Not that this would be a surprise to you, but we are not following Greg Abbott’s advice to open up Texas, and are cancelling our May meeting. Instead, I would like to take a moment to give you an update about the upcoming Texas Democratic State Convention.
As Vice Chair of the State Democratic Executive Committee’s Rules Committee, and as a member of the Convention Working Group appointed by Chairman Hinojosa, I can assure you that the Party is hard at work making the transition to a fully digital convention. The SDEC has approved a series of emergency rules to enable us to take action on official party business remotely (I wrote about this earlier in April if you want to read my meeting report). I want to take a quick minute to highlight some of the challenges and opportunities we’re facing.
On one hand, this is obviously a massive undertaking happening under a pretty short time crunch. We have the advantage of getting to see how some other states operate before our convention, but we were also on track to have the largest Democratic State Convention in the nation. Organizing caucuses and committees on that scale is already difficult, and when we’re trying to do it digitally for the first time, there are definitely some logistical obstacles that staff have had to figure out. A couple of dates and deadlines have also changed (most importantly, May 15th is your deadline for if you are going to file and run for anything at the convention), and changes like that mean a need for clear and consistent communication from the Party to keep everyone up-to-date.
But there are some opportunities here. All party business is going to be streamed live, both on TDP’s convention website and their social media. This is going to be far and away the most transparent convention we’ve ever had in Texas. There are also no travel costs. With people being able to tune in from home and vote from their email inbox, it is going to be the easiest ever convention for participation. And, though dates changing does complicate things, it has also allowed for an expanded schedule. This means more speakers, presentations, and trainings. It also means that caucuses will not overlap, so you can attend every single one of your choice. And it also means that convention committees will not be as rushed for time, and will have a more forgiving schedule for handling their business. Lastly, we’re looking at ways to enable every delegate the ability to vote up or down on resolutions and rules proposals, as opposed to the big mess that it is every year that inevitably ends with a quorum call.
There is definitely a lot of work to do to pull this convention together successfully. But I do strongly feel that there is a lot to be optimistic about as well.
Lastly, just want to make sure we include some local and national COVID-19 resources:
City of Austin: http://www.austintexas.gov/COVID19
Travis County: https://traviscountytx.gov/news/2020/1945-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-information
SDEC Committeeman, SD 14