Latinos For Texas Blog


Hispanics never moved out of the Democratic column?

Filed under: — kevin @ 3:02 pm

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On June 28th, Ruy Texeira, a noted Democratic political scientist, wrote an article called “Hispanics Poised to Move Democratic” on Donkey Rising (The Emerging Democratic Majority blog). His findings are amazing. Despite the fact that Bush did slightly better than previous presidential elections in attracting Hispanic votes,

Hispanic voters who express a preference for the 2006 Congressional elections currently give the Democrats a 68-32 edge in the two-party vote. The rest of the poll tells us why Hispanic support for the Democrats has become so lop-sided.

Hispanic voters give Republicans an average feeling thermometer (0=coldest; 100=warmest) score of 48 and Democrats an average score of 60. And 63 percent of these voters identify with or lean towards the Democratic party compared to just 31 percent who identify with or lean towards the Republicans.

Hispanic voters were also asked which party they associate more with a number of positive characteristics. In no case did the Republicans have an advantage over the Democrats, even on national security related items. Here are the characteristics with Democratic advantages in parentheses: accepting different cultures (44); addressing the concerns of the Hispanic community (41); for the middle class (39); support working families (35); cares about people (34); putting the public interest first (33); on your side (28); opportunity (26); for families (22); shares your values (18); freedom (15); prosperity (10); respecting religious faith (10); personal responsibility (8); know what they stand for (7); and can be trusted to keep America safe (4). When Republicans don’t even have an advantage on that last item, you know they’re not doing too well.

Go and read the whole thing, especially if you are tired of the post-2004 spin: Bush won because of Hispanic voters and “moral values” voters. Neither is true. And don’t even get me started on the “moral values” crap.

Dr. Federico Subervi in the new La Politiquera

Filed under: — site admin @ 9:47 am

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Lo siento! I didnt read it all the way through before posting!

Dr. Federico Subervi, an advisor to Latinos For Texas, is profiled in the new issue of La Politiquera, available online at and spoke at DemocracyFest 2005 in Austin across Juneteenth weekend.


LFT:: Almost Famous

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 9:21 am

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LFT gets mention in this week’s Austin Chronicle… maybe some day one of us will get quoted. Oooooohhh.

A new La Politiquera is available

Filed under: — site admin @ 7:15 am

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Alfredo Santos writes in to let us know a new issue of La Politiquera, a Chicano Newspaper focusing on politics, public policy and the pressing issues of the day, is out and available online, including stories on Austin Pollice shooting an unarmed teenager in the back, an analysis and commentary on Villaraigosa’s and Castro’s mayoral campaigns, and an open letter to the African-American community from Guest Editor Elizabeth Martinez. Give it a look!

Pa los que estan interesados, the June/July, 2005 issue of La Politiquera can be seen at

Muchas gracias,

Alfredo R. Santos c/s


SPIT Musings

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 8:14 pm

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Previously, we have posted about the attempts by Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) and Sen. Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso) to introduce legislation that would allow Texans to vote on the fairness and accountability within our state’s taxing structure. Eight days into the (first) special session of the 79th Legislature and many of our opinions have not changed.

“Good schools are where Teachers know how to teach and love to do it and Students believe they can learn and they do it con ganas!”
— Senator Eliot Shapleigh

Sen. Shapleigh’s presentation of A New Texas: Invest in our kids, invest in our future is delivered with passion, easy to understand, and filled with vital content.

With the elimination of Robin Hood, 867 school districts would lose approximately $230 per student and wealthy districts would gain $1,969 per student.

What is Texas’ Future in 2030? Household income will decline by $5,000 – pulling $60 billion out of the Texas economy. For the first time in our history, the next generation of Texans will be less prosperous than the generation before them.

Shapleigh’s straight-forward approach proves he is not messing around. He will ask you where to cut and what to tax in order to raise enough revenue to cover the giant crater the elimination of Robin Hood would create. More importantly, he is sincere in his message – we all agree every child in Texas deserves a first-rate education rich with great teachers, the latest technology, and challenging course work.

“The system as it stands now is not equitable…with an income tax, most property taxes will go down, even for the rich. And don’t be fooled by the Republican rhetoric against raising taxes… Plans to increase fees are taxes by another name.”
—Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, The Texas Observer, January 31, 2003

Rep. Rodriguez is a rare leader who engages in real dialogue with his constituents. He doesn’t mind delving into the details of any issue or explaining in length HB 33 and HJR 13, which would allow for a voter-approved State Personal Income Tax.

The legislation would abolish the Maintenance & Operation portion of property taxes for all homeowners and remove the possibility of it being reinstated. It also calls for a state-wide vote on the implementation of a low-rate State Personal Income Tax.

A Personal Exemption of $3,200.00 is allowed for every filer and for each dependent declared by that filer. This is the only exemption provided.

On all remaining income the rate of the tax is:
1 % on the 1st $25,000.00
2% on the 2nd $25,000.00
3.5% on the 3rd $25,000.00
5% on the 4th $25,000.00
6.5% on the next $50,000.00
7.0% on the next $50,000.00
7.5% on additional income (all income above $200,000.00)

In a press release last Thursday, Rep. Rodriguez said, “…the total tax on a family of four, with yearly income of $100,000.00, is less than two percent.” That amount would also be deductible on your federal income taxes. Not the case if the Republican leadership has its way with the corporate franchise tax loophole and wage tax, a.k.a. back-door income tax.

A state income tax is a tough sell, but it makes sense. It would give across-the-board tax relief to all Texans while broadening the base of revenue earmarked for education. It would reduce the state’s reliance on property and sales taxes while every taxpayer made a fair investment into the future of Texas. It takes control out of the hands of the Legislature and into the hands of Texas voters.

Sen. Shapleigh and Rep. Rodriguez are the good guys. And their districts have a few things in common – they are largely Hispanic with moderate incomes and one-third of their constituents are high school drop-outs or have never graduated. When these guys talk about taxes, it is clear that they have the best interests of Texans (and not electoral games) at heart.

Spread the word.

Hang on to your sombreros?

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The Pew Hispanic Center has just released a report called “Hispanics and the 2004 Election: Population, Electorate, and Voters.”

From their press release:

Hispanics accounted for half of the population growth in the United States between the elections of 2000 and 2004 but only one-tenth of the increase in the total votes cast, according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

This gap between the very substantial growth of the Hispanic population and much more modest growth in Hispanic electoral clout has been developing for a generation but has widened considerably in recent years.

It is primarily the result of the two key demographic factors that distinguish Latinos from whites and blacks in the electoral arena: a high percentage of Hispanics are either too young to vote or are ineligible because they are not citizens.

What does this mean? Oh, how about a Spanish voting boom in, let’s say, 10-20 years–just as Roberto Suro, one of the study’s authors, suggests in a Washington Post Op-Ed from June 26, 2005 (available as PDF at bottom of the press release).

But read Suro’s analysis closely: voting Hispanics tend to speak English more than Spanish (remember that you writers of political ads), have higher levels of income and education, and have lived here longer.

So perhaps the “sleeping giant” metaphor used to describe Latino political power–starting back in the ’80s and even as recently as Villaraigosa’s mayoral win in LA–is still premature.

How do we precipitate the Latino voting boom? Redoubled efforts in voter registration, better public education for all, common sense immigration laws (such as the Dream Act), and stronger bonds between other Democratic constituencies and Latino communities (I won’t use the condescending term “outreach”).

Go read it all–the results are very interesting.

Sneaky, sneaky…

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 3:17 pm

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State Democratic Party -

Evil Counterpart of the State Democratic Party -


Delay Flier Looks Like an Inside Job

Filed under: — kevin @ 10:52 pm

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No, it doesn’t. Es que siempre quería decir esto. Hahaha. Check out Juanita, of the world’s most dangerous beauty salon (you’ll get it when you get it), for the great anti-Delay flier flying around Sugar Land.

Oh, and by the way, Republicans love this kind of tactic. When I was in Arkansas for the 2004 general, we found fliers saying that Kerry was going to ban the Bible.

Tejano Dems Convention Results

Filed under: — kevin @ 10:44 pm

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Check out the wise Tejano Politico for a recap of the annual Tejano Democrats convention last weekend in San Antonio, home to the new world champions.

State Rep Eddie Rodriguez school finance plan

Filed under: — site admin @ 7:48 am

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Perhaps this is a political mistake to say this, because someone will take it out of context, but more than three times in one week (twice at DemFest and once at AustinMovingForward) i was in a room full of Progressive people who genuinely see the futility of property-tax dependence as the means to a quality education. that is, Progressives not seeking ways to tax-and-spend, but not afraid to recognize that common good can come from common spending in the right ways! people cheered loudly and passionately for a state income tax to replace the non-fair, non-working system we have now which has led Texas to, something like, 49th out of 50 in education funding.

As Stace of DosCentavos blog says it: Go Eddie Go!

State Representative Eddie Rodriguez (Austin) filed the first school finance bill to address the long term needs of Texas’ public schools.

HB 33 and HJR 13 completely abolishes the “Robin Hood” property tax (or “Maintenance and Operations tax). While the Governor’s plan offers a temporary reduction (from $1.50 to $1.20 per $100 dollars in valuation), Rodriguez’ plan drops the rate to zero. It is the only plan which abolishes the M & O. It also prohibits reinstatement of the tax under the Texas Constitution.

read more at Go Eddie Go!


GEORGE LAKOFF - at conference

Filed under: — kevin @ 4:02 pm

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(he is in the room with mark yznaga.)

Dr. George Lakoff, professor of linguistics, UC Berkeley. senior fellow, rockridge institute:
(standing ovation greets him.)

you really understand what this country is up against. i wanna start with your local, karl rove. i wrote something on the plane, and what he has done is sneaky and he outsmarted dems again.

the 1st lesson of framing is you cant activate othr frame (i m not a crook). rove calld dems wimps, dems responded saying we arent wimps. bad plan. reinforced it. even nancy pelosi.

rove accomplished more than that, with help from dems. he took historical context this week, framing always in a context. this was his: iraq bad, 60% think it mistake. anti-war caucus in DC. rupubs even coming to bush to tak about iraq. because bush iraq numbers bad, but anti-terror numbers good, rove reactivates anti-terror bush frame.

rove linked bush terror strength to post9/11 action and ignores downingstreet and actual iraq action. rove acheived: 1) no context of present diasater in iraq, but suicess of post 9/11 bush. 2) put dems on defense 3) “savagery” means war is response 4) rove evoked conserv brand of libs as weak conservs as strong 5) when dems responded, they implicity support bush in iraq 6) rove used liberal not dem, and responders as dems took that name for themselves.

what should libs have learned:
1. start with resisting juicy bait!! ignore rove
3. pound on downing street memo.
4. goad Conservatives about weapons in n korea, and that Bush weakening our country while strengthening al qaida –because its true!
5. raise the stakes. accuse of using 9/11 for their agenda –because its true!
6. brand right wing as political fundamentalists, that arent even good christians. they are abandoning the idea of commonwealth
7. spell out progressive philosophy. common wealth and commongood leads to better individuals life. attack political fundamentalists for abandoning REAL security.
8 be pro-active, not re-active

rove despicable, but we can learn lesson, and use for good to function strategically in public.

know your values, articulate them clearly and forcefully, positively, do not give in to their frames.

lakoff started with dan quayle rnc speech. couldnt see how it fit together. “why should the best people be punished?” didnt get it. later, 1994, looking at contract with america, couldnt understand pieces. how does flat tax fit into environmental regs, tort reform, abortion. how do these fit together? or how do mine? embarassed because he couldnt explain himself.

totally different languages of morality. then family values literature. how does that fit into global issues? then nation as family metaphor, etc. then subscribed to focus on family and james dobson.

(laptop battery died)

later, as a summary : “progressives believe in the common wealth for the common good which allows individuals to pursue their personal goals, towards happy and fulfilled life.” or something close.

Congressman Lloyd Doggett

Filed under: — kevin @ 3:52 pm

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“The work of Democracy is never done.”

His new district has helped him broaden his experiences and his understanding of the diverse communities that he represents.

He heard someone say recently, “I think the Republicans are losing, but I don’t know if we are winning.”

We gain strength from knowing that we exist, from coming together and sharing our thoughts and hopes.

(Now since I’m in the red on my battery, I’m saving my juice for Lakoff.)

TownHall meeting

Filed under: — kevin @ 2:23 pm

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(woohoo — simpsons-style!)

moderated by Robin Rather! for “the best and most impossible job.” try to get to as many, so keep it short.

3 basic questions (get intouch with your inner strategist):
1. how is austin doing?
2. as a progressive community, how are we wrking together. assess and make better
3. ideas of new ways to mix it up better

what is going right these days?
- exciting because it is “live and juicy” compared to recent san fran transplant
- talking about hard issues which is good. like racism and chronic problems such as public schools resources, housing, eco dev.
- conversations are beginning, which is starting to work together
- travis county coordinated campaign is a good example because we lost globally, but celebrated locally.
- passed the hospital district! lots of applause.
- affordable housing is mixed, but the attempts are being made, with some specific successes. most postive thing: trust fund bond election — just potential now, but good plan
- neighborhood and mueller redevelopment coalition, dell children hospital, compact dev, etc
- intellectually and culturally stimulating. run of the mill folks are okay, but lots of creative energy.
- “desired development zones” need attention, but are close to working. they are a liveable city piece. “rails with trails” initiative capmetro has bought off on. lots of policy issues to get through tho.
some bad stuff:
- property taxes are too high! The Lege says no money for schools, tho. someone claims under-the-table real estate steals millions from school budgets. genrification also a huge problem from taxes. the Lege and “land dealers” apparently in some cahoots… not so sure what this means. i just reports it!
- repubs complain about prop taxes, maybe one trouble is raising taxes on all homes, maybe rather they should just be when sold, etc. such is a suggestion.
- need districts that repesent a LOCAL community. we need to take that as a focus of action. (anti-redistricting issue)
-segregation, gentrification, education especially in local school districts. we need to stop denying segregation legacy. must confront that before dealing with tax issues, gentrification, etc. partner all the progressive groups for the kids and grandkids. just do it for the kids! seriously, tho.
- bad: not enough courage to call for a state income tax — note: LFT SUPPORTS EDDIE RODRIGUEZ’s plan to swap state income and property tax
-williamson county dems stand and applaud each other, and say we are growing in strength.
- carl thrillkill says: we are skiming surface. 1st we need to recognize we are in a new country. stolen elections etc. torture. local level is important, but we need to see big process. and its about LOVE ultimately. maybe we need a revolution of the heart FIRST, then we make change. cooperation, truth, honesty, community. council of citizens.

margot clarke: local level, as a progressive, want to see all politics is local. you HAVE to vote, if u really wnt the govt to take the right direction.
- solar vote initiative. fed govt has money if we vote for it.
- roy waley: easy to get blue, but walk into this room and feel better. but we need to let others know that we are all in different places. we need to “get on the same bus.”
- paper trail. demand it. otherwise no meaningful reform can be done. lets join up these coalitions.
-fidel acevedo: need to HOLD ACCOUNTABLE! the elected officials. no running from repubs. dont just say what is right and wrong. toll roads… and our reps need to step up and protect what is right for citizens. toll roads are not it. electoral reform needed too. delegates, etc.
- collectively our vision does not match our actions. one of many examples: several people mentioned green choice energy, but consider that maybe 3% of energy is green, consider that 7 nominal dems on city council, and we have a libertarian program (because it is opt in) and dont collectively buy renewable energy, and we should, to be progressive and express our “collective will.” we need to think bigger. so, we are the new “thin blue line” and we HAVE to stand in the way of chaos.
- an organizer from LA: i dont feel better in this room. because of the racial divide. we need to challenge authority on race and class. we need to use our privilege strategically to build organizatin, alliance, coalition. are we perpetuating the problem? are we building another white led progressive environmentally centric movement? if so, can we say that, or should we change that?

-we need progressive partnerships with communities of faith. first, there has been damage from and to religion. but we cannot concede teh texts and legacies to the right. they can be owned by progressives. communities of faith, regardless of bent, are bringing people together. that is most important, says reverend emily whitehurst. kevin says its only “some people” they are bringing together. Religion and Labor Network, is a good new example of creative partnership.

-pam caldraphon: williamson county dem, how to centralize different counties and cities, with synergy.

- Q: why is there a racial divide among progressives? A: from travis, think of the trial of the century. do you think of OJ simpson? or the mississippi burning case last week? justice, even long delayed, happens because blacks and whtes were standing together. every year, black folks told to get out and vote, but there is a legacy of how that came to pass. injustice still exists, recognize this progressives. even and especially because not your kid, but a fellow austinite! not a black kid. not a mexican kid. an austinite.

-lena walsh, says: finding common ground in never easy. now, abt danny rocha: did YOU attend THAT townhall meeting? or just this one… few hands went up — there you go. proof in the pudding, she says. we MUST deal with these if serious about unity.

— specific suggestions:
kurt: recent city elections with 9% turnout in austin. we should be ashamed, then come together. lets do somethng abt electronic voting in travis county. we all have issues, but what if we all united to protest the next police shooting, with 5000 people not 100. all the progressive groups should care. what if all progressive groups bombarded together for the same causes, at least one at a time to get things done.

-carol butler: what african-amer group should a white woman join: NAACP, says travis. we (all progressives and progressive grups) need a giant email list to ACT at the same time for the most important things.

- last time i voted: what abt a printout? i asked. county commissioner can pay for that, was response from election judge? is that true? glen maxey doesnt know. robin rather says she will find out.

- encourage voting among kids and minorities. register them.

-campaign finance reform, otherwise corporations/moneyed control the democracy, which isnt a democracy at that point.

- bond initiative. speak up. get housing trust fund. get economic impact statements from folks like walmart who alledgedly hand out food stamp apps with a new job.

- linda abbot: start in the room we are in. invite others in. dont go away after elections. need a home to bring issues to stay involved. she sees a failure of communication.

- andrew bucknall: we can and do make a difference. and its not just a white movement, but we have to expand into communities in which we do not live. involve yourselves in new grassroots outside your neighborhood.

- jim bevel: need to take more action, need coordination. cant do it thru dem party. lets form something akin to a political party, under banner of progressivism.

- nicole sterny: summit of progressive group leaders to get heads together. need groups that canvas in spanish.

- make change at the points with most leverage. repubs have changed so that people think the goals of govt are NOT to serve people, and things are short term. progressives need to center on people, their community (as defined by them) and for generations. DONT LET THEM DIViDE US.

lots of pent up conversation. we need to talk more. organizers wanted a more diverse room. effort didnt acheive the racial makeup. we all have emotions, we need to be better on approach to unify progressive communities. we are just starting the process.

One-on-one discussions and town hall

Filed under: — kevin @ 2:13 pm

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People now have a chance to talk to their neighbors, introduce themselves, and learn a little about what is motivating everyone here.

One of the most striking things I have seen so far is the broad age range and diverse group: from seniors to teens, and members of all the ethnic communities (though with Blacks and Latinos underrepresented).
My guess is around 800-1000 people are here in Ragsdale Center at St. Ed’s.

I just spotted state Rep. Elliot Naishtat in civilian garb.

Coalition Building and Community Perspectives — bruce banner, marguerite jones, niyanta spellman

Filed under: — kevin @ 1:54 pm

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what are some shared austin values:
bruce banner, president, Education Austin:
tolerance, equality, let each other have their liberty. its more than tolerance.
environmentalism is energizing and motivating.
education (ut, st eds, HT, ACC)
participatory democracy — more than voting. forums and volunteering, “gettings things done together that we cant get done alone.”
big money often works against the vast majority of americans beliefs. “its not immoral, just amoral” (as mark zatopek says)

marguerite jones:
activist because of longhorn pipeline in her ‘hood, as PTA president was able to provide a townhall meeting. thanks to ann kitchen for helping. what surprised her was how many people do not care or never speak out. “you can do alot” just have to go do it. dont need permission in a progressive tolerant community. that is a big difference from conservative culture. she sees what happens when people cannot make a living wage. sees the interconnected rights and faults of not being invoilved. angry kids dont just happen.

niyanta spellman, policy and management consultant
15 years in austin. former state worker. started getting involved with her flooded house in hyde park. then neighborhood assc. and chanber of commerce, etc. affiliated with networks of ethnic-centric commerce chambers. all coalitions, despite not really in common in besides ideas of what they envision as a city. so now asians and SOS folks see they should dialogue about what is a shared importance.

stop compartmentalizing!

use your affiliations to start dialogues. and then ACT!

Bill Spellman - Agendas and Coalitions that have worked for actual change

Filed under: — kevin @ 1:33 pm

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1. start with a poll and knowledge. but be aware that there are lots of elements in an agenda. lots of advocates for housing, or living wage or environment, etc…

- how do these advocates not get pigeon-holed as a special interest, but as a broad constituency. A: show that many people agree with the values in those issues, often do by polling or research.

-turns out progressive ideas, when framed as values, are agreeable to most people, across all political spectrums.

- so dont allow yourself to be splintered. have “moral certainity” that “we are not an interest group, we are all together in this.”

Q: is there something we can do to prevent being slivered and isolated?
A: dont do “coalitions of convenience”. DO be broad-based, muiltiple linked issues, multi-ethnic that looks like the communities represented, common needs, long-term view, strategic interventions

a success in los angeles: LAANE (LA alliance for a new economy)
-since 1993
- broad-based, including, unions, churches, neighborhoods, ethnic groups from thru-out the very diverse LA.
- started with a single issue, even tho they have a much larger agenda, and started with “living wage.” and became authorities with successes to leverage other issues, down the road.
- even living wage wasnt in ONE step, started with contract workers ordinance, as even smaller steps. also for municpalities, not for private employers. after sucess with living wage at LA, santa monica, LAX they did studies to see if it helped. indy economists showed that (after it had been inplace for a few years) it wasnt bad to employers, contracters, etc. now 120 localities do it, and have loads of data to see how it works.

-living wage was just beginning, followed by Accountable Development(via economic impact statements, community benefits agreements, etc), Affordable Housing, Heath Care, Child Care, Predatory lending, etc.


-what did LAANE learn from this as the keys to success:
be broad-based, muiltiple linked issues, multi-ethnic that looks like the communities represented, common needs, long-term view, strategic interventions

what does strategic mean:
broad based, multiple issues
big important changes
open doors,
slippery slopes (in a good way)
wedge issues (that actually unite/represent the majority of people)
bite-size pieces

Goals for Today

Filed under: — kevin @ 1:08 pm

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Ann Kitchen, board member of Liveable City and health care expert, urged us think about how we can create a liveable community for all. All of the different fragments of the progressive community (environment, labor, transportation, housing, etc.) need to come together and find common ground. This is merely the first step in that process of progressive coalition-building.

Our agenda today:
1. Look at concrete examples of progressive success in other cities.
2. Feedback and discussion.
3. Inspiration-from Lloyd Doggett and George Lakoff.

Rev. Emilee Dawn Whitehurst of AAIM

Filed under: — kevin @ 12:58 pm

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Rev. Whitehurst, of Austin Area Interreligious Ministries, has spent several weeks on the Freedom and Faith bus tour, helping to disabuse the nation that religion and morality are linked to conservatism.

Her key points included:
“We are being beckoned by freedom.”
“Live as if something is true until it is.” We can be the leaders of the progressive revival in this country and we’ll act like it’s happening until it does.

Eddie: I’m a proud, progressive Hispanic

Filed under: — kevin @ 12:54 pm

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Eddie Rodriguez is kicking off the event with some inspiring remarks.

His points
–We (progressives) are not alone. We are just a fraction of the progressives here in Austin, and beyond.

–The state legislature should help make people’s lives better, not engage in partisan bickering.

Moving Forward: A Progressive Agenda for Austin’s Future

Filed under: — kevin @ 12:44 pm

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Mario, Sabas and I are at St. Edward’s here in Austin for a series of panels and discussions organized by the new coalition Austin Moving Forward. Elected officials present this afternoon: state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, former state Rep. Ann Kitchen, and Congressman Lloyd Doggett. Keynote speaker is George Lakoff.

More to follow as time goes on.

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