Linda Chavez-Thompson's First TV Ad

The Linda Chavez-Thompson campaign hit another milestone this week - they'll be running the "Responsibility" ad below in select media markets starting tomorrow.

I like the colorful, behind-the-scenes style of the ad. It gets to the heart of her message -- that we're all responsible for Texas's better future -- and I think Linda's warm personality also has an opportunity to shine through.



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Why Every Politician Should Be Using Foursquare

I've been an iPhone user/addict for about five months now and, after I got the hang of typing on a touch screen keyboard, I started giving Foursquare a try. For those who don't know, Foursquare is a location-based mobile application that allows users to "check in" at their favorite businesses and see who else in their network is there. Take a look at it here.

At first check-in, I found it totally pointless. It seemed a bit self-aggrandizing to constantly be telling everyone where I was ("Yum - oysters! - I'm @ Perla's" or "Love this bar! - I'm @Lustre Pearl"). But over the last few years I've learned to live by the school of thought that eventually, everything comes back into fashion (leggings, anyone?), so I've stuck with the app.

And now - shocker - I'm hooked. I've totally bought into the importance of mobile everything. We now all have a billboard in our pockets. For politicians and political candidates, this is the equivalent of a digital push-card that costs nothing. Foursquare and other "You are here" social apps will prove to be very useful to politicians whose strategists are smart enough to use them. Why?

1. Checking In = The New Office Hours
Politicians are all about "the message." What could be a better message than an elected official "Checking In" (for Foursquare beginners, that means they're logging their arrival at a certain location) at City Hall or the Capitol every day? Granted, we know they're not always on the job, but the subliminal message behind a politician "checking in" is important.

2. The Foursquare Quorum: Power in Numbers
Politicians often form alliances and Foursquare offers a chance for those political ties to grow even stronger. If two Austin City Council members are both on Twitter and they go to the same ribbon-cutting at the Long Center, their check-in on Foursquare will automatically reflect that with a public mention of the two members being at the same location (assuming they're friends on Foursquare). This strategy can quietly show an entire group of legislators united or working toward something and, redistricting aside, how often does that happen?

3. I'm @ Winning Campaign Central
For campaigns, Foursquare offers endless possibilities. Want to attract more volunteers? Host a Foursquare competition where the volunteer with the most check-ins at your campaign office gets a prize, like dinner with the candidate or going behind the scenes on the campaign trail for a day. Not only does this create an incentive for people to volunteer more, but by publicly checking in, each of those volunteers is spreading the word about your campaign on their Facebook, Twitter and even as a direct notification to their Foursquare friends. Talk about GOTV - each check-in has a possible reach of three channels multiplied by the countless people the volunteer is connected to who might not otherwise have heard of your campaign.

If you're a Twittering politician or are considering running for office, get yourself an iPhone and learn how to use Foursquare. Think about it as an extension of your direct mail or field coordination and come up with an innovative way to put this app to work.

And when you're done, let me know how it went. Preferably in 140 characters or less.
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My 2010 Democratic Primary Endorsements

Ed. Note: Early voting for the Democratic primary begins today, February 16 and runs through Friday, February 26th. During early voting, you can vote at any early voting polling location in Travis County. The Democratic primary will be on Tuesday, March 2nd. Click here to find your Travis County election day polling location. Below are my endorsements for Governor, Lieutenant Governor and select contested downballot races in Travis County.


Governor

Bill White
The White campaign has pushed ahead and focused on what matters. Not petty arguing between candidates, not party infighting, but instead the real issues facing real Texans each day: soaring education costs, a struggling economy and the growing number of children in Texas who don’t have access to healthcare because of our current leadership’s inaction. Ultimately, Bill White offers Texas voters a greater chance for beating Rick Perry in the fall and, if elected, a greater chance for a better Texas in the future.
Read my full endorsement of Bill White.

Lt. Governor

Linda Chavez-Thompson
As a Democrat, as a woman, and as a Texan, I'm ready to elect a Lt. Governor who will fight on behalf of Texas's best interests, not its special interests. I expect my elected officials to expect more, and I expect them to do more. And while some of us might not know anyone who had to work their way up from nothing to something, these people exist -- and exist increasingly -- in the state of Texas. Linda understands that -- because she's one of them.
Read my full endorsement of Linda Chavez-Thompson.

Ag Commissioner

Hank Gilbert


I considered skipping voting for either of the Democratic candidates in this race. I'm not crazy about some of Hank Gilbert's political moves, but he is extremely well-versed on the issues. The only thing I think of when I think of Kinky is a cigar. How can we expect him to care about Texas agriculture when he doesn't even care about his own health? I'll probably be voting for Hank, but with little enthusiasm. I hope that if he is elected, Gilbert will run his office a bit more ethically than he's run his life and his campaign.

Land Commissioner

Hector Uribe

He wins my endorsement because he knows how to take a joke and anyone who can take a joke simply can't be a bad person.

State Board of Education, District 5:
Rebecca Bell-Metereau

If you're happy with the antics of our current radical SBOE electeds popping up on the front pages of the New York Times, then you shouldn't vote for Bell-Metereau. If you'd like to restore a bit of dignity or at least a voice of reason to the SBOE, vote for Rebecca.

Judge, 147th District Court:
Cliff Brown

Brown has received nearly all of the endorsements of the Democratic clubs in Austin. What's more telling to me, however, is his involvement in juvenile programs and youth development centers to keep young folks in Austin from ending up in the courtroom. I support Cliff Brown because of his proactive approach to making Austin a better, safer place to live.

Judge, 201st District Court:
Amy Clark Meachum

I haven't paid much attention to the Patterson witch-hunt. I simply like Amy as a person and the experience she brings to the table combined with a fresh perspective.

Judge 299th District Court:
Karen Sage

Karen has "courage, compassion, and commitment." Heck, I've seen her at every Democratic event since last year. But more importantly, I like the fact that she has worked to keep non-violent, mentally ill people out of the criminal justice system. I like Mindy Montford, and I think she has a future in our city politics, but Karen Sage wins my vote because of her socially-aware background.

Judge, 331st District Court:
David Crain

Crain has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Vote for him.

County Court at Law #3:
Olga Seelig

This is a tough one for me, mainly because of John Lipscombe's longtime involvement in local Democratic politics. However, I've had much more of a chance to get to know Olga and appreciate the fact that she has experience as a prosecutor, a defense attorney and a judge. Being able to look at a prism from all sides is important, particularly when it comes to matters of the law. She also has picked herself up from early struggles in her life and raised two smart, friendly daughters. I will be voting for Olga because, while I appreciate Lipscombe's long-standing efforts in Democratic circles, Seelig's life experiences will give her a comprehensive view of the people who come before her in court. We should all be so lucky as to stand in front of a judge like Olga.

Other Endorsements:

County Commissioner, Pct. 4: Raul Alvarez
Justice of the Peace, Pc. 1: Daniel Bradford
Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2: Karin Crump
Justice of the Peace, Pct. 5: Herb Evans
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Why I'm Supporting Linda Chavez-Thompson for Lt. Governor

Ed. Note: Early voting for the Democratic primary begins Tuesday, February 16 and runs through Friday, February 26th. During early voting, you can vote at any early voting polling location in Travis County. The Democratic primary will be on Tuesday, March 2nd. Click here to find your Travis County election day polling location. I will be posting my endorsements for Governor, Lieutenant Governor and select contested downballot races in Travis County throughout the week.

Nine years ago, when I made the decision to graduate from high school a year early and not go to college, I was told -- not once, but several times; sometimes daily and often by strangers -- that I was making a terrible mistake. One person told me, “Have fun flipping burgers the rest of your life.”

If someone had thought at the time that I was taking the easy way out, then they would have been wrong. In fact, I’ve spent the last nine years finding out for myself just how difficult the path of most resistance can be. Five of them were spent freezing cold, literally shoveling horse’s manure, getting bitten and stepped on, thrown to the ground, injured, on the road, and earning a crash course in what it really means to work in the horse business. The last four have been about shaking off insecurities and proving to myself -- and other -- that what is worth learning in this world is rarely found in a classroom but in real life. Every morning when I wake up and go to work, the expectations someone else might have had for me cease to be important. What’s important are the expectations I have for myself.

When Linda Chavez-Thompson, a Democrat running for Lieutenant Governor of Texas, dropped out of high school to work full time in the cotton fields because her family needed the additional income, she wasn’t making a choice. There are millions of people in this state who drop out of high school and miss out on college not because of some desire to pursue their passions, or to prove a point, but because they simply didn’t get the opportunity to choose otherwise.

But the expectations our state has for those people -- those who never got an opportunity to seek higher education -- aren’t any different than the expectations were for me when I decided I wouldn’t be going to college. Dropping out of high school, in this day and age, is a career death sentence. “Have fun flipping burgers the rest of your life.”

Linda Chavez-Thompson, however, doesn’t buy into those expectations. She has spent her lifetime expecting more for herself and others. When she was forced to drop out of high school, she could have stopped expecting a better life right then and there. But she didn't. She was hired as a secretary at a laborer's union and she spent the next 28 years working in the labor movement, putting her bilingual skills to work in Texas on behalf of working people.

She expected fair wages for those who had resigned themselves to getting nothing. She expected opportunities where there had ceased to be any. And she expected open doors when others shut them in her face. Through those expectations, Linda Chavez-Thompson opened them all.

She saved the jobs of 33 community college workers when they blew the whistle on financial abuses being made by three trustees. She found emergency drivers to provide cover for workers on a wildcat strike, driving one of the trucks herself. And she continued to learn, taking organizational classes in her spare time and speaking on behalf of Spanish-speaking members at union meetings. She became so well-versed on labor related issues that she was mistaken for a lawyer at one hearing. And in 1995, she was elected and served for 12 years as Executive Vice President of the National AFL-CIO, becoming the first woman in that position and attaining the highest position ever achieved by a Hispanic in the labor movement.

As tuition costs soar, Texas students are expected to fend for themselves. Linda will expand financial aid to ensure that students from middle class families aren't being priced out of a college education and push for incentives to place more math and science teachers in the classroom. Too many Texas children are still without health insurance. Linda will expand CHIP enrollment criteria to allow the maximum number of families under federal law. And while Republicans expect Texans to look away while our economy suffers, Linda understands that jobs are critical to our economic development, and will strengthen teacher-training programs to capitalize on the fact that 9 of the top 25 fastest-growing jobs in the state are in education.

As a Democrat, as a woman, and as a Texan, I'm ready to elect a Lt. Governor who will fight on behalf of Texas's best interests, not its special interests. I expect my elected officials to expect more, and I expect them to do more. And while most of us here might not know anyone who had to work their way up from nothing to something, these people exist -- and exist increasingly -- in the state of Texas. Linda understands that -- because she's one of them. Isn't it time our elected officials expected more for them? Until we elect somebody like Linda, who understands what the rest of Texas goes through, our state won’t develop policies designed for everybody to succeed. Linda Chavez-Thompson has been working for those less fortunate not just her entire career, but her entire life. Please join me in supporting Linda Chavez-Thompson for Lt. Governor.


Watch Linda's remarks at the Texas AFL-CIO meeting last weekend:

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Why I'm Supporting Bill White for Governor

Ed. Note: Early voting for the Democratic primary begins Tuesday, February 16 and runs through Friday, February 26th. During early voting, you can vote at any early voting polling location in Travis County. The Democratic primary will be on Tuesday, March 2nd. Click here to find your Travis County election day polling location. I will be posting my endorsements for Governor, Lieutenant Governor and select contested downballot races in Travis County throughout the week.

Governor


Okay, so he’s not Barack Obama, and he’s certainly not Martin Luther King, Jr.
The snafu with Bill White’s face pictured between two African American icons last year was so...white. But since then, Bill White’s campaign -- and perhaps Bill White himself -- has undergone a transformation, which isn’t always easy to do when you find yourself being called out of touch.

Instead, the White campaign has pushed ahead and focused on what matters. Not petty arguing between candidates, not party infighting, but instead the real issues facing real Texans each day: soaring education costs, a struggling economy and the growing number of children in Texas who don’t have access to healthcare because of our current leadership’s inaction.

White's campaign has been running efficiently and smartly since they made the switch to the Governor's race. White himself has been a fundraising machine, often a make-or-break quality in a statewide candidate, and has been doing some outreach of his own on social networks like Twitter. White's communications team continues to be patient and careful, not allowing themselves to get sucked into childish Shami sniping.

Through all of this, White has refocused voters on the experience White brings with him to the Governor's race. No, you certainly won’t be emailing a link of White’s latest speech to your friends (unless you're a blogger). But perhaps the reason White doesn’t turn on any sort of John Edwards-ian charm is because he doesn’t need it. White’s strong -- dare I say inspiring? -- record as the two-time Mayor of Houston and as former Deputy Secretary of Energy under President Clinton far outweighs any flowery rhetoric that can be written into a speech. As Mayor, White wasted no time organizing over 100,000 volunteers in response to Hurricane Katrina, an effort which was later nationally recognized. He put his extensive knowledge of energy issues to work by helping Houston become the top purchaser in the nation of renewable energy. White’s Returning Veteran’s Initiative helped cut through the all-too predominant red tape veterans face when redeploying and offered employment opportunities to veterans returning to the Houston area, a program that he would like to scale to the rest of Texas if elected. And jobs? Bill White's got 'em. During his time as Mayor, he brought more jobs to the Houston area than 34 states combined.

I don’t completely agree with everything Bill White has to say. I’d like to see White support a moratorium on the death penalty in Texas, particularly considering the current situation with regard to Cameron Todd Willingham and Rick Perry’s potential involvement (or lack thereof). But I also believe that as Governor, Bill White would work to fix our criminal justice system from the politicized, discriminatory cycle it currently is.

Ultimately, Bill White offers Texas voters a greater chance for beating Rick Perry in the fall and, if elected, a greater chance for a better Texas in the future.

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Republican Candidates Get Whited Out

Bill White, Democrat for Texas Governor and former Mayor of Houston, outraised both Kay Bailey Hutchison and Rick Perry over the last 30 days, while simultaneously spending less than them. He also has a pretty nice looking COH column.

And he still found time to tweet.

That, my friends, is a smart Democrat who can win in November.

This table lining it all up, from Burnt Orange Report, is pretty amazing:


Contributions
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Bill White
$755,067
$209,220$6,420,102
Rick Perry
$734,365$1,910,632$10,442,558
Kay Bailey Hutchison
$269,940
$3,397,549 $10,011,341
Debra Medina
$145,857$107,825
$68,483
Farouk Shami
$2,778 $1,040,949$1,075,881

Hair magnate and born-again Democrat Farouk Shami, whose campaign ads have been running seemingly around the clock, raised a measly $2700, putting a number to the oft-pondered equation of "What is the ROI on employing a bunch of easily bought consultants and bloggers at $25,000 a month?"

You should have stuck with that steak dinner guy, my web-based friends. At least he might lose slower. [sic]
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