"Our Agenda Is Our Candidate" - by Doug Greco

The candidate filing period for federal, state, and county offices in the 2020 elections ends today, December 9th, for the most important election in a generation.  Not only will races up and down the ballot, from president to local school board, offer opportunity for voters to make their voices heard, state legislative elections will determine 2021 redistricting and the 2020 census will provide essential demographic data which will shape how much federal funding local communities receive.  One day into the filing period, on November 10th, over 320 Central Texas Interfaith leaders from across the 10-county region announced support for a single candidate in these elections: CTI’s 2020 Agenda of Issues.

When a Congressional candidate files for office, they normally hire a Chief Strategist, a Campaign Manager, and appoint a Finance Chair.  From there, they work the phones to raise money for direct mail and field operations and speak at a round-robin of forums held by local organizations and political clubs.    In contrast, at the Central Texas Interfaith Delegates Assembly in which CTI launched its own non-partisan 2020 election campaign, CTI Delegates:

  • Adopted the 2020 CTI Agenda of Issues which includes Workforce Development, Living Wages, Affordable Housing, Addressing Homelessness, Community Safety, Sustainability, Immigration, Access to Healthcare, and Quality Education.
  • Committed to raising $250,000 in “hard money” from member dues, individual contributions, and contributions from the local business community to fund its 2020 Get Out The Vote Campaign.   
  • Committed to signing up and delivering 50,000 registered voters to the polls in support of this agenda.
  • Formed 8 “Organizing Clusters” across region, including clusters in Bastrop County, Williamson County, Hays/Comal Counties, Waco/Bryan-College Station, and 4 clusters in Travis County.

Candidates for offices from all parties across the region will be invited to a full slate of CTI candidate “Accountability Sessions” in the primaries, runoffs, and general election in 2020.  These are generally the largest candidate sessions of the local elections season.  Rather than compete for an endorsement by CTI, these candidates will be asked to endorse our candidate, our 2020 Agenda of Issues, by answering very specific questions about policy proposals.  Then CTI leaders will conduct a year-long non-partisan Get Out the Vote campaign within its member congregations, schools, worker organizations, and non-profits, as well as through block walks in the surrounding communities to let communities know where candidates stand.  In 2018, close to 90% of CTI voters participated in the general election, a robust indicator of the power of face-to-face engagement mediated through local institutions. 

The CTI Agenda of Issues plans to be everywhere in 2020….

Keep an eye out for this candidate!