For many, it may be hard to imagine Texas as anything but a red state, but when former governor Bill Clements took office in 1979, he was actually the first Republican to hold that office since 1874 when Edmund Davis stepped down. In fact, of the 47 governors in Texas history, 39 of them have been Democrats.
Saturday evening (Nov. 16), the Potter/Randall Democratic Club hosted a fundraiser at the American Legion Hall in Amarillo. They served dinner, gave speeches, and held a silent auction to generate revenue, enthusiasm, and unity for their party's efforts.
Democratic State Representative Yvonne Davis and former Speaker of the House Pete Laney were on hand, and they say conservative and Democratic values are not mutually exclusive.
"I think most Texans are conservative; I think that's true of Texas values that they tend to be conservative," said Davis. "I just don't like us being referred to as 'red' and 'blue' states, because that's kind of what the nationals do to us, but our issues are Texas issues."
"Most Democrats are fiscally conservative," said Laney. "Maybe a little more benevolent socially than other people are, but financially and fiscally, they're probably more conservative than some of the people that are running things now."
Rep. Davis says Texas Democrats and Texas Republicans are more alike than many might think, and share the common goals of state autonomy and higher moral standards.
"What I think most people are looking for in any government or any official is someone who's going to represent the values that they believe in," said Davis, "and I think Texas's struggle would never become like Washington, but maintaining our independence, and the things that are important that make Texas strong - I think those values are going to be more realized under a Democratic administration."
But no matter which way the political pendulum swings, if no one votes, the momentum is lost. Laney says voting is a right too often taken for granted, and voter apathy can stymie any social or political progress.
"When you've got six or seven percent of the people that'll go and vote on constitutional amendments and 15 or 20 percent is all that voted in the last elections," said Laney, "You know, sometimes you get the kind of government you don't vote for."
To learn more about the Democratic Party in Texas, Rep. Yvonne Davis, or Pete Laney, follow the links attached to this story.