Progress Texas Happy Hour
By Progress Texas
Progress Texas Happy HourMay 24, 2023
Ep. 109 - One Year After Uvalde, Little Has Changed - with Sen. Roland Gutierrez
NOTE - We recommend listener discretion for this episode, which contains graphic details of the crime scene at Robb Elementary in Uvalde.
As the grim first anniversary of the Robb Elementary massacre arrives, and the closing days of the Texas legislative session creep by, not only have GOP lawmakers stonewalled any opportunity to prevent future mass shootings, but the pace at which those shootings happen in Texas has escalated. While we rarely re-publish our podcast content, we thought it an opportune moment to give our conversation from April with Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez a fresh listen. Senator Gutierrez continues his fight for the families of Uvalde and children across the Lone Star State - his battle has just begun, and the same is the case for all of us.
The first year mark for Uvalde is gaining national attention: https://www.npr.org/2023/05/24/1177872175/one-year-after-the-uvalde-school-shooting-questions-still-go-unanswered
More on Senator Roland Gutierrez's continued fight at the Capitol: https://www.texasstandard.org/stories/uvalde-shooting-year-later-roland-gutierrez-still-pushing-gun-reform/
And, please consider supporting Progress Texas and our ongoing mission with a donation: https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate
Ep. 108 - What The Texas GOP REALLY Has In Mind For Your Public School
Not only has Governor Greg Abbott declared what he calls "school choice" (in reality, the undermining of funding for Texas public schools) a top priority for the current Legislature, he and other Republican schemers have wrapped it an intricate web of deceptive marketing designed to distract Texans - especially rural Republicans - from their true intentions. We set the record straight this week with two esteemed Texas education experts: welcome back Patty Quinzi, Director of Public Affairs and Legislative Counsel for the Texas chapter of AFT - the American Federation of Teachers - AFL/CIO. And also Gwenn Burud, retired lifelong educator, educational sign language interpreter, and teacher of deaf and hard of hearing students, now, the executive director of Texans Defending Democracy. This is all happening NOW - making NOW the time to reach out to your representatives in Austin and share your thoughts.
Learn more about Texas AFT at https://www.texasaft.org/, and learn more about Texans Defending Democracy at https://www.texansdefendingdemocracy.com/.
Thanks for listening! Help Progress Texas continue our work by considering a donation: https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate.
Ep. 107 - Raise The Age Act: Actual Progress For Gun Safety in Texas
You may have heard that HB 2744, otherwise known as the Raise The Age Act, has become a true rarity - a measure based on sensible, basic gun ownership regulation in Texas that has been voted out of committee. It would raise the minimum purchasing age of certain semi-automatic firearms from the current age of 18, to 21. We've rushed this episode of the podcast to encourage YOU to do all you can to help sustain this rare opportunity. We're proudly joined by Nicole Golden, Executive Director of Texas Gun Sense, and Liz Hanks, Texas Chapter Lead for Moms Demand Action.
These are the Republican members of the House Calendars Committee, who are in control of the future of HB 2744. We encourage YOU to call their offices to express support of the Raise The Age Act.
Dustin Burrows (Chair) (512) 463-0542
Toni Rose (Vice Chair) 512-463-0664
David Cook 512-463-0374
Charlie Geren 512-463-0610
Cole Hefner 512-463-0271
Jared Patterson 512-463-0694
Shelby Slawson 512-463-0628
Ed Thompson 512-463-0707
In addition, please support the national action being promoted by Moms Demand Action by texting "FedUp" to 64433.
Learn more about Moms Demand Action at https://momsdemandaction.org/, and about Texas Gun Sense at https://www.txgunsense.org/.
As always, we appreciate your support - consider a donation to help us continue our work at https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate.
Ep. 106 - DPS Troopers In Austin: What To Know About Texas' State Police
After a month of the heightened presence of Texas Department of Public Safety troopers in Austin, centered primarily on parts of the city that are home to a large percentage of Austin's non-white communities, concerns and questions are rising - and in parallel, the violent crackdown on transgender rights activists at the Texas State Capitol this week by DPS troopers may further illuminate the reality of the situation. We welcome two guests very close to the story: Austin City Council Member Zo Qadri, who has had a front row seat at Austin City Hall while all of this has unfolded, and prominent Austin-area criminal defense attorney and longtime progressive political activist Rick Cofer, who interacts with both DPS and APD officers on a daily basis, both join us for an intensive analysis. How does DPS differ - in both goals and culture - from municipal or county-level law enforcement agencies? What exactly is DPS's mission and method in Austin? How was the decision at the top levels of the city's leadership to bring them in reached? And, what happens next: when, and how, can this uncomfortable partnership come to a peaceful close?
By the way, as you'll hear in our conversation, the May "Prop A vs Prop B" election in Austin is directly related to today's topic. If you're listening on release day (Saturday May 6) - PLEASE get out and vote TODAY! Learn more at GoVoteTexas.org. You have until 7pm!
On Twitter: find CM Zo Qadri at https://twitter.com/ZoForAustin, and Rick Cofer at https://twitter.com/rickcofer.
And, if you appreciate our work and would like to help us continue, please consider making a donation: https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate.
Ep. 105 - Humans Against Ted Cruz....And Sid Miller, Too
A double-header this week! For our first segment, we're joined by famed Texas progressive political commentator and consultant Ed Espinoza - until just recently, president of Progress Texas - for a look into the recent recordings made public of Ted Cruz discussing the Republican plot to overturn the election of Joe Biden and keep Donald Trump in office. Not just the usual Cruz pinata party this time - we discuss solid steps YOU can take to prevent another term for the oiliest Congressman in America. Also, there's probably never been a better time to grab some fresh Humans Against Ted Cruz gear! Link below.
And for our second segment, a discussion of the recently-instituted and blatantly transphobic dress code at the Texas Department of Agriculture, under the leadership of one of the Texas GOP's most colorful clowns, Sid Miller. We're joined by the writer who broke the story, Texas Observer Digital Director and genderqueer movement journalist Kit O'Connell, and Texas Stonewall Democrats president Jeff Strater for a discussion of the harm this new policy not only brings to LGBTQ+ employees of this taxpayer-funded office, but also the possibility of similar policies developing under bad precedent.
Latest on the "Cruz Tapes": Ted Cruz Fox News tapes are being handed over to the Justice Department for its Jan. 6 inquiry https://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/texas/article/ted-cruz-fox-news-tapes-handed-justice-department-17922681.php
Humans Against Ted Cruz: wear it proud! https://humansagainsttedcruz.com/
Kit's terrific Texas Observer piece: https://www.texasobserver.org/sid-miller-department-agriculture-dress-code-transgender/
And a follow-up...Ag Commissioner Sid Miller Doubles Down On Transphobic Dress Code: https://www.texasobserver.org/sid-miller-dress-code-transphobia-texas-agriculture/
Follow Texas Stonewall Democrats here: http://www.stonewalldemocrats.us/texas
AND, if you're picking up what we're putting down, please consider supporting Progress Texas with a donation! https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate
Ep. 104 - Sen. Roland Gutierrez Fights For The Lives Of Texas Kids
NOTE - We recommend listener discretion for this episode, which contains graphic details of the crime scene at Robb Elementary in Uvalde.
Senator Roland Gutierrez represents District 19 - a wide swath of South and West Texas, including Uvalde - and has been personally and continually immersed in the tragedy there since mere hours after the shooting began. Almost a year later, he's fighting to prevent future tragedies at the Capitol in Austin - and he's on the front lines against the heartless bulwark of gun-crazy conservatism that has taken our state government hostage. At this critical moment, as much as we'd all like to, we simply cannot look away from this horrifying problem. So, join us for a difficult but essential conversation with one of the true heroes of progressive Texas - we can't express how proud we are of Senator Roland Gutierrez.
From our Earth Day intro, the referenced video: https://twitter.com/ProgressTX/status/1648718142137352192?s=20
Follow Senator Gutierrez here: https://rolandfortexas.com/
Considering that we recorded our conversation on 4/20, please have a look at Senator Gutierrez's documentary on marijuana reform: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFg6KWIM_Wg&t=2020s
And, if you're a regular listener, please consider helping us continue the fight: https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate
Ep. 103 - Texas Vs. Texas Cities: The Struggle Over Local Control
Efforts by Republican legislators at the Capitol to undermine the authority of local elected officials in our major cities - for the most part, Democrats - is not a new story. But this year, what has commonly been seen as right-wing bluster is threatening very real consequences for the larger municipalities of Texas. State trooper presence alongside local police departments in urban areas, takeovers of local independent school districts, and the recent threat by Governor Greg Abbott to pardon convicted murderer Daniel Perry, whose victim was a progressive BLM protester, all provide examples of real and unwelcome encroachment by conservative (and mostly rural) State lawmakers upon the internal affairs of Texas' largest cities. Joining us to discuss all of this are Democratic Texas State Senator and former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, and Dallas City Council Member Adam Bazaldua.
Find Senator Eckhardt at https://saraheckhardt.com/, and Council Member Bazaldua at https://www.bazaldua4dallas.com/.
As always, we appreciate your support! Please consider helping us continue all of the important work we do at Progress Texas by making a donation at https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate.
Ep. 102 - Alliance For A Clean Texas Lobby Day: April 11
Things move fast at the Texas Legislature - meaning, a lot of bad stuff can happen very quickly if advocates against the conservative agenda are not engaged - and environmental issues are certainly no exception. Joining us for a second episode this week is Luke Metzger, Executive Director for Environment Texas, with a rundown of the many issues and concerns at play, including new, nefarious trends in energy production in Texas, and an update on the upcoming Alliance For A Clean Texas Lobby Day, scheduled for the Texas State Capitol on Tuesday, April 11. Please plan to join us!
All about the Lobby Day, including your registration: https://actionnetwork.org/events/act-lobby-day
All about Environment Texas: https://environmentamerica.org/texas/
And - if you're a regular listener and would like to support us at Progress Texas (thank you!), go here: https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate
Ep. 101 - Inside The Republican War On LGBTQ+ Texans
It's near certain that one of YOUR family members, friends, co-workers or fellow church members is a member of the LGBTQ+ community - and right now, GOP lawmakers in the Texas Legislature are in the middle of a truly historic assault on their rights, with no sign of relent or restraint. What can we do to fight back? It turns out, quite a lot. We're proud to welcome back our friend Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas, for an update on what has become a multi-session, multi-faceted and ever-escalating onslaught on an entire group of our state's citizens - seemingly, simply for existing.
Since we spoke with Ricardo on Tuesday, the Texas Senate passed a bill that would ban transgender care for minors, without exception for those in the midst of the lengthy and sensitive process: https://www.statesman.com/story/news/politics/state/2023/04/04/texas-legislature-senate-passes-ban-transgender-gender-affirming-care-minors/70080903007/
Learn more about and support Equality Texas: https://www.equalitytexas.org/
And, if you're finding the information you learn about on our podcast helpful, inspiring, or perhaps infuriating, please consider supporting our continued work here: https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate
Ep. 100! Celebrating with Steve Adler and James Aldrete
We've come a long way, baby! Hard to believe that we've made the 100 episode mark, and as we've said, we're also proud to say that over that time, we've grown the Progress Texas Happy Hour into one of the top 10% of all podcasts globally in listenership - which doesn't happen without YOU. And, we're also proud of the impact our organization has made since its founding - ample reason to invite two of our most esteemed alumni to look back in reflection, and to look forward in resolve. Founding board member Steve Adler was Mayor of Austin for two terms, concluding at the beginning of this year, and famed Texas political consultant James Aldrete was there from the beginning as well. Join us for a tour through the history and impact of Progress Texas, and an analysis of the job at hand as we move forward into Texas' progressive future.
Article on dismantling right-wing gun garbage: https://progresstexas.org/dismantling-5-right-wing-talking-points-guns
And, if you're picking up what we're putting down, we'd very much appreciate your support - as with the recent Texas Observer situation, our future depends very much on the support of our listeners and followers. THANK YOU for considering a donation: https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate
Ep. 99 - The Branch Davidian Tragedy: What Trump Wants In Waco
We're in the midst of the 30th anniversary of one of the darkest moments in our state's recent history: the standoff at the Branch Davidian compount at Mount Carmel, just outside of Waco, which culminated in the deaths of dozens of men, women and children. This event captured the attention of the militant white supremacist movement then, and has served as a rallying cry for them ever since. Meanwhile, this weekend, former President Donald Trump is planning a rally at Waco in a blatant pledge of alignment with the paramilitary conspiracist fringe right, in an obvious move to rally them to his side. We've invited Lindsay Schubiner, Director of Programs for the Western States Center, to join us to recall the Branch Davidian tragedy, discuss its impact on the American right over the last 30 years, and ask the question: what are Donald Trump's real goals in connecting his campaign to Waco?
Learn more about the Western States Center here: https://www.westernstatescenter.org/
Learn more about the anniversary of the Mount Carmel event here: https://www.biography.com/crime/a43329362/the-siege-at-waco-firsthand-accounts
Thanks for listening to our podcast! If you enjoy what we're doing, we'd appreciate your support. Please make a donation here: https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate
Ep. 98 - LIVE at Unified Jam 2023!
We were proud to be invited to attend and roll tape on the second annual Unified Jam during SXSW in Austin, and this week's podcast includes portions of two of the day's panels. The first will be of interest to listeners who have considered jumping into the fray: "I Ran For Office - AMA", moderated by former Progress Texas Executive Director Ed Espinoza and featuring former Texas State House Representative and recent Austin Mayoral candidate Celia Israel, Austin City Council Members Paige Ellis and Zo Qadri, and recent Democratic candidate for Railroad Commissioner Luke Warford. The second updates the ongoing fight for reproductive justice in Texas: "Reclaiming Rights: Organizing in a Post-Roe World" was moderated by Cy White, managing editor of Austin Woman magazine and features former Texas State Senator, Deeds Not Words founder and current Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Senior Advisor Wendy Davis, Texas State Representative Donna Howard, former NARAL Pro-Choice America president and current Purpose president Ilyse Hogue, and Avow Executive Director Emily Martin. We had a great time, and hope you'll enjoy as well.
Learn more about Unified: https://www.joinunified.us/
Enjoying the podcast? Please consider supporting its future production with a donation: https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate
Ep. 97 - Standing Up For Reproductive Rights with Wendy Davis and Austin Kaplan
The horror stories that were predicted by Texas Democrats - and ignored by Texas Republicans - have become reality. A growing number of Texas women have been left at death's doorstep as doctors in our state shy away from the threat of punishment for administering lifesaving medical care related to pregnancy. The first lawsuit representing plaintiffs who have been denied essential care due to Texas' cruel and vaguely-written new laws regarding abortion has been filed. Joining us this week to celebrate the brave plaintiffs, discuss the case, and evaluate what the future holds for the ongoing fight for reproductive freedom in Texas are former State Senator and abortion rights icon Wendy Davis - now Senior Advisor for Planned Parenthood Texas Votes - and Austin Kaplan, an Austin-based attorney and progressive activist, who is working on behalf of the plaintiffs. A heartbreaking listen this time, but one that needs to be heard - we cannot give up on the essential personal rights of Texans.
Watch the presser from the Texas State Capitol here: https://fb.watch/jaTIfZmVrV/
Learn more about Planned Parenthood Texas Votes' Lobby Day (Friday April 14) here: https://www.weareplannedparenthoodaction.org/a/lobby-day2023
Learn more about the Center for Reproductive Rights here: https://reproductiverights.org/maps/state/texas/
And if you're enjoying the podcast, please consider helping us continue to produce it here: https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate
Ep. 96 - New GOP Attacks On Young Voters In Texas
If you're like us, you may not have believed your eyes when you first read of a new bill that seeks to ban voting locations on college campuses in Texas. HB-2390 was authored by Texas Rep. Carrie Isaac (who herself recently got her clock cleaned via massive turnout at Texas State University) and continues to be considered by the Republican-dominated House. Joining us for a tour of the dozens of reasons this is a terrible idea are three esteemed allies, all directly involved in the fight to protect voting rights in Texas: freshly-elected Travis County Clerk Dyana Limon-Mercado, MOVE Texas Advocacy Organizer Amber Mills, and Texas Civil Rights Project Senior Election Protection Attorney and Policy Counsel Emily Eby French - if you will, a bit of a voting rights super-group!
Learn more about:
The Travis County Clerk's Office: https://countyclerk.traviscountytx.gov/
MOVE Texas' Lege Agenda: getshitdoneagenda.com
Register for Texas Civil Rights Project Bill Tracking Updates: http://bit.ly/TCRPLege
Progress Texas' own voting info initiative, Go Vote Texas: https://govotetexas.org/
And, if you're enjoying our podcast, please help us keep producing it, ad-free with a donation (Thank You!): https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate
Minisode: Support Progress Texas on Amplify Austin Day!
We wanted to take a moment to tell our listeners a bit about ourselves as this year's Amplify Austin Day arrives! It's Central Texas' biggest day of giving for a wide variety of worthy charities and nonprofits. On this short bonus episode, we hope you'll take a moment to learn a bit more about what Progress Texas does and what your support helps accomplish (in short, a lot!). We're proud to be joined by Dick Lavine, a founding Progress Texas board member, who takes us through the early days and gives his viewpoint on why Progress Texas is worthy of a donation on this Amplify Austin Day, which begins at 6pm TODAY (Wednesday March 1) and continues through 6pm on March 2.
Direct link to our Amplify Austin page: https://www.amplifyatx.org/organizations/progress-texas-institute
Thanks for your support!
Ep. 95 - The State Of Abortion Care in Texas with AVOW and Jane's Due Process
The Republican assault on the reproductive rights of Texans continues, with a lawsuit in Federal court in Amarillo poised to strike a blow against medication abortion access not only here in the Lone Star State, but across the entire country. Meanwhile, the current legislative session, thus far, indicates no relief in sight - but we're joined this week by representatives of two Texas advocacy organizations who continue to give us hope. Delma Catalina Limones is Communications Director for AVOW, and Eleanor Grano is Director of Advocacy and Partnerships for Jane's Due Process.
Latest as of this posting on the mifepristone court case: https://gothamist.com/news/abortion-medication-mifepristone-ny-threatened-texas-court-what-case-could-mean-for-your-access
Article by Chase Strangio on the connection between abortion rights and trans rights: https://hammerandhope.org/article/issue-1-article-10
Article on the dangerous spread of abortion misinformation via social media platforms amongst LatinX communities: https://www.axios.com/2022/08/30/latinos-abortion-misinformation-roe-maternal-health
Thanks as always for supporting Progress Texas! If you'd like to make a contribution, please click here: https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate
Ep. 94 - Why Texas Cities Need YOU To Run For Office: Steven Monacelli of The Texas Observer
The filing deadline for Texas' May elections is coming up at the end of the day this Friday, February 17 - and this episode is directed at Texas progressives who have considered running for local office but have hesitated, thinking the fight in a "red state" will be too difficult. Using as an onramp recent controversies involving the current Mayor of the otherwise-sleepy D/FW suburb of Colleyville, investigative journalist Steven Monacelli guides us through a deep dive into how troubled George Santos-style MAGA candidates, emboldened by right-wing funding, have pressed forward a takeover of small Texas cities at the school board level - and why potential progressive candidates like you, simply by embracing common Texan and American values (which, as we've said, are progressive values) would likely stand a good chance of undermining the ongoing MAGA agenda. Thanks as always for supporting Progress Texas!
Follow Steven Monacelli's work: https://linktr.ee/Stevanzetti
Find out more about running for office in Texas: https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/candidates/guide/2022/local.shtml
And, if you're enjoying the Progress Texas Happy Hour, please consider supporting our efforts: https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate
Ep. 93 - The State Of Police Reform, Part 2: San Antonio City Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez
In the second of two episodes focused on police reform in Texas, we're glad to meet and get to know Jalen McKee-Rodriguez of the San Antonio City Council, who happens to hold the historic distinction of being the first Black and openly-LGBTQ elected official in Texas! Not only does he share his views on police reforms and police unions, but also his unique take on being an elected official - how his background as a high school math teacher brings new perspective and benefits to the job, but also some of the darker aspects of holding public office that don't frequently get discussed. We think his future in Texas politics is very promising.
Thanks for your support of Progress Texas! If you're enjoying the podcast and would like to help us keep it ad-free, please consider making a donation here: https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate
Ep. 92 - The State Of Police Reform, Part 1 - John Fullinwider of Mothers Against Police Brutality
The nation, once again, reels in the aftermath of an unjustified and tragic young Black death at the hands of law enforcement in the case of Tyre Nichols. Over two episodes, Progress Texas seeks to learn: what's the status of police reform in Texas, and nationwide? What are the factors that lead to what seems to be an ever-escalating epidemic of lethal police violence against unarmed Black citizens? And - most importantly - what can WE do to end this disgraceful trend? In the first part of a two-part conversation on this pivotal topic, we welcome John Fullinwider of Dallas-based Mothers Against Police Brutality, who brings us perhaps our most sobering view yet on a national plague that against all reason - and in spite of repeated national protest - appears to be steadily increasing.
Thanks for listening, and for supporting Progress Texas.
Ep. 91 - Mesquite City Council Member Jeff Casper and TX House Rep. Venton Jones
What will become of the historic surplus currently at the fingertips of the Texas Legislature? Given the state of public education, you'd think a big spend on our schools and students would be a no-brainer - but after all, we're talking about the Texas GOP here. We talk education and more this week with a pair of young Democratic officeholders: Jeff Casper of the Mesquite City Council (a high school government teacher himself), and Venton Jones, freshman Representative for storied District 100 of Dallas, who both express support for new legislation introduced by Representative James Talarico that would earmark a large portion of the surplus for our public schools.
Make a donation to Progress Texas HERE. Thanks for your support!
And, see the Texas Observer for a headline that will make your head spin - and then, consider running for office yourself!
Ep. 90 - Texas Rep. Salman Bhojani and Nicole Golden of Texas Gun Sense
Our first episode of the year features two Texans we plan to follow closely as the Texas Legislature begins another session. First, Tarrant County's State Representative Salman Bhojani, who alongside freshman Rep. Suleman Lalani of Fort Bend County is one of the two first Muslim and South Asian lawmakers in state history! And Nicole Golden, Executive Director of Texas Gun Sense joins us with details on her organization's strategy to keep the pressure on legislators to enact common sense laws in regard to gun safety. Buckle up, y'all - the session has just begun. Thanks as always for your support of Progress Texas!
Learn more about how to advocate during the 2023 Lege: https://progresstexas.org/advocating-2023-texas-legislature
Thinking about running for office yourself? We encourage you! Learn more here: https://progresstexas.org/blog/new-year-new-movements-making-progress-locally
And, make a donation to Progress Texas here: https://act.progresstexas.org/a/donate
Ep. 89 - What Tops The Holiday Wish List For Texas Progressives?
Our annual holiday party was a blast last night at Antone's in downtown Austin, and as has become tradition, we took the time to interrogate our guests in between sips of sweet beverage. This time: As Texas progressives, what do we most want for the holidays - politically speaking of course? We got a bunch of terrific answers from a bunch of terrific people, with whom we were happy to reconnect after a bruising mid-term, and with whom we are proud to carry the fight forward into 2023 and beyond. Thanks as always for your support of Progress Texas - and Happy Holidays!
Ep. 88 - The Five Best (And Worst) Texans of 2022
It's become an annual exercise of catharsis, renewal and forward strategy for us at Progress Texas: every year, we analyze the last year of the battle and pick out the five best, and five worst, Texans when it came to the arc of politics in the Lone Star State. On the good side, the obvious: Beto O'Rourke and Mothers Against Greg Abbott, along with pleasant surprise heroes like Olivia Julianna and Access Education Round Rock. On the bad side, the even more obvious Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz, with disturbing and dangerous surprises in the Republican press on banning books and attacking school boards. Right now, for Texas progressives, it can be easy to see and to be discouraged by all the negatives stacked against us - but we're here also to highlight and celebrate the good and the possible that is always present in Texas, and we're renewed for the fight ahead. Thanks as always for your support of Progress Texas!
Ep. 87 - Politics And Social Media: Where To From Here?
At a moment when Elon Musk appears to be doing all he can to destroy his new $44 billion toy, Facebook is largely DOA, the TikTok kids are interested in anything but politics, and one particular orange gorilla has thrown in once again for the top job - how on Earth are candidates and political orgs to navigate the catastrophic mess that is the current scene of social media? As things ramp up (yes, already) for 2024, are there any viable platforms left for factual, ethically-sound politics? How are we to counter the ever-present and continually-evolving threat of disinformation? Tough questions, whose answers are changing day to day. Thanks for joining the crew on a fascinating but frustrating ride this week, and thanks as always for your support of Progress Texas.
Ep. 86 - Unpacking The Shellacking: What's Next For Texas Democrats?
Nationally, and also at the city level in the large metros of Texas, Democrats actually had a better than expected night on Tuesday. But at the statewide level? The same old goose egg. What happened? Is this just an impossible fight? And if not, what have we learned? The crew is joined by Texas Blue Action Democrats President Carrie Collier-Brown for a post-mortem of the '22 midterm election, in which no degree of campaigning or spending appears to have made a dent for Texas Dems - but which also provides some valuable lessons and reason to be confident and determined as we begin - yes - our contemplation of 2024. Thank you as always for your support of Progress Texas!
Ep. 85 - The Top Ten Things We Hate About Governor Greg Abbott
Here we are folks - as we publish this podcast, there's one day of early voting left (Friday November 4), followed by Election Day on Tuesday November 8. In the spirit of Go Time, we present a carefully constructed, somewhat triggering, and cruelly short list of the top ten reasons YOU should vote AGAINST Governor Greg Abbott.
In no particular order:
1 - Abortion Bans (3:50)
2 - Border Bullshit (10:15)
3 - The Assault On Public Schools (16:45)
4 - Inaction On Gun Violence (23:50)
5 - Attacks On LGBTQ+ Texans (30:10)
6 - The Texas Housing Crisis (36:40)
7 - FIX THE DAMN GRID! (39:35)
8 - The Inhumane Foster Care and Juvenile Justice System (45:10)
9 - Marijuana Is Still Illegal (48:45)
10 - The Colossal, Criminally Cruel COVID Catastrophe (52:30).
That's a lot - and that's not really all. Please VOTE y'all. Thanks as always for your support - and we'll see you all after the election.
Ep. 84 - We React To Texas Political TV Ads
As early voting gets underway, we gather to take a tour through some of the prominent TV commercials being leveled in various directions by prominent players including Beto O'Rourke, Mike Collier, Rochelle Garza and yes - Governor Greg Abbott. Plus, a look at a powerful new piece from our heroes at Mothers Against Greg Abbott, and one of a more homegrown strain from TikTok that, we think, may represent the future of visual political advertising. Thanks as always for your support - and GO VOTE TEXAS!
Ep. 83 - The Home Stretch: Mobilizing Voting Communities with Two Million Texans
Proud to welcome back Lana Hansen, Executive Director of Texas Blue Action, to provide an update on the ongoing Two Million Texans relational organizing effort aimed at strengthening Democratic performance in what may shake out to be a very challenging mid-term election. Listen to learn about how the Reach app can provide an invaluable tool in your own personal organizing effort! Thanks as always for your support of Progress Texas - and get ready to VOTE!
Ep. 82 - That Texas Republican Candidate Is Probably An Election Denier
We celebrate the birthday of resident pumpkin spice latte enthusiast and IPA Truther Brett Isaacs with an overview of the potentially disastrous impact looming with multiple on-record 2020 election deniers occupying GOP slots on 2022 midterm ballots - more of them in Texas than in any other state. Not only is it a despicable, desperate and underhanded tactic, but the undermining of confidence in our electoral system presents a threat to American democracy itself - thus, November wins by Republicans unscrupulous enough to take this treacherous path represent the eroding of our very way of life. You've gotten tired of hearing that "this is the most important election of our lifetime" - but that's never been more true than it is this fall. Thanks for listening, and for your support of Progress Texas.
Ep. 81 - Guest Pod: Why Voting Is So Hard In Texas with Go Behind The Ballot
Proud to welcome a guest episode from our friends Nichole Abshire and Claire Campos-O'Neal at the Go Behind The Ballot podcast, which is quite well-timed as the first of several 2022 midterm election deadlines - the registration deadline on October 11 - has now come and gone. You'll recognize our good friend Emily Eby of the Texas Civil Rights Project here, with details on how elections have evolved in Texas, and why it's gotten so damned treacherous and difficult to vote in this state. Thanks as always for your support of Progress Texas!
Ep. 80 - Recapping The Beto/Abbott Debate, Since You Didn't Watch It
Gotta hand it to Governor Greg Abbott: insisting on a Friday night debate with no audience is a great way to hide from the Texas electorate. Lucky you, the Progress Texas staff DID watch it - and bring to you this week a recap of five of the primary topics that were covered. Listen as we pick apart immigrant busing (7:19), guns (13:12), abortion (18:20), teachers and education (25:41), and housing and revenue (33:36). Welcome for the first time our new Communications Associate Emily Clark to the pod, and THANK YOU for your support of Progress Texas!
Ep. 79 - Rochelle Garza vs Ken Paxton: 101 Reasons To Vote For A New Attorney General
Adding to his laundry list of career lows this week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton made the news for literally running from a process server attempting to serve him with a subpoena at his North Texas home. The crew convenes this week to closely examine the years and years of outlandish, outlaw behavior that our state's top law enforcement official has (so far) gotten away with, and to also imagine a situation where a true standout legal hero - say, Rochelle Garza - might be able to bring honor back to the AG's office. Thanks for your support of Progress Texas - and don't forget to VOTE!
Ep. 78 - Hispanic Heritage Month Part 2: Latino, Latinx, Latiné? We Discuss
In this second part of our discussion of Hispanic Heritage Month, Sam Gonzalez again hosts Diana Gomez, Ed Espinoza and special guest Abel Prado of Cambio Texas in an exploration of the cornucopia of terms that American Hispanics use to describe themselves and each other - frequently leading to confusion, and sometimes conflict. Latino/Latino/Latinx? Chicano? Tejano? Each has a particular meaning, and we're here to shed some light on a subject that needs broader discussion and understanding. Thanks for listening, and for your support of Progress Texas!
Ep. 77 - Hispanic Heritage Month Part 1: The Politics of the RGV with Abel Prado of Cambio Texas
September 15 thru October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month, and to celebrate we're embarking on a two-part conversation on the complex politics of that particular community here in the Lone Star State, in particular in South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley. Sam Gonzalez hosts Diana Gomez and Ed Espinoza, plus special guest Abel Prado, Executive Director of Cambio Texas: a renowned org dedicated to activating and energizing Hispanic voters and candidates in the region.
Look for Part Two, a deep dive into the way we talk about this amazingly diverse community, including an exploration of ups and downs of the term "LatinX", later this week.
Ep. 76 - The Graham Ban: Republicans Show Their Cards On Abortion Rights
In what seemed to us - and likely many of you - as either a joke or a typo, South Carolina U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham has proposed a federal ban on abortion past 15 weeks. And curiously, this comes right at a moment when Republicans across the country (especially in places like Texas) are doing all they can to avoid the subject. Chris Mosser hosts a roundtable discussion with Brett Isaacs, Diana Gomez and Glenn Smith: is this a rogue Graham temper tantrum designed to sabotage the GOP in the mid-terms? Is it simply the Republicans showing their true intent ahead of a chance to regain control in Congress? Is there some twelve-moves-deep chess strategy happening here - or has Graham just petulantly shot his party in the foot? Thanks for joining us, and for your support of Progress Texas.
Ep. 75 - Empowering Texas Women To Run with Annie's List
Sam Gonzalez hosts a trio of powerhouse progressive Texas women this week: our own Diana Gomez and Brett Isaacs, alongside super special guest Ana Ramon, who has just been announced as the new Executive Director of Annie's List, the undisputed champion in the encouragement and support of female political candidates here in Texas. We get a close look at what Annie's List does, and also take a deep dive on Attorney General candidate Rochelle Garza, who is at present giving our indicted current AG Ken Paxton a much stronger run for his money (and likely, his political future, not to mention his freedom) than he likely expected. Thanks for your support of Progress Texas!
Ep. 74 - Polling Leads To (VERY Cautious) Optimism - And The Texas Political Summer In Review
Chris Mosser hosts this week as Ed Espinoza extrapolates what would appear to be some pretty promising recent polling for Texas progressives - that is, if Texas progressives hadn't been burned by promising polling time and time again. Still - it does look pretty good at the moment, and should serve as inspiration to double down and work even harder to elect Democrats all the way down the ballot. And, we review what's been a crazy hot summer both literally and figuratively in Texas and national politics on a range of topics, including the FBI (Brett Isaacs is not a fan), Rochelle Garza (Sam Gonzales is a tremendous fan), Judge Maya Guerra Gamble (we're ALL giant fans), Beto's convention speech and penchant for pottymouth, Dark Brandon, 2 Million Texans, and tons more. A Happy Fall, y'all - and onward to November.
Ep. 73 - Triggered: Texas Formally Bans Abortion
As of today – Thursday, August 25, 2022 – Texas’ so-called trigger ban on abortion, which was set to take effect 30 days beyond the striking down of Roe v Wade and represents a significant escalation beyond the nefarious SB8, is officially the law of the land in the Lone Star State. It’s a grim moment indeed – and one that calls for a review of the ruins of reproductive rights in our state. Meanwhile, there are indications that the attack on abortion rights may have consequences for Republicans this fall – which may be why Texas GOP types are now making efforts to distract voters and distance themselves from the issue. What can we do as the fight continues? We discuss.
And, on a personal note – we’re sad to see our friend and colleague Wesley Story leave the Progress Texas nest! After over four years, his positive impact on our organization and mission is remarkable, and we wish Wesley all the best (listen to the end for some great parting words of Wesley wisdom).
Ep. 72 - Texas Public Schools In Crisis: What Your Kids' Teachers Are Actually Facing
The majority of schoolkids in Texas return to the classroom this week, and while this is normally an exciting time of adventure and fun, it's lost on nobody - including the kids themselves - that they're returning to a Texas public school system in the throes of crisis. Political culture battles at school board meetings, massive staffing shortfalls, continued threats from Republican leadership on multiple levels - all of that would be very difficult to overcome, and that's not even considering the horror of Uvalde and its continued aftermath of obfuscation and failure. Chris Mosser is joined by guest co-host Lana Hansen, Executive Director of Texas Blue Action Democrats, for a conversation with Patty Quinzi, Director of Public Affairs & Legislative Counsel for the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, covering the near-impossible circumstances facing Texas school districts, the long-term risks presented by our state government's continued fumbling of education, and the way out of this historic mess - ultimately, it all comes down to your VOTE this November. Thanks as always for supporting Progress Texas, who express our eternal support for our Texas educators.
Ep. 71 - Funniest FBI-Trump Tweets - And What It All Means for the 2022 Election
We've sat in bemusement from yet another wave of crazy from MAGA-Land since the FBI executed a (perfectly legal and justified) search warrant at Donald Trump's place. And when Trump-world gets fired up, it's not only funny - it can also be dangerous, in a number of different ways. Will the burst of sympathy for TFG sustain itself into November with positive impact for a new crew of Trumpy candidates? Are moderates tired of the over-half-decade of this particular circus yet, and like us, ready to see Trump get some degree of comeuppance? Do Roe and recent Biden wins blunt some of this impact? And, what does all of this mean in Texas? We discuss, and we thank you as always for joining us.
Ep. 70 - Why The Kansas and Alex Jones Losses Are Good For Texas Politics
Texas Democrats are understandably wary of optimism - but lately, there are abundant signs that things may be turning around for the better. Recent wins for the Biden Administration, huge enthusiasm and turnout on Beto O'Rourke's Texas tour, the amazing outcome of the Kansas referendum on abortion rights, and the spectacular implosion of Alex Jones' defense in the ongoing Sandy Hook damages trial are all reasons for progressives to buck up. Chris Mosser hosts this week as we take stock of a rare bright spot, and energize for the continued, tough fight awaiting Texas progressives as November draws nigh.
Ep. 69 - The GRACE Act: Cities Responding To Roe
As the countdown continues towards August 25 - the day that Texas' trigger law officially outlawing abortion in the state will take effect - the Austin City Council has passed a resolution known as the GRACE Act, which essentially relegates abortion-related cases to the lowest priority for local agencies and law enforcement. Will it provide meaningful protection, and become a model for individual jurisdictions within states where the fall of Roe means the end of abortion care? What more can we do as the fight for reproductive justice continues? We discuss. THANK YOU for listening, and for your support of Progress Texas.
Ep. 68 - Beto-Mania: Reviewing the Convention Speech, and Encouraging Numbers For Texas Dems
Yes, we know - Texas Democrats have been burned by optimistic polling more than once - but, these are not typical times, nor a typical political climate, and there's reason to pay attention to the direction that data for both polling AND fundraising for the November midterms is taking. Not only ticket-topper Beto O'Rourke, but also down-ballot progressives including Mike Collier, Rochelle Garza, Susan Hays and the rest of our truly impressive slate are significantly narrowing polling gaps, and also out-fundraising their Republican incumbent opponents - a scenario that has not occurred in Texas since the Ann Richards days. We go over these numbers, and also give our reactions to sections of Beto's speech at last weekend's Texas Democratic Convention - which, by the way, can be heard in its entirety here. Thanks for listening and supporting Progress Texas!
Ep. 67 - ERCOT & The Texas Grid - with Special Guest Luke Warford
Since the beginning of this historically horrible heat wave, the Texas power grid has teetered on the brink of repeating the disaster of Winter Storm Uri - but, losing power in the summer would be an even more devastating blow for Texans than the horror we endured that winter. Governor Abbott's promises that "the grid is fixed" are clearly baloney, so we thought it a good time for a clear discussion on the nature of our state's energy problem, how we got here, and how we can finally put this sorry, embarrassing affair behind us. We're joined by Texas Railroad Commission nominee Luke Warford, who's clearly doing all he can to bring forward solutions, and Blue Action Democrats co-founder and esteemed energy attorney Carrie Collier-Brown - our go-to expert for all things grid - for a clear discussion on the power problems that continue to plague our state, and what can be done about them - starting with your VOTE this November.
Ep. 66 - SCOTUS and Roe, Part 3: WTF?! And What To Do Now
We've now had about a week to process the historic overturning of Roe V Wade. This third part of our series on this pivotal crossroads is both a summary of how concerned progressives can take action NOW, with just four months to go until November, and an analysis of how we came to this desperate moment - where not only abortion rights, but the American Experiment itself appears to be hanging by a thread, after a methodical and diabolical half-century crusade by the American right.
Ep. 65 - SCOTUS And Roe, Part 2: Beto O'Rourke, and What's At Stake This November
As we continue our focus on the fight ahead beyond the ripping away of reproductive autonomy with the overturning of Roe v Wade - which is likely only the beginning - it becomes clear that the upcoming mid-term election this November is of potentially existential importance for our democracy. Texas has proven to be the origin point for the draconian conservative agenda that is now coming to fruition, and it's up to us in Texas to put a stop to it. Part 2 of our three-part series features Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke's address to his Rally For Reproductive Freedom in East Austin last Sunday.
This is our most desperate hour - it's time for ACTION.
Ep. 64 - SCOTUS And Roe, Part 1 - A Brick Through The Windshield: The Sounds Of Protest In Texas
Austin, Texas - and cities across the United States - erupted in protest this weekend following Friday's announcement of the overturning of Roe v Wade. In a three-part podcast series, Progress Texas takes stock of the damage, in order to assess the path forward - but for now, we're ANGRY, and so are you. Part One is an audio tour through the announcement, and the outrage that followed.
MY BODY - MY CHOICE.
Mini-sode - Recapping the Progress Texas 12th Anniversary Party!
A terrific time earlier this week at Antone's in downtown Austin, as a great bunch of like-minded Texas progressive rabble-rousers gathered to celebrate 12 years of Progress Texas! While the good times were rolling, we worked the room and collected quick interviews from a couple-dozen party-goers to survey what they like most about our efforts, and what they consider the most important agenda items as we move forward - we were surprised at the variety of great answers they provided, and those make up this minisode. THANK YOU to everyone who came, and to all of you who have supported us over our first twelve years - including those of you who have subscribed to our podcasts. Here's to another 12!
And by the way: the Espinoza Mimosa is comprised of Espolon Tequila, Agave Nectar, Lime Juice, and Orange Juice.
Ep. 63 - Pride Month: Why We Celebrate, Even In Hard Times
An honor to host two distinguished guests from the LGBTQ+ activist community for a deep dive into Pride Month: its origins, its meaning today, and what the fight ahead may bring. Ricardo Martinez is the Executive Director of Equality Texas, and Gin Pham is the Communications and Outreach Manager for the Transgender Education Network of Texas (also known as TENT). Progress Texas takes great Pride in our partnership with these orgs, who are working on the ground everyday to fight for LGBTQ+ equality.
All about Pride Month from Progress Texas: https://progresstexas.org/blog/pride-month-celebrations-across-texas-2022
Ep. 62 - Governor Abbott On Shootings: What He Says, vs What He Does
Following Uvalde, it's not a stretch to predict that in the end, Governor Greg Abbott and the rest of Texas' GOP regime will end up doing nothing meaningful to prevent the next mass killing in our state. After all, following El Paso, Santa Fe, Sutherland Springs, Fort Hood, and far too many other preventable tragedies in Texas, Abbott has done worse than nothing: guns have proliferated as they've increased in firepower, and can now be legally found in almost every corner of our lives. We thought an examination of our Governor's complete failure to protect Texans from gun violence deserved a conversation, and we've brought in Austin gun policy activist Ed Scruggs to join the team this week.
At this point, the only way out of this madness is to VOTE our way out.
Minisode: Diana speaks with three Texas Legislators on abortion rights
We’re continuing to focus on crucial issues facing progressive Texans this election year. With the likely fall of Roe v Wade, we've designed an effort to fight back and it's called a Roevolution! To help illuminate the struggle for abortion rights, we're proud to welcome a trio of the toughest women in Texas: State Senator Carol Alvarado from Houston, and State Legislators Donna Howard and Vikki Goodwin from Austin. All have been in the trenches opposite Texas Republicans for years, and in this mini-sode they share their experiences, their insights, and their advice as we prepare for what's shaping up to be a monumentally consequential fight.
Ep. 61 - Uvalde, Guns...And Where We Go From Here
It's been a heavy week, and all of us at Progress Texas are as heartbroken and angry as you are. This week we upend the right-wing talking points, we look at how various leaders have responded to the tragedy, and what actions you can take. We also consider what a future looks like without these tragedies, freedom from fear, and how to renew our resolve to fight back. We skipped the beers and brought in a larger team this week - join us for a frank conversation.
We mourn with Uvalde today - and we recommit to restoring the safety of ALL Texas children, starting now.
Ep. 60 - Roevolution: Recapping the Austin Bans Off Our Bodies Rally
It was our honor to help organize and host the recent Bans Off Our Bodies Rally for Austin - one of dozens that happened across the country on Saturday May 14 - at the Texas State Capitol. This week we're reviewing a few of the tremendous lineup of impassioned speakers, ranging from elected officials to motivated advocates, and all co-emceed by our own Diana Gomez! Join us in getting fired up all over again with former State Senator Wendy Davis (05:45), Lilith Fund activist Paige Alexandria (15:08), State Senator Carol Alvarado (24:40), State Representative Donna Howard (28:09), U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett (36:40), and Democratic nominee and presumptive new U.S. Representative Greg Casar (40:15).
THANK YOU to all who attended. Join the Roevolution today!
Ep. 59 - Voting Is Fun, So Get It Done - Our Runoff Endorsements!
You're not having deja vu - it IS, indeed, time to VOTE once again. Why do we have so darn many elections this year? That's part of our discussion today, along with an analysis of the offices and issues in question.
A quick guide to our major endorsements:
Lieutenant Governor (index to 13:32): Mike Collier (whom we talked to recently in our April 9 minisode)
Attorney General (16:38): Rochelle Garza (our guest for our February 10th minisode)
Land Commissioner (20:00): Jay Kleberg (listen to Episode 54, from April 22)
State Comptroller (24:05): Janet Dudding (a proud proponent of marijuana legalization!)
U.S. House - Texas District 28 (28.33): Jessica Cisneros (over highly problematic longtime incumbent Henry Cuellar, whose very presence in a runoff speaks volumes)
Texas Senate - District 27 (33:26): Sara Stapleton Barrera (to replace outgoing, and also highly problematic incumbent Eddie Lucio Jr.)
Early voting is on NOW through May 20, and Election Day is Tuesday May 24. Any details you need about voting are easily found at GoVoteTexas.org. There ARE NO MINOR ELECTIONS - see you at the polls.
Also - if you'll be in the Austin area on Saturday May 14, we'd appreciate your presence at the Texas State Capitol for our Bans Off Our Bodies rally in support of Roe v Wade and abortion rights, with our own Diana Gomez as co-emcee! The event starts at 11am.
Ep. 58 - Roe v Wade, And Freedom On The Brink, Part 2
We discovered that last week's Supreme Court development, being the cataclysmic event that it is, was too big to contain to one conversation - so we're presenting this second phase of our talk on what seems to be the impending end of Roe v Wade with a discussion of what comes next - specifically, how progressives in Texas and beyond can rally and activate in advance of the November mid-terms. Basic American freedoms hang in the balance in a few short months - will we rise to the challenge? This episode features the valuable input of Dyana Limon-Mercado of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, whom we appreciate.
Ep. 57 - Roe v Wade, And Freedom On The Brink, Part 1
It's difficult to throw around the word "happy" at this moment, as progressives across the country and people around the world stand aghast at this week's developments from the U.S. Supreme Court. It's a surreal moment, that feels like an escalation in the culture war past a red line - the first time in our nation's history that a settled right has been taken away from the American people. What's the real legal situation, what's next, and what can we do about it? We welcome our good friend Dyana Limon-Mercado of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes to lend her valuable insight at a truly unsettling time.
Watch for Part 2, as we cover the Roe drama's likely impact on upcoming elections - speaking of which, there's one Saturday! It's time to stand up y'all - and as always - please, PLEASE VOTE.
Ep. 56 - The Politics of Elon Musk Buying Twitter
Texas transplant Elon Musk has succeeded in drawing the world's attention to himself in buying Twitter. The story's moving quickly, and the implications are building: will he be the next media mogul, or will the era of huge social networks end in favor of micro networks? We also talk about the line between "free speech" and the unfettered flow of falsehood and hate. Finally, will Twitter continue along with business as usual, or will it become an instrument of the right, or will it fade away? Lots of questions - we attempt to give answers!
Ep. 55 - May 7th Statewide Elections: Triple Your Vote!
The crew convenes to remind Texans it's VOTING time again! Early voting is happening now for the "uniform" May 7 statewide election, including two constitutional amendments on housing policy - our very own Brett Isaacs returns to offer her hot takes on the confusing ballot language. Turnout will be very light - making YOUR vote count in a significantly outsized way. There are also 47 school districts holding elections - and as you've heard, those elections have come into the crosshairs of Texas conservatives, who look to further their ridiculous book-banning plans. Plus, here in Austin, we have a chance to vote for Prop A, which if passed will decriminalize marijuana possession in small amounts, and also outlaw no-knock warrants. No lines! It's fun! Go Vote!
Ep. 54 - Earth Day! With Jay Kleberg, Texas Land Commissioner Candidate
Friday marks the 52nd annual Earth Day - over half a century in which climatic decline has developed from a vague threat into a gradually, inexorably manifesting reality. We live on the precipice of the point of no return - and Texas being the energy leader it is, our General Land Office is one of few authorities that stands a chance of making a major difference. We welcome Jay Kleberg, who's currently running for Texas Land Commissioner, for a survey of the current state of the Earth, what can be done to save it, and what his plan of action would be should he win his race.
Ep. 53 - Marijuana Reform: Will Texas Ever Go To Pot?
On this year's 4/20, we take a deep breath and dive into marijuana legalization: a majority of Texas voters want it, including Democrats, Republicans, and independents - so what's the hold-up? We enjoyed a joint discussion with our good friend Jax James, Executive Director of Texas NORML, on the likelihood of Texas ever finally joining the civilized world on cannabis, and ending the widespread injustice that results from prohibition - especially with legal pot now right next door in New Mexico, and the giant green boat being missed for Texas farmers and Texas tax coffers. Happy 4/20 everybody!
Ep. 52 - Live from Fort Worth! With Congressman Marc Veasey and Dr. Allison Campolo
Part Two of this week's amazing road trip to D/FW found us in Cowtown at the historic T&P Tavern, situated in the 1930's-era Texas And Pacific Railway building (which is now condos, but those are real trains going by!). We had the pleasure of talking with Dr. Allison Campolo, chair of the Tarrant County Democratic Party and founder of Tarrant Together (not to mention an infectious disease doctor and heavyweight Kung Fu fighter!), and Congressman Marc Veasey, currently representing Texas House District 33 - two people who know the ins and outs of the Democratic fight in Fort Worth and Tarrant County better than anyone. Join us for a deep dive into a part of Texas regarded by many as a bellwether for the political future of the Lone Star State.
Ep. 51 - Live From Dallas! With Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Kristy Noble: April 12, 2022
It's our pleasure to return to Dallas' Toller Patio, which is a terrific outdoor hang (turns out, even in the middle of a thunderstorm!) for a fun and enlightening conversation with Kristy Noble, the new head of the Dallas County Democratic Party. We learned about the vital role of the county level in progressive politics, how Dallas Dems are fighting back against new voting restrictions, and more - plus Diana tried bourbon for the first time, making this episode a must-listen.
Watch for a second episode this week from our Pints For Progress road trip to the D/FW Metroplex, recorded live at the T&P Tavern in Fort Worth!
Minisode: Texas Lt. Governor Candidate Mike Collier: April 9, 2022
We're joined by our friend Mike Collier, a familiar face for most Texas Democrats, who is in a runoff election on May 24th for the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Lt. Governor Dan Patrick in November. We ask Mike: what's the most important function of this office, arguably the most powerful in Texas, and what are the most prominent of the hundreds of things he'd do differently than the current guy? And with all of the miles he's put on his truck - what has he learned about running - and himself - on the campaign trail?
Ep. 50 - Beto O'Rourke's Polling-Palooza! And: What Did Mickey Do?: April 7th, 2022
Wow, 50 Happy Hours on the books! Two polls this week show Beto O'Rourke gaining on Greg Abbott in the race for Texas Governor - one of them showing the race down to two points.We also address a new push from Lt. Governor Dan Patrick to emulate Florida's ridiculous "Don't Say Gay" bill here in the Lone Star State - not to mention the surreal war that the Texas GOP has declared on Mickey Mouse. Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor Mike Collier joins us - and he's got some opinions to share.
Minisode: Fueling The Progressive Fire: April 2nd, 2022
Cornbread in the shape of Texas: impractical, or worth the hassle? This week we talk about keeping the progressive light burning in Texas, the evolution of our signature program Humans Against Ted Cruz, and ponder the usefulness of Texas-shaped things. Also in this heartfelt minisode we bid adieu to our longtime anchor and spirit squad leader Saatvik Ahluwalia, who's off to Massachusetts - a much colder state but with a much more reliable energy grid. And we introduce our new Digital Manager and Happy Hour Host Sam Gonzalez - a veteran Texas podcaster and dedicated progressive rabble-rouser.
Vote for our own Diana Gomez in TWO categories in the Austin Chronicle's Best Of Austin poll:
And, get your sweet Humans Against Ted Cruz gear here: https://store.progresstexas.org/
Ep. 49 - Trans People Are Magical: March 31st, 2022
Trans Day of Visibility seeks to celebrate the accomplishments and resiliency of the trans community, and this year it comes while Republicans have launched attacks on trans kids. We're proud to welcome two of our favorite advocates and activists for trans rights, as Adri Perez of ACLU of Texas joins us, and LGTBQ+ policy consultant Ash Hall returns to the podcast. We discuss defiance in the face of cheap political attacks, the lies being told, and why in spite of it all, we can remain hopeful for the future.
Minisode: Update - The Texas Abortion Fight: March 26th, 2022
Our fab panel of Texas women from this week's Happy Hour podcast returns for a sharper focus on abortion rights, which are now under active attack in multiple U.S. states. These are "copycat laws" modeled after Texas' own notorious SB8 and its reliance on vigilante action for enforcement. For this special Women's History Month mini-sode, Progress Texas Development Manager Brett Isaacs hosts, along with Shellie Hayes-McMahon from Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, attorney and voting rights expert Emily Eby, and Carrie Collier-Brown of the Texas Blue Action Democrats.
Ep. 48 - SCOTUS: Ketanji Brown Jackson Hearings: March 24th, 2022
As we approach the closing days of March and Women's History Month, real history is being made in Washington D.C., and we've convened a special group of our favorite Texas ladies for a deep dive on the ongoing Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Ketanji Brown Jackson - who is proving to be up to the task of facing down the extraordinarily lame Republican attacks and "jackassery" she's had to tolerate. Progress Texas Development Manager Brett Isaacs hosts, along with Shellie Hayes-McMahon from Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, attorney and voting rights expert Emily Eby, and Carrie Collier-Brown of the Texas Blue Action Democrats.
Programming note: This Saturday, watch for a special mini-sode as this same great panel of women takes stock of what's happening in the ongoing abortion rights fight.
Ep. 47 - After Three Long Years...SXSW Is Back!: March 10th, 2022
For many Texans, especially Austinites, the moment when the COVID-19 pandemic got really, really real came on March 6, 2020: the day that SXSW was officially cancelled. At the time it seemed unthinkable, as did much of what was still to come over the next two harrowing and surreal years. But now, SXSW returns to Austin in fully live form, and it's not a stretch to consider this moment one of victory, renewal and promise for ALL of us. We discuss what SXSW means to Austin, Texas and the world as one of the great intersections of art, communication, technology, innovation - and of course, BBQ, tacos and beer. We're back baby! Thanks so much for your support.
Ep. 46 - Oil Politics: How Russia and Ukraine Affect Texas: March 9th, 2022
Senior strategist Glenn W. Smith and Content Production Specialist Chris Mosser had the pleasure of talking with renowned Texas energy attorney and former Democratic nominee for Texas Railroad Commissioner Chrysta Castaneda on the big topic at hand: the new American sanctions on Russian oil, the possible strategic maneuvers and consequences ahead - and specifically, what all of this means for Texans, and why it's important for progressives to stand strong and speak the truth in what could be a trying and pivotal moment for all of us. PLEASE SHARE this insightful and important conversation with your friends, and thanks as always for your support.
Glenn's terrific piece on this topic: https://progresstexas.org/blog/facts-about-biden-oil-and-ukraine-contradict-republican-lies
Ep. 45 - First Anniversary Episode! Unpacking The Primary: March 3rd, 2022
It's our first anniversary! And what a year it's been. Way WAY too many Lege sessions, the Democratic quorum break, unprecedented and unlimited ugly from the Texas GOP. And, a LOT of Truly down the hatch. Reviewing our first year, it's pretty amazing what we've endured - and it's also starkly clear that we've still got a long way to go - so, THANK YOU for being part of the family.
Meanwhile - we have a primary election to unpack. What were we surprised about, what are we excited about, and what are the challenges ahead in May and November? We're lucky to have Cliff Walker of progressive, Black and Brown-owned communications and advocacy firm Seeker Strategies to contribute his take - including the fact that Republican voter suppression appears to be working just as designed in Texas, contrasted with the huge and growing buzz for Beto O'Rourke!
Ep. 44 - How YOU Can Amplify Progress: March 2nd, 2022
This evening (Wednesday March 2) at 6pm, the annual Amplify Austin Day begins - a full 24 hour celebration of giving and support of worthy Austin-based charities and non-profits, and Progress Texas is once again a proud participant! Seems like a great time to pause, reflect on the first year of our podcast, thank YOU for making that first year such a huge success, and explain how supporting Progress Texas is such an easy and important way to help Texas move forward into a better, brighter future.
Either directly (at https://progresstexas.org/), or via Amplify Austin (at https://www.amplifyatx.org/campaigns/progress-texas), we can't thank you enough for being part of the ongoing and building progressive movement in Texas.
Minisode: The Russian Attack on Ukraine - and the View from Texas: February 25th, 2022
Even with weeks of buildup, the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin's Russia has still been a complete shock to most Texans. What will be the immediate and long-term impacts in Texas, what can we do to help, and what's coming next? Dr. Jody Ferguson is an Austin-based author and expert on Russian political thought and strategy, and we're honored to have spent some time listening to his insight - his hosts for this special bonus podcast are Progress Texas Development Manager Brett Isaacs and Content Creation Specialist Chris Mosser.
There are many ways YOU can help: we found a good collection of Ukraine-focused aid organizations that was posted by KSAT television in San Antonio.
Ep. 43 - We Speak with Trans Families About Abbott’s Harmful Attacks: February 24th, 2022
Yesterday, the whole country was shocked (once again!) at another callous, disgusting election-year maneuver by Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton, who have once again singled out transgender Texas kids as a prop in their never-ending cosplay of cruelty for the most vile dregs of the Republican voting base. This time though, yet another creative legal innovation: they're going after the families of these vulnerable young Texans, attempting to criminalize them with accusations of child abuse. And what's more, all of this is an obvious ploy to distract both Democrats and Republicans away from Abbott's blatant corruption and collusion with the energy industry to fleece Texans for generations. Ground Game Texas' Julie Oliver and Progress Texas Content Creation Specialist Chris Mosser join us for this week's discussion - you almost can't write this stuff! But, we discuss our options in fighting back...first and foremost, VOTE. Thanks for joining us!
Minisode: "No Bulls*!t" with Ag Commissioner Candidate Susan Hays: February 18th, 2022
Marijuana attorney Susan Hays joins us from her hops and hemp farm near Alpine! Susan brings together an extensive background in progressive advocacy, and an impeccable pedigree in land management and environmental stewardship - plus expertise on what a Texas-based marijuana industry could mean for our state. She's challenging longtime Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who is a walking anachronism - as is much of his party. The agriculture sector in the Lone Star State needs leadership that will help us succeed in the actual real world.
Ep. 42 - Don't Mess With Texas Voters: February 18th, 2022
We welcome special guest Jessica Montoya Coggins of Texas Signal for a discussion of the ongoing primary election: while urban turnout is looking decent, our state's history of low turnout in elections like these appears to be holding. New restrictions on voting access are causing an unprecedented number of registration rejections - but our hope is that an over-arching sense of voter suppression may actually help turnout, as voters defy efforts by the GOP to silence progressive voices in Texas. As Jessica says: if Republicans weren't terrified of Democratic voters, they wouldn't bother trying to stop us from voting. So get it done! And thanks for your support.
Ep. 41 - Voting For Valentines! Our Primary Extravaganza: February 11th, 2022
As we record, early voting in the 2022 primary election begins in just a few days, on Valentine's Day, Monday February 14. This may come as a surprise to even engaged progressives - who, along with the rest of us, may simply be a little burned out. But the struggle continues, and this week we're here to help get you caught up and ready to go. At the top of the ballot, Beto O'Rourke has dominated the Dem side and is already the presumptive nominee in the race for Governor. On the other side, Governor Greg Abbott, while well-funded by the under-regulated Texas energy industry, finds himself beset by motivated, hard-right challengers - all of whom would make an even worse leader for Texas than Abbott already is. Further down the ballot, we discuss the races for Lieutenant Governor (index to 15:20), Attorney General (22:50), State Comptroller (29:10), Land Commissioner (34:55), Agriculture Commissioner (43:15), and Railroad Commissioner (47:15). Don't forget, in a low turnout election, YOUR vote carries more weight than in most - get it done, and bring your friends too!
Minisode: Texas Attorney General Candidate Rochelle Garza: February 10th, 2022
Given the way our long-indicted current Attorney General Ken Paxton has run the top law enforcement office in Texas, Texans may have forgotten what that office is supposed to be about: enforcing the law and ensuring justice, not just protecting the Republican regime. It also might seem that correcting this issue is beyond our reach, but it's not. We enjoyed meeting one Democrat who's stepping up to challenge what has become the status quo at AG: Rochelle Garza of the Rio Grande Valley.
Ep. 40 - Will The Heat Stay On This Time? Winter Freeze '22: February 2nd, 2022
As we record the podcast this week, Texas is bracing for another February Arctic blast. Governor Abbott - who shared in the financial windfall from last year's freeze in which millions of Texans lost power, and hundreds did not survive - has been promising for months that the power will stay on this time, but just yesterday our Governor walked back that promise. Democrat Beto O'Rourke is on a "keep the lights on tour" and drawing attention to the #AbbottTax where consumers are footing the bill to weatherize the grid. We've also got tips for getting through this next environmental trial for Texas - good luck to us all. Stay warm and safe - and don't forget how the elected leaders of our state have once again failed to earn our confidence.
Ep. 39 - You Say You Want A Roevolution?: January 28th, 2022
Brett Isaacs joins the Happy Hour crew as we cover this week's big news that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has announced his impending retirement. Do we expect Republicans to play nice with President Biden's replacement wishes? And a big announcement, as we present a new initiative to protect abortion rights in Texas and across the nation: it's time for a Roevolution! Lots to cover, and important ways YOU can join the fight - join us to learn more, and thanks as always for your support.
Ep. 38 - Voting Rights and the 2022 Primary: January 20th, 2022
Chris Mosser fills for Saatvik this week as we try to make sense (and it's not easy) of recent developments in voter access: at the federal level conservatives remain opposed to voting rights legislation, and at the local level vote-by-mail applications are getting rejected en masse due to Texas voter suppression laws. Also there's a shortage of voter registration forms in the state, and the Texas Secretary of State is making the ludicrous claim that "supply chain issues" are the reason why (if only we had online voter registration). No trick is too cheap for the GOP these days.
ELECTION WATCH: The March 1st primary is only five weeks away! We take a look at some of the more interesting congressional primaries in districts 28, 35, and 37, as well as how marijuana is playing in the race for Agriculture Commissioner.
Ep. 37 - Abbott's Border Failure - and "Beto" Days Ahead: January 13th, 2022
Our good pal Joe Deshotel of the terrific Texas Signal group joins us this week as we take a deep dive into Operation Lone Star - Governor Abbott's politically-motivated, poorly-executed and ill-advised mobilization of the Texas National Guard troops to the Mexican border, which has resulted in all-time-low morale and a pattern of suicides among our troops. We also take the temperature of the current efforts of Beto O'Rourke to replace our deeply unpopular Governor - how do we think he's doing so far on pandemic policy, marijuana policy, border policy, energy policy and other important points? As difficult as the fight can seem at times, we're all hopeful for the future of Texas, and we discuss that as well. Join us!
Ep. 36 - The January 6 Insurrection: Everybody Still Hates Ted Cruz: January 6th, 2022
Happy New Year y'all! We're back for our first show of 2022 and the first anniversary of the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol - unbelievable that it's been a full year since that insane day.
We start with everyone's favorite punching bag, Ted Cruz, who led the sedition caucus in the U.S. Senate that day, attempting to overturn the election for Donald Trump - a guy who literally hates him. And now, as Ted Cruz tries to distance himself from that day's events, he's getting twitter-dunked by none other than Tucker Carlson.
Saatvik revisits the messages we sent to each other a year ago, what we were all feeling, and the surreal tone of the event and the weeks that followed. We wrap-up covering the messaging around that day and how we should talk about the events a year later. And a reminder about the importance of getting your friends to show up in the midterms and vote all the way down the ballot - it's those city councils and county clerks that decide how elections are conducted!
Ep. 35 - Top Gifts For Holiday (And Blackout) Preppers - And Our Favorite Progress Texas Moments of '21: December 19th, 2021
Diana Gomez serves up a hot list of the ten most popular and useful gifts for Texas progressives preparing for the worst as Greg Abbott's efforts to keep the heat and lights on this winter appear to be dismal indeed. And then, to bring back the holiday cheer, we reflect on our favorite moments of a long and hard but worthwhile year pushing forward the cause of progress in the Lone Star State. Our last edition of the year! Thanks for your support - all the best to you and yours, along with our wishes for a happy, safe and prosperous 2022.
Ep. 34 - The Ten Best (and Worst) Texans Of 2021: December 15th, 2021
Nice list, meet naughty list. It's not a stretch to say it's been one hell of a year in Texas in '21 - with some Texans creating the hellish landscape, and other Texans bravely standing against them for what's right. Producer Chris Mosser (and a SUPER surprise guest from our nice list!) join us for a summary of five that fought the good fight, against five we'd like to see go down in flames in 2022. Based upon the summary you'll find at our website, complete with honorable mentions.
Ep. 33 - The 2022 Primary Election - Part 1: December 11th, 2021
The March 1 primary elections will be upon us before we know it. Glenn Smith joins us this week to provide some historical background and the reasons Texas is particularly weird in this department, and why primaries in Texas tend to favor incumbents. Brett Isaacs joins us as well, as we run thru the races and candidates as they stand today, including the race for Governor: is Beto O'Rourke off to a good start, or is there more he could do? What do we know about new Democratic contenders Joy Diaz and Michael Cooper? Our cup runneth over with quality Dems running to replace long-double-indicted Trump bootlicker Ken Paxton at Attorney General. And how does LG candidate Mike Collier have such amazing hair? Lots to discuss, and caution: you are entering an extreme hot take zone.
Ep. 32 - Sotomayor Comes Out Swinging: Abortion And SCOTUS: December 4th, 2021
We come to you, beverages in hand, at a moment when the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to do away with the Roe v Wade precedent that has protected abortion rights for women in our country since 1973. Proud to welcome special guest Marva Sadler of Whole Woman's Health, an eminent expert on reproductive rights. Our hats are off (and our glasses are up) to Justice Sonia Sotomayor for her courageous and correct view on the matter...we are enormous fans. How will American women react? What does all of this mean for the legitimacy of the Court itself? What's in store for the whole country if Roe falls? We are more motivated for the fight than ever, and we hope you are too. Welcome to "interesting times", and thanks for your support.
Ep. 31 - Live! Pints For Progress in Dallas: November 17th, 2021
What a GREAT time at Toller Patio in downtown Dallas as we gathered with a group of friends and allies for a terrific conversation with State Reps Rafael Anchia and Jessica Gonzales on their experiences during this tough year at the Lege, why they're hopeful that things are about to get a lot better, and how we can all join in that fight. What a pleasure to be in Dallas, and we hope to do many more live tapings in coming months - stay tuned for your chance to join us!
Ep. 30 - Election Recap: What Dems Can Learn For 2022: November 5th, 2021
Glenn Smith joins us this week as we conduct a post-mortem of election results across the country, and find that, while there are definite lessons to be learned, the negative takes from national media and hand-wringing from Democrats everywhere over results in New Jersey and Virginia might be just a little over-wrought, as there were actually many progressive wins to savor - in Austin, including the overwhelming defeat of Prop A. We also consider the very curious legislative career of Bexar County's John Lujan, who's now been elected twice but has never actually served! We're gearing up for what's sure not going to be a boring '22 political season, and we hope you are too - thanks for your support.
Ep. 29 - Halloween Spooky Special!: October 29th, 2021
It's our first (and maybe...our last) Halloween Spooky Special! And believe us, there's plenty haunting us this year, but there's also hopeful news: the new GOP electoral maps threaten to make life frightening for the next decade, but there are challenges advancing. And the U.S. Supreme Court is set to consider the new Texas abortion restrictions, maybe as soon as in the next few days. Speaking of frightening, we share our spookiest stories: why did Mitt Romney and Kyrsten Sinema have to go and ruin Ted Lasso for us? Who can convince us that Ted Cruz isn't not only a zombie, but a Nazi zombie? We sure are spooked by North Texas Rep. Matt Krause's new book-burning adventure - only a couple of steps from a full-on witch hunt. Maybe we're still in shock from the horror of four gruesome Lege sessions? Let's just hope that when the lights go out this winter, it's just because of ghosts. Thanks for your support in these perilous times.
Ep. 28 - Brett Reacts To November Ballot Propositions: October 21st, 2021
The November 2 election is upon us - with early voting happening now - including eight proposed state constitutional amendments: we summarize each of them, get reactions from Brett Isaacs and give recommendations on how to vote. Other important items are on the ballot too, depending on where you live. Smart voters are the best voters - go get it done! We've also got updates on Governor Abbott's new appointee as Secretary of State - a veteran of Donald Trump's war on democracy - and an update on the federal Freedom To Vote Act.
Ep. 27 - Redistricting Demographics, and a Mandate Against Mandates: October 15th, 2021
A LOT to cover again this week. Right under all of our noses - and in the middle of the night - Republicans at the Texas Legislature are drawing and approving district maps that will unfairly solidify their power, at the expense of the Texans of color who now comprise the majority in the Lone Star State, FOR THE NEXT DECADE. Also, we discuss Governor Abbott's new wholesale ban on vaccine mandates: what exactly is the strategy in aiding and abetting a deadly pathogen? On that note, we welcome Progress Texas Board Member Kathleen Thompson, who's in the midst of a clash with her kids' school district in the DFW area over their decision not to enforce masking. And after months of opposition, Texas Republicans finally succeeded in victimizing trans kids - what's next on that front? Crazy times in Texas = a jam-packed episode this week. Thanks for your ongoing support!
Ep. 26 - Drawing A Blank: Redistricting Disasters and the State of The Abortion Law: October 7th, 2021
To exactly nobody's surprise, Texas Republicans are exceeding expectations when it comes to redistricting - drawing themselves into undeserved power while drawing non-white and urban Texans out of the representation they are due. How does this change the game for Democrats? Also: to help recap last weekend's Women's Marches and the ever-shifting legal status of the pernicious new Texas abortion ban, we welcome special guest and famed civil rights attorney Austin Kaplan, while Diana and Wesley fill us in on their trip to D.C. The latest on the multi-front fight for justice and progress in Texas, and how to help us fight back!
Ep. 25 - Redistricting, Trans Athletes, The Border...Oh My!: September 23rd, 2021
Lots to cover this week in Texas politics! The Legislature is in the middle of taking up redistricting. It's all about the distinction between partisan gerrymandering (which is allowed), and racial gerrymandering (which is not) and Republicans aren't typically good at drawing the distinction.
Also the pandemic, the grid? Nah, the next big issue for Republicans has been attacking transgender student athletes. A bill just passed the Senate and is on its way to the House - quite literally a solution in search of a problem, and a red-meat distraction from critical issues at the expense of some of our most vulnerable kids.
And a crisis on our border - but a crisis for whom? Haitian refugees are seeking asylum yet horrific images of border patrol show agents on horseback using reins as whips have shocked us all. Yet another wild week in Texas - join us to learn more about how to fight back.
Ep. 24 - Who’s Running For Governor?: September 16th, 2021
Who’s running for Governor? We're entering the orbit of our next election cycle, still without a big-name Democrat declared. Considering the stakes, this is concerning for sure. We expect some word from Beto O'Rourke on whether he'll run - and notably, we still lack any women candidates in major races, which is surprising considering the terrific talent among Texas Democratic women. And at the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, we'd also love to see our Latinx powerhouse players jump in, especially considering recent Census data - people of color in general. Also, believe it or not, here comes ANOTHER special Lege session, with redistricting as the main event, presenting yet another opportunity for the Texas GOP to further cement its illegitimate advantage via gerrymandering and the negating of the power of our major cities and underserved communities. And, GOP antics around COVID continue - seemingly ANYTHING to avoid masks and vaccines - "freedom" at the expense of the safety and freedom of ALL Texans...almost NONE of whom are especially jazzed about the direction of the state.
Ep. 23 - Labor Day Takeover! Texas Blue Action Dems Discuss SB8: September 6th, 2021
Proud to present, as a special edition of the Happy Hour, a panel of some of the most incredible women representing the progressive movement in Texas for a discussion of the draconian new abortion restriction enacted last week in Texas: SB8. Texas Blue Action Executive Director Lana Hansen moderates a truly amazing group: State Senator Wendy Davis, Rep. Jasmine Crockett of Dallas, Democratic nominee and Register@Vote founder Julie Oliver, Blue Action Founder and President Carrie Collier Brown, Blue Action Dems Board Member Michelle Moon-Reinhardt, The Honor Roll founder Kate Donaho, and Common Cause organizer and activist Katya Ehresman. What does SB8 really mean, is it likely to survive judicial review, how did it come to pass, and how can Texans fight back? Join the discussion AND the fight today.
Ep. 22 - 666 New Laws - Here Are Three Of The Worst: September 2nd, 2021
What a week. Texas makes national news in perhaps the worst possible way - with the enacting of the most repressive restriction upon abortion since Roe v Wade, effectively suspending that almost 50-year precedent in Texas. The new law is confusing - because it is DESIGNED to confuse us, intimidate us, and further divide us. Meanwhile, get ready to see a lot more guns on a lot more hips across Texas as permitless carry also goes into effect this week. And, Texas teachers are now forbidden from discussing race and diversity in our public schools, putting our kids at an educational disadvantage and our state on a regressive developmental path. All of this seems crazy, until one considers it's all designed to please the GOP's far right, primary-voting base - at the rest of our expense. The Texas Crazy Meter is well into the red - join us as we try to sort it all out.
Ep. 21 - Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Discusses: Our Bodies, Our Votes, Our Rights: August 26th, 2021
Joining the crew this week, our good friend and Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Executive Director Dyana Limon-Mercado, who's the perfect authority at a moment when Senate Bill 8 is set to essentially outlaw most abortions in the state as of September 1. What's in the new law, what's still legal, what's not, and what's next? Also - Texas House Democrats score at least a partial walkout victory as the U.S. House passes the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. How might it upend the plans of the Texas GOP to disenfranchise thousands of Texas voters, and what stands in the way of the Act becoming law? We discuss all this and more, including how YOU can join the fight, on this week's Progress Texas Happy Hour.
Ep. 20 - Abbott Mask Madness, and Texas: Our Diverse Texas: August 19th, 2021
Saatvik is back! And we welcome Progress Texas Development Associate Brett Isaacs to the Happy Hour for the first time as well. As the whole country watches, Governor Greg Abbott's ban on masking mandates - and the Texas Supreme Court's support of his orders - have met a wall of opposition by Texas families and urban school districts. Turns out, treating children as political pawns isn't especially appealing to most Texans - listen for a way to help Progress Texas fight back. Plus, new U.S. Census data shows an ever greater increase in diversity across America and Texas, which is important to note as redistricting approaches, and good reason for Democratic strategists to renew their efforts to connect with this growing range of Texas voters effectively. And finally, the fall of Afghanistan is bringing refugees to our shores, many of whom are seeking safety in our state - listen to find out how you can help make them welcome.
Over 300 Afghans are coming to Texas and it's beautiful to see. Volunteer: https://www.rstx.org/make-an-impact/volunteer.html
Ep. 19 - The Abbott Virus: Who Will Save Texas From COVID?: August 6th, 2021
Producer Chris Mosser sits in for Saatvik again with Ed, Diana and Wesley as we dedicate most of this week's Happy Hour to an unhappy subject: the return of high COVID-19 numbers in Texas, compounded by Governor Abbott's apparent plan to make it as deadly as possible - not only for his own voters, but for the children of Texas, many of whom still cannot be vaccinated. What should Texas parents do? What should the mayors of Texas cities do? We're in the midst of a crisis of our own making, it seems - join the Progress Texas crew as we try to make sense of it all.
Ep. 18 - Texas Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos: July 22nd, 2021
State Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos joins us this week live from Washington, D.C. as Texas House Dems advocate for voting rights legislation at the federal level. Ed, Wesley and pinch host Chris Mosser ask for an update on how the D.C. Dems are holding up, her take on the national press, the attention from the U.S. Congress they've gained, what's at stake - and what's coming next.
Ep. 17 - The Texas Democratic Fly-Out!: July 15th, 2021
We're joined from D.C. by Texas State Reps Erin Zwiener and Gene Wu, who are among the Democrats who have once again broken quorum in the House to hold the line against GOP voting rights suppression - a brave move that is not without personal sacrifice and peril, and is also part of the defense of much more than just Texas voters - voting rights across our country are at stake. This is all a very big deal - we get down to what the real battle is all about.
Ep. 16 - "We're basically governed by a child": July 8th, 2021
As Governor Abbott's special session kicks off, the Happy Hour crew assembles to discuss the agenda - to start, what's NOT on the list: energy reform, COVID vaccinations, and expansion of Medicaid are nowhere to be found. And, what IS on it: Abbott's hostage-taking via his defunding of the Legislature's employees, new restrictions on abortion rights, and reacting to the Democratic walkout with another push for wholesale voter suppression. Once again, Texas progressives are called to action and encouraged to take inspiration from this challenge - listen for details on how to join us!
Ep. 15 - Pretty Petty: June 10th, 2021
Our last Happy Hour for awhile - Saatvik is back! - as we continue our celebration of Pride Month through June, with a brief history of the celebration, and a recap of how LGBTQ issues shook out in the recently-concluded Lege session. We also go over what Texas lawmakers did (and didn't do) to prepare for our state's next energy emergency, possibly as early as this summer. And, even in one of the worst sessions ever, there were positive moments too - including the Democratic walkout to undermine SB7. And what's next? Glenn gives us the skinny on special sessions and how they work - they're almost certainly coming this year. Plus, what happens with Governor Abbott's petty threat to defund the legislature, including members of his own party?
Pride Across Texas: https://progresstexas.org/blog/pride-celebrations-across-texas-2021
Best and Worst of the TX Lege: https://progresstexas.org/blog/10-best-worst-moments-2021-texas-legislative-session
Republican State Legislatures are winning the war on American Democracy: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/republican-voting-rights-democracy_n_60ba544ee4b04b216be68ce6
The Texas Legislature hits the dimmer switch on real electric grid reform: https://progresstexas.org/blog/texas-legislature-hits-dimmer-switch-real-electric-grid-reform
Ep. 14 - The Walkout!: June 4th, 2021
Texas Democrats staged a walkout at the Texas Legislature on Sunday, killing voter suppression bill SB7 on what was effectively the last day of session. They showed some real fight! And along the way sent a message to the nation: we will not back down. We revisit this story and more as Diana Gomez moderates a special edition of the Progress Texas Happy Hour with two of our favorite Texas lawmakers: Representative Rafael Anchia of House District 103 (Dallas), and Senator Jose Menendez of District 26 (San Antonio). We'll hear their impressions of the just-completed regular Lege session, as well as important issues like abortion rights, marijuana policy reform, why they think it was the most contentious ever, and what to expect in future special sessions.
Ep. 13 - Human Hamster Wheels: May 28th, 2021
In the closing days before Sine Die - but not before a busy working holiday weekend - Senior Strategist Glenn Smith joins the regular Happy Hour crew as we reflect on what's been the most contentious and divisive Legislative session that any of us can remember. Also, one of the least productive sessions ever on important business for Texans, in particular putting Texas taxpayers on the hook for making energy companies whole, while doing nothing to prevent future energy disasters - the next of which may arrive as soon as this summer. We cover details on Progress Texas' efforts against dark money having a hand in writing Texas law, and the (very) thinly-veiled racism at the heart of both voter suppression and education censorship attempts by the GOP - the meanest, cruelest session in memory appears to be directly tied to The Big Lie.
Where is the Legislature on fixing our energy grid? https://progresstexas.org/blog/keep-lights-texas-we-need-change-power
Conservative org with ties to Trump & the Big Lie: https://progresstexas.org/blog/progress-texas-files-ethics-complaint-against-heritage-action-involvement-voter-suppression
Dark money group admits it had a hand in Texas voter suppression bills: https://progresstexas.org/blog/dark-money-group-admits-it-had-hand-texas-voter-suppression-bills
Ep. 12 - Texas v Roe v Wade: May 21st, 2021
Texas made national news this week with Governor Abbott's unconstitutional six-week abortion ban. The Progress Texas team made our own national news with our statements fighting back, reminding people that Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land and that this law will lose in court. What happens next? Organizers are planning a Don't Mess With Texans' Abortions rally for Saturday May 29 - listen to hear how you can participate in person or online.
Speaking of the Governor, he has a challenger in Don Huffines - who doesn't think Abbott is conservative enough - plus new conflicts between House and Senate Republicans potentially give the more unified Democrats a competitive edge.
Texas Legislature’s proposed six-week abortion ban is unconstitutional: https://progresstexas.org/blog/texas-legislature%E2%80%99s-proposed-six-week-abortion-ban-unconstitutional
House bill to punish lobbyists accused of harassment gutted in Senate committee: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2021/05/20/house-bill-to-punish-lobbyists-accused-of-harassment-gutted-in-senate-committee/
Don't Mess With Texans' Abortion Rights Rally: https://fb.me/e/2pKYEPot9
Ep. 11 - Rub-A-Dub Chub: May 14th, 2021
Welcome back to the Happy Hour! It was yet another insane week at the Capitol, as important deadlines arrived on Thursday night. Some bad bills were "chubbed" to death, while others bills - good and bad - squeaked across the deadline. We run it all down for ya.
We've also got an update on some of this session's most extreme proposals such as court-appointed lawyers for fetuses, permitless carry, and voter suppression. And we finish it off with some good news: marijuana decriminalization. DO IT FOR WILLIE!
Rep. Harold Dutton uses trans kids as political pawn: https://progresstexas.org/blog/rep-harold-dutton-uses-trans-kids-political-pawn
Voter Suppression Bill SB 7: Where it’s been, where it’s at, and where it’s going: https://progresstexas.org/blog/voter-suppression-bill-sb-7-where-it%E2%80%99s-been-where-it%E2%80%99s-and-where-it%E2%80%99s-going
Broken promises: Texas Republicans abandon gun safety, pander to far-right: https://progresstexas.org/blog/broken-promises-texas-republicans-abandon-gun-safety-pander-far-right
Texas Marijuana Bills: Have they passed or gone up in smoke? https://progresstexas.org/blog/texas-marijuana-bills-have-they-passed-or-gone-smoke
Ep. 10 - Twisted Spirit Week: May 7th, 2021
Happy Hour time, and after last night and the last few weeks, do we ever need some happy! We ARE happy about the huge turnout and passion of all of our partners for progress here in Texas, including all the folks sporting beautiful shades of orange, and our hard-working Democratic lawmakers who are fighting the good fight. We find that the response to our common cause gives us renewed motivation to keep working hard for Texans. Still, the fight is grueling, and we've got Lege war stories from this week that we'll never forget, including the constant distortion of the rules and use of veiled racist "purity" language in voter suppression and abortion restriction bills by GOP leadership. The bad acting and misplaced priorities are astounding - and ever greater motivation to keep fighting against them.
Ep. 9 - Crisco Brain's Calzone Of Terror: April 30th, 2021
Hey! It's Happy Hour time, and we're joined by our friend Emily Eby of the Texas Civil Rights Project! As we continue through the grueling process of the Lege, Diana and Wesley share the story of the nutso parliamentary gymnastics of Briscoe Cain on voter suppression bills on Thursday. Emily describes the danger of empowering poll watchers - clearly a GOP intimidation ploy, especially if combined with the permitless carrying of handguns. We also share our tips for overcoming the fear of public speaking, at a moment when it's so important for ALL Texans to courageously speak up on the dirty deeds being done at the Capitol on voting rights, abortion rights, redistricting and more.
Why is Briscoe Cain the worst? https://progresstexas.org/blog/republican-briscoe-cain-over-his-head
DOJ being asked to step in to monitor TX Elections Cmte: https://www.kxan.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2021/04/SB7_DOJ.pdf
Ep. 8 - Police Reform, State Budget Priorities: April 23rd, 2021
Happy Hour time! With news of Matthew McConaughey polling ahead of Greg Abbott, and the candidacy of Caitlyn Jenner in California, we mull the question: Is a celebrity Governor something we could live with? Is that a better move than the rock stars the Democrats already have in the bullpen? Also, the guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin in the George Floyd case: what does the moment mean, and what's next for police reform in Texas? We also talk about the state budget, how the miss on Medicaid expansion by GOP lawmakers is disappointing but not surprising, and legislative threats against corporations that take a stand against Republican policies. Puzzling as the opposition can be, Progress Texas continues the fight - thanks for listening and joining us!
On Medicaid fail: https://progresstexas.org/blog/biden-republicans-stop-kicking-can-down-road-medicaid
On Texas police reform: https://progresstexas.org/blog/3-police-reform-bills-watch-texas-legislature
Ep. 7 - Discrimination Is Expensive: April 16th, 2021
After an exhausting week, it's time for Happy Hour! The crew is proud to welcome Ash Hall of the Transgender Education Network of Texas, as we discuss the wide range of dirty deeds that GOP lawmakers have been up to at the Capitol. In particular two anti-trans bills, SB-29 and HB-4042, designed to force our trans student athletes to conform to teams that don't align with their gender identities, and inviting conflict for Texas with the NCAA and other business interests. Also HB-1399, which bans trans children in Texas from receiving gender affirming medical care. Meanwhile, women's reproductive rights are also under attack via multiple bills in both chambers - it seems the assault is coming from all directions. Wondering what you can do to help Progress Texas fight back? Give us a listen.
Discriminatory bills in Texas would deny rights to trans kids: https://progresstexas.org/blog/discriminatory-bills-texas-would-deny-rights-trans-kids
Diana testifies on HB 3760: https://progresstexas.org/video/diana-g%C3%B3mez-testifies-protect-abortion-care
Major brands send message: Voter suppression is bad for business: https://progresstexas.org/blog/major-brands-send-message-voter-suppression-bad-business
Demand Repbulicans stop attacking Abortion: https://progresstexas.actionkit.com/sign/petition-demand-legislators-stop-attacking-abortion-care?source=actionpage
Demand Republicans stop attacking our Democracy: https://progresstexas.actionkit.com/sign/petition-demand-republicans-end-their-attack-on-our-voting-rights?source=actionpage
Ep. 6 - Bad Bills Are Bad For Business: April 9th, 2021
Happy Hour time! We welcome guest anchor Amanda Gnaedinger this week as we discuss the role of corporate America in our political discourse, as various companies begin to weigh in against voter suppression legislation in Texas. We also cover the economic peril our state is subjected to by reckless GOP lawmaking (see: Georgia). Wesley and Diana share "war stories" of the week at the Capitol, as the fight to preserve reproductive rights and healthcare in Texas continues - and, shout-outs for several of our valued partner orgs on the ground, joining forces in the ongoing battle for progress.
PETITION: DEMAND REPUBLICANS END THEIR ATTACK ON OUR VOTING RIGHTS
https://progresstexas.actionkit.com/sign/petition-demand-republicans-end-their-attack-on-our-voting-rights?source=actionpage&fbclid=IwAR0ZfLWsDbeXdxfMDEB2ks67eadLip3G-kbL81syOB8Urm8_DSqTNv7fyTs7 anti-abortion bills the Texas Senate is wasting time on instead of bills to help Texans
Ep. 5 - All-Night Fight with the Right: April 2nd, 2021
Another wild week at the Texas Capitol brings us stories of waiting 20 hours to testify against anti-abortion legislation, a Republican bill to appoint lawyers for fetuses (?!), and special guest Ashley Cheng of the podcast The Rabble shares a story about the first time she took her mom to vote. We've also got updates on how Texas companies such as American Airlines, Dell, and Southwest Airlines are taking public positions against voter suppression bills.
Demand Dan Patrick stop attacking our reproductive rights: https://progresstexas.actionkit.com/sign/petition-demand-legislators-stop-attacking-abortion-care?source=actionpage
Abortion is healthcare Act would remove decades of Texas restrictions: https://progresstexas.org/blog/abortion-healthcare-act-would-remove-decades-texas-restrictions
7 anti-abortion bills the Texas Senate is wasting time on instead of bills to help Texans: https://progresstexas.org/blog/7-anti-abortion-bills-texas-senate-wasting-time-instead-bills-help-texans
Texas Republicans have launched an all out attack on our voting rights: https://progresstexas.org/blog/texas-republicans-have-launched-all-out-attack-our-voting-rights
Stop the Texas GOP from outlawing 2020 voting innovations: https://progresstexas.actionkit.com/sign/petition-demand-republicans-end-their-attack-on-our-voting-rights?source=actionpage
Ep. 4 - Shrimp Tails From The Lege: March 26th, 2021
The Progress Texas Happy Hour crew convenes - central to the discussion of the Lege are misplaced priorities by Republicans and a slate of voter suppression bills, we talk about what's in them and why they're bad. Wesley and Diana weigh in on the experience of diving in at the Capitol - including a close encounter with Beto O'Rourke, and procedural shenanigans from State Rep. Briscoe Cain who shut down a hearing before hundreds of people could testify. We offer a preview on anti-abortion legislation, and then we wrap up by sharing our vaccine experiences - get your shots y'all! Thanks for listening, and be sure to sign our very important petitions!
Texas Republicans have launched an all out attack on our voting rights: https://progresstexas.org/blog/texas-republicans-have-launched-all-out-attack-our-voting-rights
Demand Dan Patrick stop attacking our reproductive rights: https://progresstexas.actionkit.com/sign/petition-demand-legislators-stop-attacking-abortion-care?source=actionpage
Stop the Texas GOP from outlawing 2020 voting innovations: https://progresstexas.actionkit.com/sign/petition-demand-republicans-end-their-attack-on-our-voting-rights?source=actionpage
Abortion is healthcare Act would remove decades of Texas restrictions: https://progresstexas.org/blog/abortion-healthcare-act-would-remove-decades-texas-restrictions
7 anti-abortion bills the Texas Senate is wasting time on instead of bills to help Texans: https://progresstexas.org/blog/7-anti-abortion-bills-texas-senate-wasting-time-instead-bills-help-texans
Not all emergencies are priorities at the Texas Capitol: https://www.texastribune.org/2021/03/24/texas-mass-shootings-guns
Ep. 3 - New Day, Same Old GOP Playbook: March 19, 2021
Senior Strategist Glenn Smith joins the weekly Happy Hour crew for this week’s rundown of the crazy world of Texas politics. GOP efforts in the Lege to undermine voting rights are troubling and reminiscent of the Jim Crow era. Republicans also continue their typical attacks on reproductive rights – all of this even as the people of Texas demand action from lawmakers on COVID. We’re also now seeing the effects of racist Republican language about the pandemic, exemplified by Chip Roy’s tirade this week in D.C., in a rise of anti-Asian violence, which must be countered by all of us - “if one person is in chains, we’re all in chains”. On a hopeful note, we celebrate the huge progress under President Biden in the national vaccination effort, as well as the months-long sacrifice of most Texans to protect their communities - in spite of Governor Abbott’s attempts to undermine safety precautions. And the conversation on Matthew McConaughey continues – politically, where is he exactly?
Ep. 2 - Polling And The Pandemic: March 12th, 2021
This week, the Progress Texas team reflects on the lessons of the pandemic, one full year in. We also talk Polling: what do Texans think about Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, the recent energy crisis, priorities at the Lege, the assault on reproductive rights, and the Texas response to COVID? We find, once again, that Progressive values are mainstream values. President Biden's American Rescue Plan is now a reality - what's it mean for Texas families? And, will Matthew McConaughey run for Governor - and if he does, what's that mean for Texas Democrats?