Wednesday, December 31, 2014

TPA's Texans of the Year: Frack Free Denton activists

From our presser...

Texas Progressive Alliance taps
Denton's "fracktivists" Texans of the Year

In one of the organization's more closely contested votes, the Texas Progressive Alliance -- the state's consortium of liberal blogs and bloggers -- named Frack Free Denton and its diverse group of activists 2014's Texans of the Year.

"The biggest win for progressives in the Lone Star State on Election Night happened in Denton, Texas," said Charles Kuffner, president of the Alliance.  "The people showed the powerful who is still in charge.  No matter that the Texas Railroad Commission or the state's Legislature may try to undo the will of Denton's Republican, Democratic, and independent voters; for one day in November of 2014, those North Texans came together and said, 'No more. No more polluting our air and water and poisoning our children for profit without accountability'.  The people together spoke, and they were heard."

There were also three Honorable Mentions for the coveted award.  Finishing a close second: the medical staff of Dallas Presbyterian Hospital, who were at the front lines of the nation's Ebola crisis, notably Dr. Kent Brantley and nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, who all contracted the virus and lived to tell about it.  In addition, two other large groups of Texans on either side of the political spectrum were selected: the 33% of Texans who turned out to vote in last month's midterm elections, predominantly Caucasian male Republican voters; and the Democratic volunteer army of deputy voter registrars, blockwalkers, and those who spent long hours on their phones calling prospective voters to urge them to cast their ballots.

"To the victors go the spoils, someone famous once said," noted Kuffner, in reference to the GOP base vote.  "But no one worked any harder than the folks in their precincts, neighborhoods, counties, and across the state to turn back the tide, at least a bit," he added.

The TPA's member bloggers salute all the Texans who were nominated this year, which included several candidates, some elected officials, and other activist groups.

In terms of recognizing the standout newsmakers, what you have seen from other blogs recently does reflect the discussions we had this year, and that they were a little more, shall we say, spirited than usual.  Typically this is a pretty easy choice to come to consensus on; 2014 was, as we all know, exceptional.  And not in the cheeriest of definitions.  But the city of Denton's residents were the noteworthy positive exception.

Christi Craddick in particular stands in defiance, as do the Big Gasholes, and the Lege will likely make every effort to roll back the drilling embargo early next year (thanks, Phil King and ALEC!), so the war isn't over.  But a significant battle was won, with far-reaching ramifications inside and outside Texas.

Hats off to the fractivists.

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