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Vote early! | Take Action newsletter

Action is the antidote to despair. We’re holding monthly meetings to commiserate and, more importantly, to organize. Get involved.

Take Action

Be an (early) Texas voter!

Be A Texas Voter

Polls are open for early voting through Friday, Feb. 28. Election Day is Tuesday, March 3.

Use the resources below to build your ballot. Remember: You can bring paper notes, just not your phone, into the polling station!

Polling locations

Endorsements

More election resources

Fire John Cornyn!

Watch last week’s Senate debate and pick your fave…

John Cornyn Bets Big on Trump (Texas Observer)

How are the top Democratic U.S. Senate candidates in Texas different? We asked them 11 questions to find out. (Texas Tribune)

Watch interviews with five Democratic candidates running for the U.S. Senate in 2020 (Texas Tribune)

Your moment of Zen

Debates, endorsements, poll locations—everything you need to know about the 2020 Texas primary elections | Take Action Newsletter

Take Action

Vote early in the Texas primary

Be A Texas Voter

Early voting begins Tuesday, February 18 and ends Friday, February 28. Use the resources below to build your ballot. Remember: You can bring paper notes, just not your phone, into the polling station!

Polling locations

Endorsements

More election resources


Fire John Cornyn!

Feb. 18: Senate primary debate (KVUE)

How are the top Democratic U.S. Senate candidates in Texas different? We asked them 11 questions to find out. (Texas Tribune)

Watch interviews with five Democratic candidates running for the U.S. Senate in 2020 (Texas Tribune)


Events

Sign up to be notified of Indivisible Austin GOTV volunteer opportunities

Tuesday, February 18

First day of early voting!

Senate Primary Debate

6:30 to 8 p.m. on KVUE

KVUE is hosting a debate the U.S. Senate Democratic candidates facing incumbent Republican Sen. John Cornyn in the upcoming election.

Eleven of the 12 Democrats have been confirmed to participate in the debate. The candidates are: Former U.S. Representative Chris Bell, Michael Cooper, Amanda Edwards, Jack Daniel Foster, Annie “Mama” Garcia, Victor Harris, MJ Hegar, Sema Hernandez, Adrian Ocegueda, Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez, and State Sen. Royce West.

Thursday, February 20

Meet Local Candidates Running In Texas’s Primaries At “Civic Farmer’s Market”

6 p.m. at Native Hostel, 807 East 4th Street

Join GoodPolitics, KUT Austin, USTomorrow, the Austin Monitor, and MOVETexas (it’s quite the civic squad) as we get to know the people on our ballot.

RSVP on Eventbrite

Friday, February 21

TX-10 GOTV Postcard Party

6:30 to 8 p.m. at Black Walnut Cafe, 10817 Ranch Rd 2222. Hosted by Indivisible Rosedale Huddle.

Saturday, February 22

Drag Out The Vote

6 p.m. at Highland Lounge, 404 Colorado Street

Come out to see some amazing drag, get registered to vote, help raise funds, and learn more about Drag Out The Vote! This event is co-hosted by Planned Parenthood Texas Votes and MOVE Texas.

RSVP on Ticketbud. All proceeds from this event will benefit Drag Out The Vote’s work to get voters registered and to the polls.

Sunday, February 23

Consumerism and Climate Change Community Workshop

1 p.m. at Travis County Administration Building, 700 Lavaca Street

Join the City’s Office of Sustainability to give your input on consumption patterns in Austin and their consequences related to climate change and social justice.

RSVP on Eventbrite


Congress Critter of the Week: Roger Williams

Rep. Williams doesn’t know how questions work.


Your Moment of Zen

 

 

It’s time for payback | Take Action Newsletter

Important Dates:

Feb. 18: Early Voting begins

Feb. 28: Early Voting ends

March 3: Election Day

Take Action

It’s time for payback: “Thank” John Cornyn for Trump’s Friday Night Massacre

Payback Project

In the Senate impeachment trial, irredeemable cowards John Cornyn and Ted Cruz voted to acquit Trump of wrongdoing—paving the way for retaliation and further abuses of power. The firing of House impeachment witnesses Alexander Vindman and Gordon Sondland—as well as that of Vindman’s brother—is likely just the beginning.

What can we do? We can call our venal senators—especially John Cornyn, who is on the 2020 ballot.

We can also get even with the Payback Project—the national Indivisible team’s plan to defeat John Cornyn and eight other senators.

Target Cornyn in newspaper ads

Sign up to text voters in target states


#BeATexasVoter in 2020

Sign up to be notified of Indivisible Austin GOTV volunteer opportunities

Be A Texas Voter

Primary election dates

  • Feb. 18: Early voting starts
  • Feb. 21: Last day to request a ballot to vote by mail
  • Feb. 28: Early voting ends
  • March 3: Election day

Endorsements

Austin Chronicle’s March 2020 Club Endorsements: Who’s backing whom in the Democratic primary?

Progress Texas: Certified Progressive 2020: Our list of Texas progressives running in flippable districts

Texas AFL-CIO COPE 2020 Endorsements

Other election resources

New! Senate primary debate on KVUE!

Visit our 2020 Election Resources page

League of Women Voters Texas Primary Voting Guide (PDF)

Here’s your Texas 2020 March primary ballot (Texas Tribune)

Watch interviews with five Democratic candidates running for the U.S. Senate in 2020 (Texas Tribune)


Events

Tuesday, February 11

Natural Systems Community Workshop

5:30 p.m. at Carver Library Auditorium, 1161 Angelina Street

Join the City’s Office of Sustainability to give your input on nature-based solutions to capture, store, and reduce carbon emissions in Austin.

RSVP on Eventbrite

Thursday, February 13

Transportation and Land Use Community Workshop

5:30 p.m. at Carver Library Auditorium, 1161 Angelina Street

Join the City’s Office of Sustainability to give your input on how to reduce the community carbon footprint of transportation and land use in Austin!

RSVP on Eventbrite

Tuesday, February 18

First day of early voting!

Senate Primary Debate

6:30 to 8 p.m. on KVUE

KVUE is hosting a debate the U.S. Senate Democratic candidates facing incumbent Republican Sen. John Cornyn in the upcoming election.

Eleven of the 12 Democrats have been confirmed to participate in the debate. The candidates are: Former U.S. Representative Chris Bell, Michael Cooper, Amanda Edwards, Jack Daniel Foster, Annie “Mama” Garcia, Victor Harris, MJ Hegar, Sema Hernandez, Adrian Ocegueda, Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez, and State Sen. Royce West.

Williamson County Candidate Meet and Greet

6 to 8 p.m. at Georgetown Public Library, Hewlett Room. Hosted by Wilco Indivisible.

Facebook event

Thursday, February 20

Party For The People: Candidate Happy Hour & Hang Out

6 p.m. at Native Hostel and Bar & Kitchen, 807 East 4th Street.

Join GoodPolitics, KUT Austin, USTomorrow, the Austin Monitor, and MOVETexas as we get to know the people on our ballot.

RSVP on Eventbrite

Friday, February 21

TX-10 GOTV Postcard Party

6:30 to 8 p.m. at Black Walnut Cafe, 10817 Ranch Rd 2222. Hosted by Indivisible Rosedale Huddle.

Sunday, February 23

Consumerism and Climate Change Community Workshop

1 p.m. at Travis County Administration Building, 700 Lavaca Street

Join the City’s Office of Sustainability to give your input on consumption patterns in Austin and their consequences related to climate change and social justice.

RSVP on Eventbrite

Your moment of Zen

 

 

 

 

 

Tell Cornyn and Cruz: Acquittal erodes Democracy | Take Action Newsletter

Important Dates:

Feb. 3: Last day to register to vote in the primary

Feb. 18-28: Early Voting

March 3: Election Day

Make sure you are eligible to vote.

Take Action

Vote on a newspaper ad to defeat John Cornyn

Payback Project

The Payback Project is a new campaign from the national Indivisible team targeting the GOP senators who voted for a coverup in the impeachment trial. One of their tactics is to take out a newspaper ad going after certain senators—including John Cornyn!

Tell the Indivisible Project to target Cornyn!

(After you vote you’ll be directed to an optional donation page. Indivisible Austin does not receive direct funding from the national Indivisible Project. If you prefer donating to your local group, you can do so here.)

Visit the Payback Project

Tell Cornyn and Cruz that their votes for acquittal will erode Democracy

If the impeachment trial goes as expected—acquittal without a single witness called—our senators will be responsible for a historical coverup. Their names will be in history books, listed among the enablers of our Democracy’s downfall. It’s time to call and let them know.

Cornyn:

(202) 224-2934

(512) 469-6034

Can’t get through? Find additional numbers

Cruz:

(202) 224-5922

(512) 916-5834

Can’t get through? Find additional numbers

Script by Celeste Pewter:

Cornyn / Cruz script on impeachment acquittal by Celeste Pewter

Find or organize a rally at rejectthecoverup.org


2020 is here

Sign up to be notified of Indivisible Austin GOTV volunteer opportunities

Primary election dates

  • Feb. 3: Last day to register to vote and be eligible to cast a ballot in the March primaries. Go to mapthe.vote to sign up to register voters in your neighborhood. You do not need to be a VDR: People will be mailed a voter registration form and STAMPED return envelope.
  • Feb. 18: Early voting starts.
  • Feb. 21: Last day to request a ballot to vote by mail in the primaries.
  • Feb. 28: Early voting ends.
  • March 3: Election day.

Add Texas 2020 election dates to your calendar (Texas Tribune)

Visit our 2020 Election Resources page

U.S. Senate

Here are some of the candidates running to defeat John Cornyn:

Watch interviews with five Democratic candidates running for the U.S. Senate in 2020 (Texas Tribune)

U.S. Congress

There are competitive races in all of our districts that have Republican incumbents. Several of the candidates that Indivisible Austin endorsed in the 2018 general election—Mike Siegel, Rick Kennedy, and Julie Oliver—are running again in 2020.

Get to know the candidates

In TX21? Find out more about Chip Roy!

Texas House

In 2018, 17 State House Republicans won by less than 10 points. Eight of those won by less than five points. Beto won in nine of those districts, and in all but one of the counties where these districts live.

Get involved to flip the Texas House


Let’s talk about the climate crisis…and the Super Bowl

We hope the team of your choice was victorious! (Go KC?) The city in which the big game was played is sinking into the sea.

Miami Beach

Read: Not to Ruin the Super Bowl, but the Sea Is Consuming Miami (Wired)


Events

Sign up to be notified of Indivisible Austin GOTV volunteer opportunities

Monday, February 3

Last day to register to vote in the Texas primary.

Wednesday, February 5

Nationwide “Reject the Coverup” rallies at 5:30 p.m local time

Wednesday, February 5th at 5:30pm, hundreds of thousands of Americans will mobilize with a simple demand: Reject The Coverup

Find or organize a rally at rejectthecoverup.org

Friday, February 7

TX-10 GOTV Postcard Party

6:30 to 8 p.m. at Brentwood Social House, 1601 W Koenig Ln. Hosted by Indivisible Rosedale Huddle.

Tuesday, February 18

First day of early voting!

Thursday, February 20

Party For The People: Candidate Happy Hour & Hang Out

6 p.m. at Native Hostel and Bar & Kitchen, 807 East 4th Street.

Join GoodPolitics, KUT Austin, USTomorrow, the Austin Monitor, and MOVETexas as we get to know the people on our ballot.

RSVP on Eventbrite

Friday, February 21

TX-10 GOTV Postcard Party

6:30 to 8 p.m. at Black Walnut Cafe, 10817 Ranch Rd 2222. Hosted by Indivisible Rosedale Huddle.


Your moment of Zen

Make a plan to vote in the Texas primary elections | Take Action Newsletter

Important Dates:

Feb. 3: Last day to register to vote in the primary

Feb. 18-28: Early Voting

March 3: Election Day

Make sure you are eligible to vote.

Take Action

Make a plan to vote in the Texas primary elections

“One minute they seem like normal human beings, the next they’ve grown horns.”

—from Eugène Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros” (1959), a play about the rise of fascism

After more than three years of watching our elected representatives prostrate themselves to Donald Trump, we are unsurprised at their embarrassing behavior during the impeachment proceedings and Senate trial. John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, Michael McCaul, Bill Flores, Chip Roy, Roger Williams, John Carter—all are irredeemable cowards. Our best shot at saving Democracy is to vote them out of office.

Voting in Texas on Super Tuesday: Everything you need to know (Texas Tribune)

Visit our 2020 Election Resource page

Remind John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of the oath that they took to support and defend the Constitution and demand they support a fair and open trial in the Senate 

See blockwalking and other GOTV opportunities in the Events section below!


2020 is here

Be A Texas Voter

Primary election dates

  • Feb. 3: Last day to register to vote and be eligible to cast a ballot in the March primaries. Go to mapthe.vote to sign up to register voters in your neighborhood. You do not need to be a VDR: People will be mailed a voter registration form and STAMPED return envelope.
  • Feb. 18: Early voting starts.
  • Feb. 21: Last day to request a ballot to vote by mail in the primaries.
  • Feb. 28: Early voting ends.
  • March 3: Election day.

Add Texas 2020 election dates to your calendar (Texas Tribune)

Visit our 2020 Election Resources page

Texas House

In 2018, 17 State House Republicans won by less than 10 points. Eight of those won by less than five points. Beto won in nine of those districts, and in all but one of the counties where these districts live.

Get involved to flip the Texas House

Support Dr. Eliz Markowitz in the Jan. 28 special election runoff in HD-28

U.S. Senate

Indivisible Houston, Indivisible Katy Huddle, and the national Indivisible team hosted an issue forum with seven of the Democratic candidates running for John Cornyn’s senate seat. Here are some of the candidates running:

Watch interviews with five Democratic candidates running for the U.S. Senate in 2020 (Texas Tribune)

U.S. Congress

There are competitive races in all of our districts that have Republican incumbents. Several of the candidates that Indivisible Austin endorsed in the 2018 general election—Mike Siegel, Rick Kennedy, and Julie Oliver—are running again in 2020.

Get to know the candidates

In TX21? Find out more about Chip Roy!


Events

Monday, Jan 27

Come meet candidate for US Senate Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez!

7 p.m. at Memorial United Methodist Church-Austin, 6100 Berkman Dr.

Hosted by Indivisible TX-25 East

This is an excellent opportunity to talk one-on-one with one of the candidates running against John Cornyn to represent Texas in the US Senate.

Facebook event 

Candidate website: cristinafortexas.com

Saturday, Feb. 1

Block Walking at Riverside!!

Meet at 10:30 a.m. at 608 W 22nd St.

In collaboration with UT’s MOVE TX and TX RISING chapters, JOLT is hosting block walking events every Saturday until the primaries!! Come spread the message about the importance of voting, registering voters, and promoting to go early voting!

We are focusing on reaching out to lower income, Latino/a/x, black and brown communities in Austin, so if you are a Spanish speaker or fall under this demographic, we would love for you to help us out!

Facebook event

Sunday, February 2

Austin Jews for Refugees Assembly

1 p.m. at Dell Jewish Community Campus, 7300 Hart Ln.

The Jewish community in Austin is already deeply and passionately committed to support and advocacy for refugees and asylum seekers, and the Jews for Refugees Assembly will amplify these existing efforts by bringing the community together to raise a strong, collective, moral, and Jewish voice in support of refugees and asylum seekers

RSVP for the Assembly

Your moment of Zen

Keep Texas Open to Refugees | Take Action Newsletter

Take Action

From Indivisible TXLEGE:

Call Governor Greg Abbott at 512-463-2000 to keep Texas open to refugees

Greg Abbott

Last week, Governor Abbott announced that Texas would opt out of accepting refugees. Since then, a court has blocked the decision, thankfully, but we still need to make it loud and clear that Texas welcomes refugees.

For more: Texas Tribune: Gov Greg Abbott may be unable to ban Refugees

Say: “Hi, I’m a Texan and constituent of Governor Greg Abbott, and I was appalled to hear that he hopes to block refugees from resettling in Texas. Texas is a large and wealthy state that has been only made stronger by the refugee families who have resettled here. I’d also like to remind the Governor that Texas is a friendly state, and he will face a tough reelection in 2022 if he continues to push hateful policies that hurt people. My zip code is _____.”

Follow Indivisible TXLEGE on Facebook or Twitter

Join the Feb. 2 Austin Jews for Refugees Assembly

Demand Cruz and Cornyn support a fair and open impeachment trial

Ted Cruz and John Cornyn

Remind John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of the oath that they took to support and defend the Constitution and demand they support a fair and open trial in the Senate to fully hear the evidence and hold Trump accountable for his actions. If they don’t, they’ll become accomplices in Donald Trump’s coverup.

Write a letter to John Cornyn and Ted Cruz

Get connected to your senators now


2020 is here

Be A Texas Voter

Primary election dates

  • Feb. 3: Last day to register to vote and be eligible to cast a ballot in the March primaries. Go to mapthe.vote to sign up to register voters in your neighborhood. You do not need to be a VDR: People will be mailed a voter registration form and STAMPED return envelope.
  • Feb. 18: Early voting starts.
  • Feb. 21: Last day to request a ballot to vote by mail in the primaries.
  • Feb. 28: Early voting ends.
  • March 3: Election day.

Add Texas 2020 election dates to your calendar (Texas Tribune)

Visit our 2020 Election Resources page

Texas House

In 2018, 17 State House Republicans won by less than 10 points. Eight of those won by less than five points. Beto won in nine of those districts, and in all but one of the counties where these districts live.

Get involved to flip the Texas House

Support Dr. Eliz Markowitz in the Jan. 28 special election runoff in HD-28

U.S. Senate

Indivisible Houston, Indivisible Katy Huddle, and the national Indivisible team hosted an issue forum with seven of the Democratic candidates running for John Cornyn’s senate seat. Here are some of the candidates running:

Watch Indivisible Houston’s candidate forum

U.S. Congress

There are competitive races in all of our districts that have Republican incumbents. Several of the candidates that Indivisible Austin endorsed in the 2018 general election—Mike Siegel, Rick Kennedy, and Julie Oliver—are running again in 2020.

Get to know the candidates


Events

Saturday, January 25

TX17 Candidate Forum – Livestream

6:30 to 9 p.m.

KBTX will host back-to-back candidate forums broadcast live simultaneously on KBTX and Waco’s KWTX-TV and streamed on the stations’ websites and social media pages. Democratic candidates will be featured from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 25, followed immediately by the Republican forum from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

It’s also worth checking out this article (from a conservative “news” source) about the last time the TX17 GOP candidates participated in a forum.

The two things the bevy of candidates had most in common were A) support for the president and B) support for his decision to kill Soleimani.

When asked what the biggest threat to America was, Vessali, Rowin, Sutton, and Kent all stated some form of “the left,” “progressives,” or “socialism.” Bland and Hindman pointed to the border. Swann and McReynolds said China. And Saucedo stated, “The Deep State.”

NOTE: In 2018, Indivisible Austin endorsed Rick Kennedy in the general election; he is running again in 2020.

Visit kbtx.com for the livestream

Monday, January 27

Meet Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, candidate for US Senate

7 p.m. at Memorial United Methodist Church, 6100 Berkman Dr. Hosted by TX25 East Indivisible.

Come meet candidate for US Senate Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez!

This is an excellent opportunity to talk one-on-one with one of the candidates running against John Cornyn to represent Texas in the US Senate.

View Facebook event

Sunday, February 2

Austin Jews for Refugees Assembly

1 p.m. at Dell Jewish Community Campus, 7300 Hart Ln.

The Jewish community in Austin is already deeply and passionately committed to support and advocacy for refugees and asylum seekers, and the Jews for Refugees Assembly will amplify these existing efforts by bringing the community together to raise a strong, collective, moral, and Jewish voice in support of refugees and asylum seekers

RSVP for the Assembly


Your Moment of Zen

Sign up to volunteer to turn Texas blue

 

Statement from Indivisible Austin on Trump’s visit to the Farm Bureau’s Annual Convention in Austin, Texas

President Donald J. Trump, for the third year in a row, will address farm and ranch families at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 101st Annual Convention. The address is scheduled for January 19 in Austin, Texas, at the Austin Convention Center.

When Trump was in Austin last November, Indivisible Austin helped to organize a rally opposing his presence in our city.

This time around, we are choosing instead to focus on local organizing to vote Donald Trump and his enablers out of office at all levels of government. (We will support any individuals or groups who feel called to organize a protest of Trump’s visit.)

Trump and Farmers

Trump speaking to farmers does raise some interesting points. First, is his lie that smaller farms and farmers are “big beneficiaries” of cash payments intended to ease the effects of Trump’s tariff war with China.

Trump lies about payouts to small farms

According to a study by the Environmental Working Group, “the ‘richest of the rich’ — the top 1% — received 13% of the federal payments, or more than $177,000 each. The bottom 80%, on the other hand, got an average payment of $5,136.”

Additionally, according to the Washington Post, the past two years have been marked by a sharp rise in bankruptcies in the nation’s deepest farm country.

Get Involved

As we gear up for 2020, we’ll need all hands on deck. Sign up here to be notified of regular get-out-the-vote meetups and other volunteer opportunities. Feel free to indicate whether you have special skills or interests. Everyone is welcome!

Sign up to volunteer for upcoming meetups and blockwalks

Resources

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-vowed-to-help-small-farmers-but-heres-where-the-aid-is-really-going-2019-12-03

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/12/21/after-miserable-farm-sector-still-came-out-ahead-thanks-government-assistance/

 

Letter from Australia; Who is Chip Roy? 2020 Texas election resources | Take Action Newsletter

Climate Crisis

EXCLUSIVE: Australian Bushfires Highlight Political Failures to Consider Climate Change

The bushfires currently decimating large swaths of Australia, a country the size of the continental US, were both foreseeable and largely preventable. However, failure to effectively consider climate change impacts and adaptation, coupled with some misguided land management practices, have led Australia to the current catastrophe. This will have long-term impacts on politics, the economy, sustainability and entire communities.

Australia brushfires

Photo: Charlie Emery, General Manager of Soilco

Read more in this exclusive post by Russ Martin, an American environmental expert living in New South Wales, Australia


Take Action

Demand Cruz and Cornyn support a fair and open impeachment trial

Ted Cruz and John Cornyn

Remind John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of the oath that they took to support and defend the Constitution and demand they support a fair and open trial in the Senate to fully hear the evidence and hold Trump accountable for his actions. If they don’t, they’ll become accomplices in Donald Trump’s coverup.

Write a letter to John Cornyn and Ted Cruz

Get connected to your senators now

Write Your Reps!

In addition to calling, emails are an effective way to reach your elected representatives. Another alternative is Resistbot, which allows you to contact your reps via text message, Twitter, or Facebook Messenger—it’s fun!

Recent letter campaigns:

No War with Iran

Demand your Senators support a fair and open impeachment trial

Tell Greg Abbott: Call a special session to #DoSomething about gun violence in Texas

Dear John Cornyn: Your failure to act on the climate crisis is a dereliction of duty

Tell Your Senators We Need Stronger Gun Laws Now


2020 is here

Add Texas 2020 election dates to your calendar (Texas Tribune)

Monday, February 3 is the last day to register to vote in the March 3 primary. Make sure you are eligible to vote.

Visit our 2020 Election Resources page

Texas House

In 2018, 17 State House Republicans won by less than 10 points. Eight of those won by less than five points. Beto won in nine of those districts, and in all but one of the counties where these districts live.

Get involved to flip the Texas House

Support Dr. Eliz Markowitz in the Jan. 28 special election runoff in HD-28

U.S. Senate

Indivisible Houston, Indivisible Katy Huddle, and the national Indivisible team hosted an issue forum with seven of the Democratic candidates running for John Cornyn’s senate seat. Here are some of the candidates running:

Watch Indivisible Houston’s candidate forum

U.S. Congress

There are competitive races in all of our districts that have Republican incumbents. Several of the candidates that Indivisible Austin endorsed in the 2018 general election—Mike Siegel, Rick Kennedy, and Julie Oliver—are running again in 2020.

Get to know the candidates


Congress Critter of the Week: Who Is Chip Roy?

Hey, we’re just asking questions. But who is Chip Roy, TX21’s representative in the U.S. Congress? Who is he… really?

who is chip roy?

Find out more at whoischiproy.com

RSVP for the TX21 candidate forum on January 18


Events

Tuesday, January 14

CD 17 Congressional GOP Candidates Forum

6 to 9 p.m. at Smitty K’s, 12601 SH 30, College Station, TX 77845

Grassroots Victory 2020 for CD-17 invites you to “Get to know the CD 17 GOP Congressional Candidates” in this Q&A forum. Currently 8 of the 12 GOP candidates are scheduled to attend.

Facebook event

Saturday, January 18

Women’s March ATX: Rally at the Capitol

The Women’s March ATX – Rally at Texas Capitol will be on Saturday, January 18, 2020.  We will gather on the south steps at the Capitol Building for a rally 12:00pm – 3:00pm.

More information at www.womensmarchontexascapitol.org

Sign up to volunteer

TX21 candidate forum

6:30 p.m. at Opal Divine’s Austin Grill, 2200 South Interstate 35 Frontage Road

Please join TX-21 Indivisible for an Austin-area Congressional Candidate Forum! Invited candidates: Wendy Davis, Jennie Lou Leeder, Chip Roy. Confirmed candidates as of January 7, 2020 are Wendy Davis and Jennie Lou Leeder.

This will be a moderated forum with questions submitted by audience members before the event (with this invite RSVP, at sign in, and in a final Q&A session, time permitting).

RSVP for the candidate forum

Monday, January 20

MLK Community March

The Annual Community March celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy while uplifting diversity and multiculturalism in our city. All businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals are invited to march and celebrate Dr. King’s legacy.

The MLK Community March kicks off on Monday, January 20, 2020 at 9 a.m.with a short program at the MLK Statue on the University of Texas campus.

At the conclusion of the program at the MLK Statue, we will march to the south steps of the Capitol for a rally.

After the Capitol program, the march will proceed to the historic Huston-Tillotson University, where exciting activities are planned.

More information at mlkcelebration.com


Your Moment of Zen


Volunteer with Indivisible Austin

Be A Texas VoterAs we gear up for 2020, we’ll need all hands on deck. Sign up here to be notified of regular get-out-the-vote meetups and other volunteer opportunities. Feel free to indicate whether you have special skills or interests. Everyone is welcome!

Get involved

EXCLUSIVE: Australian Bushfires Highlight Political Failures to Consider Climate Change

Guest post by Russ Martin, exclusive to Indivisible Austin

The bushfires currently decimating large swaths of Australia, a country the size of the continental US, were both foreseeable and largely preventable. However, failure to effectively consider climate change impacts and adaptation, coupled with some misguided land management practices, have led Australia to the current catastrophe. This will have long-term impacts on politics, the economy, sustainability and entire communities.

With the bushfires, climate change, land management and disaster preparation are no longer abstract concepts, and concerns span previously disparate voting blocks as people and animals die, homes and livelihoods are lost, whole cities choke on hazardous air and resources and patience are tested as never before. We’ve become the canaries (and koalas and kangaroos) in the coal mine, and we’re dying.

Business as usual and politics as usual get tossed out the window when catastrophe causes impacts to truly hit home. As we struggle to protect lives and mitigate further damage, there is an opportunity to better target political will and take positive actions for moving forward.

Impacts to Date

Bushfires in Australia have gotten so bad that they’re generating their own weather patterns[1] and fire projections can’t keep pace[2]. The bushfires have already killed 25 people and burned over 10 million hectares (25 million acres) of land[3], more than 10 times the area lost in the Amazon 2019 fires and far more than lost in the US in 2019[4]. An estimated billion animals have died[5].

Our national capital[6] and largest capital cities have been encircled by fires and blanketed in hazardous smoke. The fires and smoke have affected six of our eight states and territories, and the smoke, visible from space, has even spread across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand and on to Chile and Argentina.

Around New Years in my home state of New South Wales (NSW) alone, 20 people have died and over 500 homes have been lost[7], including lives and homes of our brave volunteer firefighters. Nearly 1,600 homes have been lost in NSW since the start of bushfire season just a few months ago. Other large states, Victoria and South Australia, have lost two lives each due to the bushfires, while over 2,000 homes have now been lost Australia-wide[8]. Damaged power substations also threaten energy supplies.

Latest impact assessment graphic

For perspective, Australia’s population is around 25 million (between Texas and Florida in size) and generally clustered around major coastal cities. We’ve had towns where thousands of residents and tourists scrambled to beaches for shelter as their towns burned[9] and we’ve seen the military called in to help conduct Australia’s largest mass evacuations[10].

Shortages of food, water, fuel and power, as well as significant road closures, have affected peoples’ ability to either bunker down or to evacuate. Securing feed and water for animals, already limited by drought, is problematic. Some farmers have reported shortages of bullets to put burned animals out of their misery.

Tourism is taking a beating from climate change and the bushfires. Half of the Great Barrier Reef[11], the world’s largest reef and visible from space, has died from ocean warming[12] and bushfires are damaging key tourism areas. Half of Kangaroo Island, Australia’s third-largest island and known for its fine food, tourism and conservation, has been lost to fire[13]. Over 9,000 insurance claims have been lodged for the current bushfire so far, with many more expected[14].

We’ve had several days where everyone was advised to stay indoors due to extreme heat and ‘apocalyptic’ air conditions 11 times ‘hazardous’ levels[15]. Air conditioning systems struggle to keep up with the heat some days. Discussions around which face masks are most effective against inhalation of bushfire smoke and wearing face masks to protect against the smoke in metro cities have become commonplace.

Personally, I’ve largely been spared the worst; certainly, nothing like the many that have suffered. I did stay up one night following the Fires Near Me (the most Googled term) app and news reports to see if I’d have to evacuate my kids and myself due to a fire 3km away from our home. A nearby neighbourhood was protected only by dumping fire retardant by plane and because backburning had been conducted just two weeks prior[16].

Screen shot of Fires Near Me app

Mates I’ve long known and respected have faced much worse as they and their families have fought to save family businesses, from a composting business and rental properties south of Sydney to timber operations up the North Coast.

Australia brushfires

Photo: Charlie Emery, General Manager of Soilco

Australia brushfires

Photo: Charlie Emery, General Manager of Soilco

This was Foreseeable and Largely Ignored by Elected Officials

The most frustrating aspect for me and many others is that this was foreseeable and many of the worst impacts were largely preventable. Australia has long had droughts and bushfires, but these have been affected dramatically by climate change. Certain land management policies and limited opportunities to do controlled burns have also led to large fuel loads under these adverse conditions.

For millennia, Aboriginal people set and managed fires in controlled ways through mosaic burning; fires were considerably smaller, more frequent and a regular part of life, with minimal impacts on people and wildlife. Prescribed burning now revolves around population densities, drier climate and fuel loads, resources to manage burns properly, impacts of smoke on populated areas, habitat conservation, management policies and regulatory approvals, all of which impact on the ability to undertake preventative burning.

For decades, detailed projections have shown that extreme weather events would be more frequent and more severe globally. If anything, most projections have understated the extent of actual severity. Public reports and government inquiries have consistently highlighted impacts, risks and the need for adaptation.

Decade after decade, heat records have been broken. A year ago, all 15 of the world’s hottest temperatures were in Australia[17]. Western suburbs in Sydney have exceeded 48.9C (120F)[18]. Droughts have become so prevalent that entire states have been in drought and the definition of drought changed to reflect the new reality[19].

As in the US and elsewhere, defence officials in Australia have warned of the national security implications of climate change and the geopolitical implications of climate change, including increased conflicts and relocation of climate refugees[20].

Australia was a world leader in understanding and addressing climate change when I chaired the Australian Greenhouse Conference 2000, and we had good government support for designing emissions trading schemes including bringing out carbon traders from New York and London. However, we’ve long since lost that leadership.

Australia eventually placed a price on carbon, only for that to be repealed, and much of our current claimed progress against climate change targets[21] is due largely to accounting methods and negotiations rather than substantive action[22].

The world has failed to effectively address climate change and adaption, then attacked those that speak out as their worlds are either flooding or burning down around them. More people take to the streets demanding action, while the science to support better decision-making is attacked, belittled or suppressed. Australia’s political leadership has failed to show their understanding of the full significance of these issues.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has horribly mismanaged and misjudged the situation. Morrison had actively promoted coal in Parliament and repeatedly denied the connection between climate change and Australia’s worsening conditions, as had previous PM Tony Abbott (to his credit, Abbott has been serving as a volunteer firefighter)[23].

In a leadership spill, Morrison had replaced former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who was vocal about the need to address climate change and cast aside by the right wing of his party, with climate change deniers and skeptics holding undue influence due to electoral politics. Then, in an election focused on climate change with the opposing Labor party widely expected to gain power, Morrison and his coalition party reaffirmed that all politics is local as their support for large coal mines in the key state of Queensland helped cause Labor to lose the ‘unlosable election’[24]. The local economic impacts of the Adani mine in particular were crucial to Australia’s elections, even though the Adani Group is India-owned and the mined coal was destined for power generation in India[25].

As PM, Morrison also refused to meet with 23 former fire and emergency chiefs that warned of the need for additional fire-fighting aircraft and other capacity[26]. The PM then took pains to not address the smoke enveloping Sydney[27], instead promoting his ‘religious discrimination’ bill[28] that actively condones discrimination as long as it’s done in the name of religion. Morrison promptly left for an unannounced holiday in Hawaii, keeping his whereabouts secret while Australia burned until public outcry became overwhelming.

When he eventually returned following the death of two volunteer firefighters, Morrison struggled with damage control due to overwhelming public criticism for his lack of leadership and physical presence. Morrison also said he wouldn’t take as personal the angry residents and firefighters that refused to even shake his hand for photo ops, including the firefighter who had just lost his home while saving those of others[29].

Morrison eventually committed additional Federal resources to help fight the bushfires, but has failed to consult effectively with local politicians[30] and leaders on the ground like the NSW fire chief[31]. Morrison also eventually postponed a planned trip to sell more Australian coal to India.

Moving Forward

Some argue that now is not the time to cast blame or to question political leadership. However, domestic and international attention are now focused on Australia’s conditions and elected officials have prime opportunities to redeem themselves for past inaction.

State and Territory governments are largely responsible for dealing with natural disasters, and they often exert the most control over policies that affect the scale of disasters (such as land management). The NSW government’s response to the bushfires and leadership have been perceived as strong, but governments’ leadership and ability to adapt will continue to be tested.

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean understands the significance, recently stating “Longer drier periods, resulting in more drought and bushfire. If this is not a catalyst for change, then I don’t know what is.” and “We need to reduce our carbon emissions immediately, and we need to adapt our practices to deal with this kind of weather becoming the new normal.” [32].

Comprehensive climate change and energy policies are essential, but they must be paired with sensible climate change adaptation strategies, land management and resource allocation for emergency management as Australia seeks to recover and prepare for the future.

High temperatures, drought, some land management policies and concerns about smoke levels have reduced the windows available for conducting controlled burns. Harvesting extra vegetative matter for bioenergy and adopting some traditional Aboriginal practices can significantly reduce fuel load risk and improve biodiversity while giving wildlife opportunities to escape or recover from fires.

Oftentimes, things have to get worse before they can get better. Calling out these injustices and voting accordingly are actions that individuals can take, and the fact that people are increasingly speaking up and trying to hold institutions more accountable in order to bring about change is what gives me some optimism in otherwise dark days. While bushfires have had devastating impacts across Australia, the attention they’ve brought about can and should be channelled to adopt and fund sustainable practices to reduce future risks. Aussies deserve at least that much, considering what they’ve been through.


Author Bio

Russ Martin (@RussMartinMS2) has over 29 years’ experience in product stewardship, public policy, bioenergy and sustainability, both in government and as an advisor to industry and governments. These roles have been in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Middle East. He moved from the US to Australia in 1997, and Sydney has been his home ever since.

Primary responsibilities include serving as CEO of the not-for-profit Global Product Stewardship Council, Director of consultancy MS2 (MS2.com.au) and Founder of the International Stewardship Forum series. Russ was awarded the Global Green Future Leadership Award by the World CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Congress.


[1] https://www.sciencealert.com/the-bushfires-in-australia-are-so-big-they-re-generating-their-own-weather

[2] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-03/scientific-modelling-not-coping-with-current-bushfires/11839356

[3] Timber NSW estimate as of 7 January 2020, confirmed in https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/how-the-2019-australian-bushfire-season-compares-to-other-fire-disasters/news-story/7924ce9c58b5d2f435d0ed73ffe34174.

[4] https://7news.com.au/news/bushfires/australian-bushfires-burn-more-land-than-amazon-and-california-fires-combined-c-632478

[5] https://www.ecowatch.com/australia-wildfire-deaths-2644394434.html

[6] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-05/nsw-fires-blanket-canberra-in-thick-smoke/11841546

[7] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-03/nsw-bushfires-death-toll-and-homes-destroyed-rises/11835982, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2020/jan/06/nsw-fires-live-updates-victoria-bushfires-south-australia-fire-sa-australian-bushfire-near-me-rfs-cfa-latest-news-morrison

[8] https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/what-we-know-so-far-on-the-nsw-and-victorian-bushfires/news-story/9e0268f8b13102c57370df951a6d1483, https://apnews.com/0cdb881db8142cb75e3765bd780667ba

[9] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-03/navy-starts-bushfires-evacuations–in-mallacoota/11838424

[10] https://apnews.com/0cdb881db8142cb75e3765bd780667ba

[11] https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2018/04/19/half-of-the-great-barrier-reef-coral-has-died-since-2016/#665959385f9f

[12] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/great-barrier-reef-dying-climate-change-caused-decrease-in-new-coral-study-says/, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/08/explore-atlas-great-barrier-reef-coral-bleaching-map-climate-change/,

[13] https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/climate-change/all-hell-is-breaking-loose-massive-fire-threatens-all-of-kangaroo-island/news-story/6fbad55c97d304431786471fa20c88dd

[14] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-07/nsw-bushfire-threat-dry-windy-weather-to-return-friday/11844556

[15] https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/nsw-bushfires-apocalyptic-health-effects-of-sydney-s-toxic-air-20191211-p53ixc.html

[16] https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/really-lucky-flames-come-within-metres-of-sydney-homes-20191112-p53a0h.html

[17] https://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/the-world-s-15-hottest-sites-were-all-in-australia-amid-significant-heatwave-20190116-p50rmr.html

[18] https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/penrith-press/penrith-hits-record-temperature-of-485c-as-heatwave-strikes-nsw/news-story/dcf054647fa47a6fb4e8195515d835fc

[19] https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/how-bad-is-this-drought-and-is-it-caused-by-climate-change-20191024-p533xc.html

[20] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-15/defence-lacks-overarching-strategy-for-climate-change-conflict/11304954

[21] https://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/publications/factsheet-australias-2030-climate-change-target

[22] https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Climate-Cuts-Cover-Ups-and-Censorship.pdf

[23] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2014/mar/03/climate-change-australia-sunburnt-country-csiro

[24] https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/queensland-helps-return-coalition-to-government-amid-labor-bloodbath-20190518-p51ost.html

[25] https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-adani-mine-was-a-key-factor-in-the-government-s-election-win-now-what

[26] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-14/former-fire-chief-calls-out-pm-over-refusal-of-meeting/11705330

[27] https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/morrison-releases-new-draft-of-religious-discrimination-bill-20191210-p53iho.html

[28] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/14/religious-discrimination-bill-what-will-australians-be-allowed-to-say-and-do-if-it-passes

[29] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-03/scott-morrison-responds-to-angry-criticism-bushfire-victims/11839674, https://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/firefighter-refuses-to-shake-prime-minister-scott-morrisons-hand-in-cobargo/news-story/beb7a2ef6f7f8efe90369d8aede75514

[30] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-03/scott-morrison-got-bushfire-welcome-he-deserved-says-liberal-mp/11838476

[31] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-05/fires-nsw-rfs-confirms-updated-number-of-homes-destroyed/11841386

[32] https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/this-is-not-normal-minister-urges-action-on-climate-change-20191210-p53ip1.html

No War with Iran | Take Action Newsletter

Take Action

No War with Iran

(talking points by Celeste Pewter)

Without consulting Congress—other than golfing buddy Lindsey Graham—Trump directed the US airstrike that killed Qasem Soleimani, one of the most powerful officials in Iran and the architect of Tehran’s terrorist campaigns around the region.

Soleimani was a bad actor, and not a friend of the United States.

But with that in mind, here’s why this matters (and points we should respond to):

  1. The Trump Administration didn’t seek Congressional approval for this,
  2. The Administration clearly have no strategy for the likelihood of blowback,
  3. They likely don’t have a game plan for what happens when Iran gets their proxies to take actions on their behalf,
  4. Trump has a track record of erratic behavior, and taking chaotic actions against Iran, (anyone remember the pullback in June?)
  5. We have a decimated State Department, who would be necessary right now to help negotiate this situation, as well as a chaotic NSC,
  6. There will likely be widespread chaos in the region.

Next steps:

  1. Demand our electeds get an answer for why the administration undertook this without Congressional authorization,
  2. Demand our electeds get access to the legal justification for the assassination,
  3. Demand the Gang of 8 be briefed,
  4. Make sure our troops/embassies get the support, protection and resources they need,
  5. Have electeds determine next steps, including reiterating no war with Iran w/out Congressional approval.

Send a letter to your reps 

Call your reps

WATCH: Frontline documentary on Iran and Saudi Arabia

On Twitter:

Demand Cruz and Cornyn support a fair and open impeachment trial

Ted Cruz and John Cornyn

As Trump warmongers in the Middle East, let’s not overlook the stunning new information from the Mueller Report and about his withholding of funds from Ukraine.

Remind John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of the oath that they took to support and defend the Constitution and demand they support a fair and open trial in the Senate to fully hear the evidence and hold Trump accountable for his actions. If they don’t, they’ll become accomplices in Donald Trump’s coverup.

Write a letter to John Cornyn and Ted Cruz

Get connected to your senators now


Climate Crisis

3D rendering of Australia brush fires

Australia Brushfires: How You Can Help (NSW Rural Fire Service)

There are a number of funds which have been established to support those affected by the bush fires. These include:

READ: Five Times the Effects of Climate Change Loomed Over Texas in 2019  (Texas Observer)

Next Week: An Indivisible Austin exclusive dispatch from Australia


Let’s make change happen in 2020

Monday, February 3 is the last day to register to vote in the March 3 primary. Make sure you are eligible to vote.

Visit our 2020 Election Resources page

Texas House

In 2018, 17 State House Republicans won by less than 10 points. Eight of those won by less than five points. Beto won in nine of those districts, and in all but one of the counties where these districts live.

Get involved to flip the Texas House

U.S. Senate

Indivisible Houston, Indivisible Katy Huddle, and the national Indivisible team hosted an issue forum with seven of the Democratic candidates running for John Cornyn’s senate seat. Here are some of the candidates running:

Watch Indivisible Houston’s candidate forum

U.S. Congress

There are competitive races in all of our districts that have Republican incumbents. Several of the candidates that Indivisible Austin endorsed in the 2018 general election—Mike Siegel, Rick Kennedy, and Julie Oliver—are running again in 2020.

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Events

Monday, January 13

Elected for Inclusion: A Presidential Forum on Disability Issues

The American Association of People with Disabilities and REV UP Texas cordially invites you to Elected for Inclusion: A Presidential Forum on Disability Issues. This national nonpartisan event will take place on January 13, 2020 at the AT&T Hotel and Conference Center in Austin, Texas.

RSVP by January 6

Tuesday, January 14

CD 17 Congressional GOP Candidates Forum

6 to 9 p.m. at Smitty K’s, 12601 SH 30, College Station, TX 77845

Grassroots Victory 2020 for CD-17 invites you to “Get to know the CD 17 GOP Congressional Candidates” in this Q&A forum. Currently 8 of the 12 GOP candidates are scheduled to attend.

Facebook event

Saturday, January 18

Women’s March ATX: Rally at the Capitol

The Women’s March ATX – Rally at Texas Capitol will be on Saturday, January 18, 2020.  We will gather on the south steps at the Capitol Building for a rally 12:00pm – 3:00pm.

More information at www.womensmarchontexascapitol.org

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Your Moment of Zen