Angry Democrats Force Run-off in Texas State Chair Race, Lakesha Rogers and the LYM Play Decisive Role
June 10, 2006 • 8:00PM

Photo by Jim Keller

(EIRNS) June 11, 2006—The business-as-usual atmosphere which generally characterizes the race for state chair in the Texas Democratic Party never materialized this year, as an angry insurgency forced a run-off ballotting, with Lakesha Rogers of the LaRouche Youth Movement playing a crucial role in shaping the debate.

Kesha and three other LaRouche activists — two from the LYM, and an old-timer — put the real issues on the table in their nominating speeches for Kesha, before the whole convention. () They insisted that the DLC/Rohatyn leadership must be booted out, and that their free trade policies must be replaced by LaRouche's FDR/New Bretton Woods economic policies. Two other candidates for state chair — labor attorney Charlie Urbina-Jones, and former state rep Glen Maxey — made sure that Kesha had full participation, as they ran on an anti-establishment wave. Kesha's six minute address to the delegates was well-received, broken by frequent applause and cheers.

When the voting took place, establishment favorite Boyd Richie received less than 50% of the vote. He had approximately 3,200 votes, with Glen Maxey second with 2,800, Urbina Jones with 800, and Kesha with 100. Both Urbina-Jones and Kesha then addressed the delegates a second time, both urging their voters to "vote their conscience." In her remarks, Kesha said we must have leadership that will get rid of Cheney — to whoops of support — and fight to bring the "forgotten men and women" back into the party, in an extensive outreach.

In the second round, Richie won. When he came up to accept the vote, he said (paraphrase) — We will come out of here with a unified party, and I will join with Glen, Charlie and Kesha, to walk the precincts, to take back Texas.

The underlying issue, which was voiced by Urbina-Jones and Maxie, as well as by hundreds of delegates, is that the party has been going in the wrong direction for more than 20 years. The party should concentrate on jobs, economics, health care, etc. — the usual Democratic Party "red meat" — but there was very strong response to Kesha and the LYM's efforts to take this beyond rhetoric. The key to what the LYM was doing was the drive to clean the fascists out of the Democratic Party. What good is it to get rid of Cheney, if Shultz's leading ally, Rohatyn, remains?

The issue of "New Deal" versus "New Democrat" was the way some took it, but many others wanted to go deeper: How can you pay for infrastructure? There were frequent references from the podium to JFK and the space program, for example, as this was one way the Democrats who had lost their way could begin to think beyond "pay as you go" budgetting.

The key factor, however, was LaRouche. There were many who told about past run-ins with LaRouche, others who said they remember LaRouche from this meeting or that conference, who had been New Fed subscribers, or attended meetings in the past. There were also many who were not very familiar with LaRouche, but wide open to learn. For example, an Austin Democrat who teaches biology at Univ. of Texas, came up to the booth discussing the environment. When challenged on Vernadsky, he said he was unfamiliar with him. He said that biogeochemistry is not "well-known or much-appreciated" in U.S. academic circles. However, he was very excited to meet the LYM, and thrilled to see the Fermat refraction experiment at the table. He left his name, and said we should contact him next time we are in Austin to discuss Vernadsky and LaRouche.

The White Paper and other LaRouche literature got out everywhere, and a roving band of LYM singers awed the crowds with their use of Bach canons, with political themes. One senior Democrat commented, "LaRouche is back, bigger than ever."