Texas 21

Devoted to discussion about the 21st Congressional District of Texas. Currently occupied by Congressman Lamar Smith (R).

Friday, October 27, 2006

Too many irons in the fire

My apologies for not keeping this blog more current. There is a lot going on in TX-21.

With your help, Team Courage is in good position to force incumbent Lamar Smith into a runoff.

Most of my blogging - both on TX-21 and other critical races here in the Lone Star State has been done on Texas Kaos.

I invite you to join us there, on Burnt Orange Report, and of course, Daily Kos, where John Courage is well represented as we close in on Election Day, 2006.

All that's missing is you.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Courage Blogging at Big Orange and at TexasKaos

John Courage has posted the following diary over at Dailykos:

Keeping our promises to working men and women
Today, Labor Day 2006, American working families are struggling because the Bush White House and the most corrupt Congress in history have failed to keep their promises to the American people. They have broken their "Contract with America," and the basic promises of the American dream, the values we all share, are not being honored: honesty and integrity in our government, economic prosperity, a health care system that works for everyone, fiscal responsibility, and a strong public education system. I am totally committed to taking the bold steps necessary so that Texas working families can live the dream and see the promises fulfilled that are the heart of our democracy. Together we can stand for honesty, hard work, respect, and opportunity for all Americans. Together, working families in Texas can do better.
John has some ideas on how to do that, and he elaborates in the diary. Go check it out, and lend your recommend if you would.

And if it seems you are working harder for less gain, according to the Austin-American Statesman (reg required), that's no illusion:

The median household income in Texas in 2005 was about 10 percent lower than it was in 1999 after adjusting for inflation, down to $42,139, according to the American Community Survey, a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau last week.

The survey, similar to the decennial census but less expansive, includes information about people living in areas with populations of more than 65,000.

Despite job growth, some analysts say Texas is still struggling to shake off the lingering effects of the recession.

The state has shown a 6.2 percent decline in real median household income since 2002.

In Travis County, the survey found that the median household income was $48,026, down about 12 percent since 1999. In Williamson County, it also was down about 12 percent, to $62,418.

In Hays County, it was down about 18 percent, to $43,207, and in Bastrop, it was down about 10 percent, to $46,097.

In Austin, the median household income in 2005 was $43,731, about a 13 percent drop from what was reported in the 2000 census.

A decline in higher-wage jobs, the state's stagnant minimum wage at $5.15 an hour and a need to improve the education of the state's work force all have led to the decline in real median household income, said Don Baylor, a policy analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities, which advocates for low- and middle-income Texans.
* Courage's diary is crossposted on Texas Kaos as well.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Keith Olbemann Spanks Rummy

Okay, I confess this has absolutely no direct connection to TX-21, but it made me so very happy I have to share. Not happy that our beloved country has come to this pass, but happy that there are still members of the press like Olbermann who will stand up when we need them to:

Monday, August 28, 2006

Meet John Courage and Party 2 Win

AndersonTX at TexasKaos reported on a fun event at Canyon Lake last week that allowed the candidates and supporters to meet and get to know each other. One of the attendees was John Courage. Here's what Anderson had to say about John:

John Courage (US House Dist. 21) then got a shot to speak, and he fired us all up, reminding us that "it takes Courage to change!" He told us that he's been chasing Texas District 21 and Lamar Smith around Texas and now they're finally nailed down. John's a great speaker and he told those of us outside his district that even though he wasn't officially representing us, he will represent all of us with his votes and that we should feel free to give him a call if we need his help. With that (and since his campaign gave us three donation envelopes) he earned a donation for his campaign.
Another opportunity to meet is being hosted this Sunday, Sept 10 by Kossack Simplicio:

You are invited to a house party we are hosting on behalf of John Courage's campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives as the Democratic candidate in TX-21. John Courage will be there to meet with people and to talk about his campaign. We will provide coffee and drinks. Hope you can join us!

The party will be on Sunday Sept. 10 at 4:00. We live just west of the UT Austin campus. For more details and to RSVP, please go here.

If you're not close enough to attend Simplicios shindig, check out the Team Courage page on Party2Win for another party near you.

And, remember also there's a couple of days left in the Netroots August Fundraiser. You can contribute to John Courage's campaign on the Netroots ActBlue page.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Everybody wants to be a playa in TX-21

The Austin American Statesman reports that the slate of candidates in TX-21 is complete:

District 21

Currently represented by San Antonio Republican Lamar Smith. Redrawn to include less of Travis County and more of the Hill Country.

•Tommy Calvert, I, consultant, San Antonio

•John Courage, D, teacher, San Antonio

•Gene Kelly, D, retired Air Force, Universal City

•James Lyle Peterson, I, computer programmer, Austin

•Mark J. Rossano, I, automotive management, Austin

•Lamar Smith, R, U.S. representative, San Antonio

•James Arthur Strohm, L, technical writer, Austin

So, I guess Rhett Smith decided to let fellow perennial hobby Gene Kelly have this one.

Between the governor's race and the special congressional elections, the Indies practically have enough candidates to form a party themselves.

If they could come to even the broadest agreement about issues.

Calvert is a well respected San Antonio activist known for his anti-slavery work. (And yes, slavery does shamefully exist still in the 21st century).

Patterson is an Austin computer programmer who's taking the unconventional approach of using his personal home page as his campaign website, telling people not to send him money, but do their own things to support his candidacy. I hope he has a large family in the district. Otherwise, I don't see many votes coming his way.

Mark Rossano doesn't have a web presence at all at this date. Perhaps he is relying on the mind control machine he's building in his garage for his GOTV effort.*

*Yes, this is snark. The mind control prototype hasn't been tested on humans yet, though the lemmings have provided several successful trials.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Shot of Courage on BOR

John posted a diary on BOR last night with some thoughts on the reconstituted TX-21:

Certainly the latest redistricting changed the makeup of CD 21. This is great for Austin, giving a favorite son and one of my favorite congressmen, Lloyd Doggett, a well-deserved strong base in Travis. But it is also good for a lot of people in the newly added areas of District 21, because they will now have an opportunity to elect a congressional representative with honesty, integrity, and the courage to stand up for them.

Even though the statistics may indicate a five-point swing in the voting pattern, that means less in today's volatile political landscape.

What really counts is what people on the streets (and on the dirt roads) are thinking and saying. If you get out into the district, out from behind your computer and talk with regular people, you can't help but feel the growing mood of dissatisfaction among the majority of the public over the direction this country is heading in, and the partisan games being played by the Republican leaders in Washington.

What we are doing in this campaign is tapping into that general discontent with the Republican-led Congress and the Bush White House. We have found in our polling that Lamar Smith only has between a 31 and 35% reelect number. For a 20-year incumbent, that is a formula for disaster, and he knows it. A whopping 69% of the voters polled in the district wanted to replace Smith or at least have some better choices this November. That's a wide-open door for our campaign.

We have met and heard from more disaffected Republicans than you would have thought possible, here in what a lot of outsiders still consider Bush Country.

I think we can turn Bush Country into Courage Country. As a Webb supporter diaried on Dkos this morning, the big difference between our candidate and the incumbent, is that John Courage will stand tall and tell the truth.

Now that's a Texas value to be proud of.

Benefits of the National Netroots Spotlight for Courage

The national Netroots page, administered by Chris Bowers of MyDD, selected John Courage as one of their National Netroots candidates earlier this summer. (See the fantastic profile by Glenn Smith on DKos.)

And that attention is paying off. The August fundraiser for ALL the candidates selected for the list is on right now, and they've already blown past the initial goals they set.

Here's the tally for Team Courage for just this fundraiser at this posting:

Candidate District 8/20 Donors 8/23 Donors New Donors in Past 24hrs. New Donors Since 8/20
John Courage TX-21 415 566 55 151

This fight in a long overlooked corner of Texas has been generating other national coverage as well. One of my very favorite writers ever, Meteor Blades of Dkos and The Next Hurrah, wrote about a fantastic podcast, The Gori Details. (I can't believe I missed this, but many thanks to TXSharon over at TexasKaos for picking up my slack.

And the edition he used to introduce it was the interview host Kathy Gori recently did with John Courage.

The podcast is available here.

Courage Filing in TX-21 Today

John Courage is filing this afternoon for Tx-21's congressional special election. Thanks to devoted volunteers who mobilized after the redistricting decision nullified the primary results, Team Courage gathered enough signatures to qualify by petition rather than by paying the filing fee.

“The redistricting ordered by the federal courts may have changed some of my precincts and some of my constituents, but it doesn’t change my resolve,” Courage said. “The people of Texas—good, honest, hardworking people, from San Antonio to Austin and throughout the Hill Country—deserve hardworking, honest representation in Washington. All of us expect and deserve a government that works. Our government today is not working; the majority of us believe that our government is headed in the wrong direction. In order to get things right we need to change what isn’t working with people who will work to get it right. That’s why I am remaining in this race,” Courage said.

BOR has a rundown of some of the other candidates for this seat. They include hobby candidate Gene Kelly, who apparently has more money than sense; Tommy Calvert, an activist from San Antonio running as an independent; Libertarian Jim Strohm; and of course, Republican incumbent Lamar Smith.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Round Up of TX-21 Activity

Lots of doings since my last post. Here's a quick whip round of the highlights. Feel free to chime in with any I've missed:

  • TX-21 was remapped by the Fed Court. Details of the plan at BOR. Lamar Smith no doubt breathed a sigh of relief to get rid of that chunk of Blue Travis County that was giving him fits.
  • Besides making TX-21 redder, this remapping also negated the primaries already run. It's now a Special election.
  • Which means hobbyist politician Gene Kelley is free to file, and apparently already has. Kelley's an odd duck, who seems to never have a problem forking out the filing fee (wonder where that money comes from) but can't be arsed to campaign or anything else you'd expect of someone running for an office he actually wants to fill. Guess he just likes to see his name on the ballot. Gene, couldn't you look into model trains or something?
  • This also means that Democratic primary winner John Courage is collecting signatures to get on the ballot. If you don't know whether you're still in TX-21 or not, give the campaign office a call at (512) 637-0855, and they'll look you up.
  • The race is tougher for a Dem to win now, but Team Courage has regrouped and is ready for the fight. John Courage vowed to give Lamar Smith the race of his life, even if he had to chase him all across Texas.
  • Team Courage recently released an ad, 18,000 Promises which is available on YouTube and being discussed on national blogging sites like Firedoglake.
  • Also, while Courage came up just short in the Mapchangers contest, the strong showing of Texas candidates (including Chris Bell for Governor) yielded help in developing an online organizing site, True Blue Action, that should help all the Texas candidates this year. Check it out.
  • The adventures of the Courage Truth Squad continue in Boerne, but Lamar Smith's not interested-even at a "public meeting" for Tx-21 residents. Well, you can't really blame him for that. When Lamar has an actual meeting with the public, it doesn't go so well for Lamar.
More news to come. Gotta jet now.

Xposted on Texas Kaos.