The Texas Progressive Alliance today launched ‘TexRoots,’ an online fund-raising campaign designed to raise funds for Democratic candidates in Texas via the internet. The launch of ‘TexRoots’ is the first major coordinated fund-raising effort by Texas blogs of its kind.
The Alliance, a group of blogs and bloggers united to promote Democratic and progressive candidates and causes, launched ‘TexRoots’ Monday with solicitations for three Texas candidates: Hank Gilbert, candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture, Juan Garcia, candidate for the Texas House of Representatives in District 32, and Shane Sklar, candidate for the U.S. House in Congressional District 14. TexRoots works with the nationally-recognized fund-raising tools of ActBlue.com.
The candidates were selected by over 20 member blogs of the Alliance and comprise the first set of candidates the Alliance will promote prior to the November general election. The Alliance hopes to have as many as five total groups of candidates before November 7. Candidates selected for this and future TexRoots solicitations were picked after a considering a number of factors, including the strength of the candidates and their Republican opponents, the candidate’s use of the internet and blogging, and the demographics of the candidates’ districts.
We are proud of our endorsements! So please read their bios below and we encourage you to donate money through the new Texas-based ActBlue page -- for the following candidates:
Fourteenth Congressional District of Texas - US Senate
[Opponent: Ron Paul (R-Surfside), Incumbent]
Shane Reese Sklar is a fourth-generation rancher who grew up in the heart of the 14th Congressional District. He's an energetic, nationally known leader in agriculture who has fought hard for Texas cattlemen and traditional small town values.
For the last four years, Sklar has served as the Executive Director of the Independent Cattlemen's Association of Texas (ICA) and has earned a reputation for innovation and hard work.
Under his leadership, ICA's membership doubled at a time when most agricultural groups saw their numbers shrink. Sklar also played a key role in making sure the 2002 federal Farm Bill required country-of-origin labeling for retail beef.
Recently, news reporters from across the country turned to Sklar for accurate information and knowledgeable opinions regarding the outbreak of mad cow disease in Texas.
Prior to joining ICA, Sklar was a key member of the staff of Congressman Chet Edwards, who represents a Central Texas district. As Edwards' Field Representative, Sklar traveled throughout the district updating constituents about important issues and representing the Congressman at district events. Sklar also served as the Field Director for Edwards' successful 2000 re-election campaign.
Sklar is a 1994 graduate of Edna High School, and earned a B.S. in Agriculture Business with a minor in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. He is a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity and a member of Saint Agnes Catholic Church in Edna. He is married to Jill Turner of Anahuac, Texas.
Texas House of Representatives, District 32
[Opponent: Gene Seaman (R-Corpus Christi), incumbent]
Juan M. Garcia III is a second generation naval aviator with multiple deployments to the Persian Gulf. He graduated with honors from UCLA, where he gave the 1988 commencement address. He earned his law degree from Harvard and his master's degree in public policy from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
After completing his naval officer and flight training, Garcia received his "Wings of Gold" at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. Lieutenant Commander Garcia flew 30 armed missions in the Persian Gulf, including an emergency landing in a sandstorm, served as a top aide to the deputy Commander in Chief of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, and served in Operation Allied Force in Kosovo. He served on the aircraft carrier USS Constellation in support of the enforcement of the no-fly zone in Iraq. His military awards include the Joint Commendation Medal, the Naval Commendation Medal, and the Naval Achievement Medal.
In 1999, Garcia was one of 16 Americans selected to serve as a White House Fellow, the nation's premier leadership development program whose alumni include Henry Cisneros and Colin Powell, and worked as a special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Education.
Garcia left active duty in 2004 and continues to serve as an instructor pilot at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi with the Naval Reserves.
A practicing lawyer, Garcia has chaired the Board of Citizens for Educational Excellence, and serves on the Board of Governors for Leadership Corpus Christi.
Garcia and his wife Denise, who met while classmates at Harvard Law, have four children, including twin seven-year-old sons, a five-year old daughter, and a two-year old son. They live in Corpus Christi.
[Opponent: Todd Staples, (R-Palestine), open seat]
Hank Gilbert's agricultural career began on the family ranch—a 150 head commercial cow/calf operation in rural Smith County in northeast Texas. In high school and in college, he was active in Future Farmers of America as Area President. He was instrumental in forming the collegiate FFA chapter at Tyler Junior College, and was the FFA Representative to the Student Council at Texas A&M University.
After graduation, Hank taught high school agriculture for 13 years at LaPoyner Independent School District and in Pittsburg ISD, both in East Texas. After leaving the teaching profession, Hank has continued to work with agricultural youth both as a volunteer 4-H leader in his community, as well as a volunteer with the local FFA chapter. He believes that the future of Texas agriculture, as well as our country, depends upon the quality of today's youth.
Hank has served as a director of the Texas Simmental/Simbrah Association and currently serves as the President of Walnut Grove Water Supply, a member-owned cooperative. As the president, he has been able to cut operational expenses and reduce the member’s water rates by 35%, while still making the necessary improvements to the system.
Hank, his wife Karla, two sons, Peyton and Cody, own and operate Peyco's Land & Cattle. They raise and market registered Simbrah cattle on ranches around the Tyler area of northeast Texas. His sons exhibit their cattle at fairs and show throughout Texas and the southern U.S.
His affiliations include: Texas State Teacher's Associations, Texas State Simmental/Simbrah Association, Vocational Agriculture Teacher's of Texas, The Association of Former Students, Texas A&M University, Texas Farmers Union, Texas 4-H, American Simmental/Simbrah Association, Texas Young Farmers, Southern Baptist Convention, and East Texas Farm & Ranch Club.
Pretty cool, huh? So please donate now.