DALLAS, Texas–Texas Democrats are holding their convention this week in Dallas from June 26th to June 28th. They are touting the event as “the biggest Texas Democratic State Convention yet.” The website for the convention urges democrats to attend to “celebrate our Texas Promise … It is our promise that Texas’ best days have yet to come.” The host of the 2014 Texas Democratic Convention is Senator Royce West, a state senator from Dallas County.
Keynote speakers scheduled for the convention are the Democratic nominees for Governor, Lt. Governor, and U.S. Senate – Wendy Davis, Leticia Van de Putte, and David Alameel. Houston Mayor Annise Parker is also a speaker. Parker is making headlines for her city ordinance that forces women’s restrooms to be open to men. Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa, and Kirk Watson, Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus and former Mayor of Austin, are also serving as speakers at the convention.
The State Democratic Party Executive Committee meeting began at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 26th. The kickoff reception was that evening in the Dallas Ballroom at the Omni Hotel. Issue and Senate District Caucuses and the first plenary session of the convention will be held on Friday. Parties are held that evening. The last day of the convention is Saturday, June 28th. Convention Committees will meet and rules, platform, resolution, and nominations of party officers will be made prior to training sessions.
The Texas Democratic Party website describes the training offered as “a great opportunity to learn new and innovative ideas and techniques from experts in Democratic politics.” The progressive technology company NGP VAN is hosting two separate education sessions. One is called “Harnessing the Power of Big Data: The Key to a Blue Texas.” This session will discuss the benefits of using Votebuilder, “the technology that powers Democratic campaigns from the White House to the state house.” They tout its “innovative Social Organizing tool.” The second session is “Take the Money & Run: Effective Fundraising with NGP VAN.” It is publicized as a tool which can “help campaigns, from the state house to city hall, run a more effective operation in the quest to turn Texas blue.”
A session entitled “The Neighborhood Team Model” by the Wendy Davis Campaign, Battleground Texas, and Davis Campaign Field Director Victoria Zyp, is designed to show how using their organizing model will help Wendy Davis win. The Wendy Davis Campaign and Battleground Texas’ “Persuading Undecided Voters” will teach how advanced analytics and modeling help Democrats “target the voters most likely to be persuaded by [their] efforts, and what messages resonate with them.” In that session they will look at the research and data behind their program and teach “the elements and structure of an effective persuasion conversation, and role-play issues-based conversations with voters.”
The Texas Democrats also have a session from Texas Freedom Network on stopping the State Board of Education “revisionists” from “teach[ing] students that the separation of church and state is a myth, that slavery was not the primary cause of the Civil War, and that women should thank men for giving them the right to vote.” They say they want to help “ensure Texas students get accurate, honest history books.”
Democrat Comptroller nominee, Mike Collier, and Real Values for Texas, are hosting a session called “Unfair Property Tax Appraisals: Helping Texas Families Fight Back.” The website claims that the session will “break down how Glenn Hegar and the Texas GOP have rigged the property tax system to hurt Texas families and what we can do to fix it.”
A session on immigration reform is described as, “including what Congressman Cantor’s primary loss means for reform. Additionally, we will provide easy action items on issues affecting the Texan immigrant community such as lobbying against programs that separate families and priorities for the 84th legislature.”
Other classes include: Annie’s List: “Running for Office: An Introduction“; “Growing Your Club“; “A Case Study in Precinct Organizing“; NARAL: “Finding Common Ground on Reproductive Rights“; Texas AFL-CIO on “Stopping the American Legislative Exchange Council (“ALEC”) and School Privatization“; the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty; and “Voter ID Basics.”
Follow Lana Shadwick on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.