Hill Country Chapter of
Texas Democratic Women
February 2021

Lots of Love Food Drive
Tuesday, February 9, noon to 1 p.m.
Light on the Hill Conference Center
Methodist Encampment Road, Kerrville

Democratic Women will show our love for our community on Tuesday, February 9 with food and funds for Mustard Seed Ministries at Light on the Hill (Mt. Wesley).
Our Christmas Food Drive was so much fun and so inspiring that we are returning to Light on the Hill with more food and funds just in time for Valentine’s Day. We will gather just below the Gazebo in the parking lot at the Mt. Wesley Conference Center on Methodist Encampment Drive to collect nonperishable food and checks* for FUMC Mustard Seed Ministries starting at noon on February 9. Household paper products, and plastic grocery bags (flattened and doubled) are also welcome.
Masks and physical distancing are still the rule, and HCCTDW members are encouraged to wear lots of hearts. Members are invited to stay and help with unloading food, or to drive through and wave as we unload your trunks.
Food insecurity is still very real in our community, and Mustard Seed, a ministry of Kerrville First United Methodist Church does a great job of making sure people receive friendly support along with meals.

*Please make checks payable to FUMC Mustard Seed Ministries.

President’s Thoughts

January 20, 2021 was a special day for the nation and especially for Hill Country Texas Democratic women. It was the tangible evidence that all the hard work our members (and so many citizens around the nation) had done paid off. We won the prize. The inauguration of Joe Biden as President and Kamala Harris as Vice President of the United States of America gave us hope that our democratic nation is on the road to recovery. 

I have had a hard time writing this article because I didn’t know how to express all the optimism I feel. Each time President Joe Biden speaks I get a little teary because he gives me such a sense of pride and hope. As women we are excited by all the women President Biden has appointed to his cabinet as well as to other important positions.  Having the first woman as Vice President who also represents two minority groups is historic. That glass ceiling is falling. We listened in awe to Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet, recited her poem “The Hill We Climb.” It gave me hope that there are many talented young people ready to lead us into the future.
This has been such a strange year for HCCTDW. Not being able to meet for lunch has made it hard to feel there is a reason to belong. Your board has continued to do all the things we usually do. We have met monthly via Zoom. We have tried to make membership in HCCTDW meaningful through two webinars, two in person events at the Nature Center and the food drive at Christmas for Mustard Seed Ministries. The website and Facebook pages have given good information. The newsletter has been filled with our activities and details of the work we have been doing. 

Because our food drive at Christmas was so successful the Board decided we should do it again as a Valentine project. We are excited to be part of this service that is so important to our community. February 9th is a date we all need to put on our calendar. Cash donations as well as food products will be collected as members drive through the parking lot at Light on the Hill (Mt. Wesley).

We know you will be generous. We especially look forward to seeing you in person. Sometimes it is hard to recognize each other with our masks on but that doesn’t stop us from being glad to see each other.

We hope everyone is staying safe. Hopefully we will be able to get our vaccines soon. As our new President Joe Biden has said “Help is on the way.” We believe it is and that keeps our spirits high as we look forward to the day, we can have a lunch meeting again.  
Sylvia Ostos 
Let’s Fill the Squares on Texas Independence Day
           Texas declared its Independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836. Our next HCCTDW meeting will take place on March 2, 2021, most appropriately. Texas Independence Day is a good time to focus on our delight in Trump’s departure and our concerns about Republican rule in our state capitol. Starting with Abbott, Patrick, Paxton, the 87th Legislative Session, the list goes on.
           HCCTDW members are invited to fill the “squares” on our March meeting by Zoom, beginning at 12:00 noon and share concerns about issues before the Texas Legislature. We haven’t had many opportunities to hear from members or to express our ideas and frustrations. We are looking forward to a lively exchange on the March call.
Nominating Committee is Open for Ideas
           President Sylvia Ostos has appointed the Nominating Committee, consisting of Stephanie Ertel, Teresa Coleman and Coral Adema, to recruit nominees for the following offices, which are elected each year for one-year terms: President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Of the current elected officers, only Sylvia Ostos is term-limited.
           Members in good standing who are interested in serving as an officer may learn more by contacting any member of the Nominating Committee. The report of the Nominating Committee must be presented at least one week before the Annual Meeting of HCCTDW on April 6, 2021, when the election of officers will take place. In addition to persons nominated by the Nominating Committee, members may also nominate candidates from the floor at the Annual Meeting.
Legislative News

The Texas legislature is required by the Constitution to meet up to 140 days in odd numbered years. This year the first day was January 12. The Senate met for two days and the House for three days the first week, and both have worked two days this last week in January. It’s normal for things to start slowly as committees are selected by the leadership and get organized, but the pandemic is slowing things down significantly.
Another delay is redistricting. Since the Census Bureau has announced that the final numbers won’t be ready this spring, redistricting will have to be passed during a summer special session. (Our state senator, Dawn Buckingham, is on the committee). That means that the main work of this session will be the budget, as usual, and the pandemic probably, along with police brutality and funding and election rules and procedures. Bills can be filed until March 21, and over 1300 have been submitted so far.
Anyone can keep track of this overwhelming body of information on TLO, Texas Legislature Online (https://capitol.texas.gov/Home.aspx). You can even register to set up a list, and they’ll notify you as that bill moves through each step of the system. The League of Women Voters, Texas Impact, Alliance for a Clean Texas, and Progress Texas all provide user-friendly summaries of filed legislation. I find LWV the most thorough, but it’s done by volunteers so stronger on some topics than others. Progress Texas is easy and fun to read.
Once the organizing is complete, we’ll know whom to contact about what. The committees are the first big hurdle every bill has to jump. But meantime we have an idea for those who want to DO something now! A volunteer working in parallel with The Children’s Defense Fund and other non-partisan organizations believe that Medicaid Expansion has its best chance so far in this legislature. Bills to do this have already been filed. But with minorities in both houses Democrats will have to have LOTS of Republicans buy in. The hope is that budget pressure will make the option of federal money more appealing.
Ross Pumfrey, the volunteer, has contacted us about a letter writing campaign to our state senator, Dawn Buckingham, and our representatives, Andrew Murr (Kerr and Bandera) and Kyle Biedermann (Gillespie). If you would like to write a letter or make a call, just let me (Mary Ellen Summerlin, Legislative Chair this year) know at mects@ktc.com. I’ll send you the detailed information on options and talking points from Ross, you choose what to do, and ideally you let me know if you made a contact. I report only total number of contacts to Ross, none of your personal information (so you don’t have to end up on another list and receive constant emails! 

Mary Ellen Summerlin
Legislative Chair
Membership 2021

A big thank you to YOU, our HCCTDW members! You have responded so well to the call for Membership renewals. In these times of uncertainty, HCCTDW is alive and well! 

The 2021 Directory is in progress , and will be mailed , USPS, the week of March 1st to new members and those renewing by January 30, 2021.
Barbara Young, Membership Chair
Phone 830 238-3630

Democratic Events Around the Hill Country

Please refer to websites and other contact information for updates on area activities.
There is a lot going on!
Sign up to get news announcements from our Democratic partners around the Hill Country.
Kerr County Democratic Party
Go to kerrcountydemocrats.org to learn about Democratic activities in Kerr County.
To receive emails from the Kerr County Democratic Party, email kerrdemad@gmail.com and ask to be added to the mailing list.
Bandera County Democratic Club
For information, write Eloise Clayton at ekc@att,net.
Chair of the Bandera County Democratic Party: Lynn Oliver, 210-687-9701
Gillespie County Democrats
Gillespie County Democratic Party Headquarters, 209 N. Crockett, Suite 1, Fredericksburg 
For information, go to gillespiedemocrats.org.
Democratic Women of Comal County
Visit democraticwomenofcomalcounty.com for more information.
Medina County Democrats

Kendall County Democratic Party
Boerne Area Democrats 

Contact Information for Officers and Executive Board
President: Sylvia Ostos - sotxpta@ktc.com 
Vice President: Stephanie Ertel - ertels@mac.com
Secretary: Linda Stegall - lindastegall@hotmail.com
Treasurer: Julie Sentell - jmsentell@icloud.com  
Standing Committee Chairs
Communications: Judy Lundquist - judyrlundquist@yahoo.com
Legislative: Mary Ellen Summerlin - mects@ktc.com        
Membership: Barbara Young - barb7801@hctc.net  
Parliamentarian & Bylaws: Barbara Wise - bewise069@gmail.com 
Public Relations & Newsletter: Jeannie Berger - jsberger@twc.com 
You are welcome to contact any of the officers or committee chairs for information.
Write them directly by clicking on the email links following their names.

Please do not reply to this newsletter.