Saturday, May 19, 2007

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie Held A Town Hall Meeting In Houston Today

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie came to Houston this weekend for one of his Town Hall meetings. It was centrally located at the University of Houston’s Main Campus, in a good-sized meeting room in the Student Center.

There were easily over 100 people there. A hundred and change.

He was introduced by Harris County Democratic Party Chair Gerry Birnberg. I was busy signing in and then signing Susan Criss’ petition during the intro. Susan Criss is running for Texas State Supreme Court Justice. She is the daughter of Galveston County Democratic Party Chairman Lloyd Criss. Lloyd Criss was there. Representing Fort Bend County? Us I guess. The Fort Bend Democrats. I did not see the Fort Bend County Chair at this meeting.

Boyd Richie, self-admits to being altitudinally challenged. As he stepped behind the podium, he grew about a foot. They had a wooden box back there to stand on. His height was a slight surprise to me, having never met him before. Mainly because in photos you can see that his face and head are – well, to put it frankly – large.

The meeting began with a stump speech that he has had for awhile, along with a PowerPoint presentation. He basically pointed out the things that the TDP is doing for Texas candidates.

He touted the VAN system, an acronym for Voter Activation Network. It’s an online database that the TDP has paid over $305,000 to build and maintain. The VAN is available gratis to all county chairs and precinct chairs. Campaigns pay a nominal fee to be able to log in and use this system, which has over 10 million voter entries in it. Richie pointed out that Chet Edwards used the VAN extensively in his congressional campaign, and got over 58% of the vote in CD 17. That’s right, CD 17 encompasses Crawford, Texas. Chet Edwards is George W. Bush’s congressional representation.

He spoke of the lawsuit that the TDP has filed against Attorney General Greg Abbott in his efforts to suppress African-American voters in his Rove-esque voter intimidation efforts. You can tell that Boyd Richie is really hot on this issue. His comments to a later question on HB 218, the voter photo ID bill were lengthy and heart felt. He also revealed plans afoot to develop and maintain a database that documents any and all attempts at voter intimidation and vote suppression.

Boyd Richie said that HB 218 has been stopped for now, but it won’t be officially dead until midnight this coming Wednesday.

Lastly, he pitched becoming a sustaining member of the Texas Democratic Party. A sustaining member pays 10 dollars per month to be one. I have to admit, I feel guilty not becoming a sustaining member and will have to use some of the 495 dollars that the joint Senate-House committee agreed on yesterday for Texas the 2008 teacher pay raise, to solve that guilt problem.

Also speaking at the meeting were CD 9 Congressman Al Green and CD 22 Congressman Nick Lampson. Green delights his audiences with his cleverly crafted speeches. The man can mix metaphors so wonderfully that you just start laughing. Lampson, arriving later, gave his I’ve been sick but am back in Washington speech. He thanked everyone, again, who helped out in his campaign. I was wondering about that. What was that for? Is he going somewhere?

But the guy who really got people on their feet spoke dead last. Rick Noriega gave an inspired speech without notes. He talked about values. He spoke of how we are judged by our values, by who we help, and by how much you care for those who are not as fortunate as you.

That’s another reason I am a Democrat. So I can agree with Rick.


Anonymous said...

AMEN! Hal!

Anonymous said...


Wonder no more. The County Chair, Elaine Bishop, was in Baton Rouge at the graduation of her son.

Hal said...

Well that clears that up.