Texas PAC Hopes March Momentum Inspires More Women to Run for Office

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJanuary 24, 2017 11:04 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Tens of thousands of people around Texas – from Amarillo and Alpine to Houston and Austin – turned out for Women’s Marches over the weekend. The goal of the marches, according to the national organizers was to – quote – “send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office that women’s rights are human rights.”

But Patsy Woods Martin says that protesting and marching is just the first step.

“We are going to ask women to take that next step, which is to vote, to stand up and run for office and to serve so that their progressive values can be turned into policy that will change lives across the state,” she says. 

Martin is the executive director of Annie’s List, a political action committee that has been working to get Democratic women elected in Texas since 2003.

“We have training opportunities for women in Bexar County, in Harris County, in Galveston County, in Fort Bend, in the Dallas County area, and in the Tarrant county area, for folks who want to know what it means to run a campaign for a local office,” she says. “Because there are elections happening in May in all of those areas – we already will be there to help people understand what it means to run for office.” 

Given how many women turned out for Saturday’s marches across Texas, I wondered: Is Martin expecting more women to consider running for office under the Trump administration?

“I am, and I’m seeing it already since the 1st of the year, since I’ve been in Dallas, and Tarrant, and Palo Pinto counties, for example, women are standing up and saying I’m ready, I can’t sit on the sidelines anymore,” Martin says. “And I’m ready to do something about the failed policies we have in Texas.”

Annie’s List says they have helped over 100 women with progressive stances – like supporting abortion rights, and improved public education for all kids – get elected in Texas.

A new working group of state Senators will be looking for ways to restructure the Texas school finance system. State Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson says the Texas Supreme Court has given lawmakers a rare opportunity to revamp the system.

“Nothing is off the table, we’re going to look at this as if you could devise the best school finance system in today’s world what would it look like,” Nelson says. 

Last year, the Texas Supreme Court ruled the school funding system in the state was constitutional but that it needed to be improved.

Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are headlining a rally at the Capitol today for so-called “school choice.” Thousands are expected to turn out for the event aimed at advocating for parents to be able to use public funds to potentially send their kids to private school.