“Here’s to the troublemakers”: Labor Day letter from Linda Chavez-Thompson, candidate for Lt. Gov.

September 6, 2010

Worrying about education on Labor Day, with good reason — I get e-mail from the woman who would make a great lieutenant governor in Texas:

Queridos Amigos,

As you light up the grill and enjoy some well-deserved relaxation with family and friends, I hope you will take a moment to reflect on a question I like to ask myself every Labor Day. 

What kind of trouble am I willing to cause?

We forget how indebted we are to a brave group of forgotten heroes, all of who were labeled troublemakers in their day.  They bucked the status quo, stepping out of line to stand up for the dignity of every human being. Their bravery was often met with a baton, or the butt of a pistol, but they showed that the human spirit can not be silenced.

Their names seldom make the history books, but we owe these troublemakers for many of the blessings we take for granted today —including the 40-hour work week, a minimum wage, vacations, and child labor laws.

So what are we willing to step out of line for?

This past Saturday a group of over 30 volunteers joined my campaign team to go door-to-door in Brownsville, Texas.  I want to send a special thanks to County Commissioners John Wood and Sophia Benavides, as well as Jared Hockema, the Vice Chair of the Cameron County Democratic Party for helping inspire the crowd.

Stirring up their own brand of trouble, they got South Texas parents to sign the “Linda Chavez Thompson Today, Tomorrow and November 2nd Pledge” — pledging to do more to help kids succeed in school, to stand up for candidates who support education, and pledging to show up a the polls on November 2nd.

Today millions of jobs are being created in science, technology, engineering and math.  But instead of investing in education so our kids can compete for these jobs, Rick Perry and David Dewhurst and have led the Texas economy to the greatest share of minimum wage jobs.

We can do better. And in real conversations in Brownsville, Texas, parents and grandparents told us time and again they want more for their kids.

Labor Day is here folks.  Enjoy your time with family today.  Give thanks for all your blessings.  And then get ready to step out of line and challenge the status quo.

Here’s to the troublemakers,

Linda Chavez-Thompson

Teachers make great trouble, as everyone knows — which is why Socrates was condemned to death, why Booker T. Washington is so feared, and why the world’s greatest democrats always support education — like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson, to mention a few education-supporting presidents.

Strike a blow against ignorance:  Give a few bucks to Chavez-Thompson’s campaign, or sign up to help out if you live in Texas.

Republicans in trouble in Texas

August 18, 2010

Four years ago, while few were watching, Democrats took every county post in Dallas County, Texas, previously a bastion of Republican votes.  Not even normally-Democratic-leaning Harris County (Houston, nor Bexar County (San Antonio), went so blue.

In Corpus Christi in July, Democrats were wowed by a slate of powerful state-wide off candidates — Bill White, very successful, pro-business Mayor of Houston nominated for governor, a firebrand of a woman named Linda Chavez-Thompson to make Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst sweat and run from debates, and Hector Uribe for Texas Land Commissioner, and others. White is leading Gov. Rick Perry in fundraising.

The rest of the state is waking up, too.  A blog at the Austin American-Statesman looked around the ethical challenges to Texas Republicans, and figured out that the Texas House of Representatives could very well go Democratic.

Lots to get to today as [Joe] Driver takes a hit, we learn more about the state’s budget problems and thousands of prison workers could be out of work.

While the split between 77 Republicans and 73 Democrats in the Texas House is close enough that there has always been a legitimate battle for partisan control in 2010, most objective observers have long said Republicans are likely to keep a House majority heading into next year. For one thing, it’s a Republican year, and for another, GOP groups seem better-organized and better-funded than usual, and for another, we already know of one seat (Wichita Falls) that is likely to switch from Democrat to Republican because of an incumbent’s retirement.

Well, this thing just got more interesting.

Jay Root of the Associated Press reports in this morning’s papers that Rep. Joe Driver, an 18-year-legislator, has been getting reimbursements from the state for legislative-related travel and other expenses paid by his campaign, to the tune of $17,431.

From Root’s story: “A north Texas state representative who rails against the evils of runaway government spending admitted Monday that he has pocketed thousands of dollars in taxpayer money for travel expenses that his campaign had already funded. Rep. Joe Driver, R-Garland, faced with findings from an investigation by The Associated Press, acknowledged in an interview that for years he has been submitting the same receipts — for luxury hotels, airline tickets, meals, fees and incidentals — to both his campaign and to the Texas House of Representatives. He has also been collecting thousands of dollars in state mileage reimbursements for travel in vehicles for which his campaign has shelled out more than $100,000 since 2000. The AP’s review of hundreds of pages of state and campaign travel records found that Driver double-billed for at least $17,431.55 in travel expenses, much of it at fancy out-of-state hotels, since 2005. The number could go higher, but House travel records before mid-2005 have already been destroyed. Driver has been in office for 18 years. The double-billing figure does not include the vehicle expenses.”

What’s almost as amazing as the story itself is Driver’s reaction to the findings. His initial effort at damage control made Linda Harper-Brown look like Karen Hughes.

“Now you’re scaring the heck out of me,” Driver told the AP, adding: “It pretty well screws my week.”

Ya think?

Later in the story, Driver says, “If I knew it was wrong, I wouldn’t have done it that way. I wouldn’t have done it just to make money.”

In Driver’s defense, he did warn us that he wasn’t a numbers guy.

Driver’s campaign actually did put out a real defense Monday night. Here it is, in its entirety:

“After reviewing the facts with ethics specialists in the Texas House it is clear that an inadvertent mistake was made in my campaign expenses.”

Republicans grow desperate.  Stay tuned to Texas, and send money to Democrats if you can.

Here’s Hector Uribe at the State Democratic Convention:

Texas Democrat candidate won’t shake Obama’s hand

August 9, 2010

Some e-mail is more entertaining than others.

Linda Chavez-Thompson, the firebrand candidate for Texas Lieutenant Governor who has incumbent David Dewhurst so rattled he can’t debate her, was scheduled to introduce President Obama at an appearance in Austin today.

Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Gov. Linda Chavez-Thompson

Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Gov. Linda Chavez-Thompson, on the view screen, addressing the Texas Democratic Convention in June - photo by Ed Darrell

Chavez-Thompson might be expected to shake his hand first, but she said no.  Let her explain it:


As you may already know, President Obama came to Texas today. And no, I didn’t shake his hand.

I walked up straight to him, stared him in the eye, and greeted him with a warm abrazo (hug).  Because that’s the way you greet a fellow laborer.

And yes, I consider Barack Obama a laborer.  As I told the crowd while introducing the President at the DNC event:

“He’s taken on the economy.  He’s taken on health care.  He’s taken on Wall Street.  And he doesn’t back down.

What he does do, and Texans respect this, is extend his hand across the aisle in a spirit of bi-partisanship.  After all, the challenges Americans and Texas families face don ‘t come with a Party label on them.

But when his offer is not reciprocated, he does what any Texan would do. He does the work himself, because at the end of the day the work still has to get done.

There’s nothing brave about ignoring problems.  We had eight years of that.  Bravery is going out in the hot sun and doing the hard work it takes to make things grow.

And that’s coming from the daughter of a cotton sharecropper, so I know what I’m talking about.”

For too long Rick Perry and David Dewhurst have been ignoring the problems in Texas.  Today Texas has the highest share of minimum wage jobs in the country, and even the Texas Association Business has warned that we will not be able to compete for the higher paying jobs because too many students are walking out of high school without a diploma.

I’m traveling across Texas to hold Rick Perry and David Dewhurst accountable.  And believe me, this isn’t about politics — it’s a responsibility we all owe to our children and grandchildren.

I’ve never been afraid to go out into the hot sun and do the hard work it takes, but I need your help.  Your contribution of $25, $35, $50, or whatever you can afford will help me spread the word and let Texans  know what’s really at stake this election.

As I told the President when I welcomed him to Texas, I wasn’t just speaking for myself, but “for the millions of Texans who voices are too seldom heard.”

Please contribute what you can today and together we’ll make sure the voices of working Texans are heard.

Un abrazo a ti también,

Linda Chavez-Thompson

You might do well to send her campaign $5.00, or $500 if you can afford it.

Linda Chavez-Thompson wowed the 2010 Texas Democratic Convention - IMGP4286

Linda Chavez-Thompson wowed the 2010 Texas Democratic Convention in Corpus Christi - photo by Ed Darrell

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