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The Texas Democratic Party
The Texas Democratic Party is the Texas affliate of the national Democratic Party. Like all state parties, it is independent of the national party and its collaboration and cooperation is purely voluntary. Financially, it must raise and spend its own money .
From 1836 to 1952, the TDC was the dominant party in Texas, holding almost all offices at all levels of state politics. In 1952 Alan Shivers , a conservative Democrat helped deliver the state to Republican candidate, Dwight D. Eisenhower. This was the beginning of the transformation of Texas to a one party Republican state.
In 1998, they made the decisive breakthrough. The Democrats lost control of both Houses of the Legislature and all 27 statewide offices.
The contemporary party has been out of power since then. How far out of power is indicated by the tale of the Killer Bees walkout of 2003. In the face of a Tom Delay orchestrated ramrodded gerrymandering of national Congressional districts a critical rump of Democrats fled to Ardmore OK. This denied the Republicans , temporally of a quorum needed for legislative actions to be legal. It was a singular if futile act of definace.
With the Blue tide of 2006, there are signs of revival for the party, but the party has plenty of organizational work to do. There is no census yet as to how this work should proceed.
Structure of the Texas Democratic Party, pt. 1: State Democratic Executive Committee
[thanks to bondad for this]
There are four levels to the TDP. The top level is the State Democratic Executive Committee. They "shall carry on the activities of the Party between State conventions in compliance with the law and with the directives of the convention." The SDEC members are elected at the party convention which occurs in every even numbered year. The convention elects a state chair, a first vice chair of the opposite sex, a vice chair for finance, a secretary and a treasurer.
However, these are not all of the members of the SDEC. The SDEC also has two members elected from every Senate District and the following other members:
2 members each from the: Texas Democratic County Chairs Association, Texas Young Democrats, Texas Democratic Women, Texas Coalition of Black Democrats, the Hispanic Caucus, Non-Urban/Agricultural Caucus, the Stonewall Democrats, Texas Environmental Democrats and Asian American Democrats of Texas.
One member each from the Senate Democratic Caucus and the House Democratic Caucus. Neither position may vote.
At the state convention, each Senate District's respective delegates recommend one man and one woman from the Senate District. "Each country shall vote its full convention strength divided proportionately by its delegates present.
Organization representatives are composed of the highest ranking officer of that organization and the next highest officer of opposite sex from the organization.
Any vacancy is filled by a majority vote of the then SDEC members. The Senate District Committee of the effected district shall nominate a member representative from its district for consideration. The person nominated "shall be an eligible person of the same sex and from the same senatorial district as the vacating member."
Structure of the Texas Democratic Party, pt. 2 Senatorial District Executive Committee
[thanks to bondad for this]
According to the Rules, each Senate District shall have a Senatorial District Executive Committee, sometimes referred to as the "District Committee". In Texas, there are 31 State Senate Districts. (See map in External Links)
The method of determining the committee membership depends on how many counties make-up the Senate district. If there is only one county then "the County Executive Committee shall constitute the District Committee, and the County Chair shall be the District Chair." If there is only part of a county in the Senate District, the precinct chairs shall constitute the district committee.
If there is more than one county in the Senate District, then the District Committee "shall include the Country Chair of each county wholly contained in the district and one District Committee member elected from among their number by each group of Precinct Chairs within a portion of a county included in such Senate District."
Let's translate that last sentence. Remember, here we are dealing with a situation where there is/are one or more countries in a Senate District and parts other counties with the district. For the county completely within the Senate District, the county chair from that district is on the District Committee. For the counties partially within the Senate District, the precinct chairs that are within that Senate district elect a representative member who sits on the Senate district committee. So, if a county is not entirely within a Senate District, then there is an election, but only among sitting precinct chairs.
So, what do these committees do? They shall have "all of the responsibilities assigned by Texas Statutes. They also shall be responsible for any duties in connection with Party activities which may be assigned by the SDEC. They may and should, on their own initiative, undertake such efforts on behalf of the party and its candidates which are appropriate on the district level." In addition, the rules encourage the District Committee to take the initiative.
Now - here is an interesting point. "A District Committee may elect officers in order to accomplish its business. Any Democrat qualified to hold party office may hold any District Committee office other than that of chair." While the actual District Committee structure is not directly elected by party members, the District Committee can appoint any Democrat to the committee to do pretty much anything.
So - what have we learned about the District Committees? First, they essentially fill the executive space between the counties and the State Democratic Executive Committee. From a purely logistical perspective, this makes sense in a state as large as Texas. Secondly, to get on a District Committee, a person has to be elected one level below the district committee at the county or precinct level because county chairs whose counties are wholly contained in the Senate District are automatically appointed to the District Committee. In addition, precinct chairs of counties not wholly contained in a Senate District hold an election among themselves to appoint someone to the District Committee. However, the District Committee can appoint anyone it wants to perform various functions. In addition, the committee can take the initiative and do anything appropriate to its respective place in the political system that helps the party. That means a district committee is really only limited by its imagination and its initiative.
Boyd Richie, Texas Democratic Party Chair
Boyd Richie was elected Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party on April 22, 2006. Boyd is a life-long Democrat and Texas native with an extensive history of service to the party.
Boyd started his career in politics and government at a young age – joining his father and siblings block walking for Democratic U.S Senator from Texas, Ralph Yarborough, who later sponsored him as a U.S. Senate Page. After high school, Boyd attended Midwestern State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 1966. He received his JD from Texas Tech Law School as a member of their first graduating class.
In 1976, Boyd beat an incumbent to be elected District Attorney for the 90th Judicial District, which covered three counties. A lawyer in private practice for over 35 years, he’s currently serving his third term as County Attorney for Young County. Boyd has also served as Vice President of the Young County Bar Association and in 2005, was elected a life fellow of the Texas Bar Association.
Prior to being elected Chair, Boyd served two terms on the State Democratic Executive Committee and was Chair of Audit Subcommittee of the Finance Committee. Boyd also volunteered countless hours for Democratic candidates and organizations including Texas Democratic Women and his wife’s, Betty Richie, campaign for the state legislature. Boyd was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Selective Service Local Board, a position he held until his election as Young County Attorney.
During his first speech as Chairman, Boyd’s message to Texas Democrats was “our job is not win arguments, but to win elections” and announced his five point plan to revitalize the Texas Democratic Party and expand field staff and grassroots trainings, build a pro-active communications team and incorporate modern technology into the Party’s fundraising, communications and outreach strategies.
Married to DNC Member Betty Richie for 39 years, Boyd is the proud father of two and grandfather of four. In his spare time, Boyd is an avid sportsman and a member of the First United Methodist Church of Graham, Texas.
Roy Laverne Brooks, Vice Chair
Roy LaVerne Brooks is no stranger to the Democratic Party or the State Democratic Executive Committee. As a youth, Brooks was elected as Vice Chair of the Texas Young Democrats for three terms that allowed her to serve on the State Democratic Executive Committee. Later to be elected by her peers to serve as the Committeewoman for District 12 where she served more than two terms.
Dennis Speight, Vice Chair of Finance
Dennis Speight was re-elected to his second term as Vice Chair of Finance at the Democratic Convention in June of 2006. As a past President of the Texas Young Democrats, he gained the experience and skills necessary to fight for all Texas Democrats, creating the first-ever TYD campaign internship program that employed young persons on targeted campaigns. While Finance Director of the Texas Partnership and the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee, he has successfully demonstrated his ability to raise money from not only traditional Democratic donors, but new sources of support as well.
Victor Garza, Treasurer
The newly elected treasurer of the TDP is Victor Garza. Full bio forthcoming.
Ruby Jensen, Secretary
She coordinated Harris County phone banks for Governor Ann Richards and President Bill Clinton’s first campaign. Ms. Jensen has been a member of Communications Workers of America for 41 years and was elected vice-president in 1993. She is a delegate and a Trustee of the Harris County AFL-CIO. Ms. Jensen is a vice president of the Harris County Coalition of Labor Union Women as well as serving on the executive board of the national branch.
Ed Cogburn, Co- Parliamentarian
Ed Cogburn is an attorney who got into politics by passing out Ralph Yarborough for Governor cards at the polling places in the late 1950s. He is also a former Harris County Democratic Party Chairman who served 14 years on the SDEC as well as a former delegate to the National Convention and State Convention. He helped manage Barbara Jordan's 1962 race for the Texas House and holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Texas. A former professor at the University of Houston Law Center and longtime State Party Parliamentarian, he was recently appointed to new term.
Corinne Sabo, Co- Parliamentarian
Corinne Sabo is a property manager and longtime Democratic activist who has worked in numerous state, local and federal campaigns. In that time she has helped coordinate grassroots efforts for Ciro Rodriguez's special election race for Congress in 1997 and organized grassroots efforts for Leticia Van de Putte's special election race for the State Senate in 1999. A member of the Texas State Association of Parliamentarians and the National Association of Parliamentarians, she was appointed State Party Parliamentarian on June 10, 2000 by the State Chair.
Frank Thompson, Co-Parliamentarian
A longtime precinct judge and delegate to the State Convention since 1972 and National Convention since 1982, Frank Thompson is a charter member of the Coalition of Black Democrats and member of the Harris County Democratic Party Executive Committee. A veteran SDEC member who has served as treasurer and parliamentarian, Thompson has retired from Brown & Root after serving as a VP and mechanical engineer who received a bachelor's degree from Texas Southern University and Masters degrees from Howard University and Rice University. A longtime State Party Parliamentarian, Thompson was recently appointed to new term.
Bruce Elfant, Sergeant at Arms
Bruce Elfant has been a Travis County Constable since 1993 and currently serves as First Vice President of the Justices of the Peace and Constables Association of Texas. Bruce also finds time to chair the Community Action Network Community Council and is a member of the Texas Association of Counties Board of Directors. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a BS in Communications, he also received his Associates Degree in criminal justice from Austin Community College.
Key Democratic Clubs and Contact Information
[ Nov, 2006 ]
Texas Young Democrats
Shondra Wygal Houston (713)542-2861 firstname.lastname@example.org
Texas Young Democrats
Byron LaMasters Dallas
County Chair Assn.
Philip Ruiz Lockhart (512) 398-9416 email@example.com
County Chair Assn.
Sharon Teal Corrigan (936) 398-9400 firstname.lastname@example.org
Alieca Hux Sulphur Springs (903) 885-3246 Hhux@neto.com
Texas Democratic Women
Marcia Mainord Greenville (903) 455-4304
Asian American Democrats Jennifer Kim Austin (512) 444-9231 email@example.com
Asian American Democrats AJ Durrani Katy (713) 702-2377 firstname.lastname@example.org
Coalition of Black Democrats
Morris Overstreet Prairie View (979) 399-0029 TCBDinfo@aol.com
Texas Environmental Democrats Fidel Acevedo
(512) 255-4349 email@example.com
Texas Environmental Democrats Cecelia Crossley Austin (512)444-0956 firstname.lastname@example.org
Coalition of Black Democrats
Beverly Hatcher Beaumont email@example.com
Bill Brannon Sulphur Springs (903) 439-1177 firstname.lastname@example.org
Anna Marie Hornsby Texarkana (903) 255-0028 email@example.com
Frank Ortega Austin (512) 873-0691 firstname.lastname@example.org
Belinda Castro Houston (281) 300-7953 email@example.com
Nancy Russell San Antonio (210) 479-2019 firstname.lastname@example.org
Shannon Bailey Dallas (972) 231-5351