Major progressive campaign academy sets up shop in Houston

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As part of the avalanche of Democratic events before and after Thursday’s presidential primary debate in Houston, Arena, a national non-profit organization, will be training the next generation of progressive leaders nationwide.

The group, which is spending $4.5 million to train over 1,000 campaign staffers by 2020, is holding a massive training session Friday in Houston that will showcase progressive trainees, 65% of whom are women and 57% people of color. Arena’s mission is to bring more equilibrium to the white and male-dominant business of politics by investing in professional development of campaign staff at all levels.

“For too long, the Democratic Party has ignored certain states deemed ‘inelastically red,’” said Kate Catherall, co-founder and senior partner at Arena, in a statement to The Signal. “Texas is on the verge of going blue—but it will take serious organizing in the Latinx and Black communities that have long been overlooked, and a push to invest in qualified, diverse candidates and campaign staff.”

Women and people of color, Catherall added, are “the future of the Texas Democratic Party. To continue winning in Texas, we need to train staff that can reach those voters.”

At the Houston training, multiple Texas-based groups will be speaking, including Battleground Texas, Harris County Democratic Party, Texas Democratic Party, and the Texas Civil Rights Project. Attendees will be joined by Kamala Harris’s senior advisor Emmy Ruiz, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, congressional candidate Gina Ortiz Jones, and leadership from Emily’s List and Run for Something.

U.S. Rep. Colin Allred of Dallas and Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor of Georgia last year, are Arena alumnae. 

Also this week in Houston, on Wednesday, a national doctors’ group is sounding the alarm on President Trump and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s efforts to end the Affordable Care Act, which has provided more than one million Texans with health insurance. 

On Thursday, the Texas Democratic Party is hosting a debate watch party and a midnight rally at Hughes Manor. Democratic presidential candidates are expected to attend.

Photo: Twitter @arenasummit

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