Chavez-Thompson energizes labor

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CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS - The governor's race may get the highest media profile and the most campaign donations, but it's Linda Chavez-Thompson for Texas Lieutenant Governor that really puts fire underneath union activists. While the lineup of candidates at the labor caucus during the Texas Democratic Party convention here on June 25 received polite applause, Chavez-Thompson received a standing ovation and plenty of Texas "yippees" when she started, then two more loud standing ovations when she finished!

The candidate made her advocacy of the workers' needs more than clear. She said, "For 40 years I represented the labor movement proudly. I did everything that I was asked to do, and a little bit more." In fact, she was the first woman and the first person of color to hold highest-level office in the AFL-CIO. Chavez continued, "I saw some things wrong in Texas: I saw a lack of dignity and respect for workers, mostly those who don't have a union. The fact is that Texas has the highest number of low-wage workers in the country!"

Chavez-Thompson contrasted the present presidential administration with the former one. She said, "For eight years George W Bush lived right across the park from the AFL-CIO but not a single time did any of them get into the White House, because he didn't like unions."

"I am extremely grateful to come from the body of the labor movement!"

"I have been so excited about going into the crowds of voters across Texas. They ask ‘Can you bring the labor base out?' and I reply, ‘Hell yes, labor will come out!"

The Corpus Christi newspaper credited labor's candidate with creating the most exciting moments of the first day of the convention. On the second and last day, she thrilled the entire convention with a longer talk that included fiery denunciations of Governor Perry, and her opponent, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. Among their many failings, she blamed them for the state's present $18 billion budget shortfall. "Do you know how many zeroes there are in $18 billion?" the candidate asked, then gave the answer, "Eleven, if you count Perry and Dewhurst!"

Photo: Jim Lane

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