March 29, 2010
I’ve got an update on the Monopoly Buster Ballot, Round 2, and everything you need to do over the next week to help your candidate get a $10,000 contribution. But first . . .
Can we just say, Sic ’em Bears?
I graduated from Baylor and Baylor Law School. I’ve also represented Baylor as a lawyer on more than one occasion in matters involving the basketball program.
Well, the Baylor men’s basketball team made it to the Elite 8 in the NCAA tournament. Hard to believe? Wondering what the punch line is? Yeah, I know.
But no joke. As has been noted a gazillion times, the men’s team hadn’t won a game in the NCAA Tournament since 1950.
My son Cooper and I drove to Houston on Friday to see the Sweet 16 game. It was boring.
I mean, I’ve seen some boring Baylor basketball – usually when Baylor was being blown out. But here was something I’d never seen. Boring (can something be both boring and exciting) because with a shot at the Final 4 on the line, Baylor was blowing someone else out. (For the record, it was Baylor 72 – St. Mary’s 49.)
But sadly, the Baylor men won’t be in the Final Four. (How many times has that phrase been said?) They finally lost – and to a team that calls itself “devils,” no less.
But the Baylor women are still in the Elite 8 of their NCAA tourney. And they get to play the same school of devils for a berth in the Final 4.
However that turns out, it’s been a tremendous year for Baylor basketball. And I’m not done cheering.
A couple of weeks back, I gave a speech to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Communities in Schools. This is an absolutely essential group that’s doing truly remarkable work helping kids across Central Texas confront the tough issues they face and still be ready to learn in school every day.
The group’s success rate is astounding. Last year, Communities in Schools reached more than 5,000 students who were at-risk of dropping out. Nearly all of them completed the school year, 90 percent went on to the next grade, and 85 percent showed real improvement in school.
As I said in the speech, that kind of success is real and amazing. It also isn’t enough. And it’s up to the state to do far more to prepare kids the way CIS does.
Here’s some video of the speech:
Last week marked the end of Round 1 of the Monopoly Buster Ballot. This, of course, is my effort to help House incumbents who’ve been targeted by those looking to extend the monopoly that one political party has had on Texas government for nearly a decade. The House candidate who gets the most online votes in the final round will get a $10,000 contribution from my campaign.
The ballot has been an unbelievable success. In Round 1, which began just 12 days ago and ended Friday, 12,633 votes were cast for one of the 28 candidates on the ballot.
It was such a success, in fact, that I and many other folks have been looking for ways to build on the energy and excitement we’ve seen over the last week and a half. As I reported Friday, Texas Democratic Party Chair Boyd Richie suggested that I double the number of candidates in the final round, from 5 to 10.
So that’s what I did. And voting for Round 2 started moments ago. It will go until Saturday at 5 p.m.
I suppose that if you’re looking only at the money, then this is the round that counts. Every one of the finalists has gone back to scratch, and the candidate who receives the most votes this week will get the $10,000 contribution (with $1,500 going to the runner-up).
But the real value of this campaign, without a doubt, has been in how it’s helped candidates use social media networks and organize online.
Next week, after voting ends, I’m going to connect these Monopoly Busters with everyone who voted for them, and I believe the connections will really benefit these campaigns as they head toward November. You can read a great summary of this effort here.
So I hope everyone will come back and vote in Round 2. But even more than that, I hope everyone will keep doing their great work spreading the word about the Monopoly Buster Ballot and getting people involved. It’s going to make a big difference this year, and an even bigger one in years to come.