Wise Women Won't Wait Any More

Wise Women Won't Wait Any More

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Turning out more Democratic Voters in East Texas is critical for Dems to win statewide races

Help East TX Trio Turn Texas Blue: McKellar, Brannon & Layton

By Faith Chatham - May 10, 2018

Bill Brannon, Shirley Layton and Shirley McKellar are three Democrats who are building political infrastructure in part of the Lone Star State which had been abandoned to the Republicans for decades. The poverty rate has escalated during the tenures of multi-term small government Tea Party Republicans incumbent to the point that currently at least 30% of the households in this region live below the poverty line.

It takes hard work, persistence, and rebuilding to change out these seats. It takes hard core dedicated Democratic candidates on the campaign trail proclaiming common sense people focused messages. All three of these candidates have deep ties in their communities and are know for community services.

We cannot win statewide up ticket races without closing the gap between the number of Democratic and Republican voters in these hard to win districts.

The districts of these three Democratic Nominees are all located in the Piney Woods Region of East Texas. Dr Shirley McKellar is challenging Tea Party Freedom Caucus US Rep Louie Gohmert for the US TX 1st Seat in the US Congress.

Former Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Bill Brannon is challenging Republican Dan Flynn for the 2nd District Seat in the Texas State House of Representatives.

Former Angelina County Democratic Chair Shirley Layton is challenging Texas State Senator (Rep) Bob Nichols for the Texas State Senate 3rd District seat.

We cannot win top of the ticket statewide races without closing the gap more in our hardest to win Districts.

They need gasoline money to travel through their large districts They need money for flyers and phone banks to get our Democratic Message to people who have not been exposed to many Democrats on their ballots for much too long. They need help to continue building the political infrastructure necessary to attract Democratic voters.

These are warriors who are fighting against formidable opponents in a red part of the state. Every voter they are able to inspire gives our statewide ticket a greater opportunity of winning in November. We cannot win state wide races if we continue to refuse to support candidates who fight for us in the hardest to win areas.

Please give what you can afford to fill their gas tanks and to keep them stocked with push cards for volunteers to distribute to voters who have not heard our message.

Use this link to have your donation split between these three East Texas Candidates. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/etdem18

If you prefer to give everything to one and/or nothing to one and split it between the other two, you can use this link and click on the "Allocate my donation differently" link about the $amount on the form. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Jan McDowell CPA is a better choice for North Texas than Marchant

By Faith Chatham - May 9, 2018

Jan brings her acumen as a CPA to the floor as she fights for every human being in this country.  About Taxes she says: “Taxes: Income is income. There should not be rules favoring capital gains income (typically earned by the wealthy) over ordinary income (your paycheck, or small business profit).

She knows what we need.

On Social Security she says: “Social Security: It’s a safety net lifting 14.7 million elderly Americans out of poverty. Benefits are earned through a lifetime of work. While life expectancy has increased dramatically, the very people who are most dependent on Social Security benefits are also more likely to be working in occupations that make it difficult to continue working into their later years. So an increase in the retirement age is not the answer. Raising or eliminating the wage cap for the Social Security tax, as has been done for the Medicare tax, is what I would support. Also, applying the Social Security tax to income currently labeled “capital gains income” would net a huge inflow of funding into the program.

She views immigration from both the economic and human perspective.

 No human is illegal. Yes, it’s important to protect safety, which means deporting people convicted of felonies. But we are all immigrants, and the diverse tapestry of America is made better by the contributions of all. Our economy depends on the work being done by all. Our safety relies on people being confident that they can report information to law enforcement without fear for their own safety.

She is forward thinking and knows the importance of addressing the changes in the international and domestic economy.
“It’s time for a new national goal: to become a nation powered by sustainable, renewable sources rather than by fossil fuels. In the 1800s, we strove to build the Transcontinental Railroad, and in the 1960s we took pride in a national effort to put a man on the moon. This new goal must be what we rally around in the 21st century.”
She knows we must prioritize creating new jobs and advancing new frontier to grow our national economy and give this and future generations jobs with a future.
Jan says: “As we encourage STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, our clean energy revolution will provide the millions of new jobs to put those STEM graduates into great careers.”
She recognizes that we all live together and depend upon our planet. Jan McDowell is a realist She recognizes the pitfalls of deregulation or self-regulation.
 “Protections safeguarding our planet have a higher priority than the ability of a corporation to make ever bigger profits.
She values fairness and equality.

ALL citizens of our country deserve protection and equal treatment in all areas of life. If non-discrimination laws do not adequately identify a particular group to be protected, then the designation must be broadened to cover them. Regardless of Age, Gender, Ethnicity, Religion, Sexuality, ALL means ALL.
Jan McDowell will be good for District 24 and she will be good for all Texans. In Congress, her vote will benefit all Americans.
Help send a common-sense, compassionate CPA who will weigh the impact of legislation before she votes to Congress.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Women Nominees in 11 of the 15 most competitive Texas House Districts

By Faith Chatham - May 5, 2018
Women won the Democratic Party's nomination for Texas House in 11 out of the 15 districts where GOP incumbents are the most vulnerable. The nominees in two of these districts (47 and 23) will be decided in the Democratic Primary Run-off on May 22nd. Both run-off candidates in each of these districts are women.

House District 105 ranks as No. 1. Attorney, Civil Rights activist Terry Meza won the nomination and will face the state's most vulnerable Republican Incumbent (Rodney Anderson) in November. Meza is a former public school teacher, and will fight to fix the state's broken public education financing.

Texas slashed the public school budget several sessions ago.  Many teaching positions were slashed and more students were crammed into the classroom. The state does not adequately fund the Teacher's Retirement and only contributes a meager $75 a month toward the escalating health care medical insurance premium. Deductibles have escalated rapidly and many teachers cannot afford to use their health insurance. The State Legislature continues to "kick the can down the road" instead of addressing the tough questions of how to revamp the State's tax code to give equitable tax relief to residential property owners and adequately fund public education. The Lt. Governor and Freedom Caucus demand that school choice (tax credits for private school tuition) is a a prerequisite for considering the complexities of school financing.

Meza prioritizes education, and will help offset the stranglehold of the Freedom Caucus.   Contribute to Meza's campaign  /

 House District 134 - R. Incumbent Sarah. Davis is ranked as the second most vulnerable Republican incumbent. She will face Democratic Nominee  Allison Lami Sawyer in November. This district ranks as the 6th most Democratic on the Partisan Index. It led the state in having the most voters for Hillary Clinton in 2016.  The Houston Chronicle Editorial Board wrote: "Democrats in this race have a qualified and impressive alternative in Allison Lami Sawyer."

"Sawyer says Davis voted for the big state school funding cuts that have caused property taxes to soar and was a sponsor last session for SB4 — the so-called "show me your papers" bill — as well as the Blue Tarp bill, which made it harder to receive just compensation from insurance companies after Hurricane Harvey." 

Sawyer is a business woman who earned her MBA from Rice. She runs an international business which uses "Optics to detect gas leaks at oil and gas installations in the USA and abroad."  The 134th  district includes Rice University and the Texas Medical Center 

 To donate to Allison: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/134sawyer

House District 102 - R - Incumbent Koop is ranked as the 3rd most vulnerable GOP Incumbent in the Texas House. This district is ranked 2th in Partisan Index (most Democratic) and is 4th as the Republican district having the lowest number votes cast for Donald Trump in 2016.  Ana-Maria Ramos is the Democratic Nominee.

Ana-Maria is an attorney, professor and strong advocate for school safety and public education. She prioritizes the safety of school children and denounces the intrusion of the NRA into school politics. She pledges not to place loyalty to the NRA above the safety of our school children.

The Texas Legislature has cut back on school funding and placed the future of this generation in peril. The current House refuses to address the tough questions and find equitable ways to fund public education. Ana-Maria will prioritize education, affordable health care.  Her son is a public school student and her daughter is a Science Teacher who teaches in the Dallas Independent School District. She will be a good match for this North Dallas district which is bounded on the South by LBJ and which also includes Garland, Addison and Richardson.

House District 136 ties with District 113 for the 4th most likely district to go blue. R incumbent Dale will face Democratic Nominee John H. Bucy III in November in a district which is ranked the 4th most Democratic district of districts with GvOP incumbents and as 7th with the lowest number of voters for Donald Trump in '16.

House District 113 - An Open Seat (R Burkett) iis ranked as tied with District 52 for the 5th most likely seat for a Democrat to claim in 2018.  Rhetta Andrews Bowers is the Democratic Nominee. This district is ranked as 3rd on the Partisan Index (3rd most Democratic) and was ranked 11th in the seats controlled by Republicans with the fewest voters for Trump.

House District 52 - An open district which was represented by R. Gonzales is tied with District 113   as the 5th most likely district to go blue. The Democratic Nominee is James Talarico. This district is the 7th most Democratic on the Partisan Index and ranked 8th in the lowest number of voters for Trump in '16/

House District 114 is an open district and is ranked  as the 6rh Most Vulnerable Texas State House District for a GOP Candidate to win., The Democratic nominee is John Turner. This district ranks had the third fewest vote for Trump in '16 and ranks as the 13th most Democratic out of the top 15 Republican controlled Texas House Seats.

House District 115 - R Incumbent Rinaldi is ranked as the Republican incumbent who is the 7th most likely to lose his seat to his Democratic opponent in November. The Democratic Nominee is Julie Johnson.

 It is surprising to see Carrollton included in a district where the Republican incumbent is ranked as vulnerable. Multi-term GOP incumbent Rinaldi is ranked as the 7th most vulnerable Republican in the Texas House of Representatives.

In 2016, this district ranked 5th in having the fewest votes cast for Donald Trump and  is currently ranked as the 9th most Democratic district in the Texas House on the partisan index. The Democratic Nominee is Carrollton attorney Julie Johnson.  Julie is a solid pro-public education advocate and is needed in Austin to help break the stranglehold of the Freedom Caucus.  To learn more about Julie Johnson: https://www.juliejohnsonfortexas.com/

House District 43 - Four term R Incumbent Lozano is ranked as the 9th most vulnerable Republican in the Texas House. He will face Democratic Nominee  Dee Ann Torres Miller in the General Election. This district ranks as the second most Democratic on the Partisan Index, Torres is an attorney who practices law in partnership with her brother in Corpus Christi.

House District 47 - This is a central Texas Austin area swing district which was drawn to favor conservative candidates. This year R incumbent Workman is ranked as the 10th most vulnerable Republican in the Texas House. Democratic business woman Vikki Goodwin faces Elaina Fowler in a May 22nd Run-off for the Democratic Nomination. This district ranked 9th in having the fewest votes cast for Trump and is the 11th most Democratic on the partisan index. To donate to Vikki Goodwin https://secure.actblue.com/donate/47goodwin

House District 112 - R incumbent Chen Button is ranked as the 11th most vulnerable Republican in the Texas House. This district ranks as the 12th most Democratic on the Partisan Index and was tenth in having the most votes cast against Donald Trump. Button will face Democratic Nominee Brandy K. Chambers in the General Election

House District 108 - R Meyer is ranked as the 12th most vulnerable member of the GOP delegation the Texas House. This district ranked 6th in having the fewest votes cast for Donald Trump. The Democratic Nominee is Joanna Cattanach.

House District 23 - An open district (R- Faircloth) is ranked as the 13th most likely Republican seat to go Blue in 2018. The Democratic Nominee is Amanda Jamrok. This district is the 10th most Democratic on the partisan index.

House District 45 - An open district (R- (Isaac) is ranked as the 14th most likely red seat to go blue in 2018.  It is the 8th most Democratic on the Partisan Index. Rebecca Bell-Metereau faces Erin Zwiener in the May 22nd Democratic Primary Run-off for the Democratic Nomination.

House District 138 - Incumbent Bohc is ranked as the 15th most vulnerable Republican in the Texas House. The district was 12th in having the least votes cast for Donald Trump. The Democratic Nominee is Adam Milasincic.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Saluting the WASP - Women Air Service Pilots

By Faith Chatham - April 27, 201

During WWII, the U S Air Force recruited female licensed commercial pilots to fly cargo. Their missions were described as "short of combat." Male pilots were hesitant to fly the B-29. The Air Force brought in women pilots and trained them in two days to fly the large, complicated B-29. The male pilots are reported to have been "shamed" . Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas was a major training field for WWII WASPs. There were bases in many states in the USA. These women pilots were stations at air bases in Texas.

Twenty-eight experienced women pilots were recruited initially, in 1942. Between November 1942 and December 1944, an additional 1,074 women were recruited and trained to fly. Initially they were trained in Houston; then the training field was move to Sweetwater,, Texas. The women pilots flew every aircraft in the US aviation inventory. In subsequent posts I will list pilots stationed in other states.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Why do voters like Mary Wilson?

By Faith Chatham - April 23, 2018
More voters in Texas’ District 21 chose a woman who has always actively served people than any of the slicker, better financed candidates for Congress.

How shocking! The majority of the votes in the primary went not to the candidates with the most money or slickest campaign, but to Mary S. Wilson, a woman known in the community for serving people!
In a 4-way contested primary, she received 30.90% of the vote. She faces Joseph Kosper (20.3%) in a May 22nd Run-off for the Democratic Nomination for the open U.S. 21st District's Congressional seat being vacated by Lamar Smith.  This district includes part of Austin and San Antonio and many small towns in between, and runs west to Kerrville..
Why do folks like Mary Wilson?
She is a true progressive.
There is nothing Republican-lite about her. She has always worked for social justice. She has always lend a hand when folks needed one in whatever way she was able. She has always said people not having health care in a society such as ours, is stupid and unacceptable. She has always extended a welcoming hand to people, without classifying them superior or inferior according to immigration status, race, or the size of their bank accounts.
People in the District know what she stands for because they have seen her live it for years.
She is trusted to serve people in Washington because she always serves people here at home..
I like her because she is the absolute opposite of the man who currently occupies that seat. Give what you can.
She knows how to stretch resources. Investing in her campaign is a demonstration that we believe that decency and kindness has value, that society can work for everybody, that pushing others down to make a buck is not the ideals we choose to live by.
Never heard of her? Neither had the Texas Observer
Learn more by visiting her website.

She faces Joseph Kopser,, a former Republican, in the May 22nd Run-off. 

In a district surgically gerrymandered to favor Republican candidates, it is doubtful that Mr. Kopser can pull out a sufficient progressive base in November to defeat a Republican nominee. Why should a Republican vote for a "moderate Democrat"? They have choices within their own party whose positions lean toward the middle. Granted, moderates rarely win, because they have moderates of their own, should they favor them.

It will be an uphill battle for any Democrat running in that District. Mary Wilson has several things going for her: 1) Deep ties in the community. 2) Appeal to progressives who are mobilized in Texas this year, unlike previous election cycles. 3). She is a woman. For the first time, it is an advantage to be a Democratic woman running for Congress in Texas.  
Texas has Congressional candidates running in all 36 US House Districts this year Many districts, where GOP incumbents previously ran unopposed in the General Election, had contested Democratic Primaries. In every District where a woman was on the ballot for US Congress, the woman either won the Democratic Nomination without a run-off, or is one of the candidates in the run-off. In some districts where there were several men and two women candidates, the women are in the run-off. 

Texas US House candidates running in GOP controlled districts in Texas are raising money this year. Even the candidates with the smallest war chest have surpassed  most of the 2014 and 2016 Democratic Nominees's entire Primary and General Election fundraising totals combined already this year. For the first time in decades, we saw several US House challengers running in red districts raise $200,000 before the first of the year.
US Senate candidate, Beto O'Rourke is outraising GOP incumbent Ted Cruz!

More money was donated to Democratic candidates running in the District 21 Primary this year than has occurred in decades. Mary Wilson was third from the bottom in fundraising. Derrick Crow raised $177,695 and Joseph Kosper raise over a million. However, despite his war chest, the voters were not that greatly impressed with him.  
Now that Wilson has astounded herself, and most District 21 watchers, with her incredible 30.2% turnout with a cost per vote of $3.25 compared to her closest competitor's (Kosper) cost per vote of  $6.76 per vote, and she has made the Run-off, her financial prospects have significantly improved.
Derrick Crow spent $8.52 per vote. It is probable that now that Crow and others are out of the race, Wilson's fundraising will pick up. Donors rarely flock to candidate's unless they anticipate that they will be the front runner. If she comes through the Run-off on top, her "underdog not expected to win but did" momentum will probably capture volunteers, and some donors.

A Democrat does not have to match a Republican dollar for dollar to win. One has to run in a campaign cycle when voters are inspired to turn out, and to be able to appeal to the electorate. Mary Wilson has demonstrated that she has voter appeal.  More voters, candidates and activists are engaged in Texas this year than I have witnessed in my many years of political activism. Many are young people who are more progressive than the old "norm" for Texas voters. A candidate needs enough money to let the voters know she is in the race and has positions which work for them.

There is more than a Donald Trump factor at play in the Lone Star State. Texas activists were engaged in the Hillary Clinton campaign and propelled her to within 8 points of carrying the state, with the national Hillary campaign devoting  little leadership or investment into Texas. Hillary supporters organized themselves, acquired their own Hillary swag and yard signs, raised money for her campaign and defied the pundits to shut them down despite the tired old talking points of "how unenthusiastic" people were about her. In Texas, her supporters were determined and prepared to turn out the state for her, with or without resources from the national party. Experience gained during the 2016 General Election, when Texans astounded the nation by being "in play", despite being discounted by many within, and outside of the state, has created an army of experienced GOTV activists who are engaging more to join their ranks in 2018. 
In 2017, the largest number of demonstrators in the history of the state, turned out in Austin for the Women's March. In 2018, the number was less in Austin, but statewide participation in the Women's Marches in cities and towns throughout the state probably exceeded the number who marched in Austin in 2017. The movement moved from the State Capitol into communities all over the Lone Star State.
There is a saying: "Beware of a pissed off woman" In Texas the climate of oppression,  attacks on women's health care, decades of the state refusing to fund rape kits processing, cuts to teachers pay, escalating health insurance premiums for teachers, and Republicans voting down equal pay for equal work on April 9, 2014, and shootings in schools and other venues, has been bringing formerly passive women to the streets.

 Trump was merely the match that lit an already smoldering fuse among women in Texas. We are seeing women step out to run for office in record numbers on the Democratic ticket. We are seeing donors give to women this year, and in many instances giving more than they gave to men running for the same offices in previous election cycles, or who are running against them this year.. 
I will not predict the outcome of the US Texas 21st District race. This is by no means a "normal election cycle." Getting voters to turn out for a run-off is not easy. 
 We have a contested Governor's race on the ballot.  I lean toward believing that Mary Wilson will be the nominee. . 
Districts were gerrymandered to favor Republicans. The majority of people who are marching in these large marches are young people who   not registered to vote prior to 2016,  and women. Many  young people are turning voting age this year, and are involved in the March 4 Our Lives movement.  Many middle age, and older women, are becoming activists for the first time in their lives.
These districts were drawn with traditional Republican and Democratic turn-out and there is nothing normal these days about the numbers of traditional Republican versus Democratic voters. The rate of growth of Democrats in Texas is much higher than the rate of growth of Republican. Maybe we should say: "Beware of a pissed off woman and beware of pissed off teenagers who are tired of being targets for deranged shooters at school and shopping malls and movie theatres!"

It is possible that an underdog, a woman who did not expect to get into the run-off, who spent much less per vote in the primary than most of her competitors, may pull it off and flip the seat vacated by Lamar Smith from Red to Blue in 2018. Her supporters are engaged. The strongest force in an election is supporters who truly LIKE and TRUST and prefer their candidate to win. That describes the people who LIKE Mary Wilson.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Destroying and Neglecting rather than Problem Solving

By Faith Chatham, April 20, 2018

I am a daughter of East Texas. My father's family settled on the north shore of the Cypress Bayou in 1839 and my mom’s settled on what is now the south shore in 1850. Although I no longer reside in the Piney Woods, I understand East Texas values. Common sense or what my relatives frequently referred to as "horse sense" was always held higher than "book learning."  There was a place for "book learning" but without common sense, we were warned, it would only get us in trouble. It takes both, we were told, to be successful.

As a people watcher and political scientist (perhaps that "book learning" get me in trouble), I watch East Texas politics and remain astounded. East Texas is in the deep south. It is definitely the Bible Belt. I grew up in Marshall, Texas and there was a service station and a church on nearly every corner. During the time I was there, we had three colleges, all church operated schools of liberal arts. These institutions each ran seminaries - two Baptist and one Methodist. Each of those schools taught religion. They taught the "Golden Rule." They taught how Jesus urged his followers to be merciful. They taught how He instructed followers to care for the orphans and widows and not to exploit the poor for profit. They taught about being a "good steward" and that mean more than just giving a tithe to the church. It means managing the resources entrusted to you, including budgets of the church and the community and government.

Having grown up in East Texas and knowing East Texas people and knowing that they were taught the same as I was, I am astounded at how many vote year after year for Louie Gohmert.  I was astounded that any of them voted for Donald Trump, but that has been hashed and rehashed to Infinium. Today, I am focusing on who my former classmates, neighbors and extended family and their families have consistently voted into Congress.

East Texans are usually patriotic. They wave the flag and honor our veterans. Most have either served in the military or have relatives who have or are serving. I could focus on the many stupid remarks that come out of Mr. Gohmert's mouth, but there are so many that no one would continue reading. Instead, I am looking at his record on attacking the fragile safety net our nation has constructed to assist our service men and women when they are injured or when they return to civilian life from active duty. It has never been vibrant enough to truly enable a smooth transition for those who are the most seriously injured, but it has always been a work in progress which most American's supported and were thankful existed. Veterans have always had to wait for services, but in recent years, the US Congress led by members of Mr. Gohmert's Freedom Caucus have worked to dismantle the fragile safety net which our nation extends to assist those most likely to crash to the bottom without some sort of social safety net. Veterans Benefits and Food Stamps and Housing Grants for Housing and Social Security assistance are among the programs which all Americans contribute to so that when Americans are faced with the "worst of times" it can be a journey where we have a chance of emerging from the other side of a very dark tunnel. Of these programs, the two most popular which almost every American of all political party's approved is Veteran's Benefits and Social Security. 

Social Security is a program where workers pay every week for their entire working lives and in return should they become disabled before reaching retirement age, they have a safety net. Once we are too old to work, social security is supposed to kick in to give us a safety net. We are not taking other people's money but drawing from part of what we earned earlier. It is not welfare. It is called an "ENTITLEMENT" because it is OUR MONEY and we are ENTITLED to it through an agreement with the Federal Government. However, Mr. Gohmert and the Speaker of the House and others in Congress do not think that Americans should get what we are ENTITLED TO.

A similar situation exists with Veterans Benefits. Our government through our Legislature for generations has agreed to provide a safety net for those who put their lives at risk to protect us. We have Veteran's Hospitals to care for injured soldiers and Veterans. We have veterans housing benefits so that those who serve will not be homeless when they return home. We give veterans preferences to employment in governmental jobs so that those who leave their jobs to go defend our country have opportunities to rebuild their lives by returning to work when their military service ends. We give them educational benefits so that they are trained for civilian jobs when they return from the military These benefits are prat of our contract with the individuals we enlist into service. To change them is to break the contract, to betray their trust.

When I was growing up in East Texas I was taught at home, church and at school that you come to an agreement first and once the service or job is done, you stick with it. You do not take from someone and then change the rules to their disadvantage after they have served you. However, that is what Mr. Gohmert and others in the Freedom Caucus in Congress are ALWAYS ADVOCATING and VOTING to enact. It is not right. It is not fair. It is cruel. It is dishonest. It may be legal, but being legal does not make it right, fair or honest. 
This is not a new practice with Louie Gohmert, yet people I know grew up being taught the same values I was taught, continue to vote for this many year after year!

                                    Photo from Steve Crain's Facebook Page
So, what alternative do they have? They have a very good one. They have an excellent alternative. She is a daughter of East Texas. She is a decorated former military officer. She is a very intelligent woman who has both "good ole common horse sense" (in the words of my Uncle Bill and Daddy) and lots of appropriate "book learning."  She is a woman of great faith and is known as a person who lives her faith. She is an educator. She is a business woman. She creates jobs. She solves problems, she serves people. She brings people together to solve problems. She is Dr. Shirley J. McKellar, PhD, US Army Maj. (Ret.), CNS, a retired army nurse corps officer. 

It astounds me that more East Texans voted for Louie Gohmert than for Shirley McKellar in 2014 and 2016. Before that perhaps they had not had enough time to learn about her. She continues to run. She continues to meet people. She continues to mentor, empower, equip and lead. Everywhere she goes she solves problems for East Texans. In the past 8 years she has created hundreds of jobs in East Texas through the businesses she founded and the initiatives she has led others to create. 

Here is a thumbnail of what I have witnessed her do while Louie Gohmert was campaigning for Donald Trump and voting to dismantle affordable healthcare and voting to reduce funding for Veterans Benefits and trying to cut Social Security.
Shirley McKellar returned from serving in Afghanistan injured and spend a year and half in the hospital having numerous surgeries and physical rehabilitation. She was with soldiers whom she had helped in the field when they were injured. As an officer in the Army Nurse Corp, she saw the sons and daughters of her friends and neighbors bleeding and at the point of death. She suffered as far too many of them died from their injuries or were permanently harmed. Then she returned home and saw them discounted by Congress and Louie Gohmert vote to cut funding for the VA when more of our Vietnam era vets were aging out and needing more services and we had new generations of soldiers Louie and his friends voted to send into combat returning home injured. She heard from veterans who were homeless. She learned that there were no mental health services for veterans in the 12 counties of East Texas where she lived. She saw nothing being done to address homelessness among the veterans who served. Instead of doing some of the much more which was needed, she saw Louie Gohmert and the Speaker of the House and others fighting to end or reduce the services which were already in place.

Shirley McKellar is a woman who lives the East Texas Values she was taught. She stands up for others. She lends a helping hand whenever and however she can to whomever needs it. So, she went to work. 

While Louie Gohmert was voting to reduce funding to the VA and to dismantle the affordable care act, Shirley McKellar was pulling together a team of mental health professionals, forming a non-profit organization and getting the federal contract necessary to bring mental health services to the 12 counties in East Texas which had none! Louie could have done that. But he didn't. Was it stupidity or selfishness or plain stupidity and ignorance -- I don't know. I do know that it was needed, and it was something that usually we look to the leadership of our Congressional Representative to help us solve. In East Texas the Congressional Rep was Louie Gohmert and Louie wasn't solving problems. Instead he was working to make them bigger!

Dr. McKellar recovered from her injuries, she continued to serve veterans. After she no longer needed to go to the Veteran's Hospital regularly for medical care, she continued to drive to Dallas from Tyler twice a week to volunteer helping other veterans get the services they needed. She began serving as an officer on the Veterans' Administration Mental Health Advocacy Board. When Congress moved to cut services to women, she spoke out and mobilized others to save some of the programs which were on the chopping block. She continues fighting to get others restored.

While in the military, she arrived in the European theatre and found almost no health services for women. She helped implement women's health services in the European Theatre She noted that there was soldiers were dying from breast cancer. More women than men contract breast cancer but the death rate for men is much higher than for women. She opened the only comprehensive breast center in the US Military to screen and treat soldiers for breast cancer. The death rate among minorities is higher than among white breast cancer patients. Back in the USA, she partnered with UT Medical School and co-founded the African American Breast Cancer Awareness and administered a $5 million dollar grant. She is a problem solver who understands how to get things done in government and in the private sector and in the community.

Last year she attended a ribbon cutting for a housing complex for homeless vets in Dallas. HUD Chair Ben Carson was there. Shirley was never a supporter of his political aspirations, but he is he person in the chair at HUD. She approached him and inquired "What will it take to get a similar housing program for homeless veterans in East Texas?" She worked with the VA and with HUD and drew together a steering committee of local stakeholders. She donated some of her own land. Last month they had the ground breaking for the condominium complex where veterans can use their VA benefits to buy their own condos. This complex is in US District 1 in East Texas. Louie Gohmert did not do this. Shirley McKellar did. She did it because she cared enough and knew enough to be able to make it happen. Louie served in the JAG corps but does not seem to care enough or know enough or be willing to exert himself enough to bring solutions to East Texans. Thankfully, Shirley McKellar cares enough. Thankfully, Shirley McKellar knows enough. Thankfully, Shirley McKellar is never too tired or unwilling to exert herself enough to pull together the people and resources to serve the people she knows need and deserve to be helped and served.

So, why is it that more East Texans do not recognize that there are many more differences which truly matter between the Republican Incumbent and the Military Veteran who are running for Congress in US Texas's First District than just gender and skin color? How can so many decent people who value "Common Sense" and decency continue voting for Louie Gohmert?

When you encounter someone from East Texas, please ask them "Why do folks in East Texas vote for Louie Gohmert?" If they say they did or do, quiz them. Ask them if they think veterans deserve to have health services? Ask if they feel safer when veterans have mental health services? Ask them if they think there are enough jobs in East Texas. Then challenge them to show you what Louie Gohmert has done to solve any of these problems.  

I’m just an ole gal from East Texas with East Texas Values who simply doesn’t understand the way so many people vote who grew up being taught the same values I was. How can so many people continue voting someone this stupid back into office November after November!

Sanity and Common Sense above Partisanship - Thank you Mrs. Barbara Bush

By Faith Chatham, April 20, 2018

Husbands and sons rarely do everything their wife or mother advises, however, the influence of a wise woman with a strong moral compass usually tempers the excesses of many members of her family.  Mrs. Barbara Bush is a woman known for her understanding of what helps and threatens people. When it really mattered, despite being the "political wife" and eventually the "politicians mother", she spoke truth to power.

Country matters more than party. Family is the most important accomplishment in a person's life. It is not fame and power which is the measure of success, in her view, but the riches of relationship within your family.

Many spout off about "family values" without living it. Barbara Bush lived it, usually without spouting off that much about it. But when she did, it was usually personal, as a mentor, as a mother, as a grandmother.

Her warmth and decency, her intelligence, and those wonderful moments when she cast aside the code of silence imposed upon politicians' wives and spoke her opinion endeared her to us.

When the George Bush Library was being dedicated, I was honored to have Thanksgiving Dinner with a friend's family. My friend's brother was a chef and his team cooked for the dedication of the George Bush Library. He shared with me how astounded he was that day to look up and see Mrs. Bush and President Bush in his kitchen. They had gathered up every living former President and First Lady of the United States and brought them to the kitchen to meet the staff who had prepared their dinner. These are the realities of a thoughtful woman, of a woman who honors our nation and out state by honoring people where she met them, however she could, without fanfare or expectation of demands of praise for herself.

To the family, I send my condolences. To her, I say: Well done! Thank you for your example. Thank you for not keeping silent.  Thank you for touching people in the many ways which were natural to you! Thank you for helping to keep the people in your life in touch with reality while forces propelled them away from what you knew should really matter.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Wow! What an Army Nurse!

By Faith Chatham Feb. 15, 2018

An article in the Longview News Journal earlier this month discounted US Texas 1st District Democratic Primary congressional candidate Dr. Shirley J. McKellar, PhD, RN, Maj. (ret) as "just an Army Nurse."

My response is:
McKellar has created more jobs in East Texas than most governmental programs. In addition the two businesses mentioned in this article, she is responsible for helping meet the mental health needs of 12 East Texas counties military families and veterans. As an officer on the Veterans Administration Mental Health Advocacy Council, she is "at the table" fighting to restore cuts to women's mental health services and to expand mental health services for all veterans. 

Instead of just talking about supporting veterans, McKellar puts her talent and personal resources into helping veterans. Last year she attended a ribbon cutting for a housing complex in Dallas for Homeless Veterans. She asked: "How can we get a similar one in East Texas." She did not let the current party of the majority of Congress or the current occupants of the  White House deter her. She pulled together a steering committee of local stakeholders, donated some of her own land, and worked diligently with HUD and the VA to "make it happen." On March 3rd there will be a ground breaking for the new complex in Smith County where homeless veterans can use their VA Benefits to buy their own condos.

For 20 years she operated an early childhood education center in Tyler which provided care and education until midnight 7 days a week for infants through 13 year olds. When she was deployed to the Middle East that facility closed. However, she has tracked the progress of the children they served. EVERY child served by that center has graduated from High School and gone to college. One is currently in law school. That program could serve as a pilot program for how to do it right!

Shirley McKellar understands that the more responsibility you have the more you don't know which you need to know. Therefore she is always learning. She has a PhD in nursing, a MS in Criminal Justice and has almost completed a masters in Political Science.

Her expertise in economic development, small business incubation, job creation and non-profit organization equips her to serve the people of this district. During Mr. Gohmert's tenure the unemployment rate and number of persons living in poverty in most of the district has escalated. Shirley McKellar listens to people, verifies and researches, collaborates and brings solutions that serve people. This is the leadership we need in Congress. 

Someone with the Longview News referred to her as "just an Army Nurse!" 
--She is "just an army nurse" who implemented much of the women's health care for the US Military in the European Theatre. 
--She is just an army nurse who established the only comprehensive breast center in the US Military serving men and women. 
--She is just the army nurse who partnered with UT Medical School to determine why the mortality rate for men and women of color who have breast cancer is significantly greater than for white women and to look for treatments which give better outcomes. 
--She is also the Army Nurse who co-founded (with UT Medical School) the African American Breast Cancer Awareness. 

Somehow, I think the best outcome for East Texas in 2018 is for Louie Gohmert to be replaced with this "just an army nurse!"

Donate to Shirley McKellar for Congress at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/justarmynurse?refcode=ArmyNurse

Friday, February 9, 2018

TCBD 2018 Virtual Town Hall - Part 1

By Faith Chatham Feb. 9, 2018
I was honored to be present when this town hall was videotaped. These six women are running for U.S. Congress in 2018 in the Democratic Primary in Texas. All except Dallas Councilwoman Carroway are running in districts currently occupied by GOP incumbents.

This year there are Democrats running in all of the Congressional Districts in Texas. Most of these women are in contested primaries.

If you are a woman or if you are a veteran or if you are a person of color, you have only 20% representation in the US Congress.  These women are articulate, accomplished, compassionate,  informed, persistent fighters for what we need in our communities and nation. They are neither "out of touch" or uninformed. Any one of them will be an improvement over most of the current members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Please share this video with your friends.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Resistance and Insistence Poetry released by Wise Woman Press

By Faith Chatham -- Feb. 3, 2018

This is not our grandparents generation's volume of sonnets!

Not everyone can turn the frustrations and disgust we live through into poetry. San Antonio Tri Centennial poet, Carolyn Chatham's anthology of Resistance poetry is not a collection of flowery lyrics. She tells readers that "I am not the sweet old woman that you think I am." Her words flow from the place human beings encounter when they won't be quiet and take it any more.

The title "Those Bones That Float About" comes from the East Texas idiom used when a person looks you straight in the eye and says: "I've got a bone to pick with you!" These are not words that are used lightly, and they are not prompted by trivilities. They spring when harm has seeped past the coverings to the very foundations of our existence. Once picked dry,  they surface and cannot be hidden.

Released by Wise Woman Press  Carolyn's book, Those Bones That Float About, is available for pre-order on  on Amazon.com, at https://bit.ly/CarolynChatham.

School shootings, fires in California, Hurricane Harvey, gender, racial, economic and immigration discrimination inspire her poetry. One poem, Let's Make America Great Again, is to Colin Kaepernick.

Let’s Make America Great Again

Let’s make America great again,
bring back those good old days.
A man was head of his household.
Kids all toed the line.
A boy could be a boy and fight,
and we all got along just fine.
A man could be a man back then
so long as he was white.

Make America great again,
Let’s put the lid back on.
A baby every year or so
will keep those women home.

Plenty of eager hands back then
to mow our lawns and clean.
No laws to tell us who to hire,
or serve or educate.

Let’s make America great again,

restore the proper order.
Let’s keep those undesirables
on their side of the border.

Let’s make America great again,
bring back the holocaust.
The hanging trees are yearning for
the fruit that they have lost.

I will not stand for this,
This living in the past.
It's not "make America great again."
It's make her great at last.
I will not stand for this.

Take a knee, America.
We should not stand for this.

© 2017 Carolyn Chatham Used by Permission

In The Commander-in-Chief Eats Cake, she makes her opinion of the current resident of the White House clear.

The Commander-in-Chief Eats Cake

The Commander-in-Chief eats cake and smacks his lips, commenting how great it is
from his Mar-Lago resort.
The dark chocolate and orange skin are Halloweenish,
a rotten pumpkin shell.
He shovels dark icing
down a pink throat between sniffs.
His pudgy fingers and reptilian tongue lick brown goop from his too small mouth
centered obscenely on his bloated tangerine face.

While he gorges on cake,
bombs level mountains in Afghanistan,
vaporizing people he has never met or talked with,
whose names he cannot pronounce.
People who may or may not have been terrorists.
People whose children, wives, nieces and nephews are now most certainly terrorists.

Unconcerned for life unlike his own,
he licks his fingers
and announces the “Mother of All Bombs”
has been dropped on Iraq.
Or was it Syria?
Or maybe Afghanistan?
Anyway, it was one of those countries
where he doesn’t have a hotel
and where the people aren’t pink and orange like him
and nobody is asking about his ties to Russia today.

He is a spectacle, an alien thing, surely not human.
He belongs in a side show or science laboratory,
an alien life-form to be studied
then sent back to its cell,
and safely locked away.

© 2017 Carolyn Chatham Used by Permission