Over 100 women from all over Texas descended on Waco for the annual Texas Democratic Women’s retreat. Friday evening kicked it off with a movie, replete with popcorn and soda, and a chance to look at the wonderful silent auction items With good weather and high spirits on Saturday, the retreat focused on building up chapters, getting out the vote, fundraising and event ideas. We also welcomed our newest chapter, Comal County TDW with a charter presentation. There are several more “chapters in the making” so TDW continues to grow. It is a new day in TDW and you can feel the enthusiasm. It is such a treat to see what other chapters are doing and stuffing those great ideas in your brain to take them home.
A few ideas from the group brainstorming GOTV were about creating opportunites for voter registration. Did you know that most apartment complexes have monthly events for the tenants?What a great opportunity to register voters who may have recently moved. Publicizing new positions during the mid-term elections. Most voters may not know they have a Justice of the Peace opening in their precinct or that a County Court-at-law seat is open. We need to publicize this and find good, viable Democrats to run for these seats, especially women. We need to educate our voters on the new voter ID requirements. A great idea from this group suggested going to senior centers and Hispanic churches to answer any questions they may have regarding photo ID and make sure they have an accepted form of photo ID and everything matches (names, addresses, etc.) If they don’t have ID we need to inform them of what is required to get a FREE election ID card.
Another group talked about TDW meetings and thinking outside of the box. Our local chapter meetings are one the best ways to get and keep women involved in politics. This group talked about hosting political candidates and speakers from groups that are working for similair goals like Annie’s List or Texas Freedom Network. Have a women’s health panel during the month of October to bring awareness to Women’s Health Month and talk about the cuts to women’s health care. During the election plan phone banks and block walks, the weather in spring and fall is usually perfect for getting out and talking to voters and your neighbors about our outstanding Democratic candidates. Form a group whose singular task is to write letter to the editor. Take a month and have each member dress as their favorite woman political hero and give a brief biography on them. Stay in contact with your members via newsletters and social media. Create a scholarship fund to give out scholarships to young Democratic women to help fund their education. Many clubs have book club and movie nights. Create an atmosphere that women look forward to coming to every month or quarter. Make it a “MUST ATTEND” on their calendar. Send pictures of your meetings or events to the local newspapers and TDW state newsletter. It invokes interest and ideas.
As you look at all of the fabulous women in the picture above from the retreat pledging they are in it for the long run, think of ways your chapter can help change Texas in your part of the state. We need only to look back at Blue Ribbon Lobby Day and the recent Stand With Texas Women showdown in the Legislature to see the success Texas Democratic Women and their members helped create. Let’s take all the great ideas from the retreat and keep the momentum going. We will need everyone for this fight.