After a long four years, Texas Democrats are finally back together in-person for their biggest event of the year: the Convention. In Dallas, delegates, candidates, and volunteers teemed into the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Thursday for a rousing kickoff reception.
Congressman Colin Allred, who flipped his seat in 2018, welcomed everyone to the place he considers the “greatest city in the world.” Allred spoke about the extremism of the modern-day Republican Party, even mentioning the recent announcement from indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton that he would be challenging guidance from the Biden administration to that requires hospitals to provide life-saving care to a pregnant patient. Allred joked that several of his colleagues in Washington often ask him, “what the heck is going on in Texas?”
Allred, however, pivoted from talking about the extremism of the Republicans in Texas, to championing the statewide Ddemocratic challengers, including Beto O’Rourke. Allred said that in November, Texans can send a message about the direction of the state.
After Allred’s remarks, Chairman of the Party Gilberto Hinojosa took to the stage. He noted that he took over the state party in 2012, during a Tea Party-fueled shellacking. Still, even in those dark times, there were bright spots for the democratic party. He pointed to the rise of Julián Castro, who went from the city council to San Antonio mayor, to Labor Secretary, to presidential candidate. Castro then entered to applause from the audience. After some brief remarks, Castro invited three progressive congressional candidates to join him for a panel: Greg Casar, Jasmine Crockett, and Michelle Vallejo.
Casar and Crockett both won their primary and run-off, respectively, and are in bright-blue districts. Vallejo is running in Ccongressional Ddistrict 15fifteen, a newly drawn district in Ssouth Texas. Vallejo acknowledged that her race would be tough but pushed back on the narrative that Ssouth Texas was flipping Republican. “We’ve already given them Hell, and we’re going to do it even more,” she said to applause.
All three candidates also blasted the recent end of Roe v. Wade. Crockett said that Texas Republicans have never cared about children and referred to the deplorable conditions in the foster care system. Casar also said he supports expanding the Supreme Court and using every tool to play a “long game” when it comes to the judiciary.
Gun safety was also a major topic. Crockett didn’t mince words about Republican inaction, especially when it came to the recent tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. “The blood is on Texas Republicans’ hands,” she said.
Castro ended the questioning with some levity and a round of the game “Never Have I Ever.” There were a few revelations, including that Crockett was the only candidate to have broken a bone (her pinky playing volleyball). And Casar and Vallejo both have tattoos. Vallejo has a small ladybug on her foot (to honor her mother) and Casar has two: one to honor his siblings and one commemorating passing paid sick leave in Austin.