Good afternoon, and thank you so much for being here. I’m Alexa Wesner, and it’s been a real honor to chair this event. Anyone who knows Jack Martin and Chet Edwards knows that they have a talent for making things seem like somebody else’s idea. I can assure you that this event was a great idea but it wasn’t mine.
BlueTexas really has two purposes. The most obvious and immediate is to take back as much of the Texas Legislature as we can before redistricting in 2011. I’m pleased to report this goal is important enough to have inspired you all to donate over $1million to the cause.
It’s an amount that is amazing, humbling and inspiring all at the same time. And most importantly, many or most of our donors are either brand new to Texas state politics or haven’t played in some time.
This is a big deal. As one of my friends told me recently, “Texas has changed a lot. I never thought I’d see Republicans speaking Spanish and Democrats with money!”
Our second purpose is a little less tangible but maybe even more significant. BlueTexas was conceived to unite the great wisdom and experience among Texas Democrats with the pent-up energy of a new generation of voters, donors, and activists who’ve lately gone missing from state politics. You might say that I have a foot in both camps: whereas I’m new to Democratic politics, I do fit at least part of the old stereotype. I really do own a Volvo and have 1.5 kids.
I’m not much of a college football fan, but I’m married to genuine fanatic. And you don’t know fanatical until you share a house with a former President of the Student Body at OU. So much for any designs I had on elected office south of the Red River.
Anyway, Blaine showed me a quote from Bear Bryant, the great coach of A&M and Alabama. He said something to the effect that “it’s not the will to win that counts. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”
It seems to me that the will to prepare that Coach Bryant had in mind is very much the combination of experience and energy. Today is testimony that we are preparing to win.
Our experience comes from the fact that most all of you have forgotten more about Texas politics and good government than I’ll ever learn.
Our renewed energy comes from at least three sources.
First, from the top of the ballot. Our national party was blessed with an embarrassment of riches this year, and we ultimately had the privilege of participating in an amazing race between two truly transformational public servants. I know that any of us would have been proud to follow either of them into battle. Senators Clinton and Obama have energized a new generation of supporters in a way that hasn’t happened in our country in nearly 50 years. We owe Senator Clinton a tremendous debt of gratitude. And in Senator Obama, I’m convinced that I’ll never again see his kind of influence from the top of the ballot. Our kids will never forgive us if we don’t seize this opportunity.
Second, our energy comes from a fresh realization that the goal really is within within our reach. It is a real tribute to the resilience of Texas Democrats that, as awful as 2002 was for our party, we are only 5 seats away from taking back the House. And once that happens, everything else is in play.
Finally, we really are mad as hell and aren’t gonna take it any more. The last time there wasn’t a Bush on the ballot in Texas, I was in kindergarten in Virginia. Next year, my daughter goes to kindergarten in a state that I have adopted by way of Germany and the mid-Atlantic. But it’s her home state. I owe her whatever I can do to return to government at all levels which actually seeks to be better–year after year. Texas has lacked this sorely for over a decade; our nation has done better as a result of the Clinton’s leadership, but a lot worse in the last 7 years.
We’ll never have a better chance to reverse a tide that simply must be reversed.
This is a big day for Texas. I’m convinced that by the time *this* one starts Kindergarten, we’ll look back and say we helped launch something magical in this beautful place.
Thank you so, so much.