>> Tarrant County Democratic Party Blog: The ‘Chairman’s Corner’

Chairman’s Message, September 2009

September 1st, 2009 by Stephen C. Maxwell

As we collectively work our way through the Dog Days of Summer the challenges we face are not solely related to the heat. The debate over Health Insurance reform continues, with the heated rhetoric, lies and propaganda from the right continuing unabated. In some cases the extremists are clearly trying to intimidate proponents of change by showing up at town hall meetings armed to the teeth.

Locally, we are challenged almost daily by extremists pushing their agenda, local polling places espousing the most extreme ideologies, media outlets spreading hate disguised as commentary and Republican politicians reciting “facts” that have long sense been debunked. It is with gratitude that I say we have been able to rise to each of these challenges. We are actively supporting our President, helping to facilitate phone banking and canvassing four days a week. We have organized effective and vocal Democratic participation at town halls in our area. We are well into the important work of planning and organizing for the 2010 elections. But, as you know, all of these activities take resources– resources of which we are badly in need. In order for us to be effective in the upcoming election cycle, we must be effective now. To do that we need your help. Please join us now by becoming a Sustaining Member. If that is not something you are able to do right now, then please consider making a donation of $100.00, $50.00, $25.00 or even just $10.00.Everything you can do to help is appreciated.

Steve Maxwell


I know that with the current economy many people are not able to help financially. I encourage you to consider volunteering your time, the office is open Monday Through Friday from 9:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m.

We currently need help with Data Entry and general office work.

If you are interested in helping us with this important project, please contact Keith at keith@tcdp.net

If you have time available in the evenings please stop by any Monday, Tuesday or Thursday evening from 5:00-9:00 and help phone bank.

Many of you have asked what can I do to help our President and counter the extremists. I suggest the following:

  • Coming to the TCDP Party office on Monday, Tuesday Or Thursday evenings starting at 5:00 p.m. and make phone calls in support of President Obama;
  • Canvass with Organizing For America; every Saturday at the TCDP Party office starting at noon.
  • Contact or better still, visit your US Representative and let them know you are tired of the lies and scare tactics and that you support the President’s Goals for health care;
  • Write a letter to the editor
  • Add your name to the list of Americans that support President Obama;

Thanks for what you are doing,

Steve Maxwell
Chair, Tarrant County Democratic Party

Joe Barton Town Hall August 20th

August 18th, 2009 by Stephen C. Maxwell

We have all watched with a mix of anger and disgust the way far right extremists have behaved at town hall meetings. From hanging congressmen in effigy to comparing President Barack Obama to Hitler, these extremists have hijacked the debate of health insurance reform. We live in a great nation, one founded on vigorous and spirited debate. The issue of health insurance reform raises many honest questions and concerns, all of which deserve the opportunity to be addressed. Unfortunately, many of them have been drowned out by a flood of lies and misinformation.

This Thursday, August 20, Congressmen Joe Barton of Arlington will be holding a town hall meeting. I invite you, indeed I urge you to join me at this event. I ask that you join me so that together we can ask the questions that so far the Republican Party has refused to answer.
Due to the great deal of interest the public has in this debate we ask that you arrive at Arlington City Hall early. By doing so we have a better chance of getting our seat at the table and having our concerns addressed.
There has been some discussion of a venue change. If this happens we will notify you via an email alert.
What: Town Hall meeting with Congressmen Joe Barton
When: Thursday, August 20
Start time is 6:00 p.m. but we strongly encourage you to arrive by 4:00 p.m.

Arlington Music Hall located at 224 N Center St, Arlington TX 76011
Click for Map

We will rally near the large Obama sign

Steve Maxwell


Residents of United States House District 12 which is represented by Republican Kay Granger may attend a telephone town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m., Monday August 24, 2009. To attend the telephone town hall meeting, you must contact Congresswoman Granger’s office at 817-338-0909 and tell them you with to attend the telephone town hall meeting and provide your name address and phone number.

Organizing for America has provided the following talking points for communication with our Representatives about health care:

*Share your story.* If you can take a few minutes and you want to make an even bigger impression, ask to speak to whomever handles health care issues in that office. Tell them why health insurance reform is so important to you. If you feel comfortable, please consider sharing a personal health care story about yourself or a loved one. Take your time and speak from the heart. This is not a debate, and you don’t need to be an expert, just someone who knows firsthand why we urgently need reform.
*Ask for their support.* Before you leave, ask if your member of Congress will commit to supporting the President’s call for real health insurance reform in 2009.
*Stay calm and positive.* While some are attempting to disrupt and shut down debate, our goal is to engage in meaningful, respectful discussion. Remaining calm, positive and polite while speaking to any Representative is the best way to be heard.

Thank them for their time and hard work!

You can learn more about health insurance reform at www.healthreform.gov

It is important that Kay Granger hear voices other than insurance company lobbyists when addressing health care reform issues.

Chairman’s Message, August 2009

August 12th, 2009 by Stephen C. Maxwell

August is here. That means the summer is drawing to an end, and the 2010 Campaign Season is upon us. Hard to believe that the 2010 Primary is only a little more than six months away. But as we head into a critical election year, the Tarrant County Democratic Party has much to be thankful for. Consider:

  • More sustaining members than we have ever had;
  • A fully staffed, full-time office;
  • Outstanding Democratic elected officials serving the citizens of Tarrant County;
  • A renewed commitment from energized precinct chairs and outstanding local grassroots groups to organizing the county.

If you have not become a sustaining member of our Party, we welcome the opportunity to add you to the growing ranks of dedicated Tarrant County Democrats.

Looking back at six months under President Obama, one senses that our national pride has been restored. So much has happened in such a short time, it is hard to fully grasp the extraordinary efforts of this capable administration. The Tarrant County Democratic Party proudly salutes the following accomplishments:

  • The nomination, and confirmation, of Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latino woman to ever serve on the United States Supreme Court;
  • The unceasing, exceptional efforts to restructure a health care system that has failed America — not just the fifty million people who have no health insurance, but tens of millions of others who find that their health care does not provide the services Americans need and deserve;
  • The federal stimulus plan which is leading us out of the worst recession since the Great Depression
  • The Stonewall Democrats, whose courageous stance following the Rainbow Lounge raid has brought about not only much needed local and federal investigations, but has also brought new awareness and understanding of the local gay rights movement.

And yet, the challenge we face is greater than ever. The right wing extremists have shown that they are willing to go farther, and to be more dishonest and destructive, than ever. Because they are unable, or perhaps incapable, of coming up with a solution to the unworkable healthcare system that presently exists in our country, the right wingers are resorting to the “brown-shirt” tactics of the 1930s. Those tactics involve a strategy of disruption, distortion, destruction, denial, and outright lies. I believe in standing up to bullies, countering lies with facts and building consensus through positive action, as opposed to fear and hate mongering. Many of you have asked what can I do to help our President and counter the extremists. I suggest the following:

  • Coming to the TCDP Party office on Monday, Tuesday Or Thursday evenings starting at 5:00 p.m. and make phone calls in support of President Obama;
  • Canvass with Organizing For America; every Saturday at the TCDP Party office starting at noon.
  • Contact or better still, visit your US Representative and let them know you are tired of the lies and scare tactics and that you support the President’s Goals for health care;
  • Write a letter to the editor
  • Add your name to the list of Americans that support President Obama;
  • Attend Rep Kenny Marchant’s “secret” town hall meeting TONIGHT (August 12th) at The Senior Center in Farmer’s Branch is located at 14055 Dennis Lane, 75234.

Thanks for what you are doing,
Steve Maxwell
Chair, Tarrant County Democratic Party

Thank You to Our Sustaining Members

July 1st, 2009 by Stephen C. Maxwell

Our recently concluded Spring Sustaining membership drive was a success! We not only met, but exceeded our goals. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the people that demonstrated their commitment to turning Tarrant Blue by becoming Sustaining Members. I have posted a list of these good folks both in this email and on our website. To all of these good people I say thank you.

Without our Sustaining Members we would not be able to support the efforts of President Barack Obama and Organizing for America.

It is because of these folks that we are able to keep the Tarrant County Democratic Party Office up and running at full capacity. Without these folks, candidate recruitment, precinct development. grassroots lobbying and long term planning for the 2010 election would not be happening.

For making the commitment to support the efforts of the Democratic Party here In Tarrant County, I want all of our Sustaining Members to know that I am grateful for all that you have done.

Steve Maxwell
Chair, Tarrant County Democratic Party

Stonewall Uprising 40th Anniversary

June 25th, 2009 by Webmaster

 This Saturday marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.  

The Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats will be showing two important movies about the struggles of gay and lesbian citizens that led to and followed the Stonewall Uprising of 1969 and how that event has come to represent the beginning of the fight for equality for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender citizens. 

The Films:  Before Stonewall uses extensive archival film, movie clips and personal recollections to construct an audiovisual history of the gay community before the Stonewall riots.  After Stonewall picks up where Before Stonewall left off, exploring the fight for equal rights and the rise of AIDS that followed the Stonewall Uprising.

Before Stonewall screens at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 27, with After Stonewall following at 4 p.m. There will be a short Q&A Session between the films, which screen at the Fort Worth Public Library screening room downtown. The address is 500 W. Third St. Admission is FREE.

I will be honored to  attend this celebration of the history and pay tribute to the struggle of ordinary citizens, who happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, and who had the courage to become “visible” while facing extreme social prejudice and to fight for change despite often violent resistance. I hope you will join me. 

Happy Anniversary!

March 4th, 2009 by Stephen C. Maxwell

Our most successful year…

Exactly one year ago today, across Tarrant County tens of thousands of you stood up for change. You declared in no uncertain terms that you were tired of the Republican status quo, and you demanded something new. Regardless of which Democratic candidate you supported you made it known that new leadership was badly needed, not just at the national level but right here in Tarrant County. Your actions one year ago today were the foundation upon which the victories on November 4th were built. On that day we replaced archconservatives Bill Zedler and Kim Brimer with Representative Chris Turner and Senator Wendy Davis, legislators that are making us proud to call them our own.

By becoming a Sustaining Member today you can guarantee that we have the resources to continue the work you started.

Because of you, the conventional wisdom which said that the only place a Democrat could win in Tarrant County was Fort Worth; that statewide candidates should simply write off Tarrant County; and that Arlington was a Republican stronghold-was proven wrong. Today, Democratic Senator Wendy represents the only Senate District entirely in Tarrant County. Today, candidates for statewide office in 2010 have already begun to visit Tarrant County. Today, two of the three State Representatives for Arlington are Democrats.

In order for the Tarrant County Democratic Party to maintain its rapidly expanding presence in Tarrant County, we need Sustaining Members.

Over the next two years President Obama will need our help. Without a consistent and active local party, able to organize support for the President’s agenda and able to apply pressure to our federal senators and representatives, the common goals we all stood up for last year, will not be met. Without an active local party your ability to participate via committees, in neighborhood outreach groups and as grassroots activists is diminished. Without a local party presence, our Democrats in Tarrant County have nowhere to turn to get information and no access to the resources we provide.

Our Sustaining Members make it possible for us to do the behind the scenes work needed to make sure we win in 2010.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 is not very far away. Considering all of the preparation that needs to be done, that date is alarmingly near. Strong, viable candidates need to be recruited and trained, the technology needed to win must be acquired and maintained, Precinct Chairs and Precinct level organizations need to be trained and organized. The planning for an effective coordinated GOTV effort must begin today. In order for all of these things to happen, in we need your help today.

On this the anniversary of the greatest outpouring of Democratic Primary voters we have ever seen we urge you to once again stand and be counted. In order to assure success in 2010, now is the time for you to become a Sustaining Member of the Tarrant County Democratic Party. Help us today in reaching our goal of 75 new Sustaining Members by April 1.

Please contribute today!
Your generosity in these hard times is most gratefully appreciated.

A Night Worthy of The Day

January 23rd, 2009 by Stephen C. Maxwell

If ever a day could be planned that would be a fitting tribute to the most historic inauguration we are likely to ever experience, it would have been the day Tarrant County Democrats enjoyed on January 20th. The day began with an emotional and inspiring Inauguration, as President Obama took the oath of office in front of millions who had gathered along the Mall in Washington D.C, and literally hundreds of millions more who watched the ceremony on TV. Dozens of Tarrant County Democrats made the journey to Washington for the experience of a lifetime. Over the next few months we will be hearing from some of those folks, as they describe what they saw and felt.
While many were fortunate enough to get the opportunity to see the inauguration ceremony in person, many more had the pleasure of watching it right here at home. The Mid Cities Democrats hosted an Inaugural Watch Party at the home of Nancy Miracle. More than 40 people cheered as Barack Obama raised his hand for the oath of office, and then delivered a stirring and passionate address to a nation longing for new leadership and a new direction.
With a new President officially in power, the celebrations began in earnest. Although there were several parties across the county which marked the festive occasion, by far the largest was the one which your own Tarrant County Democratic Party hosted at the Downtown Hilton Hotel. What an evening! Almost 900 Tarrant Democrats, anxious for a chance to unleash the emotions of people who had known little to celebrate over the past eight years, poured in to the hotel and showed Fort Worth what it is like to have a party. It was the largest such event ever hosted by the Tarrant County Democratic Party. As hundreds cheered our new president, there could be no doubt that Democrats in Tarrant County had made a profound statement: we are back, we are organized, we are proud, and we are going to win elections.
Our Inaugural Ball was a huge success. There are many people to thank for that, not the least of which are the sponsors whose support ensured an incredible night for everyone. I want to give my heartfelt thanks to the following sponsors:

Presidential Sponsors:
Jose, Henry, Brantley, MacLean and Alvarado. L.L.C.
Kline & Co.

Cabinet Level Sponsors:
State Representative Lon Burnam
Advanced Web Systems
State Representative Chris Turner
George Wada Photography
State Representative Marc Veasey
State Representative Paula Pierson
Perdue, Bracket, Flores, Utt and Burns
BNSF Railway
Bodoin, Agnew, Greene and Maxwell L.L.C.
Linebarger, Goggan, Blair, Sampson
Tarrant County Central Labor Council
Mark Costanza Sr. Polo Club Management inc.
Ms. Dorothy Debose, Dr. Kevin Connelly, Mr. Douglas Black
Mr. Paul Tribble, Lockheed Martin, Line Printing

Table Sponsors:
Tarrant County Democratic Women’s Club
Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats
Greater Arlington Mansfield Democratic Women GAMDW
Mid Cities Democrats/Bradley Parker
Tejano Democrats
Betty Zuspann, Brenda Lewis, Bronson Davis, Pam Ford
Gary Jennings, Richard Abrams, Gail Milner, B Jeffrey Dalton, Kathleen Stewart, Angela Land, Schattman Family
Regina Scott, Marva Easter, Michael Haney
Turner and McKenzie PC, Delessa Haynes
Lonnie Heldenbrand, Sandra Reed, Johnnie Turner
Ross Haynes, Jr, Virlece Lacy, Betty Fischer
Suzanne Ancy, I.M. Terrell Alumni Association, Regina Scott, Catrice Tkadlec, Melinda Hamilton, D.G. Pullins

I also want to thank the staff and volunteers who worked so hard to make sure the Ball was something worthy of the event it marked:
Keith K. Annis, Lynn Johnson, Byron Sibbet,
Tami Grimes, Kenneth Grimes, David Rogers
David Pursley, Carol Cordell, Cindy James
Eli Clarke, Allye Combs, BC Cornish
Sheila Ford, Terri Herrera, Chris Utchell, Tory Watkins
Reuben Herrera, Beth Krugler, Chelsea Lane
Elisa Molina, Carl Nutt, Nancy Stevens
Chris Utchell, Tory Watkins, Liz Slagle, Libby TCU Democrats

Finally, the ingredient that iced the cake was, undoubtedly, the musical groups that entertained us. First there was the stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, performed by the D-Town Records Koast 2 Koast recording artists, Keingz Ransom. That was followed by the incredible music of Suzy Q and The Tipps, which had the dance floor packed all night long. Last I knew, Lon Burnam was still out on the floor, so I would direct anyone who needs to talk to Lon to contact him there in the Hilton Ballroom.
All in all, it was a wonderful and memorable evening. I like to think that it was an appropriate start to an Administration that truly will make a difference. I ask that we all answer the call of President Obama. Now is the time to dedicate ourselves to doing what is necessary to effect true Change in this nation and how our government operates. Given the inspiring example we have already seen from our new President, it is the least we can do for ourselves, and for our country. You can start by becoming a Sustaining Member of your Tarrant County Democratic Party. We can sustain what we have built over the past several months, but only if the Party has the funds to keep operating at the level we are now used to. Please help us keep it going. We have come too far to let up, even a little bit.
Thanks for making last Tuesday night so much fun…

A Time to Reflect

November 5th, 2008 by Stephen C. Maxwell

The Day After is always a time to reflect.

A time to reflect on the most historic electoral victory in our history. A
time to reflect on the heroic efforts of our local candidates, and the pride
we feel for them, whether they won or lost.

And especially a time to reflect on how we achieved such remarkable success.

Barack Obama will be the 44th president of the United States. I never get
tired of saying that. It is the first time I have ever felt that the
“Change” that is repeated over and over in the campaign is actually Change
that will happen. Our country is about to change—and for the better.

Wendy Davis and Chris Turner won their elections, and join Lon Burnam, Marc
Veasey, and Paula Pierson in Austin. We lost a friend and an eloquent
advocate when Dan Barrett wasn’t reelected, but the Tarrant County presence
in Austin has never been stronger or more effective. Although our other
legislative and county-wide candidates didn’t win, their efforts made us a
better Party. The enthusiasm generated by these folks produced a higher
number of voters, and a greater level of enthusiasm, than I have ever seen.
Thank you so much, Chris Utchell, Sheila Ford, Kalandra Wheeler, Nancy
Moffat, Jerry Lee Phillips, Randy Turner, Maureen Tolbert, Warren Gould,
Hank Pope, Tracey Smith, Tom Love, Ken Leach, and Ludwig Otto for everything
you did, and for moving us one step closer to the day when Tarrant County
turns blue.

More than anything else, the greatest accomplishment for which we should all
be proud is the unifying of our Party to achieve the results we did.
Thousands of new voters proudly joined the ranks of the Democratic Party.
Thousands more devoted their time and unceasing efforts to make the election
of our candidates a reality. Hundreds of you volunteered to work at the
Party Headquarters to make calls, stuff envelopes, block walk for our
candidates, answer phones, set out signs, and any number of a hundred other
things that were needed to support our Party. I doubt anyone will ever know
the amount of time–the nights and weekends–the constant pressure of not
enough time to get everything done (and not having enough money to do
it)–that our Executive Director, Keith Annis, devoted to this job. Thank
you, Keith for a superb performance. Thank you to our staff, Brandy Wicker,
Claudia Wilson, Barbara Mayfield, Steve Norder and to our volunteer
“regulars”, Jo-Ann Zimmerman, Betty Fischer, Ann McClure, Betty Parkhill for
everything you did. Thank you also to Jane Hamilton, Liz Cleveland, Brett
Rosenthal, Angie Dickson, Natomi Austin, Lee Henderson, Josh Whitehouse,
Stephen Sargent, John Sargent, Ryan Ray, Emma Allen, and all of the dozens
more of you who gave a part of your lives over the past few months to make
it possible for this Party to accomplish what it did.

We took thousands of Tarrant County residents, with thousands of differing
backgrounds, ideas, occupations, values, and suggestions, and joined all of
them at their hearts and souls to produce the greatest local Party in the
country. And see what we accomplished!

Lest this message be read as a closing act, know that what we have done this
year is only the beginning. We are more organized, more motivated, and more
capable than we have ever been. There are some great races coming up, and we
are going to win them.

Thank you for sharing this experience with me.

Steve Maxwell

Election Day Update

November 4th, 2008 by Stephen C. Maxwell

Voter turnout continues at a record pace, providing further encouragement that the high turnout bodes well for our candidates up and down the ballot. If you have not voted, please get to the polls as soon as you can. If you have not encouraged your family, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers and everyone else you come into contact with to vote, NOW IS THE TIME!!

If there was ever a thought that we have been exaggerating the level of enthusiasm this election has produced, come by the Party Headquarters today. We have never seen anything like the energy and the desire to help like what we have seen today. Literally hundreds of volunteers have shown up at our Office asking for assignments. There has never been a Democratic Party as unified as what we are at this moment.

This all points toward victory for our candidates this evening. What a party we are going to have at the Hilton tonight! In fact, it is now looking like there are going to be so many celebrating Democrats joining us, we have lined up two secondary party sites to handle the overflow. The first of these sites is EMBARGO, which is located across the street from the Hilton. Live music will be featured. The other site is the POUR HOUSE, located at 5th and Throckmorton. The celebration kicks off at the Hilton at 8. Don’t miss the fun-and don’t dare be absent when we start announcing the victories of our candidates! They will all be present and eager to share the thrill of victory with the folks that made it possible.

See you tonight!

Steve Maxwell

It is the Day That Will Define the Rest of Our Lives

November 4th, 2008 by Stephen C. Maxwell

It is here. After months and months of planning, fundraising, and incredible effort, we have finally arrived at the moment that will change the political history of our country. It is the day to which we have dedicated our hearts and souls. It is also the day that will produce the victories we have dreamed of all our lives.

Consider these numbers: more than 466,000 Tarrant County voters cast early votes. That is nearly 50 percent of all of the registered voters in the county. IT IS THE HIGHEST PERCENTAGE OF EARLY VOTES CAST IN ANY OF THE 5 LARGEST COUNTIES IN TEXAS. It is also only about 30,000 votes shy of the total number of early votes cast in Dallas County. From all appearances, the huge increase in the number of early votes cast can be attributed to the turnout of voters who are likely to be voting Democratic. If that is true, things are looking very good for our Party and our candidates.

Things look good. You can feel the hope intensifying. This is going to happen. But we face a dedicated, well funded adversary. We cannot let up even the tiniest bit. We must now focus all of our effort into getting out the people who haven’t already voted—and making sure that they vote the straight Democratic ticket.

If you have the time, we still can use Poll Greeters and Poll Watchers. Call us at 817-335-8683 and let us know when you would be available. If you haven’t already gone through training, we will give you a Crash Course on how to be a Poll Greeter or a Poll Watcher – it’s not difficult, and it can make such a huge difference in the way undecided voters end up casting their votes. Please try to get here early!

At the end of the day tomorrow, a celebration years in the making will begin. We want everyone who has dreamed of this day to join us. It will take place at the Fort Worth Hilton, which is located at the corner of 8th and Main across from the Convention Center. All of our Tarrant County candidates will be there to share this special moment with us. There is no charge for admission, and there will be a cash bar. Things get started at 8, and you are encouraged to arrive early, light snacks will be available. We expect to fill the Hilton to capacity and have two overflow sites, Embargo and the Pour House. It will be something you will remember for the rest of your lives. Please join us for an unforgettable night.