We held a retreat on July 31st and a conference call last week to discuss our priorities for the next 18 months. We had thoughtful and lively conversations, energized by those who brought questions, experience, and opinions.
Conclusions after our discussion:
1. Our highest priority is to promote legislation for the option of small donor/public funding for candidates in Texas. After much discussion we decided to change course from aiming at statewide judicial elections and to push instead for a bill for state legislative office – similar to those in other states, such as AZ CT, ME and more. Because of the buzz in both parties on a small donor option, we felt we should seize the moment and this effort would get us much more attention than the same option for judicial elections. Barring a miracle, we are going for conversation about the influence of money on our policies, not a bill that actually passes (just to let you know we were facing reality). If this topic interests you, please let us know. We will be hold our first committee meeting the first week of September. Tasks include researching and studying model legislation to adapt for Texas, finding an author and co-sponsors
2. Our second priority because it is a time-sensitive project will engage all our activists and might be picked up by other organizations as well. During this election time, we will train and encourage volunteers all over the state to attend candidate forums and meetings of all parties and at all levels in order to ask a few designated questions about campaign finance and/or voter issues. With Texans using the same questions all over the state, from Alpine to Zephyr, it would create news interest. And finding other organizations who might partner up with us would broaden our reach.
Once the organizing committee has determined the questions, they will develop a training piece so that wherever you are in the state you will have the few questions to ask and a way to record the responses. Join in with the fun!
3. Our third priority is another proposed project which would explore the creative municipal initiatives around the country on campaign finance issues to see if any could be applied to Texas cities or counties. We already have at least one volunteer interested in this and need a few more to get it started. We would hold any action until after the legislative session to avoid their canceling anything we might attempt at the city level (as was done after Denton’s fracking ban).
4. Our fourth priority is to continue to support the Fair Courts work we have been involved with for several years. This is a project we will postpone in the main until after the 2017 legislative session, but are fortunate to have several people who are continuing working on it now and would welcome others.
5. And our fifth priority is to re-establish our efforts for resolutions for a constitutional amendment to undo “Citizens United” around the state. The public is behind this issue and it has gained nonpartisan support. This work is done town by town, so we are looking for volunteers to convene a group in their own area. We can offer resources to help you accomplish this.
6. This on-going project is top priority in relation to the effectiveness and added value to all the work we are doing. It is working with others to establish a statewide network which can act on shared values when needed. By combining, the organizations add power and resources to their chosen issue. This network is based in Austin, is underway, and does not require more than a few people to participate and support that participation. The same is true of the local DFW network that sprang from the Dallas Democracy Awakening event we held on April 17 this year. A number of groups have stayed together and are currently working on a press event for the anniversary of the Voters Rights Act of 1965 to be followed later this month by a panel on voting. In this case, more people have been engaged in the work, acting either as part of an organization or as an individual. Forming a similar local in your area would be a great project for someone willing to undertake this. We will be able to help you in various ways.
7. Through our networks, we will continue to support voting rights initiatives of LWV, NAACP, and others. In this case, we will be responsive but not the initiators. We would send out requests for participation and/or respond to requests for co-sponsorship on a case by case basis.
8. Our last priority is giving more support to the administrative side of the organization. This detailed work is vital to all activity. We plan to increase volunteer support for our Executive Director. Several people have offered specific help in this area, but more are needed for certain tasks.
We need you – no role is too small! Remember, whether you live in a “blue” or “red” area, whether you live in an urban, suburban, rural, or other area, big or tiny, you can get involved and make your voice heard. Please consider how you can help.
Comments/Questions? 214.821.2237 (Liz)
Please “Like” us on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter to increase our reach into the community of people wanting to work with us on our issue.
Liz Wally, Executive Director email@example.com
Dave Jones, President of Clean Elections Texas, David@joneslawdallas.com
Diana Burns, President of Clean Elections Texas Education Fund firstname.lastname@example.org
Resources on state and local initiatives:
Integrity Washington, http://integritywashington.org/about/
North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections,http://www.ncvce.org/coalition
South Dakotans for Integrity, http://www.yes22.org/
Honest Seattle, http://honestelectionsseattle.org/
Accountable Miami-Dade, http://www.accountablemiamidade.com/about/initiative/
Howard County MD, http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/columbia/ph-ho-cf-citizen-funded-campaign-launch-0818-20160817-story.htmlundefined
What we have been doing:
Dallas DEMOCRACY AWAKENING
APRIL 17, 2016