On Thursday afternoon, the Texas Democratic Party held a virtual town hall with several of their delegates to reflect on what is happening in the state, and what is coming in the future. Like every event related to the DNC Convention, this townhall was virtual, and moderated by our own Texas Signal contributor Chris Chu de León.
Chu de León spoke about his own introduction to politics, which stemmed from feeling like his community was being ignored. He was an organizer for Beto O’Rourke and the Texas state director for Bernie Sanders. “Running and becoming a national delegate was a natural extension of that work,” said de León in the townhall.
The town hall featured a diverse array of delegates, that were truly reflective of the state of Texas. Ferrel Bonner is on the State Democratic Executive Committee and described himself as “a proud Biden delegate.”
Meanwhile Tarah Taylor, a labor organizer and a police reform activist, spoke about her work with the Sanders campaign and navigating the process of conventions. As a progressive, she also spoke about getting to work on the Democratic party platform. “Being a delegate means I have an opportunity to make sure our voice is heard.”
Alicia del Rio ran for an at-large delegate position. As a fan of Hillary Clinton, she enjoyed her experience in 2016, which was her third time serving as a national delegate. Cynthia Ginyard, the current Fort Bend Democratic Party Chair, also spoke on the panel. She highlighted the fact that Ford Bend turned blue in 2018 thanks to the work of grassroots organizers. Ginyard commented that she enjoyed the experience as a delegate and would like to do it again in 2024.
All the panelists stressed that Texas is truly the biggest battleground state. Chu de León also noted the opportunities to flip congressional seats and the Texas state house. He also mentioned the dozens of judicial seats that are being contested all throughout the state.
When Chu de León asked the panelists if they were all going to remain involved in Texas politics, everyone affirmed. Taylor specifically mentioned the need to “end the ideology of Trump,” but not losing sight of local elections. Both Ginyard and del Rio talked about the importance of continuing grassroots organizing. Though they both noted the difficulty in the current era with COVID-19.
Bonner spoke about the census, and the importance of fighting for a fair count. If communities are undercounted, Texas could lose up to three congressional districts. There is also the looming redistricting fight in 2021.
Overall, the panelists agreed that the virtual convention was perhaps not ideal, but ultimately proved successful for the Texas delegates. Del Rio did lament that first-time delegates were unable to have the full convention experience. Her advice: “run again in four years.”
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