Part of our hands-on government class this year for homeschool was to be politically active and actually do our part as far as we were able to instead of just going to a voting poll and checking a box. I’m not sure how many public school seniors out there were state delegates this year, but for sure, my homeschooler was! “Honors Government” class also covered the Texas requirement for teaching “Good Citizenship”. I love it when subjects overlap and we get to kill two birds with one stone; and I take teaching Good Citizenship seriously.
For those of you who don’t understand much about the political process but feel like NOW is the time to start getting involved (it’s never too late), here are some ways that you can go above and beyond just being “an informed voter” (not to say that being an informed voter isn’t important):
1. Find out what senate and congressional district you are and get to know your local/national candidates who represent YOU. Go meet some of them, and find out why they ran for office – and donate to them if you feel led.
2. Watch and see how your political officials vote on issues in your state and nationally in the house and senate. Make your views known by sending letters, faxes, calling, or lobbying for your cause at their office. Some local homeschool groups have days at the capitol building in Austin where they rally for different bills being proposed and try to gain their officials’ support by handing out information.
3. Attend your local party meetings to network with other like minds in your area and stay abreast of issues that affect your communities. Sign up for party emails from your local chair person so they can alert you if your action or help is needed.
4. During an election, don’t just go home and sleep on it. About an hour after polls close, you can attend a precinct caucus and put forth planks that will be voted on and taken to the county convention. If you feel that a certain issue should be made part of the party platform, it must first begin at the local precinct level and then move forward to county, state, and national convention to be ratified by a vote. You can also put your name forth to be a county delegate at the precinct caucus and usually, depending on the county you live in, you have a very good chance of getting to go.
5. Attend local county fairs and festivals and work at your party registration booths to sign up voters, educate attendees about candidates, and pass out fliers.
6. If you believe strongly in a candidate for office, consider working on their campaign (if you can’t make this a permanent position, you can at least offer to walk your own neighborhood and distribute fliers for them).
7. Don’t be afraid to talk about politics with your friends and family (be sure to be civil and respect the other person’s viewpoint even if you don’t see eye to eye).
8. Show up at the capitol building to testify in support or opposition to bills you feel strongly about. Participate in a march, picket or gathering in support of your cause. Spread the word on social media. Donate funds to these groups to help provide transportation to those who CAN go if you aren’t able to, or donate water or snacks as a sponsor for those who are marching/attending.
9. Go to your county convention and interview to be a state delegate to your local party’s state convention so you can vote on issues, planks, and your party’s platform. You can also vote on those who lead your party at the county level. If you are able, go on to the state and/or national level and do the same there!
10. Pray continually for your elected officials on all levels and for the people of our nation to rise up, get educated and vote for positive and God-fearing leaders who will work to retain our liberties.
Before leaving for the GOP Convention, Kaden and I were nominated as delegates at our county convention level. Ted Cruz was still in the running back then, and I was pretty aggravated on the night he dropped out of the race because of losing Indiana. I wrote a post that night about supporting a Libertarian for president in his stead, but after attending the GOP and hearing what many of our state and national leaders said about Hillary and our future prospects, I am going to support the GOP nominee. If for no other reason than making sure the next supreme court pick (possibly more than one of them) are conservative, it is worth voting for Trump.
I am in the #NeverHillary camp, so any vote I make will be to accomplish that objective alone.
While we were at convention we voted on the state’s platform and I was surprised at how little I disagreed with. I only voted No on one plank because of being a homeschooler and the language in the plank possibly leaning towards standardization of homeschoolers state-wide. And I only left one plank blank – out of over 260, because I didn’t feel qualified to make the decision. Reading through the party platform was an eye-opening experience; if every state was as red as Texas, we would be doing really good as a nation! I wouldn’t consider myself a national level Republican (because there are too many really bad national level examples of “Republicans In Name Only” trying to lead us leftward off their moderate fences), but I can totally get behind the Texas State Republican Party!
During the convention, Dinesh D’Souza spoke at the Gala event. I wasn’t able to attend that because of the cost, but we heard bits and pieces of his remarks later given by other representatives at the convention during general session. Not only have his previous films been excellent and I feel should be mandatory viewing for all high school kids, he’s coming out with another film before election day this year: Hillary’s America – The Secret History of the Democratic Party. I love Dinesh because he came to this country in love with our liberty and has given his time, talent and money towards trying to preserve it.
While we were in Dallas over the weekend at the convention, we learned first hand how huge the Kay Bailey-Hutchison Convention Center is. I was prepared to walk a lot, but we ended up caving in and taking a taxi more than I had budgeted. It was fun to see their response to the convention center being open carry and concealed carry. Our friendly Iraqi cab driver looked like a kid in a candy store when he saw that normal law-abiding citizens were able to carry weapons. We loved getting to know him and finding out he was actually a chemical engineer who spoke fluent English and helped our Marines overseas as an interpreter. He was surprised I knew how to say hello and thank you in Arabic.
I don’t know that I would have gone to the convention if I weren’t allowed to carry. Being in large crowds like that is something I am not keen on without having a way to defend myself and my kids/family/friends if someone were to start shooting. I tried two different ways to conceal – a halter tank with a build in under-arm holster, and a “garter belt” type holster that is expandable to go either above the waist or below it. I loved both of them and I think I’ll try to get the lady who I bought the garter holster for to allow me to sell them with her since she’s relatively unknown and you can’t buy them online that I’ve seen.
It was also nice to get to talk with other delegates and political office-holders at the convention. I met Ken Paxton’s wife (the Pistol Packin’ Mama – photo up top) and we got a photo with her and Ken in the exhibit hall. We picked up a few awesome bumper stickers and a men’s leather Texas emblem bracelet for Kaden while we were there, also. Dinesh’s booth was giving away DVD copies of America, too! Handy for me, since I was going to buy one if they weren’t!
Listening to Ted Cruz and his father speak were a highlight. I also enjoyed hearing Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, and many others. I couldn’t believe Obama’s “bathroom executive order” he made after hearing Dan speak at the convention on the topic. It became the buzz of the delegation after everyone passed the news out the next morning. I could have kicked myself for not getting a shot with Dan Patrick while I was there, but I have plenty of shots of him from previous events. He’s a great guy. I just can’t imagine why Obama hates him so. :::snicker:::
After we picked our delegates to the national convention, Kaden and I decided to head home and we continue to pray for the state and nation with the decisions everyone will make in November. We plan to start work now, as early voting is going on this week for the statewide primary runoff.
DID YOU KNOW THERE WAS AN ELECTION GOING ON IN TEXAS RIGHT NOW?
THSC and Young Conservatives of Texas both endorse the same candidates.
According to a politically active friend, “On the ballot you’ll find candidates for 3 statewide positions that could very well end up affecting your life for the next 10+ years.
A terribly small percentage of Texans actually vote during runoff elections. In 2014 only 7% of registered voters cast a ballot in the primary runoff elections. Which means that the people who govern our entire state are actually chosen by an incredibly small percentage of people. When you vote this week your ballot will count for the other 13 people who didn’t care about what happened. Don’t be one of those 13 people. Be the 1.”
If you are interested in finding sources to help you make educated voting choices, please note the following sites:
Texas Home School Coalition endorsements
Texas Right to Life endorsements
The very comprehensive and balanced voter guide from Heritage Alliance
Not all of these conservative organizations will always agree on all the candidates, but for the most part you’ll be surprised by how closely they align. I get political endorsement emails from many sources also. Some of the organizations I rely on for candidate information are: The NRA, Texas Values Action, AFA Action, Tea Party Patriot Citizens Fund, Liberty Counsel Action, YAL and Americans for Prosperity.
Below are my 2016 GOP Primary Runoff endorsements for the statewide candidates that will be on your Texas ballots:
Railroad Commissioner = Wayne Christian
Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 2 = Ray Wheless
Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 5 = Brent Webster (Beware, his opponent’s name is “Scott Walker” but it’s not the same “Scott Walker” who’s the conservative governor of Wisconsin)
Early voting began today and polls are open from 7-7. You can vote anywhere in the county until Friday, then you’ll have to vote at your assigned polling location on election day, which is Tuesday, May 24th.
My friend Paul also created a printable endorsement recommendation to take with you to the ballot box. If any of the below races are in your district, you can feel free to add these names to it with your own pen!
Be sure to vote. God calls us as Christians to engage the world around us, to be IN but not OF it… to be the salt and light in the darkness. One of the ways we can best do that as believers is to vote and let our Christian values be counted.
I would also add that in the Texas legislature, Young Conservatives endorse the following:
Bryan Hughes SD1
Cole Hefner HD5
Keith Strahan HD 18
John Keating HD 33
Kyle Biedermann HD 73
Biscoe Cain HD 128
How’s that for a political start to your week? It is a blessing to live in a country where the people have a say in how their government is run. If you view it that way, it takes a lot of the bitterness out of our duty as citizens in participating. Just imagine living somewhere that you are not free, and have no voice. Then once again, ask God to bless Texas …. and America.
Jennifer Martin says
Thank you so much, Heather, for sharing about your trip and for all the research you’ve done on the candidates! Our family as well became more involved in our representative form of government this year as we attended a Cruz rally and the county convention. I know it’s really opened my eyes to the political process- it’s actually easy to get involved, and especially on the local level, it’s really important to do so!
Awesome! Yes, the mystery disappears when you just show up! 😉