“Chubbing” jams up the Texas legislature

capitol

My first second-ever feature story for Free Speech Radio News looks back at the 81st Texas legislative session, which ends today. What’s “chubbing?” You can Google it if you want, or you can listen here.

On the night of November 2, 2004, I was standing outside a polling station with Mark Strama, handing flyers to citizens rushing in to vote before the election ended. I was a 16-year-old intern for Strama’s campaign for State Representative in the 50th District – my district. I won’t forget the moment when Strama got a text message on his Blackberry saying John Kerry was projected to win the presidency. We each let out a few whoops and cheers of joy. Bush’s apparent victory, of course, was all the more disappointing when I got home and saw the news. Strama, at least, beat the Republican incumbent by just 550 votes.

I saw Strama yesterday for the first time since 2004. He spoke with me for nearly a half hour in a Capitol corridor just outside the House chamber, but I couldn’t use more than a few seconds of the interview in my story. So I’m posting the nearly-complete interview below (MP3 here).

I imagine it’s of interest to Texas politics junkies and Strama’s constituents in the 50th District in Austin. For me, now an intense skeptic of government’s contribution to social justice no matter who’s in power, the interview was a useful window into the ongoing work of someone who has put all his energy, talent and passion into electoral politics. I think under other circumstances I would have been more rigorous in my questioning. Here’s his Wikipedia page and a breakdown of campaign contributions.

Also, I highly recommend Marc Becker’s story on an indigenous continental summit from today’s FSRN newscast.

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