Monday Night Politics: Meet the Candidates for State Representative District 100 and Dallas County Democratic Party Chair

MNP District 100
MNP District 100

 

By DIANE XAVIER

The Dallas Examiner

 

Monday Night Politics: Meet the Candidates, presented by The Dallas Examiner, concluded Feb. 24 at the African American Museum in Fair Park. It featured Democratic candidates running for State Representative District 100 and Dallas County Democratic Party Chair.

 

The forum kicked off with introductions from the state representative candidates: incumbent Lorraine Birabil, Paul Stafford, Daniel Clayton, Sandra Crenshaw and Jasmine Crockett. Crockett arrived late and only participated in the closing statements.

 

STAFFORD: I am an attorney and have been an attorney for 26 years here in Dallas. I’m a former prosecutor in two counties. I’m a former criminal defense attorney. I’ve worked for two corporate law offices. I’ve worked for two large firms. I’ve had my own firm for 10 years. I’ve been president of two Bars. I’m involved in more than two organizations outside of work. I’m on the board of the Boys and Girls club of Greater Dallas. I’ve also worked with Habitat for Humanity to build houses specifically in South Dallas.

 

The things that I mentioned at the end seemed to be what really matters in this race, your ability to talk about service and your advocacy in the community. When you go and work in a volunteer capacity – not go to jobs, not go to your law job or whatever job you have – but you give your time, your talent, your treasure to something that is important to you by mentoring kids in DISD or talking to folks who need a mentor at a boys and girls center or helping a family to be a homeowner or volunteering to get the vote out or making sure the legal protections related to election are sustained and not working in boiler rooms during elections for the past 20 years. Those are the things important to a lot of people I talked to. Along with having a real voice in the district. My parents were professors at Prairie View A&M and all of my degrees are from public schools. Very strong proponent of public schools. Very strong proponents of education generally.

 

BIRABIL: I am very proud to represent House District 100 in the state legislature. District 100 is the place I have called home for 20 years. It is the place my husband and I are raising our daughter. My background before being elected to the state legislature is I served in various capacities in the federal, state, and local level, helping connect constituents with resources. Whether that is through job fairs, small business workshops. And I think that is the reason why we have so much support. I am really happy to have the endorsement of Beto O’ Rourke, having the endorsement of commissioner John Wiley Price, Congressman Marc Veasey and County Judge Clay Jenkins, The Dallas AFL-CIO and many others. But that is not why I am running. I am running because I have a 10-month-old daughter who never got to meet her grandmother. Her grandmother died from metastatic breast cancer because she didn’t have access to care. And that was a direct result of Republican decisions in Austin. And that is why I am running. Not just for her, but for 1 million other Texans who should have access to healthcare but don’t. They earn too much to qualify but not enough to pay out-of-pocket. I’ve heard from the District and I believe we need a fighter. Someone who is not afraid to stand up and fight for our community. I’ve been on the front lines in voting rights, healthcare, education and a whole lot of other issues. One of the things that I did was I sued the state to make sure that every eligible voter had the right to vote and their vote counted. I want to make sure that every person who wants to vote can vote.

 

CLAYTON: Why am I running? I’m running because I come from a household of service. My father is a minister. My grandfather was a minister. And my mom is a nurse. So we gave back to our community in various ways. One of the ways we gave back was that my  mom served almost as if she was Obamacare for our community in East Texas. I went on to become an organizer. I worked for the Texas Democratic Party as a nationwide field director. I was the first African American to serve as an executive director for the Dallas County Democratic Party. I went on to work for State Sen. Royce West for seven years as a legislative aide. And I became the chief of staff for a state Rep. Tony Rose between that time. I also served as the North Texas Regional Director of Enroll America. I left my job with the state senate to take on that role because I learned that North Texas is and was the most uninsured region in the United States. So I took it upon myself to make a change in healthcare and in over the course of two years, organizing state, federal, and local governments, nonprofits and businesses, we signed over 400,000 families in healthcare. I’ve also started a social emotional learning program at my son’s school as a volunteer. I started a reading program of nine years at my son’s school as a volunteer recruiting the parents. Very involved in the community and I believe that the next elected official should be as involved in the community as they are in the campaign.

 

CRENSHAW: I’m considered the lobbyist for justice. I’m very blessed to be here. A lot of people are asking me, my friends and  my haters, why doesn’t she go somewhere else and sit down. That’s because I am going to be seeking life, liberty, and the pursuit of justice to the day I die. I’m not going to let these young folks run over me. And I’m not going to let them bury me alive. And that is for the rest of the senior citizens to live here. The rest of us to live here. The intent of the Constitution was to originally scheduled for the citizenry to serve in public service. It wasn’t intended for lawyers to go down there, because we got a little bit too many lawyers. Studies have shown that we have too many lawyers in this city. And the last two lawyers that we have, did very little for the people in this district, for the poor people in this district. I’ve won in all four city council districts, to give the candidates to understand what the rules are and try to do things that are in place. We have had too many children go to their parents go to jail and we have got to stop that.

 

The candidates then answered questions from the audience.

 

QUESTION: What do you believe are the three most important issues in the upcoming legislative session?

 

BIRABIL: I mentioned it earlier, but I feel like healthcare is my top priority. I feel like if people are not healthy, they can’t participate in many things and do all the things that make for a productive and happy life. Education is also a priority. I’m the only candidate in this race who actually has a plan to fully fund our public schools. Our state only audits 1% of businesses and many businesses, 99% of them are not being audited to remit their sales tax back to the states. So if we can make sure the schools are fully funded by remitting all of that sales tax back to the states, I think that would be a great step in the right direction. And finally voting rights. Voting rights is the gateway to every policy initiative that we want to see happen in our community. Since our vote is our voice it is truly critical. The last legislative session, the legislature rolled back some items in regards to voting rights and of course I will be working to repeal that.

 

CLAYTON: So again, I left a job with the state senate for seven years to pursue healthcare work. I still believe that it is the most important issue in Texas. We were able to get 400,000 people signed up for healthcare in North Texas but there is still over a million people left around the state that do not have their healthcare because the state of Texas did not expand Medicaid. Also, I have a plan to do that. I believe that we have to have a bipartisan effort to expand Medicaid in the state of Texas. There has been a lot of talk from some of our candidates that all we need to do is to win the House back. But that ignores the fact that we still have a Republican Governor, a Republican Lieutenant Governor and a Republican Speaker of the House. So we have to have bipartisan support and to bring in those rule, our representatives who are losing their hospitals or the hospitals on the verge of shutting down because we did not expand Medicaid.

 

STAFFORD: One, is the overarching thing which is to have a real voice in the legislature period. Have a real voice to talk about more than three issues in one minute. But to talk about education, House Bill 3, you are talking about legislative solutions $6.5 billion dollars went into House Bill 3, new money. That is a start to a long term public education funding strategic plan, a solution for public education. We can talk about Medicaid but that is not one of my top three because you know what until we take back the governor’s office, and we take back the House, we have to do with what we can do. We need to continue that funding. Second issue, we have 200 gun deaths in Dallas, a lot to be an issue. We need to address public safety, and reasonable gun control. Forty deaths in May is too many. Economic development is the third. This area has already been designated as an empowerment zone. We should capitalize on that with community involvement.

 

CRENSHAW: I’m the only candidate in this race who knows what’s for real. Crime is rampant in this community and it’s not the police’s fault. We have got to be for real. It is drugs in this community that is bothering us. Some of our children are addicted to drugs and we know who you are but sit in the legislature, you sit in the city council and you don’t do anything for drugs. So until drugs get out of our community, until we get a war on the drugs we are just whistling in the wind. The police chief job is to enforce the law but you are not going anywhere as long as you have drugs in this community.

 

Q: I would like to know what policies have you already pushed and advocated for and what results did you gain as a result of your specific advocacy in the legislature?

 

CLAYTON: So the policies I’m pushing for on the trail are connected to the work I have been doing in the community. So one of the things that I have been pushing for is to break the school to prison pipeline. The way that I propose that it is done is we start with a social emotional learning program to train students how to control their emotions and how to deescalate themselves and others. So that is very important. I think we can use that as a mechanism if we replace elementary and middle school punishment with social emotional learning at that level. Our students are learning trauma from their peers and at home they are acting it out in school. And so it is not that they are bad kids, it’s just that they are acting it out what they know. We also worked to secure the vote.

 

CRENSHAW: I’m called the lobbyist of justice because since 2008, I have been before the Texas legislature and lobbied people from all around the state. One of the most important things I have felt privileged is because I was in the food stamp place and the lady said she would not be able to get food stamps because she was on drugs. And I went to Helen Giddings and they told me no. So what our legislators need from us is for them to let us know what problems we are having out here. These attorneys who have never lived in the ghetto, they don’t know the problems that we suffer. And Dallas has the highest number of homeless people, the highest number of poverty and so we need a person who knows the District who knows our pain who can help us.

 

STAFFORD: I’m on the board of the Boys and Girls club of Greater Dallas. And that is one of the things I have specifically been asking and lobbying for is for additional funding for aftercare centers. For people to have a place to go and sometimes that is the only meal they sometimes get. It keeps them off the streets and sometimes they need a mentor. Sometimes that is the only technology that they get. So we need additional public funding for afterschool care. We need public funding for early childhood development aside from House Bill 3. On the crime front we do not need DPS patrolling the neighborhoods. They are not designed to patrol the neighborhoods they are designed to patrol the unincorporated rural areas, not neighborhoods. We need to make sure they are not in our neighborhoods. Third, Texas empowerment zones. We need something because the waivers that we give to legacy one left and other places you know what people get forced out of their communities when they have economic development in communities without those waivers because their property taxes go up so we need to make sure that there are protections for folks that have been here a long time to get the economic development that they deserve.

 

BIRABIL: During the last round of redistricting, I was very involved with the redistricting hearings, getting people involved with that and advocating for fair lines. Obviously the lines weren’t what we hoped. And so I ended up getting involved in lawsuits and sued over it. Same with voting rights. I started playing a strong role and got involved with the attorneys that were involved in that.

 

Q: Based on the need of the district, during the legislative season, what committees will you seek?

 

CRENSHAW: If you know anything about me, you know that I am a mental health advocate. You know I will be serving on the health and human services committee. The chair of that committee for several years was a gentleman who had mental illness. And he is known throughout the country and some of the efforts that people have done for Texas. I feel like I can add a lot to that. I would also prefer the historical and recreation committee with the state of Texas.

 

STAFFORD: … I would talk to whoever we are going to talk to about what committees we serve on because we serve on the pleasure of you and hopefully our Democratic speaker, because we need to turn that House and get those last seats. I want to be on education and I have a long history of education. My parents and grandparents were professors. I grew up in a historically Black college town. I teach part time. I am for public schools. My kids go to Booker T. I want to be on education. I am going to do what I am asked to do for the people. One thing about healthcare, I have met with Parkland and Childrens when they have community health centers here we need to increase public funding for those things as well because if the government doesn’t sign a Medicaid expansion bill, then we are not going to get the results that we want.

 

BIRABIL: The state has already appointed me to higher ed in urban affairs to finish out the work that Mayor Johnson just had finished out during the last session. Higher ed is obviously critical. Everyone here agrees that education is a priority and having had a plan to help pay for that. I definitely will aggressively be working on that committee to ensure that our education is fully funded and we can have a system of education where people cannot be necessarily be overburdened with student debt. One of the opportunities I want to look at and one of the problems for us to solve is that right now when students go to early college in DISD those 60 credits are not always counted toward a four year degree. So that means that those students will have to go to school for more than two years to complete their Bachelor’s Degree. So I am going to work aggressively on higher ed to make sure that is corrected. I’ve also been appointed to Urban Affairs.

 

CLAYTON: So when I worked for the chief of staff for state representative, I staffed Health and Human Services, Finance, which is very important because if you pass a bill but don’t get money for the bill, it is a mute point. I also staffed the Calendar’s. In terms of what I would ask for, I would ask to sit on Health and Human Services, I think that is very important because I worked case work for 10 years. I would also ask to sit on education that coincides with the work that I have done in social emotional learning and breaking the pipeline to prison. I would also ask to sit on Criminal Justice because of the work that I have done around the violence in District 100.

 

The candidates then provided their closing statements.

 

CRENSHAW: You know we’ve had the highest number of public corruption cases in the state of Texas in Dallas, Texas. State Bill 281 just reinforced that this country was founded by the right to criticize our government. And people ask all the time how come you know this was going on? How did you know that 5,000 cars were towed away. How did I find out that 15 girls were molested. How am I not knowing this? And it is because now the government has said we can now go to city council and we can call people out. I called John Wiley Price out just this last Tuesday because he wanted to get money out of the phone system. To charge our people $15 to deal. He was the only commissioner to vote against it to get one percent and so therefore I have run in all these four districts. I’ve tried to – for example the MLK Parade – I wanted all those people on that freshman council person to leave there to destroy a parade that was started by a Black male and when it was free.

 

When are we going to learn to know our history, learn that don’t just get on that council and do just you want to but know what has happened before? Know the changes that we have made in this district. Quit trying to reinvent the whole wheel and start doing things all over again. This is what I want to say to the public and I really want you to start paying attention to who you are voting for. There are so many red flags in this race. I know of only two, maybe three people in this race that have not already demonstrated all red flags, including not being in the district. That’s a red flag.

 

CLAYTON: So I think that it is important that we have people who have lived in the district and they have spent their time in the district and in different parts of the district. That understands district 100. I also think it is important that we have people who have policy ideas that are executable. I have an idea about breaking the pipeline to prison. I also have an idea on how to stop gentrification in South Dallas. Every two years we have constitutional elections where we freeze the taxes for seniors, for people who are veterans and for people who are disabled. I believe we can apply those same types of freezes not only to a person but to a geography. And if we can do that we can freeze taxes in areas like South Dallas and West Dallas so people aren’t forced out of their homes. That is a serious, serious issue. No one else has talked about this issue on the campaign trail because I live in South Dallas now.

 

I think it is important that we see all perspectives of the district. It is also important that we have someone with experience in the community. I’ve worked in education as a volunteer trying to make the change that I am looking to see for my children. And for the entire community. I’ve worked on gun violence issues in District 100. Spending time with community members so we could establish forums that address those issues and take those issues to the state. I also believe that it is important to have someone that has been in Austin and has worked on bills that have passed. I’ve worked on bills that have failed. I’ve worked on bills that have failed and then passed in later years and I know the process in Austin and I know how to get things done in that environment.

 

BIRABIL: I am truly honored to represent District 100. For me, this is really quite personal. This is not just a home, it is where my neighbors live. This id where we are all fighting for what matters in our community, that’s education, justice reform, healthcare and a whole list of other issues. I am deeply moved by what I heard on the campaign trail. The things that people want to see. In order for us to see any of those gains, we have to have an approach that has been proven to be successful. So for example, I am the only person in this race who has picked up support throughout the state.

 

When I was Beto’O Rourke’s outreach director in the last cycle, I helped flip seats. The reason why HB 3 was allowed to happen was because we picked up those seats. The last legislative session was so much better for us for our community that in many years past because we picked up those seats. So I am going to bring all of that experience to bear to make sure that we not only hold the seats that we picked up last time, but pick up at least nine more and elect the Democratic speaker we had for the first time in decades. That is the path we need to expand things such as healthcare, such as making sure that our comptroller’s office ensures that all the money that comes in through sales tax is remitted back to the states and our schools our fully funded. To make sure that we roll back some of the things that Republicans have done to curtail our voting rights. These are the things that we should be prioritizing and these are the things that we should be working on. I’m the only person in this race that has a proven track record of doing any of these things.

 

STAFFORD: I’m a father to three daughters, all public school kids. I’m a husband. I’m a product of college professors and I’m the grandkid of college professors. Education is important to me. I’m your neighbor, I care. I can build allies. We need allies. We can go down the road of talking about who has been here the longest.

 

This is not a contest of who has been here the longest. But you know what the issues that we are talking about have been here long and they are pervasive longer than we have been talking about who has been here the longest. Here is the real deal, 22% of the freshman that started in DISD, they are not going to graduate. I’ve volunteered in DISD for three decades. Our kids go to DISD, you know what, many are uninsured. That’s the real issue. Highest rate in the nation of kids and adults. We need to not only expand Medicaid but you need to talk to Parkland and Children’s and other local health providers to have clinics like we have in this part of the city. We need to address the fact that we have 200 gun deaths. And we need to impact the legislative solutions at a state and local level to address that. We need to actually use the Empowerment Zone that has already been designated to create communities based community impact economic development. Those are the real issues.

 

I can’t vote for you. I can’t make you say well I’m going to vote on issues already in progress. I was endorsed by the Progressive voters league. I can suggest to you that the issues that we have been talking about need to be addressed and you need to hold your representative accountable. This is a very critical year not just because of what all of us have been saying, but the census is being taken and the districts will be redrawn in the 2021 session. I ask for your vote and I respect your vote. I want to be your voice.

 

CROCKETT: I have spent my time at the polls. We need somebody who is going to work, No. 1. And I am the workhorse in this race. I am the only one that went out and got petitions to get on the ballot while everyone else  paid to get on the ballot. We need a fighter. This is a safe Democratic seat, so when everybody is talking about expansion of Medicaid and Medicare, we are all Democrats. I don’t know who’s going to fight for those things. But what you need is someone that is going to step up and be unafraid to go head to head with the Republicans to get what we need done.

 

This is a majority-minority district. When we talk about records, my records goes far past what you find on my website. You can google me and find out that I have been in this fight every time somebody wants to run for office they want to tell you what they are going to do. Some of us have already been doing it. This is me taking my advocacy to the next level and that is exactly what we need. It is time now to not just sitting there and playing just as sweet as pie. We need someone who is going to be just as loud as the Republicans are when it comes to helping their constituents. And that is me. You can visit my website, it is Jasminefor100.com. The things that I am really pushing for is I am the only female attorney that is in this race. And the only reason that that matters is because the job is to write the laws for the state of Texas.

 

There is only four city council members who have endorsed this race and three of those four have endorsed me and it is not because I worked for them. My endorsements came because they saw the hard work that I was doing in the streets every single day. That is what you all need. That is what this district needs, is someone that is going to do the work. As Democrats we can all agree that we want to fund education, and as Democrats I think we can all agree that we need to do something when it comes to our healthcare. And if we don’t have the votes we need somebody that is going to think outside the box and make sure we get it done. And that’s me.

 

The second forum featured candidates for the Dallas County Democratic Party Chair: incumbent Carol Donovan and Michelle Espinal-Embler.

 

ESPINAL-EMBLER: I am running for Dallas County Democratic Party Chair, which is a volunteer position. And it is a thankless job and all of these things because my life depends on it, just as you know your life depends on it. Getting Democrats elected, not only during the election cycle, but for an entire generation is our only safeguard to protecting our rights and increasing our access to the things that we deserve that are human rights. I am prepared to fight for our lives. Because I know what is at stake. And I have done it. I have been fighting for a very long time. I started my career in politics as a volunteer when I was 14 years old in training for racial equality. I then went to become one of the youngest interns in American history for a U.S. Senator working for Hillary Clinton in the state of New York. Most of you have recognized me because I spend all of my free time that is not with my family in South Dallas advocating for the rights and needs of our community. I serve on the board of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center now in my second year appointed by two different council people. Last year, I served as Adam Bazaldua’s campaign manager and I think we can all agree that it ended up being a big win for the community. I am here and I understand what our needs are and like I said, I am prepared to fight.

 

DONOVAN: I am your Dallas County Democratic Party Chair. During my four and a half years as your chair, I have raised over $2 million for the Democratic party. In addition to that, we have made Dallas County bluer. Just take this last election season for example. In 2018, we run back a congressional seat. We run back a state senate seat, and we run back the District Attorney’s seat. And then we won every single Fifth Court Of Appeals position on the ballot. We’ve won 12 to 14 state representatives seats and to top it off, we won every county wide race in Dallas County. Now that is a winning record. And I’m asking you to keep me here so that I can win with the Democratic Party in 2020. I have been endorsed by the Black Pastors Association. I have been endorsed by Commissioner John Wiley Price. I have been endorsed by Omar Jimenez and I have been endorsed by every Democratic club in the county of Dallas that endorses. So I think that is important for you to know that I am not just winning with the Democratic Party, I have proven my record and these people know I will do the job.

 

The candidates then answered questions.

 

Question: If elected or reelected, what would be your three key priorities while in office?

 

DONOVAN: You know a lot of people don’t understand that the Dallas County Democratic Party is not an advocacy job, it’s not like the state representatives. It’s not like the state senate. It’s basically an administrative job which requires a lot of strategy and a lot of experience. Now I can tell you based on my four and a half years, that I’ve already served that one of my priorities is to get the party even more diverse than it already is. We founded during my administration a community council that has representatives from every possible constituency you can find. That committee has been very helpful in us not only recruiting people of different faiths and race and philosophy, but it also has been very important in getting those folks involved in specific projects. And if I was to name two others I would say I would put together a fundraising council and another council for the coordinating campaign.

 

ESPINAL-EMBLER: I do not accept rules being defined by how someone else has defined them. I believe that the role of the Democratic Party period, is to advocate for the voters that support and maintain the Democratic party. In terms of my priorities, one is we must incorporate more women and minority owned vendors being the output of what the party does. Like Carol said, she raised $2 million. Where has any of that money gone – to any women or minority owned business period? It is not. That’s a problem. Secondly, we need to prepare for the future. We need to recruit and prepare candidates, campaign workers and volunteers. And lastly, we need to win in 2020 and that only  happens with someone who is willing to block walk 12 hours a day. And you remember I did it when I was nine months pregnant.

 

Q: Now before  you got in office, I have been requesting that when it comes to the coordinated campaign, a person is being hired to get out the vote throughout Dallas County. Why is it being posted so everyone has the opportunity to apply for that position?

 

ESPINAL-EMBLER: So this is a big issue to me. I believe in fair bidding period, regardless of what it’s for. A lot of you might remember my mother, who really led the charge on the fair bidding process for Fair Park so this is in my blood. Fighting for transparency and accountability and justice is just part of my makeup and it is absolutely something that is required for the Democratic Party because if we are the party of diversity and inclusion and living wage and all of these other beautiful progressive thoughts, we have to live it. Otherwise, it’s just lip service. And I am sick of lip service. I’m sick of people promising me for things and not giving back to my community and part of that is required to reinvest. We have one of the best consultants in the Southern Sector a mile from here and he has never seen a bid for this.

 

DONOVAN: I want to correct something and I don’t think Michelle is intentionally misrepresenting. She’s just never been involved in the Dallas County Democratic party. And she has never supported the Dallas County Democratic Party. Not even a dime. First of all, that statement that we never support women vendors and minority vendors. That is untrue. And if anybody wants to know how that over $2 million that I raised was spent, you simply go to the Texas Ethics Commission online and you can see every penny that the Democratic Party spent. Now with regard to bids, I certainly do take costs into consideration. I do look at what consultants cost. Do you think President Barack Obama when he hired David Axelrod and said oh good, he is the lowest bid. No. You don’t hire political consultants based on the lowest bid. You hire political consultants because they win.

 

Q: I went on the Democratic website and it talked about the precinct chairs responsibilities. We always have a low voter turnout. What do you all have in place, because we have precinct chairs occupying this space name out there and not working the precinct. You can’t fault the Democratic party. What can you all put in place by measure after so many years they need to automatically be brought down cause they are not helping the party at all themselves?

 

DONOVAN: I know this is a complaint. Does anybody who is putting out a lot of work resent the fact that other people are not putting out as much work. Well precinct chairs are elected officials. And the way you get them out is you vote them out of office. Now evidently is someone is there year after year, the people in that precinct might like that person a lot or they really don’t want to be the precinct chair in that precinct. But the numbers have changed. We had the biggest turnout in 2018 that we ever have experienced and what we have now in this election already, with the early voting results that we have, we already know that it is almost 50% higher amongst the Democratic voters than it was in the last Presidential election. So we are doing something right.

 

ESPINAL-EMBLER: So, I think that precinct chairs deserve the benefit of the doubt. I think that it is a volunteer position. Most precinct chairs are spending money out of their own pockets to do whatever work they can do and so if you are not doing enough it’s a lack of leadership and a lack of direction. I genuinely believe that if someone who signs up to volunteer for a position has the resources they need to execute that, they will do it. I can’t imagine if someone who signs up to be a precinct chair without doing the actual best that they could. But there is an incredible lack of support  and incredible lack of leadership that exists. I have spoken to over 300 precinct chairs in Dallas County and they just don’t have the resources that they need.

 

The candidates then provided their closing statements.

 

DONOVAN: A lot of times people assume that the candidates don’t like their opponents. I just want to tell you that that is not the case here. I like Michelle. I think she is an attractive, articulate candidate. I think that she is a leader. The problem here is that Michelle has never rolled up her sleeves and done the work for the Dallas County Democratic Party. And for her to tell you that she should somehow get credit for managing a City Council campaign over here or being involved in some organization over here, I mean that doesn’t even make sense. That would mean like me saying hey I did volunteer work for the Red Cross, now I want to be head of the Dallas County Democratic Party. And another thing, if someone was to walk in on any of your organizations, never having seen them before and never having been involved before, and then for them to say to her, “I want to be your president,” that is not going to go over and I ask that you don’t let it go over here.

 

Now, if according to the rules the Texas Democratic Party, if Michelle gets elected as Dallas County Democratic Party, she officially takes office in June, five months before the 2020 general election. Which means that she would have to come up to speed in five months for everything I already know. If you elect me, there is no gap in office for your care. If you elect me, I will work for you for free continuously through the November elections and afterwards. And I tell you what, 2020 is the most important election of our lives. This is not the time to switch horses particularly when we are doing such a great job for you.

 

ESPINAL-EMBLER: I am a servant. I have dedicated every single moment of available time in my life to be of service. This is what I care about. This is what I am driven to do. I am not seeking this for some accolades or title or for a position. You have never heard my opponent say why she wants this. I know why I want this. Like I said, I don’t trust what is happening currently. I think there is a lack of leadership. There is a lack of transparency and there is a lack of care for the future. My life is at stake. Your life is at stake. We need a fighter. We need someone who understands that we have a voice and that we deserve a voice.

 

And to say that I have not been involved in the party is really disingenuous. I served on the board of the Dallas County Young Democrats for three years, during which time we never got any institutional support. But the moment I started saying that, we have gotten institutional support in this cycle. I know that in order for us to meet our goal in 2020 of changing the horse in the race, because that is what we all hear about in 2020 is we want to change who the occupant in the White House is and that is all that matters in immediate foresight. In order to do that, we have to get big and we have to get bold. And we have to fight for it. I am prepared to fight for each and every one of you to make sure that that happens.

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