Texas 21

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

Thursday, September 22, 2005

2006 Starts Now

Democracy for America is asking for input on their first endorsement for the 2006 Congressional elections. At the time of this posting, John leads the field.

Let's keep him there.

The field has been narrowed, and Texas 21 candidate John Courage has made the cut. Please take a moment to go vote for him. (The poll is being run by Instant Runoff Voting. You can vote for up to three-designating your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices.)

A brief bio supplied by the Courage Campaign's website:

John is running in the 21st Congressional District in central Texas. He has
served in the U.S. Air Force, as a teacher in inner-city public schools,
and as a member of the San Antonio Teacher's Council Board. He is dedicated
to providing affordable health care for all, preserving and strengthening
Social Security, and the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. He also seeks to
strengthen public schools and to reduce our dependency on foreign oil
through the development of alternative energy sources.

Want to know more about why you should support John Courage as a Grassroots All-Star? Here's an excerpt from his Blog For America posting after making the finalist cut:

I can win this race and send Lamar Smith packing, and send a message to the Republican leadership in Washington that the Democratic Party is alive and well, but I will need help.

While Smith's campaign relies on large corporate donations and the support of his mentor Tom Delay, my campaign relies on the support of everyday people. I am fielding a large team of enthusiastic volunteer supporters to reach-out to Democrats, Republicans and independents throughout my district. Democracy for America supporters can provide a big boost to this effort and help put right-wing Lamar Smith on the defensive by backing my campaign.

As I understand it, the candidate with the most votes will be the subject of an endorsement email from DFA that can bring a very helpful influx of cash early in the campaign season.

Wouldn't that be a nice way to start a long Congressional campaign?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Scheduled Courage Appearances for Sept 17 Launch Tour

From Courage for Congress website:

Saturday September 17, 2005 - Austin through San Antonio, TX
John Courage Announces Congressional Campaign Launch
Promises to Represent Central Texans' Values, Not Tom DeLay's

"I keep hearing from the residents of Travis, Bexar, Comal, Hays and Blanco counties that they are fed up with their leaders in Washington. Lamar Smith and the Republican-controlled government have failed the American people in too many ways, We need ethical leadership, security and preparedness here at home and a budget that reflects the needs of middle class families instead of millionaires. It's time to bring this nation together and start solving the challenges we face. It's time for a change!"
- John Courage

September 17, 2005 - Democrat John Courage is publicly launching his campaign to represent the voters of Central Texas' 21st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Courage is expected to face incumbent Lamar Smith in the November 2006 election.

For over thirty years Courage has served his state and his country as a member of the U.S. Air Force, as an educator and as a community leader. He and his supporters are boarding a school bus on September 17th and traveling throughout the District to announce his campaign in the following locations:

  • 10:00 am - Texas State Capital, Austin (east gate)

  • 11:30 am - Veterans Memorial Park, Dripping Springs

  • 1:00 pm - Old Blanco County Courthouse, Blanco

  • 2:30 pm - Bulverde Senior Center, Comal County

  • 4:00 pm - Bradley Middle School, North Central San Antonio

Please join us; everyone is welcome. Bring your families, friends and neighbors and let's start working together to take our country back.

For more information contact info@courageforcongress.com

Also, if you're at any of the rallies, and would like to report on your experience, please let me know at tx21blog@gmail.com.

Help John Courage win a DFA Endorsement

John Courage is the only Texan on the list of possible "Grassroots All-Stars" for Democracy For America.

The idea behind the Grassroots All-Star Competition is this:

People can only hear us if they can see us, so we have to stop abandoning entire states—and the Americans who live there—as lost causes. Why? Because if politics is the art of the possible, Hackett proved that the red-versus-blue divide doesn't really matter—that progressives can fight, and win elections, by convincing people one at a time.

Want more progressive victories? Then we have to fight. Our money and energy made the difference in Ohio, and that model can make waves—and win elections all over the country.

DFA gives you a chance to help decide who they'll focus on. You could pick someone for New Jersey, or Arizona. But how about Courage for Congress? Heaven knows that's in short supply under the big dome...

Here's how to participate:
This week, Democracy for America is hosting an online vote to determine which congressional candidate will receive our first DFA-List endorsement of 2006. The vote is open to all challengers and open seat candidates. The candidate with the most votes at the end of balloting will receive a DFA-List endorsement and a national e-mail from DFA's Chair Jim Dean.

The voting will take place in two stages. First, we will hold an online vote ending on Saturday, 9/17 at 5:00 pm Eastern Time to narrow the field of candidates down to the top ten. For the second round, we will hold an Instant Run-off Vote among the top ten candidates to determine our first endorsement of 2006.

Cowboy/girl up!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Courage for Congress Campaign Kick Off-Bus Tour

This isn't on John Courage's official campaign website calendar, but it was mentioned by some posters over at Dkos:

Come with us on John Courage's Congressional
District 21 Election Kick-off Announcement Tour!

When: Saturday Sept 17th Leave 7:30am Return 4:30pm
Where: Bradley Middle School,14819 Heimer Road,San Antonio 78232

Bus leaves at 8AM for our kick off in Austin.
Then to Dripping Springs, Blanco, Bulverde,
and finally back to Bradley Middle School in San Antonio!

You'll get a free lunch.

For those of you who want to help,
this is a really good way to do it!

Let no voter be left behind!
With the way things are going, it takes Courage!
Congress Needs Courage, don't you agree?

Sign up for a seat on the bus at People Powered Politics

As I see more information on when the tour is stopping at rallies in TX21, I'll post further.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Lamar Smith Gets Schooled by Sensible Constituents

As reported by TXTiger, over at Dkos, Rep. Smith had a town hall meeting today. It didn't go like he expected.

Excerpts below (with emphasis as in the original), but I recommend following the above link for the whole report, and some very interesting Kossakian commentary.
The Response to Hurricane Katrina

Asked how Hurricane Katrina will affect the Congress' legislative priorities, and whether this should require a shift away from tax cuts, Smith said, "Yes, mostly." He said he believes that tax cuts do (or can) spike the economy, but remarked, "Realistically, the estate tax will not be repealed this year."

At this point, a man with silver hair stood up. "Representative Smith," he said firmly, "I have been a Republican since the early 1960's." Oh, no, I thought, here it comes - shill time. This guy had to be part of the crowd called in by the Travis County Republican Party this morning to give Smith some cover.

"I pay a lot for taxes," he continued, "and I consider it a social investment. I am outraged! When this catastrophe hit, the president's response was that we should 'give to private charity.' I am outraged that this party can't support our country. We can't deal with our own self-defense. You need to fire Chertoff and these FEMA clowns. What are you doing with our tax dollars?!"

At this point, the audience broke into applause.

Not an auspicious beginning. Let's move on to a more reliable talking point. How about "support the troops"?
Iraq and Support for the Troops

A young woman stood up and introduced herself as a small business owner and from a family of veterans. "The Republican party claims to support our troops," she said, "but a bill providing medical care for veterans missed by one vote, and you voted 'No' on that bill. How do you defend your vote?"

Smith said that veterans received an 8% increase this past year, and "any more would have broken the budget and the general agreement." This excuse was received with hisses.

She followed up asking about a bill to increase health insurance rates for Guard and Reserve troops to the same level as Tricare which regular troops receive, which missed by 7 votes and for which Smith voted 'No.' She said service people are losing their businesses because they have been called up for so long.

Smith said, "We have to do more and do better, but at some point we have to say that 8% is enough."

But to applause, this young woman said, "I don't think you've done as much for our servicemen as you've done for the top 1% in our country."

I love the way he spoke about the budget as if it hadn't been broken beyond most powers of calculation by this Republican controlled Congress.

There was more lively discussion. On the subject of Tom Delay, TRMPAC and the mugging of Congressional districts in the off cycle redistricting, Rep Smith played dumb. At least I don't think he's that dumb, though I'd not hazard a guess as to how much wattage there actually is under the hood.
Another questioner stood up later and thanked Smith for coming out to meet with his constiuents. Playing off Smith's opening assertion that only 20% of his colleagues hold town meetings, the man said, "The reason they don't go meet their constituents is because they don't have competitive districts due to gerrymandering. When will congress pass laws requiring independently-drawn districts?"

Smith said, "That's up to the states to do."

"Then why was Tom DeLay involved here in Texas?" shouted someone.

"He wasn't, the state legislature - "

"Oh, c'mon, Lamar!"

"The legislature - "

"Everyone knows DeLay was running it!"

The shouting and hisses continued for a few moments. Smith pretended not to understand what redistricting people were talking about (he "thought" they meant Texas house districts, not Congressional). He complained that he had been a victim of redistricting in the Texas House back in 1981. And he denied that Tom DeLay had any hand in the matter at all. "Redistricting is up to the states," he said.

"It was wrong split Austin into three districts," said the original questioner.

There's more, and TxTiger reports it well, but this last excerpt is irresistible.
And when asking about his votes against stem cell research and for extending Terry Schiavo's life, the questioner remarked, "If you spent so much effort on living people as on these issues, New Orleans would never have happened."
May she rest in peace, Terri Schiavo is the gift that keeps backfiring on the Mullahs of Congress.

By the last ten minutes, Smith was looking at the clock pretty regularly.

Well, I would imagine so. This must have been one of the 10 longest hours Rep Smith has ever had in his life.

At least to date.

One thing has become crystal clear about this Republican leadership. They will expend the very minimum of effort to keep embarassment off their backs. Preferrably PR effort, but if pushed they will resort to more substantial efforts.

Our job as constituents is to keep flipping over the rock, and pelting them with enough pebbles to keep them moving in the right direction.

Crossposted at Come and Take It.