Texas labor ends early voting with style

DALLAS – An October 28 rally at the Teachers Hall wrapped up a very successful early voting period. The president of the Alliance for Retired Americans, Barbara Easterling, came from Washington to introduce labor’s own candidate for lieutenant governor, Linda Chavez-Thompson. Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller, Financial Secretary John Patrick, and union leaders from all over north Texas came to honor their candidates and buckle down for the final five election days.

Easterling brought a letter pledging support to the Chavez-Thompson campaign. She talked about Chavez-Thompson’s tenure as executive vice president of the AFL-CIO and the debt that all American working people owe her. President Moeller congratulated all the unionists on a record-smashing early voting period.

Estimates of early voter turnout ran as high as 200% over the last mid-term election in 2006. Houston claimed the turnout is as much as 300% higher. Unionists made personal visits to their members every weekend of the campaign and telephone banking occurred at least five nights per week. Every union member in key Dallas County areas received at least one visit and one phone call.

Chavez-Thompson gave a rousing talk in English, then began over again in Spanish for the television audience. She stressed the growing importance of Latino voters. Dr Elba Garcia, a candidate for county commissioner, also spoke in both languages, as did state representative Roberto Alonzo. Alonzo said that the population of Texas had increased by 4 million in the past ten years, with 3.2 million of them Spanish-speaking.

The big increase since the last census, Alonzo said, meant that Texas would gain four new seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The party that would take most of those seats would be determined to a large extent by redistricting, which is dominated by the Texas House. Every speaker urged an enthusiastic final effort on election day.

Photo: Jim Lane  Judy Bryant of AFT; Marty Alvarado, campaign manager and sister of Linda Chavez-Thompson, Linda Chavez-Thompson, Barbara Easterling of Alliance for Retired Americans; Gwen Dunivent, President of Dallas AFL-CIO; and Becky Moeller, President of the Texas AFL-CIO.