Who will decide? DC power-brokers or the voters?

On Monday, I spoke to call out the establishment DC power-brokers who are trying to dictate who our nominee will be this year. I think it should be up to the voters of Texas 21 to make that decision.

Washington Democrats are trying to pick our candidate for us. And the candidate they’re pushing turns out to be a former Republican, now a corporate friendly executive who sits on the board of the most powerful conservative business group in Texas.

What a choice!

The Democratic Party must stand for something. We’re fighting for America’s future and for the soul of the Democratic Party. What I’m about to say is not easy and it may not get me elected, but it has to be said before it’s too late.

We have a chance to win in Texas 21 and usher in the change we so badly need in Washington. What good does it do to nominate and run a candidate who won’t fight for real reform?

It is common knowledge that Joseph Kopser is the candidate of the DC elite and insiders. They’ve turned on the money faucet for tens of thousands of dollars from DNC and DCCC donors, with more to come, and promoted him in Washington at every turn.  Yet Kopser’s politics can only be described as Republican-lite. That’s why not a single Democratic organization in Texas 21 has endorsed him.

The DC elites are backing Kopser two reasons. First, they don’t want candidates who might shake up the comfortable Washington system.  Second, they mistakenly believe that Republican Lite candidates are the safest choice to win votes.  Yet every election in recent years has shown that voters respond best to candidates who are authentic and promise real change.

Let’s be honest.  The Washington Democratic establishment has had a disastrous track record in recent years.  We’ve lost dozens of legislatures, governorships and congressional seats because of bad choices and weak candidates emanating from the center of money and influence in Washington.  The party is weaker than it’s been in decades, and America is saddled with Donald Trump.

Sadly, the same Washington insiders who made all those mistakes are still trying to force their timid, inadequate candidates on local Democrats. The choice is simple:  either the status quo from the top down or reform from the grassroots up. Texas Democrats want change, but the establishment keeps dishing out more of the same.

High paid consultants have put politically correct buzzwords in Kopser’s mouth, but local Democrats have not been fooled.  The evidence is pretty clear. He may be saying sweet words today, but we can’t believe Kopser.

Here’s how the San Antonio Express News described him:  “…a former Republican and business friendly centrist…” He’s called Ronald Reagan a hero, and he supports fracking.  This makes him an odd Democratic choice, but it gets worse.

You judge a man by the company he keeps. Kopser sits on the board of the Texas Association of Business, an organization that promotes itself as the most effective conservative business lobby in Texas. Just last week at a candidate forum in San Antonio, Kopser said he was proud to serve on the board of the TAB.

Well, the TAB’s record is nothing to be proud of.

  1. It opposes raising the minimum wage
  2. It supports charter schools and the use of public education funds at private schools.
  3. It opposes paid family leave.
  4. Its PAC has endorsed Ted Cruz, Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick.
  5. In the past legislative session, the TAB led the effort to oppose requiring insurance companies to cover 3-D mammograms, the most effective screening method for breast cancer.

When you are part of an organization that puts profits over women’s health, you have to ask why are you proud to lead it?

Kopser says the TAB opposed the reactionary bathroom bill in the last legislative session.  They did, but not for the same reasons you and I did. They said it was “bad for business.” It was not about human beings, it was about the bottom line.

But Kopser’s support of corporate control does not stop with the TAB. When Uber and Lyft spent $10 million dollars trying to overturn an Austin law that required fingerprint background checks for ride share drivers, Kopser supported these huge corporations’ efforts to rewrite local public safety rules.

Kopser’s campaign justifies his leadership in this conservative organization by saying “If you aren’t at the table, you are on the menu.” People are not meals to be gobbled up by corporate interests. Democrats do not represent our values by legitimizing an organization that actively hurts women’s health, public schools, and working families. If we cannot trust Joseph to stand up for us now, how can we trust he will stand for us in Congress?

I have been a Democrat all my life. From starting the Young Democrats at Highland Park High School to serving as the Executive Director of the Travis County Democratic Party, I played a role in the election of dozens of Democrats in Central Texas over the last two decades.

I am a Democrat because our party is a champion for those without power and wealth. We say America belongs to everyone regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. We believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and that we are stewards of the earth for our generation and those to come. We stand with workers who want to be paid a decent wage and immigrants searching for the American Dream. I cherish these values, and I believe the people we nominate for office should embody these principles.

While I see Joseph Kopser’s record as out of step with the Democratic Party, it should be up to the voters of the 21st District to decide, but we have Washington interests trying to put their finger on the scale this primary. DC power players are promoting Kopser’s candidacy because they think they know what’s best for us.

The American people are tired of a political system in Washington that co-ops our democratic process for powerful interests and insiders. I am here today to say we will not let the same DC machine that no longer works for America go unanswered.

I will fight for families who are struggling by making our first priority passing a $15 minimum wage, Medicare for All, and free college tuition at public schools. I will stand up the corruption by working to get corporate money out of elections and institute a 12-year term limit and a lifetime lobbying ban on members of Congress.

I am proud of the broad community support I have received to date, being endorsed by over 200 progressive community leaders throughout the district. I won’t be Washington’s guy. I’ll be your guy representing the people of Texas 21. So if you want a real Democrat who will fight for real change, I’m your man.