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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Everything You Need To Know About Wendy Davis’ Historic Filibuster — And Rick Perry

We finally have the proper tribute to Texas state senator Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth), who temporarily prevented Republicans from passing a bill that would shutter nearly all the women’s health clinics in Texas.

The Taiwanese animators at NMAWorldEdition have put together an awesome summary of this week’s events, complete with an appearance by the ghost of former Texas governor Ann Richards.

Davis’ filibuster has brought attention to the war that Governor Rick Perry has been waging against women’s health for years:

Originally, the Texas Women’s Health Program came under Medicaid, serving more than 100,000 low-income women, with an annual cost of nearly $40 million — paid 90 percent by the federal government. When the Obama administration threatened to pull federal funding because the new rules violated a Medicaid provision ensuring that recipients must be free to choose their own health care providers, Republican governor Rick Perry told the president to keep his money. A new program, using state funds only and free of federal involvement, began on January 1 of this year.

What Perry did not explain, however, is that state lawmakers had already decimated the state’s family planning program in 2011 – forcing budget cuts of two-thirds that resulted in the closing of more than 50 clinics. All this in a state that already suffers a primary health care shortage of crisis proportions. Texas has only 70 active primary care physicians per 100,000 people, ranking it 47th among 50 states. Planned Parenthood and other such community clinics thus were filling a critical gap. Banning their participation in a state program only exacerbates the Texas physician shortage.

Davis also cast a spotlight on Rick Perry’s ridiculous demeanor and rhetoric, which became a national joke during the 2012 election. Here’s a little reminder of how he went from frontrunner to finishing behind Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) in Iowa.

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  • Sand_Cat

    I already knew everything I need to know about Rick Perry a long time ago. But thanks for the info on Ms Davis

  • nana4gj

    Perry has been more bold and public and bravado with his assault on women. But, our disgust with him is not limited to that. He has not only embarrassed us and made a mockery of “the great state of Texas” and all that made us great, he has significantly decreased all that promotes quality of life in Texas.

    He has imposed his ultra radical conservatism and ignorance into our educational systems, slashing funding, and pushing curricculums that are not historical or scientifically sound, installing other right wing extremists into important state board of education positions and re-writing textbooks.

    He has not only ignored all that impacts quality of air, availability of water, infrastructure, ability to deal with droughts and the fires from those droughts, the explosions from unregulated chemical and oil industries, he has enabled more pollution and more irresponsible deregulation by courting these industries for monetary contributions to his personal political ambitions and waiving their responsibility to pay into tax coffers of the state and not caring one bit what they pay in wages and benefits.

    Not only has he literally taken away health care and choice of even providers from women, he has done so for children and all the rest of the people in this state. While it is difficult to say which of his “policies” are the worst, I find this the most repulsive. Without decent health, Texans cannot survive the rest. We are a border state; we are at risk for contagious diseases, and while our county and not-for-profit health institutions do a stellar job of caring for each and every one of us, they are always at risk due to funding, since much of their care provided is in the “non-funded” category. His Republican colleagues in our State Legislature are simply clones, with no guts, no grit.

    But this is what happens with gerrymandering redistricting. Texas used to be so “blue”, that Republicans never even held primaries. Texas has a long history of brave and competent leaders, some of them of the old Republican Party, most of them Democrat. Texas has a lot of wealthy barons but more middle and lower class worker bees who help those wealthy make their monies and work in all of the service industries, as well as ranching, farming, drilling, rigging, and healthcare, tourism, etc. Because of our history, the pioneers who settled and grew Texas, we are of all ethnic origins that are celebrated, not demeaned; we are of all faiths, color, and ilk. Since the 60’s, the last vestiges of racism have been put away and we do not ask for “papers please”, just decent, hardworking, upstanding people. We have much poverty and still generations of some who believe there is nothing more for them but to repeat generational poverty and this government in Texas has done nothing to mitigate that and everything to reinforce it.

    The people of Texas deserve more, deserve better. We all work and work hard; none of us want to be poor with our hands out because, for one thing, in our small towns and our big cities, as big as this state is, we are “small town” in spirit; we know each other and everyone, even the least of us, retain some pride and self-respect.

    Left to the people and our votes, we could turn this around and return to sanity and greatness and be a true partner in our union with the country. But the Supreme Court, under the direction of Koch Brothers and others, is making it difficult. There are plans to redistrict even more and requirements for voter ID cards, in addition to voter registration cards, that accept NRA membership cards over college student IDs, will grow more and more impossible to meet in a large segment of our population that already feels hopeless.

    Texas is a prime example of what happens when the country veers in the wrong direction; when we do not pay attention to elections across this country that are not federal or presidential elections; when any of us sit back and let the others do it; when we give up hope.

    I “hope” that Wendy’s filibuster and all the people in the hall, the balcony, the rotunda, the grounds and the streets of Austin and across this nation, is the beginning. Though we may lose this skirmish through more legislative gerrymandering, I hope we will win the battle, restore our government to sanity and competence for ALL the people of Texas, turning blue again, because Republicans cannot and will not fix what they have broken….they like it broken….After all, our Independence from Mexico was not won at the Alamo, but it was the beginning and the Alamo today is revered as our “cradle of liberty”.

    • sigrid28

      This is such a fine piece of writing. I think you should send it on to all the papers in Texas, as a letter to the editor. If you need help with this, call a reporter at your local left-leaning paper, who can help you get started. Maybe you know someone who could translate it into conversational Spanish. As you gather the email addresses of these papers, keep a list. I have a feeling you might have many more informative and timely letters to the editor up your sleeve.

      • RobertCHastings

        Better yet, Call Jim Hightower. He will get it published nationally, to help to further embarrass Perry, who may be incapable of embarrassment, a feeling the normally requires understanding why people are laughing at you.

      • nana4gj

        Thank you for this. I will do just that and send copy to Jim Hightower, as well.

    • RobertCHastings

      That’s alright, Nana, he and his friends have made theirs and if rest of us haven’t, well that’s just too bad.

  • 4sanity4all

    Did Texas vote for Rick Perry because he is pretty? Because he certainly isn’t smart.

    • BDC_57

      you got that right ,but think he had a ounce brains in his head now he wants to run for president. think the rest of the country would vote for his dumb ass.

  • JDavidS

    I do hope Ms. Davis runs against Perry. Nothing will scare him and his neanderthal supporters more than an intelligent, strong woman.

    • RobertCHastings

      Sounds like another woman being groomed for high national office.

    • nana4gj

      Perry’s statement on how “unfortunate” Ms Davis’s actions in filibustering were because of her own personal history, which he related in detail, was disgusting. That’s all he has with which to counter. But the fact of the matter is, that this young woman with the history he narrated, made more of her life than he was able to with all of his own advantages. While he was a cheerleader at Texas A&M, eking by with below average grades and a father financing it, she was a young mother, doing well enough in college to get to Harvard Law School, and can, today, among other things, serve in the Texas Senate, formulate logical thoughts, string 10 words together to make sense, and speak with coherence and facts without one “opps!”, on her feet, for almost 13 hours, as she also parents two children.

      She can do more than dance backward in high heels. She can problem solve, legislate, govern; she can lead, with decorum, competence, respect, and grace.