November 2015 Meeting
Interesting Meeting with Sheriff Lupe Valdez sharing how her department has evolved into a model for others around the country, and why having Democrats in office makes a difference.
Metrocrest Democrats October 2015 Meeting
At our October meeting, continuing the discussion of
Diversion Programs utilized by Democratic Judges in Dallas County to improve outcomes for non-violent offenders.
Judge Gracie Lewis described her program dealing with Youthful offenders, approximately 17-25 years old related in particular to drug offenses. Judge Dominique Collins spoke about her Veteran program conducted with support from the VA. These programs in addition to rehabilitating individuals and keeping them out of prison and helping them lead lives as full members of society, with the resulting positive effect on their families, also results in significantly lower recidivism rates and substantial cost savings to taxpayers in jail and prison costs.
Metrocrest Democrats Sept. 2015 Meeting
We had a great meeting with former judge John Creuzot.
He gave a wonderful description of the origins and concrete benefits of diversion programs* in Dallas County Courts, and courts at large and of his own career as a prosecutor, judge and defense lawyer.
* A diversion program in the criminal justice system is a form of sentencing and such programs are often run by a police department, court, a district attorney's office, or outside agency designed to enable offenders in certain types of cases to avoid criminal charges and a criminal record. Problem solving courts typically include a diversion component as part of their program. The purposes of diversion are generally thought to include relief to the courts, police department and the probation office, better outcomes compared to direct involvement of the court system, and an opportunity for the offender to avoid prosecution by completing various requirements for the program.
Metrocrest Democrats July 2015 Meeting
At our July meeting members of "Metrocrest Democrats" had discussions and voted on a number of changes to the bylaws of the club.
The proposed changes were all approved by the attending members, and as a result of these changes the club will be transitioning to PAC status.
Metrocrest Democrats June 2015
The main focus of our June meeting was on the two candidates for Chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party, Carol Donovan and Tex Quesdada.
The discussion was moderated by Judge Brandon Birmingham who presides over the 292 Judicial District Court in Dallas County.
In the interest of Precinct Chairs having to vote for the candidate of their choice on the election day of June 27th, they had been invited to participate in the series of QA in this personal setting.
A crowd of over 50, members and non member Democrats, had participated at this meeting.
Metrocrest Democrats May Meeting
Our speaker for May 2015 meeting was Phyllis Wolper, Chair of the Denton County Democratic Party.
As one of the moving forces behind the Denton fracking ban, she talked about the effort that was made to pass the fracking ban and its repercussions in the Texas Legislature. She also discussed the challenges they face to growing and strengthening the Democratic party in a very red county.
Metrocrest Democrats March Meeting
Our guest speaker was Crystal Kay Perkins, new Executive Director of the Texas Democratic Party. She talked about her background and experiences as well as the outlook for the party policies.
In the interest of getting Democrats to vote in every election, we had also invited candidates in contested races for City Council Seats in Carrollton, and Farmers Branch who introduced themselves, gave their reasons for running and shared information on their positions.
Metrocrest Democrats February Meeting
Metrocrest Democrats was pleased to have
Marc Veasey, U.S.Congressman from the 33rd District, at our February monthly meeting.
Marc spoke at length on the changed tenor and temper of the Congress after the weak Democratic performance in last November's election. He also answered questions about his vote regarding the Keystone pipeline, the potential for e sucess of an infrastructure bill, the upcoming visit of the Israeli head of state to the U.S. House and the party's difficulty with creating campaign messaging that celebrated Democratic accomplishments over the past six years.
Since the Representative for our district 34 only sees fit to remind us of how many times he has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it was refreshing to hear from one of our own, though like true Democrats we were not always in agreement on every point.
BITHOT-2 (A Dallas County Democratic Party Summit and KnowledgeFest)
On Saturday January 31 the second Blue in the Heart of Texas (BITHOT-2) summit took place. Over 200 Democratic activists from Dallas and surrounding counties attended to discuss strategies for increasing Democratic participation in future elections. Elected officials, former candidates, and party officials from several counties also participated. At the end of the meeting those interested were deputized as volunteer voter registrars.
Our speaker was Darlene Ewing, Chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party. She discussed the party plans for moving forward in 2015 and 2016.
A lively discussions was followed her presentation.
At this meeting we also held the election. The new officers of Metrocrest Democrats for 2015-2017 are:
Mary Clare Fabishak, President (re-elected),
Richard Smith as Vice President,
Bill Deal*, as Secretary,
and Terry Barker as Treasurer.
*During the election process Sue Mottinger withdrew her name from nomination. Nancy Wang nominated Bill Deal for Secretary and he accepted.
Going forward the goals for the club, in addition to growing our membership, are to continue the work of this past election to bring out Democratic voters in our area, to recruit precinct chairs and activists within precincts to aid in that process, to continue our efforts to engage all minorities in our area in the election process, to evaluate and decide transitioning to a PAC, to continue to have meetings with interesting speakers who represent the Texas and Dallas County Democratic Party and programs which touch on timely issues, including local municipal elections.
Metrocrest Democrats Dinner and a Show
For our November 2014 meeting that was well received, we had a showing of a documentary film "Inequality for All" by Robert Reich.
At the heart of this film is a simple proposition: what is a good society, and what role does the widening income gap play in the deterioration of our nation's economic health? "INEQUALITY FOR ALL" endeavors to be a paradigm-shifting, eye-opening experience, trying to accurately show through a non-partisan perspective why extreme income inequality is such an important topic for our citizens today and for the future of America.
Metrocrest Democrats October 2014 Meeting
We had Mike Collier, Democratic Candidate for Texas Comptroller as guest speaker for our October meeting. He talked about his plans to help Texas manage its nearly $100 billion budget. Lively conversation followed about what's at stake in this election, and Mike answered questions.
Metrocrest Democrats September Meeting
Our guest speaker was Clay Jenkins, County Judge and presiding officer of the Dallas County Commissioners Court. He discussed pressing issues before the court, which among many functions adoupts the county budget, sets the tax rate, and enacts county wide policies which affect us all.
Lively conversation and questions where answered from the audience.
Metrocrest Democrats June and August Meetings
For our August meeting we had speakers representing "Battleground Texas", "Team Wendy", and the Dallas County Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign. They discussed their strategies and how their plans to work with local Precinct Chairs could help get out the vote in our area.
At our June meeting the guest speakers where Darlene Ewing, Chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party and Rachel Perry, North Texas Region Political Director for the Texas Democratic Party.
They discussed the impact from the primary and run-off elections along with the efforts of the state Party and its interface with the county organization and with "Battleground Texas."
Metrocrest Democrats May Meeting
At our May meeting our guest speakers were:
Emma Niewald, a local field director for "Battleground Texas" and Team Wendy.
Janice Schwarz, one of our State Democratic Executive Committee members, spoke about our Senate District races, and updated us on the STATE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION in Dallas, June 26-28.
In addition we had candidates Patrick McGehearty, in a race to unseat "Kenny Merchant" in US House District 24, Pauline Medrano and Felicia Pitre running for County Treasurer and District Clerk, respectively.
Metrocrest Democrats April Meeting
The guest speaker for Metrocrest Democrats April meeting was Will Hailer, Executive Director of the Texas Democratic Party. Will shared info on what the Texas Democratic Party is doing to help us win statewide, and on how the candidacy of Wendy Davis is being supported.
Will is a veteran of numerous campaigns with Democratic candidates in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and Virginia.
Will got his political start doing grassroots community
organizing with the late Senator Paul Wellstone and has done caucus-organizing work for the Dean, Edwards, and Clinton
campaigns as well as several gubernatorial and congressional
We also had Paul Stafford, the Texas House District 115 Democratic candidate introduce himself and speak briefly at this meeting.
Placing Paul Stafford Issue Signs Up
Paul Stafford, candidate for House District 115 has been getting help placing his issue signs up in metrocrest area locations.
He still needs help for more signs to go up so any help is appreciated. Please contact (214) 914-5896.
These are large 4'x8' signs talking about different issues of concerns for texans and need to be displayed in well traveled areas.
Metrocrest Democrats Meeting
The guest speaker for Metrocrest Democrats March meeting was a well known SMU Political Science Progessor, Cal Jillson. He talked about "Purple Texas: Demographic Change and the Future of Partisan Competition in Texas."
Lively conversation and questions where answered from the audience.
First Metrocrest Democrats Candidate Forum
On Sunday, February 16, thirty candidates in contested races in the Democratic Primary participated in the first Metrocrest Democrats Candidate Forum at the Manske Library in Farmers Branch.
Forum attendees enjoyed the opportunity to meet them and hear their presentations. They also heard from Patrick McGehearty, our candidate for US House District 24, running against Kenny Marchant, Paul Stafford, running for the Texas House District 115 seat, and Janice Schwarz, one of our Senate District 16 State Democratic Executive Committee members.
Info submitted by most of the candidates is on our website. See this link.
Metrocrest Democrats Meeting
At this meeting in order to get ready to vote in the primary, METROCREST DEMOCRATS presented a panel of including Judges Martin Hoffman, Rob Canas and Peggy Hoffman along with County Clerk John Warren discussing the difference Democratic officials have made in our county through the innovative programs and efficiencies they have introduced.
Candidates answered questions from the audience.
Metrocrest Democrats Meeting and Show
Caitlin Karbula, "Battleground Texas" Field Coordinator for Dallas County talked briefly on how "Battleground Texas" is working to get Wendy Davis elected the next Governor of Texas.
Then the documentary "Miss Representation" was presented, which showed a powerful look at how the media trivializes and sexualizes women today, effecting their leadership aspirations.
Combining stories from young women across the spectrum and interviews with Nancy Pelosi, Rachel Maddow, Condoleezza Rice, Gloria Steinem and other, the film reminded us that for young women "you can't be what you can't see." All women regardless of age are affected, as we can already see in comments made about Wendy Davis.
In a period in which the Republican Party is ignoring and often deliberately legislating against women and their interests, this film offered an insight into how the media affects women as well as men.
Metrocrest Democrats October Meeting
The guest speaker for Metrocrest Democrats October meeting was Craig Watkins, District Attorney of Dallas County. He was first elected in 2006, he created the Conviction Integrity Unit which, after further investigation of evidence and in particular the use of DNA technology, has resulted in the exoneration of 33 individuals. He is currently running for reelection.
Candidates for other positions in the 2014 election were also present at this meeting who introduced themselves and answered questions from the audience.
Carrollton Activist Recruitment Project
On Sept. 9th Metrocrest Democrats sponsored an Activist Recruitment Project for
precinct teams and local activists that are key to Democratic Party success.
This event was held at the “New New Buffet” in Addison. There were many speakers who shared their experience and advise on how to help “Turn Texas Blue.”
The guest speaker was Caitlin Karbula, North Texas Field Director for Battleground Texas. She talked about their activities in our area and how to get involved. There were some candidates who were introduced, other speakers who answered questions, shared their experience and provided information about Precinct chairs role and other activities available for anyone interested.
Dallas County Democrats Annual Labor Day Picnic was a big success!!
On Sept. 2nd Dallas County
Democrats had their Annual Labor Day Picnic at Catholic Czech Hall in Dallas.
This was a big gathering that many local Democratic groups participated with lots of food and snacks provided. Many officials and candidates for the 2014 election were there collecting signatures and introducing themselves.
Healthcare Directives Workshop:
Democrats sponsored a Healthcare Directives Workshop on Monday, August 19th, 2013 at Farmers Branch Community Recreation Center.
Judge Chris Wilmoth of Dallas County Probate Court No. 2 and some local probate attorneys, as a service to residents of our area, were available to assist in filling out and notarizing FREE of charge or any obligation one or more of the following Healthcare Directives, which are important to have as we all move forward in life.
- Medical Power of Attorney - A document designating a trusted person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf after certification, in writing, by the attending physician that you are unable to make such decisions.
- Directive to Physicians aka Living Will - A document communicating your wishes about life sustaining medical treatment when you cannot speak for yourself when your condition is irreversible or terminal and death is imminent without such life sustaining treatment.
- Designation of Guardian in Advance of Need - A document designating a guardian in the event of your later disability AND in which you may expressly disqualify persons that you would not want to be appointed guardian.
This event may be repeated in future, however at the time an RSVP will be required.
Survey of Issues in Health Care Reform:
The following issues on Affordable Care Act was presented by Susan Schoppa, Supervising Attorney for Medical-Legal Partnership for Children/Dallas on Aug. 12th at the last Metrocrest Democrats meeting:
Context for the PPACA
Basic provisions of the law
Constitutional challenge to the law (US Supreme Court decision)
The Health Insurance Exchanges
Resources to find additional information
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
Signed into federal law March 2010
- Increase quality of care for patients
- Make health care more affordable
A Note on Historical Context:
“The mandate made its political début in a 1989 Heritage Foundation brief titled “Assuring Affordable Health Care for All Americans,” as a counterpoint to the single-payer system and the employer mandate, which were favored in Democratic circles. In the brief, Stuart Butler, the foundation’s health-care expert, argued, “Many states now require passengers in automobiles to wear seat-belts for their own protection. Many others require anybody driving a car to have liability insurance. But neither the federal government nor any state requires all households to protect themselves from the potentially catastrophic costs of a serious accident or illness. Under the Heritage plan, there would be such a requirement.”
“The mandate made its first legislative appearance in 1993, in the Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act—the Republicans’ alternative to President Clinton’s health-reform bill—which was sponsored by John Chafee, of Rhode Island, and co-sponsored by eighteen Republicans, including Bob Dole, who was then the Senate Minority Leader.”
Source (this slide and prior one): Klein, Ezra, “Unpopular Mandate,” The New Yorker (June 25, 2012)
- Expanding health insurance coverage
- Coverage options for young adults
- Prescription coverage through Medicare Part D – elimination of “donut hole”
- Preventive services with no deductible/co-pay
- Changes in payments to providers
- Use of premiums by insurance companies
- Pre-existing conditions
- Elimination of lifetime limits
- Community health centers/PCPs
Minimal Essential Coverage:
- All US citizens and legal residents must have minimal essential health insurance coverage
- “Essential health benefits”
- Penalties for individuals
- Penalties for certain employers
National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius:
- Require states who accept federal money for Medicaid program cover all individuals in households with less than 133% of FPIL
- Other eligibility requirements
US Supreme Court case that determined constitutionality of ACA
Two main issues:
- Minimal essential coverage
- Expansion of Medicaid
Constitutional Law Primer:
- Central government
- Separation of powers
- Checks and balances
- Minimal essential coverage
- Medicaid expansion
Quote from Chief Justice Roberts’ Opinion:
“The Framers created a Federal Government of limited powers, and assigned to this Court the duty of enforcing those limits. The Court does this today. But the Court does not express any opinion on the wisdom of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Constitution, that judgment is reserved to the people.”
Consequences of Court Decision
Health Insurance Exchange:
- Basic components
- Choice of health plans will vary from state to state
- Goals: make insurance markets more competitive nationwide as well as plans more affordable
- Focus on private-based and employer-provided coverage remains in our country
- Consumer outreach is a top concern
- 33 states will have federally-run exchanges (low budget for direct consumer assistance by nonprofit groups)
- Healthy people may not enroll at same rate as sick people