At this point, it's worth reporting that there is a new Green entity in Harris County. This is not to say that the Harris County Green Party has officially bitten the dust: It hasn't. But several HCGP members who are currently not active with HCGP have formed a group that they are calling Green Party Houston. It doesn't have a website yet, so nothing to link to here.
I welcome this development, primarily because a group that is not the official county party can do things in the broader community that HCGP cannot, whether due to restrictions imposed by the State of Texas, by lack of resources, or by internal policies. However, the Green Party of Texas can grant it delegates to annual state meetings and conventions.
Let there be no misunderstanding: It would be easy to assume that Green Party Houston is an effort to compete with or supplant HCGP. But that's not the case. Nothing would stop anyone from being an active member of both. The current co-chairs of HCGP know of the group's existence. So there is no problem in naming some names: Longtime Greenie Alfred Molison and 2016 post-DNC-screws-Bernie refugee Jan Richards got the ball rolling.
The original plan was to name the group UH Greens (or UH/TSU Greens), since college and university Green groups recognized by GPTX, irrespective of their size, automatically receive two delegates to state meetings. Green Party Houston's co-founders found jumping through the logistical hoops a tad daunting, absent any members currently enrolled at the University of Houston or Texas Southern.
Just Like Your Neighborhood Political Group
Forming a city-based Green organization is essentially no different from the way Democrats and Republicans in the various super-neighborhoods and smaller municipalities form their own groups. As an example, and in the interest of full disclosure, in the early 1990s I was a semi-regular attendee at meetings of the NASA/Clear Lake Democrats, which is partly how I became a delegate to the Senate District 15 convention in 1992.
Like those neighborhood party groups, and unlike county parties, Green Party Houston will not have the official function of accepting applications for candidacy for county offices such as Commissioners Court, District Attorney, or Justice of the Peace. That's an important distinction.
Mission, Members, and Money
The Houston group has been meeting for just over a month, mostly at the Midtown Bar & Grill, working out the parameters of its mission, methods of recruiting new members, and ways to raise operating funds.
The fundraising aspect may turn out to be crucial, if Governor Greg Abbott signs HB 2504 as expected, to the continued functioning of the Green Party in Greater Houston and statewide. Not many Greens of my acquaintance have $5,000 in their proverbial sock drawers to pay the state-prescribed filing fees. A group like Green Party Houston can help with that. The Green Party of Texas will also need to retool itself into a fundraising machine in order to take full advantage of restored ballot access and reach the 2%-of-the-vote threshold to retain that access.
We'll add more information on this story in future entries.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
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