Endorsements and All That They Don't Imply

Endorsements. Political endorsements (local perspective El Paso, Texas). There are labor unions like the AFL-CIO and their affiliates AFT, TSTA, AFSCME, CWA-TSEU, Building & Trades to name a few that make up the Central Labor Union (CLU).  And there are law enforcement organizations such as the El Paso Sheriff Officers Association, El Paso Municipal Police Officers Association, CLEAT, Firefighters Local 51 and professional organizations such as the the Nurses Associations and Engineering Associations etc., (which, by the way participate in the CLU endorsement). Then there are the Democratic Organizations such as the Tejano Democrats, Black El Paso Democrats Association, West Side Democrats, East Side Democrats, Northeast Democrats and newly created organizations (as in really recent) like the "Our Revolution" organization (an off-shoot of the Bernie Sanders Campaign) that held a "congressional forum" that turned into an "endorsement meeting". 

When you are an invited candidate, they make it clear that your presence is desired but not mandatory, however if you do not attend, your absence will be noted. It is highly likely that if you are the favored political party candidate, your absence will not affect your endorsement. However, if you are not the annointed one, you will most definitely not get the endorsement---no matter the reason for the absence. 

And then there are those organizations (which happened this election cycle) where certain individuals were invited to participate in the endorsement process and others were not.

Central Labor Union of El Paso invited a list of candidates. Fortunately, I was included in the invitation but not endorsed (but given my 20 minutes). However, I do not understand how the CLU can mandate their membership to vote for their endorsed slate of candidates when they didn't invite all the candidates to participate and be interviewed. It is not a fair process. Not to the candidates that were not invited nor is it fair to the membership who's dues often will pay for political propaganda for "their" endorsed candidates through their PAC's. It is an abuse of power at the expense of the dues paying union members.

There was a time, when the CLU endorsement process was a long all day to the evening process because all candidates were invited and awarded a specific time slot (if you didn't show you didn't get a second chance) but every candidate was invited, that is unless the candidate had done something really anti-union. That was how the old respected union bosses, such as Juan Aranda and Hector Arellano, ran a tough but respected process. Candidates didn't dare be a minute late to their time slot. Those were the honorable days. (Juan Aranda, of the Steelworkers Union had Cesar Chavez at their union hall and strikes numerous times and Cesar Chavez held his last El Paso union guest speaking engagement at the union hall of the building and trades office of tough union boss Hector Arellano).

These old school respected union bosses wouldn't DARE endorse a candidate that had used union busting practices such as reclassification of a job, mandating a 84 hour work week before overtime pay or privatization of certain workers such as food handlers and custodial services. Food handlers and custodial service workers are organized under AFSCME or I should say "were" organized union members with health benefits and pension plans that created a family wage. Those jobs were privatized. And the reclassification of sheriff law enforcement officers as "civilianize" law enforcement jobs was attempted (which is considered a union-busting tactic). Fortunately for the safety of our citizens it failed. Unfortunately, the sheriff law enforcement officers were coerced into accepting the 84 hour work week BEFORE over-time benefits would be paid, "or else". The El Paso Sheriff Officers Association had to bite the bullet on that one after being bullied.   

I have been on the invitation side of the endorsement process when I was Chair of the Camino Real Mexican American Democrats (MAD). MAD conducted a fair endorsement ballot process and we always included a judge in the counting of the ballots. Our membership of Democrats always exceeded 200 and the membership votes were respected as only eligible club members could get a ballot to vote for their candidates, and MAD would announce endorsed candidates. Our by-laws required a 2/3 vote which made the process even more difficult but fair. We did our best to be fair and always invited all candidates.

I filed on the last day of filing deadline, within the statutory time allowed under the rules of the Secretary of State. Unfortunately, many unions, and or political organizations endorsed prior to the deadline. I hope in the future that changes and that the final deadline is honored. Every candidate should be awarded the opportunity to address the leadership of the unions, organizations, and Democratic Party groups.

I am finally getting to my main point. Family obligation, death in the family, and missing an endorsement meeting or candidate forum. I found myself in a pressured situation regarding missing an endorsement meeting and attending a congressional candidate forum on the same day that my beloved cousin Anna Maria Gonzales would have her memorial service and burial. A beautiful Christian and prayer warrior (and what I considered a sister-cousin), our cousins, aunts and uncles, her daughter and her family, and relatives from Mexico all flew to El Paso to place the remains of our beloved Anna at the Chavez family plot. I attended the service, but rushed my parents to the cemetery and took them home so I could get my car and go to the union endorsement meeting numb with a hole in my heart. I served as a Public Action Organizer for the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), was a member of CWA-TSEU while in the legislature, and Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the UFW and prominent worker rights and civil right leader is my campaign treasurer for my congressional campaign. I considered it an obligation to respect my responsibility to attend any union meeting. But it served no purpose. The decision had been made and I missed special time with my family that I can never recuperate.

Instead of going to lunch with my family, I went home to prepare for the "Our Revolution" forum (and later discovered it was also a congressional candidate endorsement). I had to be composed and prepared to answer questions, without feelings or tears. Just be completely numb because I was a candidate? A forum from 7 pm to 9:30 pm? I will think twice before fearing saying "no" I cannot attend because my family comes first. I can never recover those hours with the exact family members present at my cousin's despedida lunch at Julio's, Grandpa Chavez favorite restaurant in Juarez (now in El Paso). Especially because the endorsement process of many organizations has lost it's power and respect and is corrupt. 

                                          To my dear friend Sergio Lewis, Candidate for County Commissioner Precint 2, my heartfealt condolences on the loss of your brother Erasmo "Al" Alfredo Lewis Jr. There is no endorsement meeting or candidate forum that matters. They will not restore your broken heart and your obligation is to your family because in the end, they are the ones who truly matter. It must be so difficult to be in another campaign and loose another family member. Put your faith in the Lord's timing and I pray for your family and brothers loved ones as your lay your brother to rest. The greatest endorsement we have is that of Father God, his Son, and the Holy Spirit to guide our path. 

The only endorsement that matters is from "we the people". Because we have always been the voice of the voiceless, never compromised our values for a favor or contributor, placed the opinion of the residents in Precinct 2 as sacred, and used their opinion to initiate public policy. 

Be strong. Be Sergio Lewis, public servant, not a rubber stamp or puppet and proudly honor your family obligation.

 

Posted on 15 Jan 2018, 2:36 - Category: Norma's journey to the steps of Congress



Why I decided to file for Congressional District 16

Dear friends, 
I'M IN !!! I decided to run for Congress to restore hope. The Republican agenda is determined to dismantle progress made under President Obama's leadership. Medicare and Medicaid could be the next target, and (DACA) or Dreamers may be used to build a wall along our neighbors to the South, Mexico. Women across America are filing in record numbers for congressional seats as congressmen continue to announce their retirement as sexual misconduct and assault allegations continue to be reported by brave women. We need to restore respect, trust and honor at the U.S. Capitol. Things are clearly out of control with sexual misconduct and assault at the workplace in Washington. I assure you I will be a strong voice against the mean spirited Republican agenda placed on the backs of the middle class and working class taxpayer and a strong advocate to ensure women are treated equal and in a safe environment against harrassment. 

I filed as a candidate for Congressional District 16, on the last day of filing at 4:47 PM (Mountain Standard Time). I arrived at about 4:31 PM, but I was fearful that 5 pm, would be 6 pm in Austin and my application would be late.  So I asked my Dad, my most loyal, dedicated and stronger parent at 84, to go with me. Norman and Norma filed. Norman for Precinct Chair, and I filed to be your next and first Congresswoman for Congressional District 16.

I hope to blog this historic occurence. There is so much to share. I have been asked "why did I wait so long"? I filed within the statutory timeframe published by the Secretary of State. Not late, on time. Although, some organizations have endorsed in my race, there are still endorsement opportunities as well as opportunities to engage voters through public debates, social media, and my favorite---knocking on your door and calling you personally.

I am the most qualified candidate to represent you in Congress. I have been a lawmaker. I have institutional knowledge of lawmaking. The Texas House of Representatives is a common first step to serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. And I have numerous colleagues that have already gone from the Texas House to the U.S. House.

Over the last seven years, I have had many things that have altered my life's perspective. A near death health issue, an emergency colostomy, an ostomy, a stoma and a bag attached to my stomach for six months, plus being relegated to home health for six months gave me an opportunity to reflect at the tremendous opportunities we are given in life. It was also a time that gave me an opportunity to renew my faith and spiritual self. My parents, in their tender years, had to cater to me. It wasn't supposed to be like that. Be assured that this life experience not only changed my perspective but gave me peace.

I am human. I'm not perfect. I have made mistakes. But not one misstep cost the taxpayer one penny. It may have cost me personally and politically but I assure you I have grown from all my experiences and will not repeat my mistakes. 

I have so many things to share and will utilize this blog to share the steps along the way.

Today, I need your support to restore public trust at our nations Capitol. I need your contribution to get my message out to voters in Congressional District 16. I would be honored to have your financial support and endorsement.  

Any contribution of $5, $10 to the maximum $2700 per election cycle will help me to get my message out to the voters of Congressional District 16.

Please go to my donation button.  I need your help to do this. Thank you for your support and friendship.

Until the next blog.

Norma Chavez

 

 

Posted on 16 Dec 2017, 3:45 - Category: Norma's journey to the steps of Congress



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