I’m so excited to be participating in today’s money bomb for Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for the Texas Governor race (election in November 2014). The money bomb is a coordinated effort across many feminist/progressive blogs to show our support and excitement for Davis and her campaign. If you’d like to donate and participate, here’s where you go to donate.
If you are here at my blog, you probably know who Wendy Davis is. But just in case, here’s a good recap of the event that catapulted her to international fame:
I was one of the thousands of Texas citizens who packed the capitol the night of Davis’ filibuster and who participated in the shouting down of the bill. (I wrote about the latter about both Feministing and The Atlantic).
One of the most remarkable things about Davis’ filibuster was that she used her platform that day to share people’s personal stories about why the bill – HB2 – would have a negative impact on them and/or their own abortion stories. ABC News covered that specific aspect:
An anonymous writer recalled that her sister found herself pregnant several years ago, when she was a single mother already. The sister “agonized” and eventually decided to have an abortion. Although the writer said she disagreed with that decision, she supported her sister’s choice anyway.
“So I was the one who took her to the clinic, held her hand and supported her in the months that followed,” she wrote. “I would have been devastated had that option not been available or affordable for her.”
And while it means a whole lot to me that Wendy Davis filibustered to save access to abortion in Texas, there are so many things I like about Wendy Davis. Her 2011 filibuster (the FIRST Davis filibuster) was to save billions of dollar of funding for public education, she supports San Antonio’s new nondiscrimination ordinance, and is a champion of equal pay. I heard her say at the Texas Tribune Fest that she supports undocumented immigrants in Texas being able to obtain driver’s licenses.
For more on her personal background:
There is a whole lot of speculation about whether Davis can win this election and if we should even be putting resources into a campaign that will – by any standard – be an uphill battle. And I have a lot of thoughts about whether she will be able to win. But you know what? It doesn’t matter whether Davis can win. Even if she doesn’t, Texans need this campaign. In truth, we deserve it.
Over the last two decades, the GOP in Texas has used every opportunity to secure their complete political control over this state and it has been devastating for Texans, especially the most vulnerable. 24.6 % of Texans are uninsured medically (highest percentage in the US – the average national rate of uninsured is around 15%) at the same time that the Texas GOP is against the expansion of medicaid in this state, refuses to participate in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and in fact is constantly fighting it in court, and has defunded the Women’s Health Program among other defunding efforts directly aimed at reproductive health care.
From CBS, “Texas ranks eighth in the nation in poverty, with 17.2 percent of the population living in poverty. For a family of three, that’s less than $18,500 of income a year.” That is 4.47 million people in poverty. One particularly terrible part of that number are the children who are living in poverty in Texas: “approximately 26.2 percent of Texas children are currently living in poverty.”
Perry is starving public education in our state. His new, two-year state budget is the first budget during his lifetime (more than 60 years) that fails to fully fund Texas’ school finance obligations, including enrollment growth. The budget cuts $4 billion from school district formula funding and another $1.4 billion in education discretionary grants for vital programs, such as full-day pre-kindergarten and dropout prevention.
Early this year, “a state district court in Texas has ruled that the way the state funds its public schools is unconstitutional, both because the money is insufficient and because it is not distributed fairly.” And higher education funding is no better (see this and this).
The Texas GOP will tout the current state of the Texas economy as if that makes up for the hellish landscape coming in our future. And it denies – completely denies – the reality of the lives of that millions of Texans in poverty and the millions without medical insurance.
Whether or not Davis can win, her going up against the old-school, nothing-new, we’re-out-for-the-white-rich-men version of Texas GOP politics embodied by Greg Abbott is going to force a conversation about hard topics that go beyond the state of our current economy. Texans need that conversation. We deserve it.
Davis gaining international fame for the filibuster this summer means that her as the gubernatorial candidate will make it much, much harder for Greg Abbott to deny debating her. When was the last time Texas had a gubernatorial debate between the Democratic and Republican nominee? I don’t even know. Rick Perry refused to do them (we now know why).
There are also strong indications that the amazing Texas state senator Leticia Van de Putte may run for Lt. Gov (Texas is not a single ticket state so they will not run together, necessarily). Can you imagine? The top of the Democratic ballot in 2014 will be two women, both famous for their roles in the filibuster to save access to abortion, and both good, clear, smart speakers and thinkers. You want to get women in Texas to head to the polls (and almost no one in Texas heads to the polls) put two women at top of that ballot and other women may show up to vote for the people who look like them, who care about the issues they care about, who literally stand up and fight for women on the floor of the Senate.
And while I am asking you today to donate money towards Davis’ 2014 campaign, the reality is that this campaign – whether or not she wins – is the beginning of something. Whether that something is big or small rests on our shoulders now. Maintaining the momentum of this summer, the excitement of the idea of change, and the promise of a Davis-led Texas is important when we think about 2016, 2018, and 2020.
Turning Texas Blue, while we want to do it in 2014, is a long game.
That is why I am supporting Wendy Davis and why I’m participating in today’s #GiveToWendy campaign. Can you give today? $5 or $10 or $25 even? If you can, please do.
Follow the #GiveToWendy hashtag on Twitter for the many different posts by a whole bunch of Texas feminists/progressives on why we got together today to support Wendy Davis and her campaign.