Breathe Politics

Some noticed I was commenting on both the President’s State of the Union Address and the Republican Party’s response on my Facebook Page. There’s a reason why I do this to some degree every year and it’s not to change minds in regards to politics but rather to engage in conversation.

I’ve learned this in debating politics in coffee shops and pubs around town; you don’t debate politics to win or to change opinions, rather you debate politics to seek knowledge and (at least for me) to encourage political action through conversation. We can vote and donate our time and money to a candidate or a cause we support, but one vote doesn’t make a difference. However when your one vote is canvassed with other like minded votes that makes a difference.

But even canvassing with other voters will not work, unless you’re unafraid to join the discussion at the coffeeshop, the pub, or the water cooler at work.

Where am I going?

On the Tumblr site I have been following up on the mishaps of the Bexar County Democratic Party and in particular its chair, Dan Ramos. While reading and then posting these articles I have been pondering my own place in local politics. Currently I sit as a Representative of the Poor on the Community Action Advisory Board. I am going to say you haven’t heard of such a position. I wouldn’t blame you if you haven’t, the work of CAAB and its elected Representatives of the Poor and other board members are way under the radar in San Antonio, Texas. This my twelve year on the board, and most likely my final year as well.

Where am I going after sitting on CAAB? I have been thinking about running for a seat on the Alamo Colleges Board of Trustees again. I ran for a seat last election, in 2006, and only got 20% of the vote. But I would like to believe that I have learned from past campaign mistakes and will be in a better position to run, if in fact that is what I want to do in 2012.

If I do make the move to run again, I would expect this site to change, as it has been my previous campaign website. You can also expect me to make more relevant use of social media networks, in particular Facebook and Twitter.

So, when will I make a decision on running? I expect at the earliest it would be later in May and at the latest sometime in November, 2011. The election for the Alamo Colleges Board of Trustees is in May 2012, after the Primary elections in March, so like last time I could expect this one to be another low turnout election, even if it is in the midst of what I expect to be a contentious presidential election year.

Signs are up

I have recently noticed that Elisa Chan‘s campaign has been putting up their campaign signs around the district. I would also note that the campaign website has been subtly updated to reflect her recently announced campaign. With this in mind I have begun to wonder what it would take for an underfunded and relatively unknown candidate to win an election over the better funded and known incumbent.

My first thought is making aggressive use of the internet through a website and social media to reach out to likely voters. But I have also thought that with a lack of money to match what someone with resources would do in a traditional “big money” campaign, how would a “no budget” candidate make use of netroots and grassroots kind of campaigning. These things do come to mind as I look at 2012 and the possibility of another run at the Alamo Colleges board of trustees.

Right now though are the municipal races for San Antonio and other smaller cities and districts in the area. Where I live, Elisa Chan is my city councilwoman and is running for reelection. She has drawn one opponent that I am aware of, Jose Valadez Jr., hopefully I will have more thoughts on his campaign.

No, I am not running…

With Cafe College as a backdrop this past Sunday, Mayor Julian Castro announced his bid to run for reelection as mayor of San Antonio. In his announcement, Mayor Castro laid out a pair of priorities for another prospective term of office. He called for the cause of educational readiness and the need to reorient San Antonio’s economic development model. Both of these priorities have been illustrated in the recent SA2020 initiative where citizens from throughout the city came together to lay out a common vision for San Antonio in the next ten years.

While it is certainly early to speculate if others will step up to run for mayor against the Castro. Lets remember it has only been a day since candidates for municipal elections can officially file for office. It would appear that the mayor will likely face only marginal opposition in the upcoming election. So far, there has been little if any discussion of major candidates stepping up to make their bids for mayor of San Antonio.

It is with Mayor Castor’s announcement that I look upon my own city council district here in town. City council member Elisa Chan has been touted for other political offices, from a possible opening in the state legislature, to a future run for mayor herself. In the meantime, she has held steady as my city council representative in district 10, which encompasses the north-central corridor of San Antonio. A conservative district, I have sometimes pondered how a liberal, such as myself, can hope to win a municipal race here.

I do have some political experience in this district, I serve as the area elected Representative of the Poor with the city of San Antonio. Despite holding an elected office, it is little known and does not get the type of attention that being a city council member would get. I do serve my community as best I can and do at times look onward at the city council someday. However someday is not now, I am not looking at a run for city council at this time.

I still find that it is difficult to articulate the importance of the issues at the center of my life and how those issues matter to this north central district. Issues such as poverty, community, and civic engagement seem to be beyond the scope of issues that would seem to matter to my district, even if I believe strongly that they are very meaningful to the economic and social well-being of our city as a whole and within the neighborhoods that I call home.

This is not to say that I am going to simply ignore the issues that matter right now, and not pay attention to the upcoming election in district 10. I do expect Elisa Chan to announce her own reelection campaign for city council, as well, I do not expect any serious contention for her seat at city hall. With that in mind, even if she runs unopposed, I will be closely following the issues that are at the center of my district and will blog on the upcoming campaigns and issues within my city council district.

What I expect from the SOTU

What are we going to take from the State of the Union address later tonight? President Obama will focus much of his address on four issues; the economy, foreign policy, education, and health care. Why these four issues? The state of our economy and our foreign relations would seem to be mainstays of any address considering the persistent, but improving economy, and the continual war on terrorism that is going on throughout much of the world.

The President will continue his support of the overall scope of the new changes in health coverage, changes Americans seem to overwhelmingly support, while opening a door for Congress to tweak and even change laws that are not as popular, like the health insurance mandate.  

This would leave education, which will be a major policy focus for the administration in the coming year. By addressing our education system, this will continue a trend of focusing on long term issues with our economy. Americans want greater access to health coverage for their families, and the White House delivered. Americans also sense a growing crisis in the way we educate our children, too many children are being left behind and this will greatly have an impact on our ability to compete for good jobs and expand an already shrinking middle class in the United States.

What happens tonight is a State of the Union address that shows a President willing and ready to work across both sides of Congress. Just don’t expect this address to introduce a president who moves fast to the center. While the President has no clear mandate from voters, he does have momentum that the Republicans do not have since the mid term elections. I would expect President Obama to use the address to set an agenda that will allow for vigorous debate, while still being able to move forward with what is necessary to continue the push to a stronger economy, the continued creation of good jobs, while allowing Congress to make serious inroads on our deficit and debt, without endangering our economic recovery.

Tonight’s State of the Union address is President Obama’s time to show that he is more than the leader of one political party and one set of ideals, but rather is a leader who will bring all of us together as we move forward as a nation.

State of the Union Party

All are invited to join BCYD as we watch our President deliver his 2nd State of the Union address.

The State of the Union is an annual address presented by the President of the United States to the United States Congress. The address not only reports on the condition of the nation but also allows the president to outline his legislative agenda (the office of the President does not have Constitutional power to enact legislation, only Congress can do this legally) and national priorities to Congress. (Written by Selena Keshav)

January 25 6:30pm-9:30pm
Broadway 50 50
9837 I-10 West – Colonnade
San Antonio, TX

This State of the Union party is close to my neck of the woods, so I thought I would drop by and visit with my Democratic friends and maybe even get a drink or two. Last year I was at a coffee shop, sitting in a couch watching the State of the Union on my iPhone via the White House app. This time, I’ll spend it with people I know. I will try to take a few notes on the speech, and even a few photos of the event and post them before I end my day.