SignalCast — Special Session Agenda and Chat with Legislative Staffer

by | Jul 8, 2021 | Podcast, Politics

As Texas GOP Chair Allen West enters the race for Governor we discuss what’s on the special session agenda, what CPAC is, and get an inside view of how capitol staffers feel about being defunded.

You can listen to this episode using the link below or read the transcript.

JD: (00:02)

Hey folks. Welcome back to another episode of the Texas signals signal cast. I’m your host, JD and I’m here with my co-host for the day. DL.

DL: (00:24)

Joe as always going to be here?

JD: (00:25)

Yeah. So this is sort of a, another special edition of the podcast. This one, specifically to talk about the special session that kicks off tomorrow on Thursday, July 8th, and also there’s a couple of other news headlines, like a new entrance into the governor’s race and how that is sort of shaping the call that we’re going to see coming up tomorrow, which was just announced today, the day before special session, we finally get the agenda. So what are you thinking about that? Have you taken a look at the agenda for the special session?

DL: (01:02)

Yes. Like, like, like all of all people who are trying to keep up with the special session that’s been looming, you know, even since before the regular spring session. And then we’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting and Governor Abbott really in typical fashion decided to really leave his hanging to the last second feeling, the feeling a sense of suspense. And, and as we anticipated it’s loaded with a number of scary and, and very consequential actions. So if you’d like, we could, we can run through them for folks just to do a quick overview.

JD: (01:43)

Yeah. And speaking of overviews, just for folks who don’t know what a special session is, basically you, the constitution of Texas gives 140 days every other year for legislators to come together and essentially pass first and foremost, the budget for the two years. And then after that, any legislation that they write, and of course they can get past. In this case, there was a whole slew of conservative red meat issues that did not get passed during the regular session. So the governor who we know is running for reelection and something that he may be thinking bigger in 2024 is coming back with a full slate of issues that they didn’t get past. I think the number one thing Democrats should be focused on right now is talking about the failure of the governor to get any of these things passed, that they thought they were priorities during the regular session when they had full control of the government.

JD: (02:40)

And so now here we are wasting taxpayers’ money and time to do things that actually ultimately hurt a lot of Texans and do really nothing for anyone, but governor Abbott and his sort of feature political aspiration. So with that, yes, I think we should kind of go down and look at what some, these things are. I’ll name a couple, and then you can tell me if anything else stands out for you. But I think they are a lot of stuff that we’ve been hearing about over the last several months from sort of right-wing and Maga world. And, and then there’s a couple of things that are hidden in there that almost seemed like, well, this seems like a good idea, but just know that those things are there so that they can use them to say, why aren’t Democrats here to take care of teachers..

JD: (03:26)

We have no idea why they wouldn’t want to support something like this. One reality. These are poison pills that are inserted in there so that they can get some of these other extreme agenda items pass, because if they cared about teachers or anything else in here, they would have done it already. So let’s start from the top. I think the one that we anticipate the most is a Redux of the SB seven voter suppression bill, and that is coming back under the title of election integrity. So that will be something that we have to look out for more things about border security something called social media censorship, which is they, they claim, you know, social media companies are censoring conservatives, and yet at the same time, another issue on the call is critical race theory which is a umbrella term now that they use to basically censor history. And since they’re teachers, they’re concerned about social media censoring them, but they’re totally okay with state censorship of our teachers and of our history and teaching our history in the classroom.

DL: (04:32)

And Joe, before we kind of reformed for those who aren’t familiar with SB seven, or need a quick refresher, can you run through real quick, some of the key components of it?

JD: (04:43)

Well, it’s unclear what they’re going to be doing this time around because there are several policy proposals with NSP seven that Republicans claim never should have been there. And they had no idea how they got in there. One of which was the ability to overturn any election without proving any fraud existed. Another was changing the election day hours on Sundays that, you know, essentially what target the ability to go to to the polls, right after church, which is something that is popularly done in the African-American community. Other things would be you know, banning late night voting. And we saw that was huge and places like Harris county. And so there were just a number of drive through voting is another one. They were banned drive through voting, which was a very convenient and used by both Republicans and Democrats in high numbers over the last election cycle you know, allowing basically anyone to to stand outside and intimidate voters is another aspect of SB seven. So it’s just a grab bag of voter suppression issues. And they’re going to try to fit as many into one bill as they can.

DL: (05:54)

Thank you. Yeah, very, very well put. And, and, and, you know, again, for those who are a little less familiar with these special sessions, essentially, it’s like overtime in sports, but it’s not entertaining. It’s not fun. And it’s, you know, it’s harmful for all who are, who are participating, who care about the health of our democracy. And I know Jim, you just mentioned several of those priorities that the governor just released today. But there were a few others too wrapped up in there. There are so many, it’s hard to kind of keep track. One of which is focused on, it says it’s focused on bail reform and the description laid out where the governor’s legislation reforming the bail system in Texas to protect the public from accused criminals who may be released on bail. So what this essentially is doing is trying to push back and override a lot of the more municipal efforts to get rid of cash bail because of the disproportionate backs it as on, on low-income communities especially, and I think this really kind of speaks to the governor’s stance on these things to say, protect the public from accused criminals.

DL: (07:01)

Right. You know, the idea of

JD: (07:04)

Honestly, obviously they haven’t been convicted. So,

DL: (07:08)

So you’re gonna have people who spend months behind bars while they’re accused of something. It hasn’t even been they haven’t even been sentenced to anything. And so the government is trying to keep that kind of a system in place and override. Again, a lot of them were city and municipal efforts. Another one, you know, there was a lot of attention paid to Abbott’s and Lieutenant governor Dan Patrick’s efforts to to, to, to, to target a youth Texas youth who are, who are trans and, and their ability to participate in, in youth sports, on, on teams of, of, of their, their affirmed gender. And so that failed in the spring. And again, they’re bringing that back. That was Senate bill 29. So that is the bill that just refuses to die as well. And then one more was a bill that governor Abbott received a lot, a lot of attention, but maybe not enough of for vetoing at the end of the regular session, which would have established curriculum within schools to inform children. And middle-schoolers about family violence and domestic abuse. And he vetoed that because he says it didn’t give parents the option to opt out. And so he wants to give families a chance to opt out about informing their kids about family violence.

JD: (08:34)

Yeah. I wonder what parents would maybe want to opt their kids out of learning about abuse in the home. And you know, one of the other things we should mention too, is about the funding of the, the, the staff and, and that he vetoed what’s called article 10 of the budget article 10 of the budget is where the funding for legislative staff is, is, and, and so he’s using this in sort of to hold staff hostage so that legislators will pass all these really bad bills. And in return, he will refund supposedly the staff salaries. The interesting thing is he keeps saying that he’s not gonna pay people to not show up for work, but that’s a lie because legislators salaries are actually in the constitution. So the governor can’t veto that he can only veto their staff who had nothing to do with any of the political myths.

JD: (09:34)

They’re just state employees. And it’s thousands of them thousands of staff. I mean, we’re talking about staff that had nothing to do with, with legislature, the legislative branch necessarily because they may be custodians in the, in the, in the building where they worked for the legislative budget board, or they’re just simply attorneys that helped draft the policy. And, and so this is really going to be devastating for a lot of Texas families. And it just shows how cruel this guy is, but we are going to have in just shortly in a few minutes, a staffer, a long time, a friend of mine who is a chief of staff for a member to talk a little bit about the effect that that Vito has had on on staff and the sort of, you know morale of staff across the Capitol. And know also that it’s not just democratic staff, it’s also Republican staff. So they will throw their own under the bus just as quickly as they will Democrats to get what they want. And for the governor right now, that’s simply to give his campaign a boost just ahead of SeaPak. And we want to talk about why that might be you had the pleasure of listening to 40 minute minutes. So GOP state party chair, Alan West, who had a new announcement, what’s he up to now, David

DL: (10:52)

40 minutes? I will never ever get back in my life. 40 minutes. I, I wish I had paid a little less attention to yeah. Former GOP chair, Alan West spoke for a near hour at the sojourn church on July 4th. There’s a lot of scripture read a lot of, a lot of long histories of, of Texas which were both inaccurate and just kind of strange because you’re trying to explain the history of Texas to people who’ve lived here for longer than a few years to see how exactly, exactly

JD: (11:31)

Florida man Allen, west Allen west.

DL: (11:35)

Exactly. And so you know, the long and short of it is after this kind of long obliviated speech it comes out, you know, he announces that he’s going to be officially running for governor and challenging Greg Abbott, which is a, obviously not a surprise but only further speaks to the pressure on Abbott to deliver on a lot of these extreme policies in the special session.

JD: (12:00)

Exactly. And so he’s got another candidate previously announced, Don Huffines, who was a former state Senator in a super right wing nut job. And essentially this guy has been putting out these policy proposals, many of which we now see on the call. So governor Abbott is essentially trying to take the wind out of these guys’ sales by putting these agenda items up just ahead, a C pack again, C pack for those who don’t know is a sort of a think tank conference of the most right wing conservatives across the whole country. And just to give you an idea, I’m going to list a few of the names of the folks that are going to be speaking. Let’s start from the top former president, Donald J. Trump. you, you know he’s not going anywhere, but he is coming to Texas secretary, former secretary of of HUD Ben Carson you know, governor of South Dakota, Christy Noah Steven Miller, God, that guy will not go away.

JD: (13:00)

I mean the list honestly just goes on and on Alan West himself will be speaking there. Don Huffines is also speaking there, Madison Cawthorne I mean, it really is just sort of a who’s who of the worst folks in America right now, Glenn Beck, James O’Keefe from project Veritas. It just goes on and on and on and on. And, and so, you know, Abbott has a clear mandate to impress these folks that he is the guy who should run the state of Texas, and then eventually we all know they fought over the opportunity to be the vice-president of Donald Trump. I don’t even think Republicans are running for president anymore. I think they’re just running to be Donald Trump’s number two. And so you know, I, I think that’s, that’s sort of what we can expect from this weekend. You know, two days after the special session starts CPAC starts. And so this is all the big

DL: (13:54)

Show and, and just to really kind of explain that group of folks you just mentioned, there are more Q Anon believers in that group than there are vaccinated folks, if I had to guess. So I think that speaks to you again, the state of the Republican party nationally, as well as in the state of Texas. And this really being ground zero for some of the most extreme and, and evolving policies on that front.

JD: (14:21)

Yeah. And so I think it’s a good time to bring our friend Stephanie Carello and she is the chief of staff for state representative Bobby Gara. Hello, Stephanie, how are you? I’m good. How are you? I’m great, man. You

Stephanie Chiarello: (14:36)

Got all the things

JD: (14:38)

You got a great little studio set up in there.

SC: (14:40)

Thank you very much. It pays to live alone.

JD: (14:45)

We should also mention that you’re somewhat of a comedian also. So you still have your show over the lege and you want to give us a little preview, tell us, you know, who you are, what you’re up to so badly, so badly. We all want to know Stephanie

SC: (15:02)

Here. I want to show you one thing real quick. I know we don’t have a lot of time, but I was playing around.

JD: (15:06)

You don’t have a lot of time. We got all that

SC: (15:09)

I was playing on. And look, there’s this a studio.

JD: (15:13)

Oh my, oh yeah. That’s nice. Yeah. Now I see what governor Abbott wants to defund the legislature. That was the low. Okay. but yeah, we, you know, certainly want to talk about that. Do you want to give a plug for over the lege?

SC: (15:33)

I do. Thanks so much. So over the lege is the number one and some say only political satire show based solely on the Texas legislature. We’re in our sixth year, we’re typically a live theater show at the long center, a little sketch, a little Saturday night, live a little Stephen. [inaudible] A little dancing. Was that old one solid gold. You know, it’s just a variety show, but only about the Texas led right now. We have a podcast we’re about to start our third season in August. And I’m trying really hard to have a Tik TOK presence. And I have one with 10,500 likes. So I’m winning. I’m pretty much running.

DL: (16:13)

Yeah. And so if you’re listening right now, you need to go check out Stephanie’s Tik TOK. Is it just over the lege?

SC: (16:19)

Yes. And it’s L E G E like legislature, but see, you’re also over the lege because the legislature is so crazy. All that we really workshop that it’s really focus grouped it. Thank you. Well, I’m sure.

JD: (16:34)

Molly Ivan’s and Ann Richards would both be proud of you right now. I’m sure they are. You just

SC: (16:38)

Made my heart skip a beat. That’s really sweet.

JD: (16:41)

Well, yeah.

Stephanie Chiarello: (16:43)

Well, the reason I’m leaving on a high note. Yeah,

JD: (16:45)

I know it’s nice to talk to you, Stephanie. Actually the reason we, we had you on though, was, was because as a chief of staff for the state legislature, you know, I think the whole country at this point understands that governor Abbott is sort of using you guys and, and holding you as hostages so that you will do his bidding. And he is today. Finally set out that agenda, what he actually wants done in order for you to get paid, which is normally not how employment works. But you know, tell us a little bit about what that’s like to sort of get that message. What’s the morale been like among other staffers and, and, and what’s sort of the feeling of the Capitol right now,

SC: (17:24)

Completely demoralized is how I describe the feeling in the Capitol. And at the same time, the inability to recognize that what in the past could never happen is actually happening. So I know that a lot of people think it’s just a stunt, but I believe we’re living in a world where he would do this, where he would honestly cut all our pay. So I’m not holding on the belief that, well, now we just need to pass his voting restriction and transgender discrimination bills. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did this repeatedly.

JD: (17:59)

Exactly. I mean, there’s a point at which you can pass what he wants and he could continue to add and move the goalpost. So in so many ways, I don’t see the real point in doing any of it because you, you, he could do it again. He could veto it again. He could veto it again.

DL: (18:16)

And Stephanie, have you had any, obviously off the record conversations with any of your peers on the other side of the aisle who have also of course been impacted by the governor’s

SC: (18:27)

Decision I have and the best place that I talked to people on the other side of the aisles in the restroom. And so I was speaking with one of my colleagues from the other side and she was like, oh, it’s just a stunt. And I just don’t believe that. And Joe correct me if I’m wrong. This is what I’m pushing for. I, I think that the legislature could in one day suspend all the rules, repass the budget exactly as is and adjourn, Cindi die. And pretty much say, screw you, governor, we’re in charge. Right. You don’t get to do this. We make, we make the laws. Is that right?

JD: (19:04)

True. I mean, you know, unlike Briscoe Cain, I’m not a parliamentarian guru. So I don’t actually know the full answer to that, but I can say that yeah, absolutely. The legislature sets their agenda. So if, if they chose to, you know, put that on the calendar first and handle that business, they don’t have to do anything else and they could just throw it back in his court. Yeah. And I think that’s exactly what they should do and speak in a court. I know the Democrats have you know, filed at least some motions within the Texas Supreme court to essentially have his action ruled as unconstitutional. Yes. And I don’t know how that is going, but well,

SC: (19:46)

We’re winning. Everyone is on our side, the Supreme court, the United States already heard it and was like, you’re right, Democrats.

Stephanie Chiarello: (19:53)

That’s not what happened. [inaudible] You know,

JD: (19:58)

But you know, we do, we do have some high profile Republicans or former Republicans who have put their name on that. Former speaker, Joe Straus is one of them. And then I know former speaker Lee lane, Pete Laney is a Democrat, but then there was another high profile Republican who, who, I can’t

SC: (20:17)

Remember Jimmy Don Aycock no, it

JD: (20:19)

Was, it was, it was a bigger name than that. And I just can’t remember who it was if it was a former speaker or former Lieutenant governor or something. But but the bottom line is, yeah. Th th you know, this is a stunt, but it doesn’t mean it’s not real. It doesn’t mean it’s not going to have a real impact. Right. Come September 1st, if you don’t get your paycheck, have you, have you talked to your colleagues and found it and figured out, is there a consensus on what they plan to do? Do they just plan to show up on September 1st and just not get paid? I mean, we’re all over

SC: (20:51)

The place. And I want to make it very clear that neither the legislature tours, nor us as staff make an incredible amount of money. So it’s not like any of us a month ago could be like, oh, I just need to shuffle away a few thousand dollars in my nest egg. And I’ll be fine right there. And you can see all of our salaries on the Texas Tribune salary, searcher. We know it, it’s not just the legislative staffers. Like you said, the support staff, there are people making $27,000 a year supporting a family of four. There’s no way, even with this information in advance to prepare your budget for, for that moment, I know people are looking for jobs, they’re getting their resumes up to date, and then you do have to make a decision. Are you going to stick with your boss? Who needs you? And with all due respect to my boss and all the others in one way, it’s great that our beloved emperor Greg Abbott realizes that the staff is so important to the legislators. On the other hand, of course, we’re about to lose our salaries

DL: (21:53)

And, oh, sorry, go ahead. I

SC: (21:55)

Was just gonna say, I mean, I love my boss and I love my job, but I don’t work for, for free for funsies. Right. I’m not independently wealthy. Yeah.

JD: (22:06)

Well, I mean, working for the government for free, I don’t know. I felt like we’ve had a long experience with that and it hasn’t been a good one. So, I mean, this is pretty wild. Have you talked to anyone, any attorneys or with labor or anybody? Do you know that if, if they stop paying you in September 1st, will you be eligible for unemployed?

SC: (22:27)

No, that’s another big question. Will we be eligible on unemployment? Another thing in general, bigger picture about the legislature is there’s no real HR for people who work in a corporate office, you might be used to having HR who makes sure that everybody’s following the rules, but we work for people who make the rules. And even though there are general rules, each member is the king of their own fiefdom. So are we permanent employees or were recession only do we serve only at the discretion of the member? Do we serve at the discretion of the governor? So if our budget is suddenly gone, was that expected? You know, I’ve always just served. So therefore I’m not eligible for benefits is it I’ve been fired. So I am eligible for benefits. Will they even hear our benefits? And by the way, we’re the ones that during COVID, we’re the staffers who called for you, the workforce commission to help you with your unemployment. Now, who are we going to call to help ourselves? I guess, I guess I can text some people. That’s true.

JD: (23:31)

I mean, but yeah, I mean, but by and large, we’re talking about thousands of people who just don’t know what their, their fate is, and it’s incredibly, you know, unfortunate and unfortunate.

SC: (23:43)

It’s unnecessary and I it’s unpatriotic and unethical.

JD: (23:47)

Yeah. It’s absolutely cruel to, to, to put any, any, anybody in this situation and they don’t know where, you know, where their next paycheck is going to come from, or if there will be one, all right, what skill set do you think I have

SC: (24:03)

Right now, other than policy? What skill set do you think I can go and do? And I think like so many other people during COVID who faced unemployment, that’s what you’re asking these legislative and legislative related employees to do. And we’re just, we don’t have a system that’s prepared for this kind of mass layoff, by the way, that’s a layoff by the governor. He talks about bringing jobs. He’s, single-handedly firing

JD: (24:29)

Kill 2000 jobs. Yeah. And I think we should talk about that more because you know, it is an at-will state and right now you work at the will of the governor, according to him. And so I think we need to talk more about the 2000 jobs that he did. He’s he’s killed and, and, and all the ones that didn’t come, because he chose to worry about critical race theory or, or something. Instead of fixing the grid, which I found curiously, not on his special session agenda,

SC: (24:57)

Not on his agenda, neither was pandemic recovery or preparation to prepare us for the next pandemic. Right. He made an order that said to ERCOT or the PUC, you need to fix this FYI. That’s what we were supposed to do. And by we, I mean, my, my bosses, and I want, I just, I want to go off track here, but I’ve been trying to explain to people like what’s happening in special session. And what I describe it as is football, which is my favorite thing, right? Not really soccer, but it’s like we had a game where the Republicans had more people on the field and it was fewer yards to score. And the rest was a Republican and the FEC or whoever was rippling everybody. So the handful of points that the Democrats happened to make were miracles. And so what’s happened here is the governor’s like, you know what we need to replay.

SC: (25:50)

And we need to replay only on the plays that I lost and the rules are even worse than the Democrats. And in that example, don’t, I’ve lost. I’ve lost the big deal. The governor’s the coach, he’s the coach, he’s the leader. And you know what? He failed by calling it, the legislature back. It means that you are not a good leader, because if people don’t follow, then you’re not a good leader and they didn’t follow. And I wish that the legislators would get some ovaries and remind the governor that they make the rules and he needs to work with them. I can’t believe that they’re, cowtowing like all the republics were like, we’re ready to go back to work

JD: (26:29)

Early. I totally agree.

SC: (26:31)

We’re the boss of him. You are the boss of him. It’s like Stockholm syndrome.

JD: (26:35)

It is. It is. I mean, because we’ve seen, they had the 140 days, if these were important issues, why didn’t get them passed then? And that, to me, I agree is the message. Every line item, every agenda item on that call is just another thing he failed to get done that he said was important. And the first 150,

DL: (26:55)

And, and Stephanie, if I can ask, like, I know we’re talking about the special session, but I think as someone who’s worked in the legislature for a number of years, it would be helpful to contextualize just how grueling and difficult this most recent session was compared to those you’ve participated with in the past.

SC: (27:14)

Sure. So this was my eighth session. I’m of course only 27. So I’ve been serving. I was very smart young girl. I can’t believe that right now. I love the idea of Frank court. If y’all will remember him, he was back in 2009, 2011. We thought he was bad. We’re now he’d be a moderate. So not only do we work 60 to 80 hours a week at the will of a member who is the boss of themselves who might not necessarily have any HR skills or professional skills. But we’re constantly, especially as a Democrat, you’re just going to school every day to get beat up and know it. And you know it, and that’s one of the reasons I admire our bosses so much. This session was so different because of COVID and really thinking we were about to die and the insurrection and really thinking we were about to die. So that kind of fear, especially as we’ve been recognizing mental health pressures, can you imagine you’re going to work? You know, you’re going to be super stressed out. You’re not going to eat well. You’re not going to be particularly well-respected depending on who comes in and now you might die by just going in the building or you might die because somebody else has come into the building and we didn’t do anything. And this Delta Varian is some real. Delta stands for change. This is the COVID change. It’s coming again.

JD: (28:35)

I mean, the irony of it that Democrats are now at herd immunity in the state of Texas, the polls show that Democrats. Yeah. I mean, 80% of Texas Democrats say they have received the vaccine. And then you got, now SeaPak with thousands of, of Republicans coming together who are probably unvaccinated. I mean, they probably have a passport that requires you to say that you’re not vaccinated the inter and, and I just, I just wonder what the Delta variant, if it kinda challenges them, like, do you really believe this or not? And I guess they really do, because they’re the ones who are going to be the most vulnerable. Right. I mean, this seems like, this seems like you know, Darwin couldn’t have like, created a better scenario, but we’ll see how, how it plays out. But I, I, I am noticing an uptick in and positive cases in, in hospitalizations again. So yeah. I mean, oh, go ahead, David.

DL: (29:31)

It didn’t stop him last year. Right. I mean, Eric asked, you can ask him that, but Herman Cain after attending that the, the rally, the kickoff rally in, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Right? So, yeah, they’ve certainly shown a propensity to, to ignore the science and, and especially for, for Trump and some of the higher ups, I know that push come to shove, they have access to far better healthcare than anyone else. And that’s all it really matters to them is their own platform, their own wellbeing, which obviously should come as no surprise. Yeah. Yes. And

SC: (30:02)

It looks like the article I read today said that it’s hitting children the most, that 36% of COVID, I think positivity rates are children right now because they’re unvaccinated. Right? So you’re not, that’s, what’s unfortunate about this risk with COVID is if I decided to jump out of a plane, I’m risking my life. If I have a parachute also, but when you decide to go out with COVID, you’re not risking your life alone. I think I want to jump to this. I’ve been thinking a lot about why the science is so obviously there and the humanity ism should so obviously be there. And I think we’ve just gotten so tribal that we can no longer see what people are doing. We only see who they are and that’s our only place of judgment. And I’m a big soccer fan. And I was at the women’s game about two weeks ago, and the crowd would go wild whenever there was a penalty against the United States and booing. And I was like, you saw Megan Rapinoe push that girl. We all saw her. We all saw her person instead of being like, yeah, I guess that’s a foul. It was this just, it was Megan Rapinoe and she can do no wrong. And I think that’s where we’ve gotten here in politics as well. Greg Abbott can do no wrong, even though he’s literally doing everything wrong. And I don’t, I don’t know why. I don’t know why the legislators aren’t taking their power back from him.

JD: (31:25)

Yeah. Me either, because it seems it seems like they’re going along with this idea that if, if we can just make sure only the right people vote, then we don’t, we can insulate ourselves from having to stand for anything of real value. So I think that’s going to get a test and I hope that the legislators have a plan to kill these bills. Just slow them down to make noise, to create a system of accountability and consequence for these guys when they do the wrong thing. And also hope, you know, that legislators will be filing. Democrats will be following their own set of bills to address these issues, but in a way that actually improves a same situation.

SC: (32:05)

I hope so, too. And I think speaking as a woman and a Democrat, we are used to overcoming ridiculous obstacles. We are resilient and we will survive, but I’d really like to thrive instead of just survive. And I hope that we find a way to message what is happening in a way that the atypical person who does not pay a lot of attention and says that they don’t care about politics does start caring about their, their, their day to day pocket book issues.

JD: (32:37)

Well, we’re definitely here. You, and we appreciate your time today. No, you’ve got to run. You’ve got the business of the people to take care of it.

SC: (32:44)

Yes. So thank you. And I do want to say to any employers out there I am on LinkedIn at Stephanie cheer, relo I’m available possibly starting September one. And I do have a variety of skills. And again

DL: (32:59)

And again, over the lege is the show L E G

SC: (33:03)

E yes. At over the lege. And I’ve got a great Tik TOK idea that I hope to film a little later today. So I hope you’ll check it out, Joe. I’m so proud of us. We’ve grown up so much. Here we are. Here we

Stephanie Chiarello: (33:15)

Are adulting. David, thank you for this opportunity. Of course. It’s so good to see you. Thank you. Take care of Stephanie

SC: (33:22)

And maybe I’ll start a go fund me who knows we’ll be there. All right. Thanks. Okay.

JD: (33:31)

Well that was great. It was great to see Stephanie. Probably haven’t seen her since the pandemic. I, I was, I did a little cameo in one of her shows at the long center. Yeah. and so anyway, she’s fine. She’s been around for a very long time, very smart and knows lots of people. She used to work for Senator Kurt Watson. So she’s got a lot of historical knowledge about that building and what’s going on in there. And it’s just so annoying to see this new crop of legislators come in with no respect at all, for the, the history of that place, that building the comrade comradery that used to be there. And essentially just turning it into another us Congress where all that matters is kind of what she said. It’s do you have a D or do you have an R it doesn’t matter about the constituents, the people of Texas certainly that as is evident by what’s on this call

DL: (34:23)

And, and it doesn’t matter if you have a D or an R that doesn’t even mean you’ll have a chance to earn a living wage and to be able to show up to work every day with some sense of security in, in what’s already a perilous work environment as Stephanie was describing,

JD: (34:37)

Right. And, and you know, struggled sometimes to to connect with folks on the podcast. I understand if we, if we kind of go into the minutia and, and apologies for that sometimes we just, we, we gloss over or assume that folks have a certain level of knowledge. And so when we say things like the call, it is the agenda is, is, is literally called the call. The governor calls the legislature back and, and gives them an agenda. And the items on there referred to as the, as the call. And so when we say, you know, items on the call, that’s what we’re talking about are, are the, the agenda items that the governor’s put forth in sort of mandated that the legislators pass. And so that’s what we’re looking out. We’ll, we’ll continue to, to keep our eyes on that and keep you informed and let you know, as soon as we hear what the legislators on the democratic side plan to do to kill these bad bills, we will, we will let you know, and

DL: (35:35)

Still plenty more to come on that front again, it’s kicking off tomorrow, July 8th. And there should be a lot of action here in these next several days a week. So yeah, w we’re going to be reconvening to, to break this down more for y’all and make sure we keep you informed. But yeah, huge, thanks for Stephanie cheer, Ella for coming in and sharing her perspective on you know, from the behind the scenes of what all of this has been like. And, and again, she’s just one of many staffers and, and many folks who, who don’t ever get seen in the political process who really helped keep the wheels turning.

JD: (36:08)

Absolutely. And so thanks to everyone for joining us and for listening, you know, that you can get all of our podcasts and any platform that you use. And so, you know, keep up with these stories as well, and the written And if you’re really feeling it, please join us as a Patrion. You can find our and the top, right. And essentially, you’re just helping to fund the progressive journalism we do here. And they’ll probably be some changes. We’ll continue to evolve as an organization, as we hear from you and, and what you like. And don’t like, and what you would like to see from us. So always keep that come in, whether it’s on Twitter or by email, let us know what you think. We love to hear it. It will absolutely affect the coverage that we, we do and the different types of segments that we have. And so please keep the feedback coming. We love it, and we appreciate you. And until next time later, y’all.

Website | + posts

The Texas Signal is a progressive, fact-based media company. Our mission is to build a media ecosystem in Texas to help get the progressive message out and challenge right-wing Republicans. Think of us as a megaphone to finally counterbalance right-wing conservatives who have successfully built their own media empire in the Lone Star State.

Are you tired of Texas Republicans pushing big lies and trying to steal your vote? So are we, that’s why we’re fighting back against the right-wing lie machine. Our commitment to ethical, fact-based journalism is vital to our democracy, and we can’t do it without you. Consider donating today to help us stay in this fight.

Continue Reading

Lina Hidalgo Announces Mental Health Leave

Lina Hidalgo Announces Mental Health Leave

This afternoon Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced she has been taking a leave of absence from her position to seek treatment for depression. The Houston Chronicle broke the news about Hidalgo, who has been at an inpatient facility since July. Throughout her...