Three of us took a day trip to Nederland (actually, more of an evening trip): GPTX co-chair Laura Palmer, Southeast regional coordinator Janis Richards, and your blogmaestro. The plan, which our contact Debra Killian devised, was to assemble at the Hughes Public Library there for a 6:30 organizational meet & greet. The library closes at 6 pm on Thursdays, but Debra, who is tight with the librarians there, had arranged to have a key available.
Green Congressional candidate Hal Ridley, Jr., was waiting for us outside the library. For several years, Hal has de facto been the Green Party of Orange County, Texas. Before we arrived, he called to inform us that the library was closed, and that Debra was not on the premises. So, playing by ear, we decided to sit in the breezeway and shoot the breeze. Nederlanders drove their vehicles (mostly pick-ups and SUV's) into the parking lot and walked around the building to get to the softball fields. Half a dozen of the motorists arriving actually walked toward us, and we made some new Green-friends.
Debra was unable to find the key where it was supposed to be hidden, so the library was out. She suggested migrating the meeting to a nearby ice house, which most of us did. We got some dinner and beverages, shmoozed a bit, and shmoozed some more. The handful who accompanied us to Luke's Ice House were a voluble crew.
Eventually, I whipped out my MacBook and delivered the special presentation I had created for the occasion. It was not easy presenting on complicated political matters in that noisy room, but I managed. I had also borrowed the Harris County Green Party's LCD projector and screen, neither of which turned out to be needed.
Jefferson County itself has about a quarter-million people. It only really takes four to make a party organization. Per GPTX bylaws, JeffCo is entitled to four delegates to this year's annual meeting in Corpus Christi; Orange County gets two, and Hal has indicated that he will be there.
Beyond that, will this trip actually bear fruit? Will Debra and her new friends be able to form a sustainable county party, complete with bylaws and regularly scheduled meetings? If so, I'll be thrilled. If not, at least we had a fun little excursion to a corner of Texas that has historically had little Green activity.
Despite the Republican dominance there in recent years, there is a grand blue-collar Democratic tradition in the Golden Triangle. There are also quite likely more than a few working folk who have given up on the Democratic Party but will never vote Republican. Hal Ridley received 11% of the vote in a two-way race with Republican Brian Babin; about 25,000 voters recognized the Greens as a viable alternative. But how many of those 25,000 in District 36 are core Greens? It's tough to be an environmentalist in an area so heavily dependent on oil & gas, as the Triangle has been ever since Spindletop in 1901.