Release: Left and Right Put Squeeze on Politics As Usual at Independent Texans Convention

Independent Texans, a citizen’s political action committee founded in 2001, is holding the first political convention for Texas independents.  The group is calling together an unlikely coalition, from tea party to green party and from all political parties, for their “Building Cross-Partisan Coalitions” convention to be held in Bastrop on Saturday, September 21st at the Bastrop Convention Center. The event is co-sponsored by ChangeAustin.org, Texas TURF, Texans for Accountable Government and Texas Pipeline Watch.

Linda Curtis, founder of Independent Texans, is known as a cross-partisan coalition builder that gets results. Independent Texans helped coordinate the electoral efforts to defeat the Trans-Texas Coordinator. Curtis, through ChangeAustin.org (co-founded by real estate developer and whistle-blower, Brian Rodgers) coordinated a broad coalition that won the recent monumental change in the City of Austin’s governance to single-member districts and the first citizen’s redistricting commission in Texas.

Curtis said, “This event is really about the guts and true grit of ordinary Texans who are standing up to the stampede of officials, from city to state, who refuse to lead the fight to protect our most precious resources — land and water — and our political rights to honest representation. Can we tame growing eminent domain abuse by pipelines, especially the three carrying tar sands in East Texas? Can we build a coalition to defeat Constitutional Amendment 6 — a water slush fund? Happy trails to Bastrop to all those who care to get some answers.”

The convention line up begins with Debra Medina. Medina rocked the Republican establishment in 2010 running against Perry and Hutchison in the primary and receiving 20% of the vote. Medina, now running for Comptroller in the Republican primary, will share the stage with her friend and tea party Republican Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview).  Simpson’s first name — David — is true to his spirit, having also taken on the Republican establishment, running against Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio). On the same panel is nationally known TransCanada/Keystone XL opponent and NE Texas farmer, Julia Trigg Crawford. Tom “Smitty” Smith, longtime leader of Public Citizen, rounds out the panel in a left-right coalition uniting for eminent domain reform and pipeline safety.

Independent Texans recently sent a letter to Lt. Governor Dewhurst and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus asking them to heed the call by Debra Medina, Julia Trigg Crawford and former Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Jim Hightower, urging an Interim Study and public hearings related to the dangers posed by three pipelines carrying diluted bitumen (tar sands) in East Texas. Dewhurst’s office response was that he is “very busy.”  Straus has had no response.

See letter to Dewhurst and Straus here:  http://www.indytexans.com/wp-content/uploads/Letter-Dewhurst-Straus.pd

The water issue will be prominent at this event and a key reason why the event is being held in Bastrop.  Bastrop is becoming known as the home of the Texas water wars on plans to move groundwater from rural counties to growth corridors. A debate will take place between proponents and opponents of Constitutional Amendment 6, the water amendment on the November ballot, after which a straw poll will be taken. Additional speakers are Calvin Tillman, former mayor of DISH, Alyssa Burgin, Texas Drought Project, Malcolm Harris, Esq. of Wimberley Valley Watershed Association, Michele Gangnes, Esq. of Neighbors for Neighbors and the Lost Pines Water Defense Fund, Rita Beving of Public Citizen, Barry Klein of the Houston Property Rights Association, Steve Box of Environmental Stewardship, Phil Cook of Sierra Club, Heather Fazio, Texans for Accountable Government, and leading members of Austinites for Geographic Representation.

See the convention agenda and most bios are here:  http://www.indytexans.com/convention/

Independent Texans will release a white paper on Constitutional Amendment 6 in the coming days.

For more information, call Linda Curtis at 512-535-0989 or email her at:  ljcurtis@indytexans.org.

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