled over. She’s to say, “I’m an American citizen, I was born in Guatemala and adopted as a baby, but I’m American.” At a recent candidates’ forum, a Latino man told me that it seemed like all the candidates were saying the right things about what’s going on with Latinos and the xenophobia, but I had “real empathy,” because it was my family.

I've been a strong advocate for equality, public schools and social justice for many years, through my church and as an individual. I've been a school band director, worked in the corporate world for a floral wire service, and I know firsthand how difficult it is to grow a small business from scratch. I started mine 27 years ago. I'm a parent and a wife; the product of a hard-working middle-class family, public schools, and state university. I think this broad background makes me a stronger candidate, because I can relate to many different people through my experiences.

I am well-known in the District, particularly in the three most populous counties: Travis, Johnson, and Hays. I was the CD-25 Democratic nominee in 2016. That provides unmatched name recognition. I've worked on behalf of progressive issues for years, and with my 16-year-old daughter facing an uncertain future, I'm not about to quit now. We must leave this Earth a better place for our children.

Although the primary will likely be won by the sheer number of Travis County Dem voters, for the general election, the more rural areas have most of votes to cast. I grew up in a small town in the Piney Woods area of southeast Texas, and easily connect with folks living in small towns across the District. We speak the same language and share the same Texas values. My faith is important to me. I'm comfortable talking about progressive Democratic values as supportive to my faith. In short, like my faith teaches, I care for people. That pulls the rug out from under far right-wingers who claim they're people of faith, like Roger Williams.

Williams says "faith, family and country matter the most" to him, but then he takes positions that don't align with any faith with which I'm familiar. I don't know what kind of country he wants, but it sure as heck isn't the kind that most of us want for our kids. It seems like the only family that matters to him is his own. All his stances on the issues support the richest of the rich, and while CD-25 is slightly above average in income for Texas, Williams does not support the typical constituent. He’s even right of his own party on gun control. When other Texas Republicans were saying we need to reconsider bump-stocks, he said it was a left-wing knee-jerk reaction.

How do I beat him? He's voted to cut Medicaid time and again-the vital federal program that keeps most rural and country hospitals open. It isn't just healthcare for people that’s affected, but also jobs where rural hospitals are often the first- or second-largest employer in the county. He also supports school vouchers. That just does not align with rural Texas where public schools are the heart and soul of the town. Vouchers divert precious resources from those institutions and will cause irreparable harm. You’ve seen it across Texas--there was even a TV show devoted to this slice of Texas culture. Friday nights in the fall find just about everyone in small towns at the football games.

I'm not kidding myself, it won't be easy, but my opponent has come out of the closet as a right-wing ideologue who refuses even to meet with his constituents in open forums.

We are implementing a strategic plan of attack. We're block-walking in neighborhoods that lend themselves to it. A personal letter-writing campaign from supporters helps get the word out in more rural areas. And we have been visiting every county in CD-25.

Another big plus, unlike Williams, I live in the District and have for two decades. When I tell folks that Roger doesn't live in it, they're shocked, and many times, angry. If we get someone who doesn't have the deep roots I've got in the District, we lose true representation of the voters.

Goal ThermometerI know it is easy to say you're progressive, but it is a different thing to be able to show results. I introduced forward thinking resolutions years ago at our County Democratic Conventions. Two examples: support to decriminalize cannabis and to endorse marriage equality. I'm a longtime advocate of prison reform, healthcare for all (universal, not just Medicare for All.) I've been active in our local community in our schools with many support groups including PTA. I testified many times for public education at the Texas State Capitol.

A friend of mine told me, “There’s a difference between running to be elected and running to serve. You’re running to serve.” That sums it up quite nicely. I do want to serve the people of Congressional District 25.

To do that, our campaign needs support. We're running a lean, grassroots campaign but even efficiency needs donations and volunteers. I will appreciate whatever you can do to help me serve the people of TX CD-25.

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At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There, perhaps surprisingly, are many progressive Texans. The problem has always been that there are far more racist, regressive, Nazi Texans, and they ALL vote ALWAYS.


And, again, even if elected, Pelosi will neuter anything you try to accomplish that does not serve her corporate and billionaire donors.

At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If 'running to serve' means the same thing as 'running to make the lives of the 99% better... or bearable', then you have no business running in the same party as Pelosi, hoyer, scummer and the rest. They guarantee that the 99% will never be served by their party. Otherwise, 'running to serve' means serving the money that Pelosi, scummer and the rest take in graft for that service.

Pelosi and scummer wield infinitely more power than the 30 best Ds because they buy it from the rest and because voters never take it away from them.


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