Just below the surface
There is something happening in Texas. It is just below the surface and it is happening because of the hard work of great organizations and tens of thousands of Texans likes you who are making a difference.
Let's start with the biggest news: Texans are getting fair state house and congressional districts that actually reflect the community instead of districts designed to build a political power base for one political party. The tactics of Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff failed last decade and a federal court has rejected similar maps drawn by conservatives in power now.
Now the road to changing Washington runs directly through Texas. 7 or 8 Congressional seats could be in "play" going into 2012, and the question we ask is will that road have a progressive voice who listens to the people, or a conservative special interest candidate who files legislation from ALEC and does whatever Grover Norquist and the Koch Brothers say? We have our preference and we suspect you do too.
There is a lot to be optimistic about when we look at the federal elections coming up next year. There is also a lot to be optimistic about looking at the state legislature. Before a vote has been cast, we already know a massive change is coming to Austin. Already 24 incumbents - nearly one in seven members of the state legislature - have announced they will not seek re-election. By the time you read this, that number could be even higher. 3 of those incumbents are coming from the Senate where there are only 31 members. The other 21 members are from the Texas House where there are 150 members. On top of those striking numbers, 5 of Conservative Speaker Joe Straus' committee chairs aren't seeking re-election. That means there will be shake-ups in the Corrections, Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence, Technology, Elections and the powerful State Affairs committee.
You already know what you can do when you make your voice heard. Nearly 30,000 Texans worked together to stop the state from endorsing racist and hateful confederate flag license plates.
It has been humbling to see what you can do with a simple click of the mouse, call and email. It has been an honor to meet some of you at community meetings or to hear you testify at hearings. You are making them pay attention to us and you are creating a progressive movement in Texas.
Simply, you are making a big difference.
Over the next few weeks you will see some updates from us about how you can continue to make a difference. We are about to launch a new campaign to help alleviate the burdens and glut in our state's court system. Progress Texas and our staff will highlight how new, innovative technology and infrastructure can make a difference in Texas and create a new economy and jobs. We will be continuing our work on exposing ALEC and highlighting the work of conservative special interests. We will be working with groups across the state to show how you can get more involved with other organizations and learn about the work they are doing.
As I told someone the other day, we are just getting started here. The good news is, the opportunity to dramatically change Texas and our country is here now. You and thousands of people who share your values are working together to improve the lives of future generations. Change will not happen over night. That said, because of you, it won't have to wait another generation.
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