GCDP Quarterly Newsletter, Issue 1, 2019, with Special Addendum

Introduction:

Galveston County Democratic Party is adding a newsletter to our communication toolbox.  It’s a place where we can provide new information and include updates available elsewhere, all in one place.  It’s a work in progress and any suggestions are welcome.  For now, we plan a quarterly publication.

 

County Chair Welcome:

On behalf of the Galveston County Democratic Party, I want to welcome you to the premiere issue of our new newsletter.  Your County Party has a lot of activity going on, all focused on our core mission of electing more Democrats to public office in Galveston County.  Please join us as we continue to build our County Democratic Party for our next big gains in November 2020.  Our time is now.  Don’t wait; time is short and there is much to do.  We cannot let this unparalleled opportunity pass us by.  - John Young

 

A Message from our Communications Director: 

Our digital communications team has grown in terms of people and ideas.  The team now includes Mindy Westphal and Shadan Larki.  Mindy suggested we start a newsletter and helped gather content.  Shadan has pulled it all together and delivered it to your inbox. We will also post an edited version to the GCDP website blog.   – Andy Hailey

 

Local Candidate Names/Links, Elections are May 4, 2019:

For a Complete List of Candidates for May 4 election go to GalvestonVotes

  • Ann Hammond, CCISD At Large Postion B
  • Edward Munoz, College of the Mainland, Position 4
  • Rhonda Hart, Dickinson ISD Board of Trustees District 5

 

Calendar/Events:

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Our current meeting list is available at the Pinned Announcement in the Galveston County Democrats Group on Facebook:

  • First Tuesday of the Month: Galveston County Democrats Club
  • First Thursday: GCDP Field Ops planning team
  • Second Monday: Neighborhood Democrats Club
  • Second Tuesday: Texas Democratic Women
  • Second Saturday: Coalition of Black Democrats
  • Third Tuesday: Young Democrats
  • Fourth Monday: Friendswood Democrats 
  • MobilizeAmerica also lists our club and GCDP meetings - Web based meeting sign up. 
  • Generic Democratic Google Calendar
  • Don’t forget early voting is going on NOW and election day is May 4th! 

Email notifications are also provided.  Get on mailing list.

 

Fundraising Links

  • GCDP has doubled its budget for the 2019/2020 campaign and needs your help.  Major donors should contact our county chairman, John Young.
  • Donate via ActBlue: 
  • Send checks to:
    • GCDP, P.O. Box 756, Friendswood, TX 77549-756

Other fundraising links are provided via email, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for fundraisers as they are scheduled.

 

GCDP Leadership Positions Need Filling:

  • GCDP needs someone to organize and help manage voter registration events with our deputized voter registrars.
  • GCDP needs someone to coordinate volunteer activation, phone banking and block walking.
  • GCDP needs someone to organize and coordinate major fundraising events to bankroll our 2019/2020 campaign efforts

Volunteer:

Check our  List of opportunities

 

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Club Updates and Member Spotlight

Texas Democratic Women Galveston County

TDW-GC is proud to have finished our second year as an organization.  We have elected our new executive board for our 2019-2020 year and are ready to be progressive in our actions.  Many of our members participated in Blue Ribbon Lobby Day on April 2nd and learned how to lobby our state representatives.  We lobbied Representative Mayes Middleton, Representative Greg Bonnen and Senator Larry Taylor on issues such as healthcare, education and equal pay.  We also participated in an Equal Pay for Equal Work rally on the capitol steps and immersed ourselves in the capitol experience.  We hosted an Annie’s List Run to Lead training on 4/13 at College of the Mainland. TDP Vice Chair Carla Brailey was our keynote speaker. Currently we are doing canvassing for our local candidates between now and the May 4th election.  Please sign up for a shift here.

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We’re proud to announce our new executive board:

President: Heidi Gordon

Vice President: Lauri Dibrell

Recording Secretary: Kristie Powers

Corresponding Secretary: Roxy D. Williamson

Treasurer: Angela Wilson

Parliamentarian: Claudia Hilton

Membership Committee Chairwoman: Bengisu Abramsky

Communication/ PR Committee Chairwoman: Mindy Westphal

Fundraising/ Events Planning Committee Chairwoman: Mimi Montgomery

 

*If you’re interested in joining us and our cause please reach out to Bengisu Abramsky at babramskypc167@gmail.com or to tdwofgc@gmail.com.  TDW-GC meets at 7:00 pm on the second Tuesday of the month at the IBEW Local 527 in Texas City so come and check us out.*

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Member Spotlight: Kathy Nixie

Kathy was featured in the New Yorker wearing her suffragette attire and Votes for Women sash.  She is looking for more women to dress similarly with her at activist events, parades etc.  Read the New Yorker article.

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Notes from Active Members:

Getting to know your County Commissioner’s Court

-Submitted by Joyce Townsend

It’s unusual for citizens to know the full scope of the County Commissioners Court. In Galveston County, with just over 349,000 residents, the volume of business has grown in recent years. Commissioners Court is, perhaps, the most important governing body of the county.  The following is a partial explanation of the duties and roles for the Commissioners Court as explicitly defined in detail by the State of Texas in the Texas Elections Code.

Each county in Texas is structured the same with one County Judge and four County Commissioners.  The County Judge presides over the meetings of the Commissioners Court and sees that the meetings are conducted in an orderly manner.  The Judge does have the authority to hold in contempt those who try to disrupt the proceedings of the court in the conduct of its business. The court may ask the Sheriff to maintain order and the Sheriff must comply. 

The main functions of the County Commissioners Court are:

supervise and control the county courthouse, county buildings and facilities;

adopt a county budget;

determine county tax rates; 

determine county precinct districts (redistricting);

fill vacancies in elective and appointive positions; 

let contracts in the name of the county; 

build and maintain county roads and bridges; 

administer such services as libraries, county hospitals, welfare programs, parks and playgrounds;

make other decisions relating to county welfare, such as county hospitals, county jails, libraries, parks, relief to the indigent, and civil defense.

The County Judge is also head of civil defense and disaster relief. The County Judge is voted on by the entire county. Each of the four commissioners is directly elected by the voters of their respective precincts. As a member of the Commissioners Court, each Commissioner participates in all the decisions and work of that body. The law requires the Commissioners Court to meet at least once each month in a regular term. The day of the regular meeting is set by the Commissioners Court itself. The court can meet in special session at any time, as long as proper notice is given and there is proper posting of such notice. Any three members of the court may constitute a quorum for the transaction of all business with the exception of levying county taxes.  

A Galveston resident, Joyce Townsend brings a unique approach to the Galveston County Commissioners Court coverage. Townsend has a strong background in demography and economics so the numbers pertaining to budgetary expenditures are an area of focus. However, as an activist for many years she will also bring us information from the meetings regarding the protection of our most marginalized communities. Please feel free to comment to Townsend at 210.887.1753. 

 

Shoutout to Recruitment Team 

We would like to give a huge shout out to our recruitment team who is diligently working on special projects for our upcoming elections. Our committee is busy preparing to get Democrats elected and it couldn’t happen without our team leads and our wonderful volunteers. It’s great to see such a dedicated group of people come together and work toward a common goal.

-Carol & Michael

 

Candidate Messages:

I’m Rhonda Hart and I’m running for Dickinson ISD Board of Trustees, District 5.  I’ve lived in Galveston County for almost 10 years.  I’m an Army veteran and former school bus driver.  The presidential campaign in 2008 is what moved me to be a Democrat.  I’m running because I want to support the families of DISD, find some property tax relief for my voters, support the teachers and improve school safety.  I live in Texas City with my son, a cat and a dog.

 

Edward Muñoz     

I’m originally from Galveston County.   I am currently a 22-year-old, and a current resident of Bacliff, Texas. I was supposed to graduate in 2015, but since I took an extra mile in my education by going through additional classes during the summer. I was able to graduate a year early from Texas City High School in 2014.   In January 2015, I began to pursue my associate of arts in general studies here at College of the Mainland.   I was very active while being a student, and I was the president of the Hispanic Student Alliance Club for two consecutive terms.   I worked for Student Support Services and Upward Bound where I tutored first-generation college students in U.S. History, and Government and with Upward Bound.   I was able to help our local students of Dickinson High School, Hitchcock High School, and La Marque High School to introduce them to college life.  In 2017, I graduated from College of the Mainland with my associate of arts and made the dean’s list. In the fall of 2018, I started attending the University of Houston Main Campus to work on my Bachelor of Arts in political science with a minor in Spanish. While attending the University of Houston, I got appointed as an Associate Supreme Court Justice. I then started on my second associate degree in criminal justice at College of the Mainland where I got elected to President of the student body. I currently work for College of the Mainland and the Department of Student Life, where I can continue serving and representing our students.

How/why did you decide to run for the board?

The reason I decided to run for the board is that I noticed that my opponent was a hand-picked candidate. I feel that the community of Dickinson and Bacliff deserves more.  Another reason I decided to run is because I was in the shoes of the students as a first-generation college student. I struggled to find the resources that the College of the Mainland said that they offered to their students. I want to be in a leadership position so I can hold others accountable for making sure our students succeed at College of the Mainland.
 
What pertinent experience do you bring to the board?

The experience that I’ll bring to the board is a fresh new mindset as a graduate student of College of the Mainland. Serving as the president of the student body, I devoted my time to work with the students and administration. I asked them what I could do for them, how can I serve them. I also made sure that I’m listening to every complaint the students tell me. Having worn those same shoes as other students, I know how it feels. I’m willing to devote my time to the community of Dickinson and Bacliff and listen and hear the community’s thoughts and how we can improve our community college for all students.   As an employee, I know what it takes to help these students by identifying the resources that the college offers.    I know my purposes is to serve our students and community members.  I will help draw in a variety of students to our excellent community college which offers them fantastic opportunities to enhance their future.   I have been training myself for this position for a very long time.  I've served our students by listening and helping every single one.  

What do you see as key issues facing College of the Mainland in the upcoming years during your term as a trustee?

The critical issue that I’ll be facing as a trustee is the low retention rate.  Another fundamental issues that I’ll be facing is that we need to expand and fund our resources in specific programs to make sure that every student is successful in their endeavors.
 
What qualities do you bring to the job that may or may not already be in evidence on the board?

What I bring to the job is a fresh mind, a connection to the student body, and an understanding of how policies affect them. 
 
Are you actively campaigning in your district? Will you be debating your opponent?

I’m currently campaigning in my district.  I am meeting new faces and getting to know the community members and students that I hope to represent as College of the Mainland Board of Trustees Position 4. There is no a debate schedule between my opponent and myself, however, I’m ready to debate my vision for the district.

 

I am Ann Hammond, and am running again for my At-Large, Position B school board seat as this is an especially important time for education in Texas and in CCISD because of what the Legislature is doing with funding in the areas of teacher pay, benefits, Special Ed and GT funding, to name just a few issues.   Experience is what I bring to the table in dealing with these issues.  I am honored to have served nearly 12 years as a Trustee, and not only feel education is important for our students, but for me as well, so that I can understand what is being proposed for our future generation and create a vision for CCISD students.  Since I’ve been on the board I have earned nearly 600 hours of CEC by attending classes and seminars related to education and spent a year in a Leadership program where I earned my certificate as a Master Trustee in 2012.

I am an advocate for our students and teachers.  I have voted to add dual language program to additional campuses, add another Science Magnet Campus, create and expand STEM campuses, as well as additional CTE programs; these are a few of the great things our current board has supported.

CCISD is a fiscally responsible school district and has a 4.45% efficiency ratio for administrative-cost ratio.  This high-functioning board voted to present a Bond in 2017 and, because we’re caretakers of taxpayer funds, voted to refinance some bond debt and saved $35M, and have not had to raise the I&S rate for that bond.

Personalized Learning is an important issue for me as a result of my study for Master Trustee certificate and am happy to say the District is also making that a priority.  I voted with the rest of the Board to accept the Community School Safety Committee recommendations and that means we do not have teachers armed in the classroom – only our campus liaison officers (and we’ve already hired 15 additional officers).  We have also hired 15 additional counselors which was a Safety Committee recommendation.   The District will also be implementing the recommendations of the Special Ed audit that the Board voted to have conducted on our Special Ed Processes.

I am dedicated to serving the community and our students through many philanthropic organizations that I belong to that support their needs.

I want to continue working with our great group of Trustees who are all student focused and want to keep our District moving forward as the exceptional district it is.  Please vote for me on May 4th, or early vote, starting April 22nd.  

 

Links to Inform Our Readers:

Social Media Links:

Other Useful Links: 

 

Don’t forget early voting is going on NOW and election day is May 4th! 

 

Have ideas on how to make this newsletter better?

Want to join our team?

Contact us at: gcdpnewsletter@gmail.com

 


SPECIAL ADDENDUM

Local AFL-CIO Needs Our Support

USW Local 13-1

These local USW profit makers need our support after their employer has locked the out of the plant and stopped paying them.  

The AFL-CIO has supported the GCDP numerous times in numerous ways to elect Democrats. Now it's our turn.  Here's an except from the AFL-CIO email to labor supporters:

"The company has insisted on ridiculous concessions in bargaining and given a last and final offer that rolls back significant protections for the workers. 98% of the workers voted NO on this contract, and so the company has responded not by continuing to negotiate, but by locking them out. These workers are fighting one of the largest and most powerful corporations in the world. They are on the front lines fighting not only for a fair contract but in this fight against corporate greed, they are fighting for all of us.

"Now more than ever these union brothers and sisters need our support. The company has cut off their paychecks, but let’s show Dow that they can never cut off the solidarity and support of the labor movement in Texas."

 

Your Donations Are Critical for Union Success

 

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