Friday, July 29, 2011

Annual Gov. Ann Richards Dinner Next Saturday Aug. 6

Gov. Ann RichardsThe annual dinner honoring Governor Ann Richards, sponsored by the Democratic Party of Collin County, is set for next Saturday August 6, 2011. Click to the DPCC website for details - reservation deadline is Mon. Aug 1, 2011.

Governor Richards is admired as a person who stood up for everyday citizens in Texas throughout her life. A video at the bottom of this article presents Richards speaking at the 1988 Democratic National Convention where, in the first 16 minutes of the speech, she explains why it is important that our elected representatives in government stand up for everyday citizens.

According to Shawn Stevens, Chair of the Democratic Party of Collin County, 'that is why the 2011 Richards Dinner planning committee selected, "Standing Up for Everyday Citizens," as the theme for this year's fund raising dinner.'

In keeping with that theme several people widely regarded for taking a principled stand for everyday citizens have been invited to address Richards Dinner guests this year, according Mr. Stevens. Stevens today announced that several ranking members of the Texas Democratic Party are confirmed to join Wisconsin Democratic State Senator Jon Erpenbach, better known as one of the "Wisconsin 14," next Saturday to speak at the annual fundraising dinner.

Joining Wisc. Sen. Erpenbach at the speaker's podium will be Texas State HD-103 Representative Rafael Anchia, Texas State HD-116 Representative Trey Martinez Fischer and Texas Democratic Party state Chairman Boyd Richie.

Texas House Representative Rafael AnchiaPresident Barack Obama recently announced his appoint of Dallas Finance/International Partner and Texas House Representative Rafael Anchia to the national Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, a panel of industry group representatives and public officials that advises the U.S. Trade Representative on trade agreements. The committee is an advisory body created to ensure that U.S. trade policy and trade negotiations reflect U.S. public and private sector interests.

It is the first national governmental post for Rep. Anchia, the current State Representative for Texas House District 103, which covers the western section of Dallas County. Rep. Anchia also serves as Vice Chair of the House Pensions, Investments and Financial Services Committee.

Representative Anchia is the immediate past chairman of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, and serves on the board of directors of the Spain-Texas Chamber of Commerce. He is a recent recipient of the Ohtli Award, the highest acknowledgment that the Government of Mexico bestows upon individuals living outside Mexico who have contributed to the empowerment of Mexican or Mexican-American communities in the United States.

Rep. Anchia began his career in public service as an elected member of the Dallas Independent School District Board of Trustees, the nation's 12th largest school district, and has served as an adjunct professor and instructor on trade policy at Texas Tech University Law School, the University of Texas at Dallas and at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, TX.

State House Representative Trey Martinez FischerState Representative Trey Martinez Fischer represents the 116th District of Texas, located in the heart of San Antonio, chairs the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, and serves on the House Natural Resources and Ways & Means Committees. Rep. Fischer was honored last month to be named the “Bull of the Brazos” by Texas Monthly magazine in their much-anticipated 2011 “Best and Worst of the Legislature” list.

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd RichieThree term Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie announced last April that he will not seek a forth term. In a press release, Richie said he reached the decision that the party,
"needs a chair who is not encumbered by also being a candidate ... Now more than ever, Democrats must unite because the Republican political agenda threatens to shut down government, schools and nursing homes..."
He's not going anywhere immediately, as his current term doesn't end until the next Democratic Party State Convention in July 2012. In his retirement announcement before the State Democratic Executive Committee meeting in April, Richie said he intends to make the most of the next year by preparing the party statewide for the 2012 election cycle.

Wisc. 14 Dem. State Sen. Jon ErpenbachFor Texans who may not be familiar with the story behind the Wisconsin 14, here are some excepts from a NYTimes article published on March 12, 2011:

They are the unlikeliest of folk heroes... But this group of once-obscure lawmakers — a dairy farmer, a lawyer and a woman who is seven months pregnant, among others — that fled this capital nearly a month ago, returned Saturday to the cheers of tens of thousands who once again packed the streets in protest.

Many in the crowd wore buttons or held signs bearing admiring nicknames for the group: the “Fighting 14,” the “Fab 14” or, simply, “the Wisconsin 14.” They chanted, “Thank you” and “Welcome home.”

This is, of course, not the standard reception for state legislators, typically as anonymous as they are unglamorous. “Before all of this occurred, I wouldn’t have known a lot of their names,” said Paul Fieber, a retired state employee carrying a sign declaring, “Our heroes.” “But that has changed for me and a lot of the population.”

The reason for the reception was that the 14 Democratic state senators had returned weeks after fleeing to another state in a dramatic — if ultimately failed — effort to deny quorum in the state senate to prevent a vote on a bill that would significantly weaken public-sector unions. During the weeks the 14 Democratic state senators were out of the state tens of thousands building to hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin citizens protested the Republican union busting legislation in the state capitol and other Wisconsin cities.

Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D) addresses the 2011 IAFF Legislative Conference, telling the story of the Wisc. 14 on March 17, 2011

The ALEC sponsored Wisc. bill, which limits collective bargaining rights and requires annual votes for unions to stay in existence, among other provisions, was signed into law in March by Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, after passing in both Republican-controlled chambers earlier.

However, that Republican victory spawned a popular recall petition movement for six Republican state senators. In retaliation the Republican Party circulated recall petitions for six Democratic state senators.

After weeks of signature collection during the spring, the Badger State certified recall elections for nine state senators, six Republicans and three Democrats.

At stake is the balance of power in the Wisconsin State Senate, where Republicans currently hold a 19-14 advantage, and, really, the balance of political power in the state. Should Democrats manage to pick up a net of three seats in all those recall votes, they would control the Senate and be able to put the brakes on Walker's ALEC backed agenda. [ALEC Exposed: How Wisconsin Republicans Create Right Wing Legislation and ALEC Exposed: And It's Connection To Texas Laws. Read more about Wisc. in Larry Miller's Blog.]

The first of nine summer recall elections held in mid-July, the attempted recall of Democratic State Senator Dave Hansen, ended in defeat for the Republican challenger. Hansen easily won the recall election with 68.4% of the vote. The next recall elections are scheduled for Aug. 9, when the six Republicans will face their Democratic challengers. Then, on Aug. 16 the two remain Democrats facing recall election will defend their seats against Republicans.

Jon Erpenbach will tell the Wisconsin 14 story to the Richards dinner audience and give a current update on the Aug. 9 recall election, which will occur only three days after the dinner.

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