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Sunday, 9/24: Meet Chris Perri, candidate for District 21 congressional seat

Next up in TX21 Indivisible’s series of candidate meet-and-greet events is Chris Perri.

Sunday, September 24

6:30-8:30 pm

Radio Coffee & Beer

4204 Manchaca Rd, Austin, TX

Chris describes himself this way:

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics at Southwestern University, Chris earned his law degree at the University of Texas. In 2009, Chris started a federal and state law practice representing clients at both the trial and appellate levels. This experience taught him first-hand the particular challenges of owning and operating a small business. In 2015, Chris was elected to a four-year term on the Board of Directors for the Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association.

As a community leader and volunteer in Central Texas, Chris has continued his fight for justice, serving as supervising attorney for UT Law’s pro bono Texas Expunction Project since its inception in 2014. The Expunction Project has assisted hundreds of indigent Texans clear wrongful arrests from their criminal backgrounds so that they can better compete in the job market. In 2016, UT’s Texas Law Fellowships program awarded Chris the Excellence in Public Interest Award (EPIA) based on his pro bono work as a private-practicing attorney. Chris’ interest in human behavior, decision-making, and public policy led him to earn his master’s degree in economics. Using this lens, he searches for optimal solutions to both legal and societal problems. For instance, Chris regularly employs his economics skills to find mutually beneficial solutions when negotiating with prosecutors. Likewise, if elected to Congress, Chris intends to apply these skills when reaching across the partisan aisle to attain fair, common-sense solutions that protect individual rights and promote progress.

Learn more about Chris here:

Chris Perri for Texas

Join us and bring a friend!

TODAY: Meet Joseph Kopser, candidate for District 21 Congressional seat

We all agree that it’s time to retire Lamar Smith! There are five candidates currently in the race to replace him. Today is the first of several candidate meet-and-greet events, hosted by TX21 Indivisible, taking place in Austin.

Bring your neighbors and your questions to Red’s Porch on South Lamar today from 3 to 5 pm to meet Joseph Kopser. Here’s how Joseph describes himself:

From serving a full career in the Army to creating good-paying jobs right here in Texas, I’ve dedicated my life to service. Graduation from West Point took me on a military path through a number of Texas installations, as well as through Iraq, where I earned the Combat Action Badge and Bronze Star.

Since retiring from the Army, I’ve dedicated myself to building innovative companies, empowering workers, and helping government work for citizens like you and me. In Congress, I’ll do the same: put your interests ahead of the special interests.”

Learn more about Joseph here:

Joseph Kopser for Congress
Find information about future meet-and-greet events here:

TX21 Indivisible Calendar

Diez y Seis Fiesta!

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Increasing our diversity is a priority for TX21 Indivisible. We believe that including everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, where they came from, whom they love, or how they worship makes our organization, and our country, stronger. So a group of us are out this Saturday morning at the Diez y Seis Fiesta in Kerrville! The celebration includes music, food, and vendors. We secured a prime location, right at the entrance, and are handing out bottles of TX21 Indivisible-branded water, selling T-shirts for a donation, and registering voters.

To support our participation in the celebration, we developed this half-page, front/back flyer in English and Spanish. Please download it and use it!

Flyer English Spanish Sept 2017

 

 

 

 

Lamar in lock step with president, congressional Republicans on immigration

My mother was an immigrant. She came to this country in 1958 for the same reason all immigrants come to America: she was seeking a better life.

So I experienced horror and revulsion last week when I heard District 21 congressman, Lamar Smith, speak in support of repealing DACA—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. There are 124,000 people in Texas who were brought here illegally as children by their parents. These children, many of whom are now adults, are Americans. They were educated in American public schools, many have attended American universities, and are now employed at American companies. They pay income tax and lead productive lives.

For Lamar, the president, and their fellow Republicans, this action is about dismantling the legacy of our previous president. There is nothing in any public statement that expresses compassion, empathy, or concern for the human lives at stake.

And then, to top that off, Lamar introduced two immigration-related bills. The Legal Workforce Act would expand the E-Verify system and create a new level of intrusive government oversight for employers. Despite Lamar’s claims about this system, it has been around since 2013, so we know that it does little to stop illegal immigration or to protect American workers. And it hurts businesses, particularly small businesses, that rely on immigrant labor.

The Immigration in the National Interest Act would reduce legal immigration in half over the next ten years to about 500,000 immigrants per year; limit refugees to 50,000 per year; and eliminate the Diversity Visa program in lieu of a point-based system for legal immigration. This legislation is limiting and divisive. It sends the message that the United States is closing itself to the world and that outsiders are not welcome.

Because my mother was an immigrant, perhaps I feel closer to the immigrant experience than many people, such as Lamar and his Republican colleagues. I can tell you that no one loves the United States more than an immigrant, who has chosen to leave his or her country of birth for the chance to build a better life for themselves and their children. We are a nation of immigrants. Diversity and inclusion make us stronger.

The latest is that Trump is talking to Democrats in Congress to come up with a solution. Maybe it would have been a good idea to do that first?

The time is NOW to call, write, or visit an office and tell Lamar your personal story about your family, an immigrant or refugee family you know, or a DACA recipient in your community. Let him know that you are outraged by these actions.

Lamar Smith office phone numbers:

DC: 202-225-4236
San Antonio: 210-821-5024
Austin: 512-912-7508
Kerrville: 830-896-0154

Trumpcare by another name: “Graham-Cassidy”

CNN first reported in July that a new version of Trumpcare was in the works in the Senate. The new bill, which is sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), would convert Affordable Care Act spending into block grants for states. A block grant is a fixed amount of money that the federal government gives to a state for a specific purpose. This approach would give state governments complete control over spending for crucial healthcare programs such as Medicaid.

Families USA published this article telling why block grants are a bad idea for Medicaid:

Block grants: a bad idea for Medicaid

The Senate has a deadline of Sept. 30 to pass the bill. John McCain, one of three senators who voted against the last version, was quoted a few days ago saying he will support the bill, although he has since walked this back, saying he hasn’t seen the bill.

Indivisible Guide has provided this resource:

Trumpcare by another name

We’re not finished with this fight! Please call Cruz and Cornyn tomorrow and let them know that you oppose the latest version of Trumpcare.

Cruz

Austin: 512-916-5834

San Antonio: 210-340-2885

DC: 202-224-5922

Cornyn

Austin: 512-469-6034

San Antonio: 210-224-7485

DC: 202-224-2934

Texans comes together; Lamar continues to divide

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The caption on this photo from this week’s Johnson City Record Courier says that a wheelchair-bound resident of Port Arthur was loaded into the Johnson City Volunteer Fire Department’s high-water rescue vehicle in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Small towns, big cities, churches, community groups, and Central Texas Indivisible groups are coming together to assist with relief efforts. 

It is shameful that during this time of crisis, rather than reaching out to those affected, or even making a statement of support, District 21 representative Lamar Smith chooses to continue to divide us into two groups: Republicans and Democrats. This opinion piece was published last Monday, Labor Day:

It’s time for the GOP to go on the offensive

TX21 Indivisible has responded to this outrageous nonsense by calling his offices, writing letters, and creating one of our videos. View it here:

Lamar Smith Revealed

Lamar’s opinion piece, published on Fox News online, demonstrates once again that he does not represent us, our values, and principles.

First, people do not fall neatly into these two groups. There are many people in the middle. One-third of Americans consider themselves to be independent of either political party. These divisions do nothing to unite the country and foster bipartisan solutions to the complex issues faced by our nation.

Lamar also places himself firmly beside Trump when he calls out the “media” as an enemy of the American people. He does not define “media,” so let’s assume he is referring to social media as well as journalists reporting for newspapers, magazines, online publications, and television. Social media is defined as Facebook, Twitter, and other such outlets where anyone can publish their opinions and thoughts with little to no oversight. On the other end of the spectrum, there are reputable publications, or as the Founders called them, the free press. Here is the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees a free press:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Professional journalists follow a code of ethics. They check their facts and strive to be fair when writing news reports. As Thomas Jefferson said in 1786, “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press.”

In the middle of the spectrum between social media and reputable news outlets, there are outlets such as Brietbart and Fox News. These types of outlets make no attempt at fairness, feeding the hate that has created the Neo Nazi movement and has transformed our great country into a place where civil debate about issues is no longer possible.

And Lamar thinks this is the time to fan the flames. That’s not the leadership we’re looking for in District 21. TX21 Indivisible values and advocates for free speech, a free press, and a civil exchange of ideas. That’s what makes America great. That’s what makes America unique in the world.

NOW is the time to get involved in the work of the resistance! There are many, varied ways for you to contribute. We need your ideas, passion, and skills! Interested? Please email tx21indivisible@gmail.com and let us know how you can help!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tribute to a fellow resister

Congressional District 21 is geographically large and brings together people of all descriptions to work toward a common goal. On August 19, we lost one of our own, dear friend and fellow resister, Ashley McAllen.

Ashley was first a husband and father. He and his wife had five children. He dedicated his life to serving others, as a physician, Navy veteran, and in public health missions throughout the world. He was a member of the Bandera County Democrats and St. Philip Episcopal Church in Utopia.

Ashley grew up in El Paso and embraced the importance of diversity and inclusion. He was a leader in reaching out to Hispanic communities in District 21. The TX21 Indivisible website has a Spanish language version and sign-up form because he requested it.

We were fortunate to know this man, who was genuine, authentic, passionate, and generous. He was a “person of light,” a “gentle giant,” and a “community leader.” We remember the way he lived his life with grace, that we always looked forward to seeing him, and how we felt his energy when he walked into the room. We saw that he wanted to make a difference in the world. We felt his love when he listened to our ideas and encouraged and supported us.

As Ashley did, TX21 Indivisible is fighting for justice, equality, and democracy. We believe in freedom, fair elections, healthcare for all, quality education, and protecting the environment. We want to build a community that shares these values and priorities. We want a good and fair place to live for ourselves, our children, grandchildren, and indeed, everyone equally.

Some may wonder, why do the good people leave us so quickly? Others may answer, because their flame was bright to attract us and light the way. Knowing the way, the flame was extinguished to let us each light our flame for others. – TC

View a tribute to Ashley