Friday, November 24, 2017

It’s An Obama Moment In Texas


-by Tom Wakely
Candidate for Governor, Texas

The 2018 election season is officially underway in Texas.

Candidate filing began Saturday, November 11th for next year's March 6 primaries. The filing period runs through December 11th. While many candidates have announced that they are running for Texas governor as a Democrat only three have officially filed the paperwork with the state party and paid their filing fee of $3,750 or submitted 5,000 ballot petition signatures in place of the filing fee.

Grady Yarborough, a 75 year old perennial candidate, who has been a thorn in the side of the Texas Democratic party’s for decades, has filed. A fellow by the name of Adrian Ocegueda, a principal with Lone Star Investment Advisors, which, according to their website is a Dallas-based private equity firm that specializes in leveraged acquisitions and recapitalizations of strategically viable, middle-market businesses with strong potential for growth, has filed. I am the third candidate that has filed. Dubbed the Berniecrat with the Panama Hat by the Austin-American Statesman, I submitted my paperwork and paid the filing fee (which I borrowed from my wife) on Saturday, November 11th, opening day of the filing period. On the same day I filed for Governor, Michael Cooper filed to run for Lt. Governor as a Democrat. Mike Collins, a Republican has also filed to run for Lt. Governor but he has filed to run as a Democrat-- but more on this later.

Next year’s election season will be an Obama Moment for Texas. Let me explain.

This past September 1 was in El Paso, Texas for a week. While there, I had a chance to meet a man by the name of Donald L. Williams. Donald was the first Black to be elected as president of the Student Government Association at the University of Texas, El Paso back in 1972. He is a lawyer, an Army veteran, past chair of the Tejano Democrats of Texas and served as El Paso’s first African-American judge. Donald has been and still is a very active member of the Texas State Democratic party, serving on many committees including, most recently, as Vice-Chair of the party’s Finance Committee.

Anyway, last month we kicked off our campaign for Governor on the Mollberg Ranch over in Blanco County, Texas, a rural area community of about 10,000 people and about an hour north of San Antonio. Among those speaking at the kickoff was Donald L. Williams, the fellow I had met up with in El Paso the previous month. After he introduced me to the assembled crowd and after I had spoken, Donald button-holed me before he took off to the airport to fly back to El Paso. He strongly suggested that I talk to a friend of his who was running for Lt. Governor, a man by the name of Michael Cooper. I took his advice and a week later my wife and I drove over to Katy, Texas, a booming city just west of Houston, to meet Michael for lunch. To make a long story longer, Michael and I hit it off and for the past month we have been campaigning together, almost exclusively in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area where his sister and much of his extended family live.

This past week, we made our affiliation official with this press release:

San Antonio - Tom Wakely’s campaign for Governor announced today that they have teamed up with Michael Cooper’s campaign for Lt. Governor. The two campaigns have forged an alliance and the two men will now be running together on a slate forged by their common desire to address income inequality and the healthcare crisis in Texas.

“We are the dream team,” Cooper said, referring to the fact that he is Black political activist and his running mate, Tom Wakely, is a seasoned white progressive. “Together, Tom and I can reach out to the 62% of non-voting Texans because we both have lived the struggles of the working men and women of this state. Daily struggles like worrying if my child is getting a proper education in our woefully underfunded public school system or if my neighbor is getting enough to eat because I know she is on a fixed income. These are the things the people in Texas are concerned about, school rooms not bathrooms. Rebuilding the Texas coast after Harvey, not protecting insurance companies from lawsuits.

Cooper went on to say, “Look, I was born Black, I am Black today and I will die Black. I know what discrimination is all about. Like my Latino brothers and sisters, I’ve faced it all my life. So when I say that SB4, the show-me-your-papers law that both Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick championed is racist, take my word for it, it’s racist."

"The Dream Team, yes,” Wakely said, “but I would take it one step further by saying that turning out Black voters is the key to winning statewide elections in Texas. We all know what happened in April 2014 when Wendy Davis who was running for Texas Governor at the time snubbed President Obama by skipping a well publicized luncheon in Austin. She lost the Black vote. Well, we are not going to make the same mistake the Democratic party made back then and is posed to make once again. I say that because the party establishment, led by Gilberto Hinojosa, State Democratic Party chair is pushing Mike Collier for Lt. Governor. Mike voted for Sarah Palin and John McCain against our nation’s first Black President and then four years later he once again voted against Obama by supporting Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney. Collier admits he only became a Democrat three years ago. On the other hand, we have an exceptional candidate, a man I am proud to call my friend who is also running for Lt. Governor, Michael Cooper. Michael is a retired auto-industry executive whose finishing up his Master’s Degree in Sociology. He is the pastor of the non-denominational Church of I AM and Executive Director of the Beaumont branch of the NAACP. Michael has been a Democrat all his life and just recently was part of the team that elected the first Black and first woman as Sheriff of Jefferson County. Look, whether or not the Texas Democratic party wants to admit it, this is an Obama Moment for Texas. When Michael wins the nomination for Lt. Governor he will be the first African-American ever to be nominated by the Texas Democratic party for any state-wide elective office and I for one will do everything in my power to make that happen.”
Goal ThermometerSo there you have it. The choice is clear for voters in the 2018 Democratic primary. Do you want to elect a life-long Republican who voted for Sarah Palin over Barrack Obama or do you want to elect Michael Cooper, a progressive Texas Democrat for Lt. Governor who is running on a slate with the Bernicrat with a Panama Hat. We are the winning team or as Michael has put it, the dream team. So why isn’t the Texas Democratic party on board? Beats the hell out of me. But I guess it really doesn’t matter, It is what it is.

Look, I can beat our neo-fascist Governor Greg Abbott and Michael can beat our white supremacist Lt. Governor Dan Patrick but we can’t do it alone. The stakes are high. The next Texas Governor and Lt. Governor will jointly determine who sits on the 2020 congressional redistricting committee. The balance of power in Washington will either be tilted further to the right, further towards the authoritarian ne-fascist, white supremacist Trump administration or it will be moved to the left, towards a more just society, a society where people come before profits. In closing, all I can say is this. It is sad, very sad indeed, that the Texas Democratic party can’t see that this is a watershed moment for our state, an Obama Moment, pure and simple.

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At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Texas Western won a seminal NCAA basketball championship in '66 with an all black starting team. In '67 they 'rebranded' to UTEP. Why did it take them until '72 to elect a black SBP?

IT'S FUCKING TEXAS!!! The anal wart on the hemorrhoid on the asshole of mankind.

Good luck dude.

At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Obama moment"?? You mean the moment when a corrupt lying warmongering neoliberal runs as a democrat because of his fine speeches (of pure horseshit) and lack of palpable record of betrayals?

You mean THAT kind of obamanation moment?

At 3:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hell yes Wakely/Cooper! It's way past time to shake up the establishment in Texas. For too long a small group of small minded white men have kept us down and dumb. We need better schools, social services and politicians that actually support the people not profits. These two men will help us get there. Wakely-Cooper 2018!


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