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March 27, 2004

Over 1000 Attend Travis County Democratic Convention

By Byron LaMasters

I was pleasantly surprised with the turnout today at the Travis County Democratic Convention. There were just over 1000 delegates from Senate District 14 (Barrientos) and about 200 from the portion of Senate District 25 (Wentworth) in Travis County. Registration was a bit of a fiasco (not enough space, unorganized lines, etc.), but it all worked out. The main events were speeches by most of the elected officials in Travis County and the other candidates on the county ticket.

Senator Barrientos spoke relatively early into the convention. He received a warm reception, and gave a fiery speech to the convention, but there were many in the audience still upset with his endorsement of Leticia Hinojosa against Lloyd Doggett. Doggett spoke later, and he was greeted to the room by a minute-long standing ovation by the delegates. Later in the day, State Reps. Rodriguez, Naishtat and Dukes spoke as well.

We also broke up into precinct caucuses to elect delegates to the state convention. I was elected as an Alternate to the state convention. Our precinct had eleven delegates to the county convention today, and we were allotted two delegates and two alternates to the state convention. For those four spots, there were six of us running. The six of us were all given a chance to introduce ourselves, and then the five people not running had an opportunity to ask us questions. Of course, the one question worked to my disadvantage. One person asked if anyone had been a delegate to the state convention in the past, and I was the only one who had (I was a delegate to the Texas Democratic Convention in El Paso in 2002). Next the eleven of us cast four votes (which we could divide however we wished). I was in a tie for the third most votes (8), so we were the alternates while the two top vote getters (who won 10 and 9 votes, respectively) won the two delegate spots. I'm happy to have the opportunity to go to convention, and there's a good chance that I'll be a delegate anyway, since there are always a good number of delegates who are unable to make the convention.

The end of the convention dragged on through dozens of resolutions. At first, it went smoothly, and most of the delegates were in agreement on things like supporting labor rights, women's rights, choice, gay rights, affirmative action, etc. There was more controversy with two resolutions that passed narrowly (which I opposed). The first was a resolution calling for a 15% cut in military spending (among other things) and the second was a resolution calling for the United States to withdraw from NAFTA and the WTO. At this point in the convention, about two-thirds of the delegates had left, and the Kucinich delegates (about 10% of the original total) were speaking out for their resolutions. I disagree with them on those two issues, but if voting on these resolutions is what some people need to be able to vote for John Kerry and the Democratic ticket this fall, then it all works out. No one pays attention to resolutions passed by a county convention anyway.

Anyway, it was good to run into a lot of friends, and meet some people who have read BOR at the convention. Anyone have any other thoughts on the Travis County convention? Anyone else attend their county (or senate district) convention today?

Update: More accounts of the convention are here and here.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at March 27, 2004 05:52 PM | TrackBack


Good summary. I blogged a bit about the Travis County convention as well.

By the way...your blog came up as a conversation topic during lunch with my precinct delegates. I'm sure you've been told this before but several of us were sadly complaining that we read your blog less often that we'd like to because Burnt Orange Report isn't readable using Apple's Safari browser...

Posted by: sarah at March 27, 2004 06:10 PM

Hmm... I'm not aware that this blog isn't readable using Apple's Safari browser. I'm not familiar with it. If anyone knows how to fix it so that it can be viewed with that browser, let me know.

Posted by: Byron L at March 27, 2004 06:26 PM

I, too, attended the Travis County Convention today. Overall, I was pleased and thought that things went surprisingly smoothly - it could have been much worse. I felt a little bit frustrated by what appeared to be a lack of understanding of parlimentary procedure, but I suppose that's to be expected. I do think that the resolution committee could have been a little bit stricter in what they passed through to the floor. Some of the resolutions - my personal political leanings aside - were so poorly written as to be, ultimately, silly. At any rate, I'm excited about the State Convention this summer and feeling really energized about the upcoming elections.

Posted by: seth at March 27, 2004 06:38 PM


One can only wonder why, but my Precinct was entitled to 16/16 delegates/alternates to our Senate District Covention (Dallas area) and was allotted 1/1 delegates/alternates to the State Convention. Your Precinct had 12/12 to the Senate District Convention and 2/2 to the State Convention. (Luckily, I was named a delegate)

Do you know why there is a discepancy in different parts of the State? Our Senate Districts are both entitled to 6 delegates to the National Convention, so they are more or less similar in Democratic Performance. The answer may be that Senate Districts are granted some autonomy in how they want to allocate between State Convention delegates selected at the precinct level versus those selected "at-large." However, I do not think that the rules allow it - hmmm?

By the way, there is a very good chance that you will be elevated to delegate - lots of people who are nominated do not go to the State convention. So, if you are interested, you should still plan on going to Houston.

As a final word, one bit of advice - this sounds corny but it works. In the future, show up to these things with a resume. Seriously, you can make a great "Democratic credentials" resume (and you've got great ones). It impresses the crap out of people and no one else will do it. I have seen it work every time.

Posted by: WhoMe? at March 27, 2004 08:06 PM

By the way,

Kucinich just went to being a scumbag in my book. His campaign circulated resolutions at several of the County conventions concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that compare Israel to the Nazis and Israel's defense against to the holocaust. Five times over the last 120 years, Israel has offered the Palestinians land for peace, and each time the Palestians have rejected the offers instead wanting nothing more than to drive all Israelis into the Mediterranean. As Abba Ebban said, "The Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity." The last time after the Ohio Accord, the Saudis even told Araft he was crazy for rejecting the proposal.

When will people realize that the Israelis are the victims and have been entirely reasonable and acted in good faith in seeking a resolution to this conflict, and it is the Palestinians who respond with killing innocent people, including their own children, sent to death as suicide bombers? As Golda Meir once said, "We can one day forgive them for killing our children, but we can never forgive them for killing their own children."

Kucinich is nothing more than a Jew-hating, anti-semitic bigot and can go to hell as far as I am concerned.

Posted by: WhoMe? at March 27, 2004 09:06 PM

Bush told the truth: he is, in truth, a uniter. He has united Coleman County Democrats and brought them out! Coleman County has a total population of less than 10,000, and being in west Texas there are fewer than 50% of those Democrat, but we had more attend (21) than have been at a county convention in the past ten years COMBINED--no exaggeration! What's more, they are ON FIRE! We will send two to Houston, we are setting up a county part HQ, and we will have meet-ups monthly till November. The most popular resolution was to send bush-monkey back--not to Crawford--we don't want him in Texas--but to Kennebunkport!

Posted by: Montie Guthrie at March 27, 2004 09:07 PM

Yes, It was an interesting first experience at the County Convention. First of all, that registration was a NIGHTMARE. Crowded, badly set up, too many signing tables in too small a space... Hmph.

LLoyd Doggett's speech was a great one, and Mark Strama's talk about Jack Stick was good too. That one would be great to win back in November, as well.

I am going to the State convention as a "Dean Delegate for Kerry". Perhaps it doesnt matter much, but I was impressed how many Dean and Kucinich supporters there were out and visible, and not so many Kerry supporters. I know we will all vote for Kerry at the state convention and November, but I was hoping for a stronger presence by the Kerry organization..

Posted by: xerixes at March 27, 2004 10:20 PM

Apple's Safari browser is a rebranding of the Linux Konquerer browser, and BOR is viewable under that...

Posted by: Jason Young at March 28, 2004 02:28 PM

Not only was I elected a delegate to the State Convention, but my fellow delegates from the SD12 (Nelson *blech!*) portion of Denton County also elected me our Delegaton Chair. :) Details to follow soon on my blog....

Yes, I stood by my principles, by the way, and signed in for Dean at the County Convention as I had pledged to at the City Hall rally last July. However, per the agreement between the campaigns reached last week (details on the deanfortexas.com site) I will sign in for Kerry at the State Convention.

Posted by: Jeff at March 28, 2004 04:41 PM
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