Friday, August 25, 2017

Can The East Texas Steeleworkers Shake Up TX-36 Politics? Why Not!


Dayna Steele-- reaching out to a Republican... and making him smile

There are 36 congressional districts in Texas and the 36th is probably best known for two rather unfortunate reasons-- Jasper, "Butterfly Capital of Texas, in the rural northern part of the district" is where 3 white nationalist neo-Nazis mudered James Byrd, Jr, by dragging Byrd for three miles behind a pick-up truck in 1988-- and because far right crackpot Steve Stockman, suspected of ties to the Oklahoma City bombers, was the congressman there for two single terms separated by over 15 years. (Stockman was arrested on felony corruption charges this past March and his trial is scheduled to begin next January.) After he left office another right-wing lunatic, Brian Babin, was elected to the seat. Last year Babin had no Democratic Party opponent. The district's PVI is a daunting R+25. Now that is red! Trump beat Hillary there 72.0% to 25.2%-- and Romney had actually done even better against Obama!

There are 9 counties in the district, which goes all the way to the Texas-Louisiana border, but half the voters live in the Houston area (Harris County). The Johnson Space Center is in the very south of the district. Something like 80% of the district's voters grew up within the listening area of the iconic rock station, KLOL-- as in 101 FM. Starting in 1970, KLOL was Houston's powerhouse album rock station. Everyone listened to it. The music director-- and midday on air personality-- was Dayna Steele (once hailed as Houston's "The First Lady of Rock ‘n Roll") to whom I used to have to beg for radio play for my label's artists. We shared a love for rock music and for musicians, a kind of kinship that made it easy for us to reconnect recently-- reconnect because in her post-radio career, Dayna has been an author and a motivation speaker and now... a politician. She's running for Congress in that red district Babin now occupies. When I told her it might take more than one try, she rescinded instantly, "Oh, I'm very aware of that." And that's the kind of campaign she's waging. I asked her to introduce herself.

Answer The Request Line
-by Dayna Steele,
First Lady of Rock'n'Roll, Candidate For Congress

When I was in radio, I always answered the request line every chance I got. I knew early on the listeners were my customers and if I wanted to succeed, I needed to keep the customers happy. Not only did we talk about music, we talked about weather, their kids, where they worked, where to find things, when a show was coming, or help with a fundraiser for a sick friend or relative. The Steeleworkers (the name my listeners coined for themselves) got to know me and I got to know them. For 20+ years we were together daily.

The same should hold true for elected officials. I happen to be represented by a man who doesn’t answer the request line, doesn’t hold town halls and doesn’t even keep regular office hours for constituents. And he ran unopposed in a deep red district in 2016 that no Democrat would touch.

As the election process unfolded in late 2015 and into 2016, I found my political voice. I’ve always discussed politics with family and close friends but this was different. Though always advising against speaking about ‘politicis, religion or cats’ in business or with potential customers, I started to speak out on social media-- and then in public. I could not believe what I was seeing and what I was hearing. A presidential candidate mock a disabled person, tell blatant lies, talk about women in such disgusting ways-- you know the list.

Someone even challenged me on the future president’s pussy comment, saying I followed a raunchy morning radio team for years on the air at KLOL and that didn’t seem to bother me. They were a raunchy morning radio team. That was their job. You could change the channel. This was the potential President of the United States we were talking about.

Then he who shall not be named was elected. I wrote a blog post on the day of the inauguration that basically said I was taught to respect the office of the President and now he is president and I will. I must give him a chance and we all should. Each and every day for seven months now he has ruined any chance of respect from me. And through all of these seven month, my Congressman has been in lockstep with everything he does.

So the gathering of friends concerned for our nation and for our freedoms and safety started to grow. The meetings at our house and over meals became more frequent. The desire to find a candidate who could actually win in 2018 in this crazy district became imperative.

It had to be someone who believes in the protection of the U.S. Constitution, equal rights, human rights, civil rights, LGBTQ rights. It had to be someone who was pro-choice and pro-business. Someone who had integrity, empathy, and an understanding of the vast unemployment and poverty in the district as well as lack of opportunity for women and minorities. Someone who wasn’t afraid to travel the district and reach out to all groups-- Democratic, Progressive, Independent, undecided, even rational Republicans. It had to be someone with strong name recognition and strong people skills. It had to be someone who truly cared and had “no skin in the game.” It had to be someone not afraid to come out of the shadows and speak up for all of these things.

And then the eyes and the voices started to turn towards me. Until one night Wonder Husband sat me down, poured me a glass of wine as I ranted about needing a candidate I could work for, looked me in the eye and said, “You are the one who can do it. You can win this.”

The KLOL-FM signal in Houston stretched way up and over in Texas Congressional District 36. A large section of voters in this district grew up listening to me and feel like they know me. That goes a long way towards getting someone to look for your name on the ballot and vote. We’ve already seen it happen again and again as we travel a district larger than Connecticut with more people than Denver or Seattle. When they learn I’m a Democrat, they literally turn their back on me. But then they recognize the name and/or the voice and they remember an old friend and reach out for a hand shake and more often a hug. Then we talk. The conversation may be about Van Halen or a pair of tickets they won from me but we talk. And I listen. Those are the people that will think twice the next time they are casting a ballot, many will consciously look for the name Dayna Steele. Their old friend from the radio.

I spend a lot of my time these days traveling the district, just listening to what people say on all sides. It is like answering the request line a million times over with a pickup truck, lots of diners, many potluck dinners, plus thousands of great people face to face added into the mix. I live in and have grown up in this amazing part of Southeast Texas. I have broadcasted, married, and raised three great sons here in this district. I have worked and created successful companies in this district. I sincerely love the area and her people. And I’m terrified at what our Texas representatvies and our president are doing to this great area and this great country.

On May 31, 2017 I announced I had officially filed to run to be the first congresswoman for Texas Congressional District 36. Yes, I know it will be hard. In fact, all too often these days, including from Blue America’s Howie Klein, I hear, “Oh no, that’s a very red district. Why are you doing this?” Because someone must do it. Texas is NOT a red state. It is a don’t show up and vote state. And I intend to find every Steeleworker I can in the district and bring them to the polls.

When you listen to people, you come to understand what they need.

When you listen to people you find what they have to offer.

When you listen to people, you figure out how to get these two groups together and make the system work to improve all our lives.

The philosophy I pass on in business speeches, the one I practiced in 20+ years of radio, that I write about in my books, that I speak about on stage is: the more you do to make someone successful, the more successful you will become.

Steeleworkers supported me for all those years on the radio. The very least I can do for them now is go to Congress and improve their lives. I owe them that.

More about Dayna and her TX-36 congressional campaign here. The 8 books she's written include LinkedIn: 101 Ways to Rock Your Personal Brand and Rock to the Top: What I Learned about Success from the World’s Greatest Rock Stars. Dayna also hosts The Rock Business video series for GoDaddy’s Garage for Small Business highlighting entrepreneurs who also happen to be real rock stars. Dayna lives in Seabrook, Texas, with her former NASA pilot husband and has three sons. ABC News has called Dayna’s advice “ridiculously sane.”

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At 7:06 PM, Blogger Mf Lehman said...

Best of luck, Dayna.

At 6:04 AM, Blogger beth cioffoletti said...

Yep. Yep. Yep.

At 6:11 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

She seems passionate, focused, and in tune with the people she represents. Wishing her the best.

At 8:29 AM, Blogger Steven Lewis said...

I live in Texas CD36 and I have been very dismayed by Trump and the Texas state and local politics. I was really hoping someone would challenge Babin; he does not hold town halls and seems to care only for Trump and big money contributors. When I heard that Dayna was running and I went to hear her speak, I knew we had found our candidate and our cause. I am supporting Dayna with my time and my money. I hope this is happening across Texas and throughout the country for 2018. Democrats in CD36 are lucky to have Dayna to lead them in CD36!

At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all in east TX who yearn for something better... sorry. IT'S FUCKING TEXAS!!
If you want better, sadly, YOU will have to move.

You can't fix stupid; and stupid never fixes itself.

At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Harvey will flush Texas Trash into the Gulf of British Petroleum so they can swim in the oil they treasure above all else.


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