Texas Democratic Convention Inspiring More Grassroots Engagement

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The Democratic convention has wrapped up. Several delegates from this senatorial district participated in this state three-day event.

Almost 10,000 people attended the state convention not only to voice their support for their candidates, but also their concerns about individual issues affecting their communities. Both sides, however, are prepared to make a compromise.

Packed tight lines wind outside the Alamodome. Frank Castillo, a delegate from Webb County, says, "It's important not only for me but for our community. I represent Laredo and Webb County. I want to make sure that our community needs are heard at the state level and the national level."

Delegates from all over the state like Frank Castillo from Webb County are here looking out for this and future generations. His daughter, Sara Castillo, is following in her father's footsteps. She says, "We're here with a few petitions and we're asking fellow delegates to sign for a higher minimum wage."

The minimum wage or limiting political contributions are some of the topics delegates want to discuss in the national democratic convention. Haley Mack who created a petition says, "I'd like to see money limited in politics. Right now, folks that have a major amount of money can make a contribution, and their voice seems to count more than the rest of us. So, I want us all to have an equal say, an equal vote."

Opposing views are welcome here. Some are pushing for Hillary. Marie Veronica Warrior is a veteran who believes in Hillary's message. She says, "She touches on all areas, education, health care, veterans, seniors. And you know, we have so many problems in our nation with medic care and social security."

Others continue rallying for Bernie. Gerard Lynch is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and says, "It's very important that those of us that support Bernie keep giving him support, so that he can advocate and push Hillary on those types of issues."

Many 'Berners' like Clarissa Rodriguez, 17, say they're hoping Hillary adopts more of his ideas. "The idea of universal health care. That's very important to me. Income equality. That's very important to me. The pay gap between women and men."

Sanders inspired Clarissa to become involved in this Democratic process. Inspiration also comes from seeing the needs of communities like Webb County. Alfredo Jimenez, a Webb County delegate, says, "I'm trying to influence as far as the immigration issues, the health care issue, and the minimum wage."

The Democratic party hopes these convention continue engaging more people in policy creation. With enough momentum, this could transform Texas' political landscape. Congressman Joaquin Castro, TX District 20, says, "I do think Texas will become more competitive. This state was Democratic for so long, now it's been fairly Republican for a few decades. So, these things take a few times to change."

Now that the state convention wraps up, those delegates, including some Laredoans, who were chosen as national delegates are getting ready for the national convention. Those who were not chosen say they feel more inspired to improve the democratic process at a local level.

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