After Rallying Party Faithful, Texas Democrats Get Back on Campaign Trail
At their statewide convention in Dallas over the weekend, the top Democratic nominees took the stage and the party set its priorities for the upcoming year. Texas Democratic Party leaders urged the party faithful to knock on doors and make phone calls to change the political color of the state. State Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, chair of the convention, was among them.
"I’m crazy enough to believe, and I hope you are too, that we can do big things better if we turn Texas blue," Sen. West said.
State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, and fellow party leaders dedicated much of the time to promoting their candidates, especially the two women at the top of the ticket – State Sens. Wendy Davis from Fort Worth and Leticia Van de Putte from San Antonio.
"These two fighters have put more fight in Democrats like never before," he said. "We’ve got to stand and fight for Wendy and Leticia because they can’t win this battle alone."
Rep. Martinez Fischer says the fight is to fund pre-school education and public schools, to lower college tuition, raise the minimum wage and push for changes in the nation's immigration system.
Sen. Van de Putte made a point of talking up the fact that she's a Latina.
"Leticia Van de Putte -- a grandmother, that is Leticia San Miguel Van de Putte from the barrio and I’m a Tejana, and I’m a Texas Democrat," she shouted.
Wendy Davis concluded Friday night, after her daughters, Dru and Amber, introduced her.
"I accept your nomination as the Democratic nominee to be the next governor of Texas!" she said, to a roar of cheers and applause. "Now, you guys don’t clap too much or Greg Abbott will sue you! He says he goes to work, he sues the federal government and he goes home," she added.
Instead, Democrats spoke about wanting to work with the federal government, in areas like expanding Medicaid eligibility to insure more people in Texas.
Gilberto Hinojosa, the chair of the Texas Democratic Party, who was re-elected to his position at the convention, says the platform hasn’t changed much.
"Our platform is very similar to what we’ve had before," Hinojosa said. "It’s completely in line with what most Texans believe in."
The platform includes support for marriage equality and abortion rights. He said what’s different about the platform is how much it contrasts from the Republican Party.
"They’re talking about therapy for members of the LGBT community," he said. "The only reparative therapy we need today is reparative therapy for Tea Party Republicans. We need to give them some therapy and tell them this is the year 2014."
Overall, Democrats didn’t make waves at the convention except for when Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced that Dallas is planning to take in roughly 2,000 unaccompanied minors in Texas illegally and give them temporary shelter.