Kingwood Area Democrats
Wednesday, June 1 @ 7 p.m.
Social Hour 6-7 p.m.
HARRIS COUNTY ATTORNEY
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Last day to register to vote
Last day for Elections Office to receive request for mail ballot
Last day for Elections Office to receive mail ballot by 7 p.m. if ballot is not postmarked
June 15 @ 7 p.m.
The 26 murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 were just the beginning of a long ordeal for the families of the victims. The families often lived in fear of being attacked by believers of the misinformation campaign led by Alex Jones, whose Austin-based radio program was a hotbed of conspiracy theories.
Journalist Elizabeth Williamson weaves together the stories of the Sandy Hook families and the power of social media to weaponize lies against them.
Join us for this timely discussion. New members are always welcome.
Just contact us here.
We are using the Webex app until further notice.
The Rise of Conservatism in Texas
Our in-house historian, Steve Davis, gave KAD a brief but eye-opening account of how Texas became a conservative powerhouse in the last century. Steve, who is professor of History at Lone Star College – Kingwood, spoke at the May KAD Membership Meeting. He is also KAD’s parliamentarian.
Steve explained that the trend toward conservative politics grew along with big business, especially the oil business, during and after WWII. It was led by conservative Southern Democrats. By the 1960s and ‘70s, though, some were supporting or joining the Republican Party. Even well-known Democrats, such as John Connally, Texas governor (1963-1969), went on to support Richard Nixon and led the Democrats for Nixon organization. “With George W. Bush's convincing defeat of Ann Richards in the governor's race in 1994,” said Steve, ”the partisan transformation was largely complete.”
The next meeting of the Kingwood Area Democrats is scheduled for Wednesday, June 1, with guest speaker Christian Menefee, Harris County Attorney, whose office represents the county in all civil matters and lawsuits.
All-Star Headliners at April Membership Meeting
After two years of Zoom meetings during Covid restrictions, KAD hosted its first in-person membership meeting on April 6. There were cheerful greetings among old friends and introductions to many new participants.
The stars of the evening were three candidates who all want to represent Kingwood and its surrounding areas at the state or national levels:
Mike Collier, candidate for Texas Lieutenant Governor, must still win a runoff election on May 24 if he is to go on to challenge Dan Patrick. He has been traveling around the state catching up with supporters from his 2018 close race to unseat Patrick. In 2020, he was a senior adviser to the Biden Campaign in Texas. As a Kingwood resident, Mike has been a sustaining member of KAD for many years.
Robin Fulford, candidate for Texas' 2nd Congressional District, is running against Republican Dan Crenshaw. She is a founding member of the Democratic Club of The Woodlands, and she spoke about her family's history of involvement in labor unions.
Misty Bishop, candidate for State Senate District 4, is running against incumbent Brandon Creighton. She gave an impassioned speech outlining the changes she wants to bring to Texas state government.
In addition, to the three guest speakers, we heard from judicial candidates:
Judge Jason Luong, a Kingwood resident, is in a primary runoff to hold on to his seat on the 185th Criminal District Court.
Jason Armstrong, husband of Beverly Armstrong, spoke on her behalf. Beverly Armstrong is a candidate for judge of the 208th Criminal District Court.
Treasea Treviño is running for the position of judge of Civil District Court 4.
Robin Fulford (L), candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, TX Congressional District 2.
Mike Collier (R), candidate in Democratic Runoff Election for Texas Lieutenant Governor's race.
Misty Bishop, Democratic
candidate for Texas Senate District 4.
Jason Luong, incumbent candidate for Harris County 185th District Court.
Wendy Davis Speaks Out About Texas Abortion Law SB8
Wendy Davis was the guest speaker at a special online event November 15 when several Harris County Democratic Clubs joined forces to host the former state senator and gubernatorial candidate.
Davis touched on many topics, beginning with her support for Beto O'Rourke who had earlier in the day announced his candidacy in the race for governor. She predicted he would bring excitement to the race.
Turning to the topic of the evening, a woman's right to choose, Davis said SB8 is a result of years of antagonism toward women's reproductive freedoms, depriving women of autonomy. She expressed fear that Abbott would go as far as his base pushed him, even pondering whether that could lead to banning contraception.
Davis discussed the intricacies of SB8, which allows any individual to sue anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion. The hefty financial penalties of the law have effectively shut down abortion access in Texas. She also paraphrased Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, saying, "It is an injustice every single day that this law continues to be in existence."
The event was initiated by Meyerland Area Democrats and co-hosted by Kingwood Area Democrats, Humble Area Democrats, ROADWomen, Democratic Club of the Woodlands, Houston Black American Democrats, TDW Harris, BAAD Women, Bay Area New Democrats, Spring Branch Democrats, Spring Democratic Club, Greater Heights Democrats, and Swing Left.
Wendy Davis, former Texas state senator and gubernatorial candidate
Mike Collier is Running for TX Lt. Gov.
Mike Collier has driven thousands of miles around the state in recent months making campaign stops and talking to local residents. He wants the Democratic Party nomination for Texas lieutenant governor in the 2022 statewide elections because he plans to oust Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
In 2018, Mike ran an aggressive campaign against Patrick, but Texas wasn't quite ready to turn blue.
In 2020, he served as senior advisor to the Biden Campaign in Texas.
Mike was our guest speaker at the March 3 KAD Membership Meeting, where he shared his outrage over the follies of the Abbott government: the rescinding of the COVID mask mandate and the lack of leadership in the chaos of power outages during the February winter storm.
As a longtime Kingwood resident and KAD member, Mike is a familiar face. We know he's a smart and impressive candidate.
The Collier For Texas website says "Mike first entered politics for one reason: to fight for Texas public schools. Because of his extensive experience as an auditor, he knows the Texas budget like the back of his hand. Mike knows why our schools are underfunded and he has a plan to fix it without raising taxes on ordinary Texans."
Mike earned an M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, and he's had a career that includes being an auditor and, later, partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, one of the world's largest accounting firms. In addition, he helped establish a successful oil company and served as its chief financial officer.
Editor's note: In November 2021, Michelle Beckley from Carrollton, TX, representing Texas HD 65, joined the race for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. In December 2021, Matthew Dowd, former political strategist for George W. Bush and Ann Richards dropped out of the Democratic race.
KAD August Meeting with a Trans Activist
Asher Giotis playfully calls himself a guy who looks like a Texas redneck, but his journey began quite differently -- as a baby girl. Years passed until, at the age of 30, Asher made the decision to become the person he knew he should be, and he began the process of transitioning. He was KAD’s guest speaker at the August membership meeting.
Today, Asher is an activist for the transgender community and a patient liaison. "I help provide resources and tools for the gender diverse community in order to guide them through the healthcare process, understanding insurance plan exclusions and legal rights to appeal based on medical necessity." He often helps parents who are navigating the complex world of medical care for children with gender dysphoria, a mismatch between an individual's biological sex and gender identity.
Asher discussed the legal challenges of transitioning, such as making the official changes through the courts and Social Security Administration, and obtaining a driver's license or voter registration. Texas does not have laws that explicitly protect people on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 does include workplace protections for gay and transgender individuals.
Freedom and Fireworks Celebration
Democrats came out in force for Independence Day in a Freedom and Fireworks Celebration in Kingwood. The lakefront event was hosted by four Democratic clubs: Kingwood Area Democrats, Humble Area Democrats, Meyerland Area Democrats and the Democratic Club of The Woodlands.
Special guests included Lina Hidalgo, Harris County judge; Marilyn Burgess, Harris County district clerk; Odus Evbagharu, newly-elected chair of the Harris County Democratic Party; and many judges and candidates.
County Judge Lina Hidalgo gave an impromptu speech and mingled with other guests. She is pictured with Clarence Miller, candidate for commissioner, Harris County Precinct 4. Miller is hoping to unseat Jack Cagle (R), who has represented Precinct 4 on the Commissioners Court for the last ten years.
County officials, judges and 2022 candidates attended the Freedom and Fireworks Celebration. Front row, center, is Harris County District Clerk Marilyn Burgess, a former member of the Kingwood Area Democrats Club.
(left to right) Odus Evbagharu, newly-elected chair of the Harris County Democratic Party; Art Pronin, pres. of Meyerland Area Democrats; Ellie Porras, pres. of Kingwood Area Democrats; and John Cotter, pres. of Humble Area Democrats.
Marilyn Burgess Re-Election Campaign Kick Off
Pictured l. to r., Pam Spivey, Maggie Wickwire, Deborah Mowrey, Marjie Landry, Marilyn Burgess, Barbara Madera, Jane Leckey and Elizabeth Stern.
Friends of Marilyn Burgess helped celebrate the official start of her re-election campaign for Harris County District Clerk. Marilyn was previously a member of KAD and our area's Liberal Ladies Who Lunch group.
Marilyn was elected to the position of district clerk in 2018 and took office in January 2019 while the jury assembly rooms were still under repair after Hurricane Harvey's massive floods. That disaster was followed in March 2020 by the COVID pandemic shutdowns. However, neither crisis prevented her plans for the office from moving forward.
Judge Jason Cox is working to change the lives of people with mental illness.
With the help of a $2.7 million federal grant, he is directing people to treatment through a newly created program in Harris County, the Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program.
Cox was one of many Democratic judges elected in 2018, and he immediately partnered with The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, UTHealth Harris County Psychiatric Center, and the University of Houston. Together, they successfully applied for the grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and were awarded the grant in July 2020.
Cox, presiding judge of Probate Court 3, was KAD’s guest speaker at the June 2 General Membership Meeting where he discussed how the new program is being implemented and evaluated. It is not a voluntary program, but it is an alternative to inpatient care.
In addition to a treatment plan, some patients in AOT receive housing, transportation, medication, and,
KAD June Meeting
Judge Jason Cox
sometimes, even clothing. Counselors call them to make sure they are taking their prescribed medications and adhering to their treatment plans. “Housing is a big help,” said Cox. “It provides stability.”
“AOT is different (from other programs) in that it is a highly individualized,” said Cox. “It is also unique because it contains a court component: patients meet with the court for status conferences with their case managers to make sure that their needs are being met and that they’re adhering to the program. If the patient falls out of compliance with the treatment plan, the court can require them to return to inpatient treatment until they’re stabilized and able to return to the program.” The University of Houston, meanwhile, is collecting data.
“Elected officials such as Judge Jason Cox are the reason it is important to vote all the way down the ticket,” said HCDP County Chair Lillie Schechter, “Individuals who are working to improve the judicial system, advance the health care system, and increase access to mental health care.”
New Voting Machines for Harris County
Harris County introduced new voting machines for the May 1 Election and Early Voting, April 19 - 27. The county made an initial purchase of 12,000 of the new model, which has a touch screen for making selections but also produces a paper ballot for additional verification.
How to use the new voting machines.
Watch this Facebook video.