Another Texas District Not As Safe As The GOP Thought

Blue America has endorsed Mike Siegel for the congressional seat that stretches from Tomball and Cypress in the exurbs northwest of Houston, through Prairie View, Brenham and Weimar into northern Austin and its suburbs. Mike beat his TX-10 primary opponent with over 70% of the vote. Now he'll face entrenched incumbent Michael McCaul, one of the richest members of Congress. The DCCC has refused to offer him any assistance, as they have with many progressives running this cycle. Mike's been raising decent grassroots money in this extremely gerrymandered district and as of the June 30 FEC reporting deadline he had brought in $175,279. That's already more than anyone has raised against McCaul in a decade. 

Friday, the Austin water utility reported that McCaul's sprawling West Austin home used more city-supplied water than any other single-family residence in 2017-- more than a million gallons, something McCaul is desperate to cover up.

Coincidentally, the same week that McCaul’s water waste came to light, Mike received the national endorsement of the Sierra Club. "McCaul’s water-hogging is consistent with his worldview," Mike told us. "He believes this world is a playground for the rich, never mind the needs of the rest of us. Take his vote for the 2017 tax cuts: over $40 million went into the pockets of his family, and then he voted to cut our healthcare and retirement... We need to move past this latest gilded age and get to a place where everyone has a fair shot."

This week, Mike made the point that there are many societal functions that should not be for-profit. He reminded his supporters that

"the GOP family separation policy is not just a cynical show to motivate hateful Republican voters, it is also a profit-center. A growth industry. A wellspring of extravagant fortunes for well-connected entrepreneurs. And a source of political contributions. Private prison operators donate tens of millions of dollars to political candidates. My general election opponent, Rep. Michael McCaul, has received at least $15,000 from jailers profiting from immigrant detention, including Corrections Corporation of America (now "CoreCivic") and the Geo Group. In his capacity as Chairman of Homeland Security, McCaul advocates to fill more beds in immigrant detention centers. There is a direct line between the money he receives and the policies he creates."

Yes, what he's talking about is America's prison industrial complex and warns us that "the influence of companies like Geo Corp and CoreCivic threatens to take immigration policy out of the hands of the American people and into the hands of those who profit for suffering... In a functioning democratic system, our elected representatives would not allow for so much suffering to be conducted in our name."

WATCH Mike Siegel's first video, "You Can't Buy People".

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He went on to contrast McCaul's record with what he's promising to do in Congress:

"Two-thirds of the American people oppose family separation. In November we have a chance to hold some of the key perpetrators accountable, including Michael McCaul. I will make sure that every Texas 10th voter knows that McCaul supported separating mothers from their children from the first day the policy was announced. As the Democratic nominee, I have promised to reject all corporate PAC donations, and I am committed to undoing the privatization of our immigration detention system and fighting for a larger overhaul of how we treat migrant families, asylum seekers, guest workers, students, and other visitors to this country.

This summer, my campaign successfully petitioned the Texas Democratic Party to add opposition to private detention centers to its statewide platform. The next step is to change our representative."

Voters across the country are ready to throw out corrupt and self-dealing politicians. McCaul is one of the worst, using his chairmanship to advance a pernicious industry that in return, fills his campaign coffers. Removing him from office will be a victory for human rights and common decency.

We hope Blue America members will help by contributing to Mike Siegel's campaign at a special ActBlue page. This page assists progressives who won their primaries by have been abandoned by the DCCC. Small contributions add up and help beat even the wealthiest GOP plutocrats and oligarchs like Michael McCaul.

Thanks for always doing what you can to make a better world,

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Is 2018 The Year We Break The GOP Strangle-Hold On Texas?

Over the years, Democrats let Texas slip away. When Democrats were firmly committed to representing the legitimate aspirations and interests of working families, Texas was part of their coalition.

There are Texans today-- like gubernatorial candidate Tom Wakely, Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke and half a dozen outspoken progressives running for Congress who you could call modern day "New Deal Democrats" ...and they aren't having any of the "DC Dem" bull-pucky.

Saturday, Mark Jones, a political science fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, and Joseph Jamail, chair in Latin American Studies at Rice University, penned an OpEd for The Hill, “Texas Democrats smell blood in the water for 2018.” Like every Texas Democratic candidate I've ever talked to, they bring up that Texas is less a red state than a "no vote state."

They wrote

"in non-presidential years, the Texas Democratic Primary tends to be a low-key affair, with statewide turnout involving only around 3 percent of the voting age population.

Contested Democratic congressional primaries tend to be scarcer than grass around a trough, with a plethora of safe Democratic incumbents and a paucity of seats in play." But they sense that that's not going to be the case next year. They're especially high on the prospect of Democrats taking back TX-07, TX-32 and TX-23.

In 2018 that is changing, as a talented group of high-quality Democratic candidates are coming out of the woodwork to run for Congress across the Lone Star State. And, if Democrats are to have any hope of taking back control of the U.S. House next year, they will have to flip at least a couple of Texas seats presently held by Republicans.

Tom Wakely told us that his campaign for governor will focus on 4 main issues:

1- Income inequality. I will fight for a raise in the state minimum wage to $15 an hour along with repealing Texas’s right-to-work laws. I also want to scrap the Texas business franchise tax system in favor of a Business Income Tax. It’s way past time for Texas’ largest corporations like IBM, Wal-Mart, ATT, Toyota, Dell Computer and Exxon, to start paying their fair share of taxes.

2- Healthcare. Texans need access to healthcare not access to health insurance. I will fight for the establishment of a statewide network of health clinics and hospitals similar in nature to the VA healthcare system that I am a part of. If you have health insurance through your employer and are happy with it-- keep it. If you have health insurance through the ACA and are happy with it-- keep it. For everyone else, the statewide network of health clinics and hospitals that I propose will be there for you.

3- Gun Violence Prevention programs. I will fight to ban the sale and possession of military-style weapons like the AK-47 and AR-15 in Texas. I will fight to repeal our state’s open-carry laws. I also support limiting the number of handguns and long guns that a person can lawfully own. In addition, we should require background checks at gun shows.

4- Global Warming. Through policies and practices like instituting a carbon fee on the burning of carbon-based fuels (coal, oil, gas), the carbon fee is at the core of my policy to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of fossil fuels whose combustion is destabilizing and destroying our climate. I will fight to ban fracking and flaring in Texas. I will work to see that scrubbers are installed on all cement factory smokehouses. These are all meaningful steps to mitigating the harmful effects of global warming."

Lillian Salerno, formerly Obama's deputy undersecretary of rural development for the Department of Agriculture, is running for a north Dallas Metro seat occupied by Trump rubber stamp Pete Sessions. She told us that since Trump’s election "much has been made of his rural, heartland voters, and how politicians can better serve them, with most discussion centering on international trade and globalization. But there is another political and economic disaster crushing the heartland-- one politicians could solve now, if they chose to:

For decades, rural America has been punished by bad policy that places too much power in the hands of distant financiers and middlemen through the formation of monopolies, which undermines small, local businesses and drains communities of resources... Corporate concentration has hit farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers especially hard. Many markets are entirely monopolized by a single company that dictates the terms of business to suppliers... It is a myth that the economic challenges that rural and small-town America face are caused by forces largely outside our control, like globalization or improvements in technology. We have the ability to help restore competition and economic vibrancy in rural America and beyond. The government has the authority to ensure markets are once again open and competitive so that communities have a chance to shape their own economic destinies."

Derrick Crowe is running in TX-21 in an effort to unseat the criminally ANTI-Science Chair of the House SCIENCE committee, Lamar Smith:

"At my core, I’m an organizer and an activist for nonviolent social change. I believe that we’re in a revolutionary time in the U.S., and that playing it safe could mean losing our democracy. We’re running a different type of campaign here in Texas 21, one that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with working people who are literally fighting for their lives under Trump and the GOP Congress."

The kind of economic populism Tom, Derrick and Lillian are campaigning about is a clear path to victory for enhancing a blue wave in Texas. It would be nice if the DCCC and the Texas Democratic Party would catch on, but that's not likely. This cycle-- thanks to Republican overreach and Trump's abnormality-- we can do it without them.

Turning Texas blue is going to take more than one cycle; let's roll up our sleeves and get started.




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