Battleground Texas, one of the largest organizations dedicated to flipping the state blue, recently announced they hired a new Executive Director: Terry Bermea. A native of the Rio Grande Valley, Bermea is poised to bring a new energy to the group as it prepares for a massive organizing endeavor ahead of the 2022 election
Texas Signal spoke with Bermea about the goals of Battleground Texas, and how her background plays a major role in how she views campaign organizing. A veteran of numerous campaigns, including as an Organizing Director for the Texas Democratic Party, Bermea is the first woman of color to lead Battleground Texas.
Like many Texans, Bermea did not grow up in a politically active family. The daughter of a single mother navigating several jobs, Bermea became acquainted with politics through the aunt of her best friend who was running for office. Bermea credits that candidate for walking her through the political process, and for getting her registered to vote. Bermea believes that there are plenty of similar stories all throughout Texas. “It’s our job to find as many people as possible that need to realize their power, and they can make a difference,” said Bermea.
That type of relational organizing is a major component of what Bermea would like to see from staff members and volunteers with Battleground Texas. She points to the work that can be done organizing with family, friends, or even a place like a coffee shop. “Data shows that has a huge impact on actually creating a voter and turning them out,” said Bermea.
Bermea also recognizes that Texas is a massive state, and understanding the differences in regions is a huge endeavor to ultimately turning the state democratic. “The Valley compared to El Paso, people care about different things in different regions,” notes Bermea. Any effective organizational strategy is going to have to be tailored to each region of Texas.
Organizing in 2020 was obviously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bermea has hopes about safely returning to knocking on doors and starting one-on-one personal interactions. Still, she thinks that some form of hybrid programming will remain at Battleground Texas. “One thing that I saw [in 2020]: because there was a virtual space, people from anywhere could actively participate in Texas.”
Even before the 2022 campaign cycle kicks into gear, there are some looming challenges, like a special session on redistricting and the likely passage of voter suppression bill Senate Bill 7. For Bermea, those very real hazards are a sign that Texas is hugely important in the electoral landscape. “We wouldn’t see these horrible bills being passed if it wasn’t a battleground state,” said Bermea.