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Richie re-elected as TDP Chair, Two-Step survives

The first, Boyd Ritchie’s re-election as TDP Chair, was expected. The second was more unexpected.

Texas Democrats this afternoon overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to scrap the Texas Two-Step system of awarding presidential delegates through both a primary and caucuses.

Those pushing for change lost a preliminary fight in a rules committee meeting earlier today. But they had enough support to bring the matter to debate on the convention floor.

Some background is here, the Trib has a detailed writeup, and Bob Moser has more.

Also of interest yesterday was the new media panel (aside to Abby Rapoport – it’s Martha Griffin, not Grimes) and the speeches by downballot candidates. Stace, among others, has the prepared remarks of Lite Guv candidate Linda Chavez-Thompson; I have the speech given by Rep. Senfronia Thompson on behalf of Hank Gilbert, whose mother passed away on Thursday, beneath the fold. Martha, PDiddie and PDiddie again, The Texas Blue, John Coby, and Texas Politics have more.

Remarks of Rep. Senfronia Thompson – As Prepared for Delivery
Texas Democratic Convention
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Corpus Chrisiti, Texas

Good afternoon.

As many of you may have already heard, Mrs. Sybil Gilbert, the mother or my friend–and our party’s nominee for Agriculture Commissioner, Hank Gilbert–passed away on Thursday. I know that the thoughts and prayers of all Texas Democrats are with Hank and his family today.

I was originally going to introduce Hank to speak to you today. However, since Hank can’t be here with us, he asked me to address the assembled delegates of this convention on his behalf. It is my honor and privilege to do so.

Hank asked me to convey that he is proud to accept the Texas Democratic Party’s nomination for Agriculture Commissioner and that he will do everything in his power to retake this office from the Republican Rhinestone Cowboy who now occupies it and return it not just to the control of a Democrat, but to the people of the state of Texas.

Even though we don’t do much farming or ranching in my district in Houston, I recognize the importance of this office to the people of Texas, and that is why I strongly support Hank Gilbert.

Unlike our current commissioner, Hank realizes that the Texas Department of Agriculture is not just a stepping stone to higher office-but a tool to actually promote Texas Agriculture, improve Texas Agriculture, and-above all-protect the consumers of Texas.

Hank understands this because he’s worked in Agriculture most all of his life. He’s taught high school agriculture, and runs his own cattle operation up in East Texas near Tyler.

He’s seen the troubles that farmers and ranchers in Texas have to face, and that first inspired him to run for this office in 2006, when he came closer to winning than any other Democrat running for executive office that cycle.

He co-founded TURF, an organization dedicated to stopping the Trans-Texas Corridor and eminent domain abuses.

When Hank is our Agriculture Commissioner, food safety and consumer protection will again become a priority for the Texas Department of Agriculture. Under the reign of Rhinestone Cowboy Todd Staples, they have been anything but.

At least nine people died because Todd Staples didn’t do his job.

Nine people across this nation lost their lives because he was too busy worrying about his political future to pay attention to what was going on in his own department.

What kind of accountability is that?

What kind of accountability is it when Todd Staples spends thousands upon thousands of dollars from the summer nutrition program for fancy TV ads featuring himself?

How many hungry children could have been fed with those dollars?

What kind of accountability is it when Todd Staples ships off $3 million in stimulus money to a non-profit in Kentucky that has left a record of controversy, secrecy, and even accusations of lying to the federal government in its wake?

What kind of accountability is it when Todd Staples sits idly by as hundreds of of farm and ranch land across Texas is about to be seized by eminent domain to build a pipeline to transport oil sand infused with toxic chemicals to the Gulf Coast?

I’ll tell you what kind of accountability that is: That’s no accountability whatsoever.

As a matter of fact, there is a better word for it: it’s just plain sleazy.

In closing, I want to encourage each and every one of you to return home and spread the message that it is time for change at the Texas Department of Agriculture.

It’s time to end the reign of the Rhinestone Cowboy and send in a man who knows how to do the job.

Give ’em Hell, Hank, and let’s win in November!

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