April 5, 2010
Don’t you just love suspense?
Don’t you love the creeping silence in a Hitchcock movie or The Godfather before something big happens? Or the one month and three hours you wait to learn what won Best Picture? Or the fact that American Idol can wring a whole extra hour every week out of the one-sentence announcement of who needs to, you know, pursue other interests?
If you don’t love that stuff, then you should start skimming, my impatient friend. You’ll spot the capitalized name down below without too much trouble, if you aren’t there already.
But for the rest of you, I want to take a moment – before I announce who received the most votes in the Monopoly Buster Ballot (if you slept through March, here’s a summary) – to revel not so much in the little bit of suspense we’ve got here, but to celebrate that WE HAVE SUSPENSE.
Think about it: if there is, in fact, suspense about who came out on top in this effort, then that means people are paying attention. It means folks were really working – talking with friends and spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter – to round up votes for their candidate.
It means people cared – not just about who would receive a $10,000 campaign contribution, but also about these good elected officials who want to build a new Texas that offers real opportunity to future generations of Texans.
I had high hopes for this effort. But I never dreamed so many people would take part in it. I didn’t expect the thousands upon thousands of votes that have rolled in for these candidates. And I’ve been inspired by the hard work and commitment that these Representatives have put into this.
Well, suspense is one thing … Syrupy emotions are another. So I’ll stop and announce that the Texas House Member who collected the most votes in the Monopoly Buster Ballot is …
(Pause for suspense …)
And let me tell you right now: if you follow Texas politics, you should get used to that name.
Representative Gonzales was first elected to the Texas House in 2004, and she’s the first woman to have ever represented her Rio Grande Valley district. She chairs the House Committee on Border and Intergovernmental Affairs and serves on the House Committee on Public Health. And she’s won a lot of well-deserved praise for her work strengthening health care, increasing access to education, and improving the lives of everyday Texans and their families.
It will be my privilege to present Representative Gonzales with a $10,000 contribution to commemorate her success in this effort. I’m also looking forward to presenting a $1,500 contribution to the runner-up, Representative Abel Herrero.
Since 2004, Representative Herrero has served Corpus Christi and other parts of western Nueces County. He’s Vice Chair of the House Committee on Human Services and a member of the Appropriations and Redistricting committees. And he’s fought to make health care, good schools and higher education more accessible to all Texans.
Now I confess, I occasionally get maybe-just-a-little annoyed by activities where everyone wins. Fact is, if going home without a trophy is good enough for the Baylor Bear basketball teams, it’s good enough for most folks.
But truly, I have to say, everyone’s a winner in Monopoly Buster.
I’ve emphasized throughout this effort that its real value will be, and has been, in giving candidates a reason to ramp up their use of social media networks and online organizing tools. After all, this is what the grass roots look like in the 21st Century. (In case you missed it last week, take a look at this summary of Monopoly Buster and what it’s trying to accomplish.)
The candidates who took part in this effort understand that lesson. They acted on it over the last three weeks in extraordinary ways. And I’m probably more excited about connecting these candidates with the folks who voted for them than I am with contributing to the ones who came out on top.
So thanks to everyone who voted in Monopoly Buster. Special thanks to everyone who got someone else to vote. And thanks most of all to the candidates who worked so hard and did so much – not just for their campaigns, but for all Texans.
Now let’s focus on the monopoly busting effort that really counts – the election in November.