Saturday, June 9, 2012

Judge Gilberto Hinojosa Elected Texas Democratic Party Chair

by Michael Handley

On the final day of the 2012 Democratic State Convention in Houston delegates overwhelmingly elected Judge Gilberto Hinojosa Texas Democratic Party Chair for the next two years.

Hinojosa, 59, is a former judge, county party leader and member of the Democratic National Committee. He is replacing outgoing chairman Boyd Richie, who announced in April 2011 that he would not seek another term after serving as party chair for six years.

Judge Hinojosa, who is the first Hispanic chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, intends to bring the kind of change to the TDP that will begin to offer the voters of Texas in all 254 counties a clear choice to the extreme conservative policies of the Republican Party - and that includes clearly communicating the progressive values of the Democratic Party. At the convention, he shouted from the stage,

“This is a war, folks. This is a war that the Republicans have waged on our families in Texas and all across America, We are a compassionate people. We don’t believe in pulling up the ladder after we reach the top.”

Hinojosa said that while Republicans call Democrats un-American it is in truth Republicans who carried out un-American policies by cutting funding for public education, women's health care, denying citizens their right to vote and opposing civil rights protections for all sexual orientations.

Hinojosa said Democrats need to begin believing they can win elections and stop allowing Republicans to define them us unpatriotic. "We as a party need to realize that there are more of us than there are of them - We have 70 percent of the people of Texas being beaten by 30 percent of the (Republican) people of Texas,” Hinojosa told convention delegates. "We believe that everyone in this great state deserves an equal chance ... and we can only do that if we win elections."

Judge Hinojosa, who is a lifelong Democrat, is passionate about rebuilding the Texas Democratic Party. When he announced his candidacy for party chair in June 2011 he said,
"I have decided to take on this campaign for Texas Democratic Party Chair because I believe that the people of the State of Texas deserve, and desperately need, to have a Democratic Party that will ensure that we elect fair minded, socially conscious, critical thinking and visionary Democrats to run this State, instead of the Republicans that are running it into the ditch. Texans cannot afford any less. TOO much is at stake. TOO much has been lost and we must turn things around before it's TOO late."

Judge Hinojosa interview with Texas Trib reporter Ross Ramsey.

Judge Hinojosa grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, attended what is now the University of Texas-Pan American, and obtained his law degree at Georgetown University.

He first worked as a lawyer for the Washington, D.C.-based Migrant Legal Action Program and then served as a Brownsville school trustee, a state district judge, a justice on the state's 13th Court of Appeals, on the Texas Board of Criminal Justice and Cameron County Judge. Judge Hinojosa currently practices law in Brownsville.

(Click here to read more about Judge Hinojosa.)

Michael Handley is DBN Managing Editor and was a delegate to TDP State Convention. Michael also served on the TDP Convention Party Officer Nominations Committee that approved Judge Hinojosa's nomination, along with other party officers.

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