In our series Our Movement Monday, we talk with Texas Democrats across our state about their work and the challenges facing their communities. The Texas Democratic Convention is this week June 21-23, 2018 in Fort Worth, so we sat down with State Democratic Executive Committee Member from Senate District 14 Andre Treiber to talk all things convention.
Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with us today, Andre! You’re a State Democratic Executive Committee Member from Senate District 14. You’ve worked on numerous progressive campaigns and have attended a few state conventions in your time. What inspired you to get involved with politics and the Texas Democratic Convention?
Andre Treiber: Like many people (especially young folks!), I was inspired by then-candidate Senator Barack Obama to get involved and do something to make our world a better place. I was a student in the public school system where I saw and lived overcrowded classrooms and insufficient textbooks, and since then, getting education right has always been the issue that keeps me motivated. When I came to UT Austin and joined the University Democrats, Glen Maxey convinced a bunch of us students to step up our organizing game an dive into the Democratic Conventions – so we did just that!
You’re part of the next generation that is bringing change to Texas. How do you think we can best take back our state?
Andre Treiber: I believe that there is a blue wave that will lead to us to retaking Congress, the White House, and even the Texas Capitol. But that wave isn’t going to exist if we don’t make a splash. I believe in the very brass tacks of making phone calls, knocking on doors, and registering voters. And I think the upcoming state convention is an opportunity for us all to focus on the general election ahead of us, organize with our regional neighbors, and get trained up to flip districts across the state.
You mentioned the convention and we both know there’s a lot that goes on — why do you encourage all Democrats to attend?
Andre Treiber: It’s going to be difficult for me to not nerd out too hard here, but I think there is something at the convention for every kind of democrat. If you want to be involved with the shaping of our platform and party officers, we do that there. If you want to meet the people that are going to be the next governor, attorney general, or senator from Texas, you can do that there. If you want to get trained on the cutting edge of precinct organizing from the best in the state – yes, you can do that too. But whatever you want to do and engage in, the fact is we come out of conventions a stronger and more organized party, ready to take on the Republicans in the fall.
This convention will be our biggest one yet! We’re fired up and ready to win in November. What’s the most memorable moment from your very first convention?
Andre Treiber: My first convention was in 2012, where a bunch of University Democrats made a concerted effort to go and get elected National Delegates to represent Texas on the national stage – and we did just that! It was a great feeling being a young first timer with only a few years of enforcement in the Democratic Party having that early activism reaffirmed and being told by that party: we value your voice.
The conventions are always fun and exciting! What’s the best advice you’d give to first-time delegates at the State Convention?
Andre Treiber: I know a lot of first-time delegates are going to have concerns about rules or processes – but those aren’t too complicated, and there are some great resources at TexasDemocraticConvention.com that can break down what you need to know in a very straightforward way, and I do recommend giving those a look over before the convention. But my real advice, that no one ever talks about? Wear comfortable shoes! Don’t get so caught up in everything going on that you forget to take care of yourself as well.
Many of our Democratic leaders attend the Texas Democratic Convention.
Andre Treiber: Absolutely – this is the time to get your Beto profile picture to make your friends back home jealous.
You have created a living document for first-timers and seasoned vets at the convention, the 2018 Delegate Guide. Can you give us a quick rundown about what people can find on this guide?
Andre Treiber: The goal of the guide was to put together everything you need to know about convention rules and processes in very straightforward and conversational language. Some folks might be intimidated by the Democratic Party rules document, so I wanted to make sure there was something that covers a majority of what is likely to come up at the convention. We’ve also made a couple of changes to how we do things, and between that, a caucus schedule, and travel and transportation info for Fort Worth, there’s a little bit of something for everyone.