Hill Country Chapter of
Texas Democratic Women
March 2021

Meeting on March 2 Will ZOOM in on Texas Power Crisis
Tuesday, March 2 at noon

Since our last HCCTDW Newsletter, we have all had a lesson in survival. As a result, our planned focus on the Republican leadership in State government will be sharpened to look closely at the impact of extremely cold, but not “unprecedented” weather on our own communities and the promises of politicians to “make sure this never happens again.”
 
Be sure to claim your square on our Zoom meeting set to begin at noon on March 2, 2021. We will begin with a short report on the ERCOT near-disaster and the direction our elected leaders are taking. We will look to TDW members on the call to describe local conditions. Everyone on the call will have a chance to recount their experience with survival and their creative solutions born of necessity.
 
Governor Abbott has sent three emergency legislative items to the Legislature. The Governor is asking for reform of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT); a mandate for winterization of the Texas power system, and funding for winterization. The Public Utility Commission has temporarily halted billing and disconnecting customers impacted by extremely high costs of energy.
 
The first House and Senate Committee Hearings to investigate contributing factors and the response to statewide electrical blackouts began at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 25. More hearings are expected to follow, along with proposed legislation. It’s too late to prevent this crisis, but it’s not too early to start preventing the next one.
 
The pandemic has challenged our group to find different and safer ways to get together and act to help our communities. This one-hour Zoom meeting will provide a place where we can share our tales of survival: sleet, snow, and icy roads, lost power, boiled water and helpful neighbors. It will be good to see faces and hear voices we have been missing.

Topic: My Meeting
Time: Mar 2, 2021 12:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada)
 
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Meeting ID: 849 3833 6197
Passcode: 005901
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Go to texasimpact.org for Accurate Information about the ERCOT Crisis
 
Texas Impact is a leading advocate for social and economic justice in Texas, representing mainline Christian church organizations as well as Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and other religious groups. During the Legislative session every two years, Texas Impact offers a program called “Weekly Witness” every Monday between noon and 1:00 p.m.
 
On Monday, February 22, the topic of “Weekly Witness” was the power crisis resulting from the failure of Texas power producers to winterize, leading to the inability to function in very cold weather. HCCTDW members who are looking for a reliable source of information about the causes and possible solutions to the power crisis are encouraged to visit texasimpact.org and find the recorded program from February 22. Texas Impact’s Action Center also provides phone numbers and recommended actions for Texans who wish to contact Texas House and Senate members with stories and demands for real solutions.

Lots of Love Food Drive
Thanks to all of you who opened your hearts to make the February food drive a success!

President’s Thoughts
Have you looked in the mirror lately and thought how lucky you are? We now have a President of the United States who shows by example how we should care for each other. The vaccine seems to be getting to more and more of us each day. We are lucky to have enough resources that we can share with neighbors through Mustard Seed Ministries. No matter which side of an issue you favor you can find a news station to give information to support your view. We have Democratic Senators and Representatives who are working to pass bills that we believe will make our country stronger. Despite not being able to meet for lunch and fellowship, HCCTDW has been able to keep going through zoom meetings, the newsletter and a few carefully managed events. 

The week of February 13 – 19 tested us in so many ways. Living in the country was both a problem and a blessing. We were without electricity, water, internet, phone service and had icy roads for seven days. That was the problem side. The blessing was the ability to burn wood in the fireplace to keep a little warm, a bathtub full of water for special use, a small propane tank with a stand on which we could cook, and in my case a husband who is very resourceful in all kinds of situations. As the electricity came back on and we were able to hear and see what was going on in the rest of the world we realized just how lucky we were. Too many had no way to get warm, get a hot meal, have drinking water or a way to get help. We were especially grateful as we learned about friends who took others into their homes. Those who got out to do wellness checks on neighbors deserve special thanks. Of course, how lucky we all are that there were first responders who did their jobs despite the weather challenges especially the linemen who worked in the bitter cold to restore our power. When you start to make a list of those, we need to thank it is very long.

We hope you will join us for the March zoom meeting. We want to see and hear from you. If you have not gotten a zoom account please do so. Go to zoom.com and download the link. It is free. You would then click onto the link in the invitation in this newsletter. You can join with video and audio or just be a participant who listens. If you have not been on a zoom meeting now is the time to join this new electronic tool. The TDW Convention will be via zoom in April. The registration fee is $30 and can be done on line. We look forward to hearing about the work done by Democratic women from around the state.

As I said in the beginning, as you look around do you feel lucky? I certainly do.  I hope your situation is one that makes you feel lucky too. If you are not one of the lucky ones, and you need help, we hope you will contact one of your HCCTDW board members to let us know of your need. We want to be the friend on which you can count to help in time of need and to be there to share in your joys. HCCTDW members are special and we are lucky to have your friendship.   

 
Sylvia Ostos 
 Nominating Committee
 
The Nominating Committee consisting of Teresa Coleman, Coral Adema and Stephanie Ertel has met two times and made several contacts with members to determine their interest in serving as President or Vice President of our chapter. The Nominating Committee expects to complete the slate of officer nominees before the March 30, 2021 deadline, so that HCCTDW members may elect a new Board at the April 6, 2021 Annual Meeting.
HCCTDW Legislative Report
 
Public Education is a top issue for Texas Democratic Women, and considered one of the top 10 issues before the 87th Texas Legislature, according to the Austin American-Statesman. However, the recent power outages and water shortages related to a series of winter storms from February 11 through February 19 has overshadowed all other issues before the Legislature.
 
Both Representative Murr and State Senator Dawn Buckingham have issued statements demanding answers to the suffering of Texans from loss of power and water over periods of days while severely low temperatures threatened lives, impacted food supplies and interrupted vaccination efforts.
 
The power outages and water shortage have also impacted Texas public schools, teachers and students, with schools closing, damage to facilities, and loss of power and internet connections for students trying to learn from home.
 
The basic budget proposed to the Legislature includes all the public school funding approved in the 86th Legislature, but the cost of improvements to prevent future power outages may affect funding available for pubic education and teacher retirement benefits.
 
The new Speaker of the Texas House, Dade Phelan, has appointed Representative Harold Dutton of Houston, a Democrat, to chair the Public Education Committee in the Texas House, replacing Representative Dan Huberty, who led the effort to increase school funding in 2019. Dutton has served on the Committee for decades, and was the chair in 2013. Dutton has worked with Republicans in the past to expand funding for charter schools.
 
Education advocates are primarily concerned about maintaining the funding currently included in SB-1, the basic budget bill. Other key issues in public education include a push to eliminate standardized tests, changing the basis for state public school funding from daily attendance to enrollment, and making the Commissioner of Education an elected rather than appointed position.
 
Membership 2021

Congratulations to HCCTDW!. We are 94 members strong.
Your commitment to the mission of HCCTDW is inspiring.
Together we will make a difference.
 
A special welcome to our new members:
Brenda Cole, Eugenia Schuler, Jackie Rodriguez and Betty Vernon.
 
The Directory Is at the printer. You will receive your copy by USPS In early March.
 
                                                   
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.