I have done nothing of note in these 50+ years other than raise three children. I grew up the third of six siblings, and was the only one to graduate high school. After high school, I completed a nine-month course in filing, typing, shorthand, etc, at the Executive Secretarial School of Dallas, and entered the workforce holding clerical jobs in several offices in the metroplex until my children came along. I stayed at home with them until my baby started school when I went to work as a teacher's aide. Politics had always been of interest to me, but I certainly wasn't paying close attention.
The year my youngest was a freshman in high school, I began taking courses at the community college. Of all the pre-requisite classes required for a bachelor's degree, my favorites were the history and government disciplines. It was my great fortune to have Professor Aundra Hawkins for GOVT2306, Texas Politics. I soaked up every word of his lessons, and was left always wanting more of the knowledge, and the understanding. He opened my eyes to the ugly realities of governance of a society, and the magnitude to which corporations rig the system in their favor, bully municipalities for tax breaks and incentives, and bilk the consumer. This young professor, still unsure of his abilities as a lecturer and educator, who had introduced himself to us at the onset with an apology for his very noticeable stutter, sparked a fire in my belly that can never be extinguished.
I didn't finish that college education that I dearly loved, and at which I was excelling. Excelling at everything but math. My multiple tries to get through the developmental courses became costly, and ultimately ended the pursuit of a degree. But, since that brief time, that 16-week semester in 2011, I have become hyper-vigilant of the wrongs taking place in our state government. Abuses of power were happening left and right, and had been for some time. I had noticed certain, questionable moves on the part of our governor long before I ever set foot in a college classroom. My studies served to confirm what I had already begun to realize about the impact of Republican policy on the citizens of Texas.
After the legislative session of 2013, which culminated in the clash of the special session concerning HB2, and the famous filibuster that was viewed around the globe, the gloves came off, and the lines were drawn. Those of us on the front lines of that fight became resolute in our goal of shutting down the GOP agenda at all cost. They want to close all the family planning clinics statewide just in case a woman might decide to have an abortion. Don't be surprised when birth rates start showing a steady increase, rates comprised primarily of economically-disadvantaged children who will require assistance from the state in the form of Medicaid, SNAP and TANF. Current leadership also wants to keep the burden on us taxpayers for indigent and uninsured medical care by refusing the federal funds for Medicaid expansion. Worse, they want to privatize the schools, further compromising the quality of our children's education. The future generations are our greatest resource, and we owe them a square deal on the social contract to provide a stellar education.
When the biennium budget came out of the legislature, I had to ask, where is all the money going? Texas loves to brag about its robust economy, and it's true, but when we can't fully fund TxDOT so roads in the poorest counties in Texas, roads that have been destroyed by the oil and gas industry, are being returned to gravel instead of repaired, it makes you wonder. The citizens of those counties already endure living in the plume of chemicals from fracking the Eagle Ford Shale. Now, their lives and livelihoods become much more difficult and costly. Those shameful elected officials in cahoots with big oil want to keep drilling and fracturing every square inch of our state for the last drop of oil they can get their dirty hands on...even if it literally kills us all. Their lust for power and money knows no end, and spares no soul. Jonathan Stickland, TEA Party Republican Representative from Hurst-Euless-Bedford, was a high-school drop-out working in pest control until he was elected to the State House. Now, he's a consultant to the oil and gas industry making millions, and blocking all attempts to regulate the industry from poisoning our people, our water, our air. Take a look around sometime at the folks we elect to go to Austin every other year, and make the laws we must abide. In many cases, like with Stickland, you might be shocked and appalled at who these people really are.
And if this don't beat all of the above: Greg Abbott's OAG is so dysfunctional that it recently placed an ad in the paper for volunteers to help with a variety of tasks in the Corpus Christi office. Volunteers! I have my own horror story about dealing with the Child Support Division of that office that they still keep screwing up six years later. I flat out just mourn for my state. Texas is unrecognizable to this child of the 60s and 70s who was lucky enough to be born in a time when the promise of that stellar, substantive public education was kept. Regardless of your beliefs or political leaning, it's not hard to see that our state is in ruins, and needs new leadership.
I've come to know them well, so I've never felt more sure that Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte are those leaders, and 2014 is our chance to stand together as the citizens of Texas, and say "ENOUGH." I pray that the work that must be done is being done, not just in Austin or Dallas/Ft Worth or Houston, but in every corner of the state, to elect these capable state senators as our next governor and lieutenant governor. On November 5, I want to stand alongside Texans from every walk of life as we march up Congress Avenue together to reclaim the capitol, and our state government, for all the people of Texas.
To loosely quote our president speaking at the Civil Rights Summit currently happening in Austin, "with enough empathy, with enough effort, with enough perseverance, with enough courage, people who love their state can change it." This election day, let's show Texas all our love.
PLS ~ Martha