Tuesday night – Super Tuesday – was one of the biggest nights in politics; when the largest number of states hold their primary elections. After surfing the web, I found the location of the Democratic Party of El Paso’s watch party, so I decided to check things out.
I walked in and the place was packed, everyone had gathered at the chic Westside locale Brass Monkey and was ready to cheer on the El Paso Democratic Party’s officially endorsed presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.
As I began to meet people, I bumped into Iliana Holguin who, moments earlier, had just been elected as the Democratic Party Chair!
I spoke with Iliana and asked her what her vision was for the future of the El Paso Democratic Party, she replied “we need to get more people engaged and interested, there’s a lot of complaints of what people want to change but if we don’t get out there, then nothing is going to change in El Paso”
Later I had the pleasure of meeting Larry John Porras, Political Director for State Rep. Cesar Blanco who joined us from Austin.
I was fascinated to hear his story. Born and raised in Valentine, went on to Texas Tech and it would be a chance meeting with a stranger that would inspire him to pursue politics. He had a conversation with a young woman one night who told him her story of going from being homeless to attending Harvard (yes, her, the girl they made the movie about!)
He said that one conversation changed the course of his life, he decided to take a chance and really go for it, enter the world of politics.
The gamble paid off, he would go on to become the Regional Director in Ohio for President Obama’s 2008 campaign, then go on the serve Congressman Pete Gallego and now with State Rep Blanco.
See! Always talk to people at parties, you never know who will inspire you!
Feeling completely motivated by my conversation with Director Porras, I continued making my way through the room. I wanted to hear from the volunteers in the room, the ones who make all this happen behind the scenes.
Needless to say, one of the biggest supporters or should I say brightest, was there among us. Gretchen Baer, better known as the “Hillary Car” lady, came all the way from Bisbee, AZ to join the El Paso grassroots watch party.
You may have spotted her “hillcar” around town, she and her husband have been Hillary supporters since 2008. What started off as a side art project eventually was noticed by Secretary Clinton herself!
After meeting the Clintons, in 2008, Gretchen actually was able to go on the road with the Clinton campaign. “I didn’t do it as a political statement, I did it to bring fun and color for kids and moms and all people to enjoy, to make the campaign fun.”
I noticed the car says “Madame Secretary,” I asked her what will she do if Hillary wins the presidency and the name needs to be changed, to which she replied “well I have been thinking creating a new piece with an RV.”
There’s plenty of time from here to November so keep an eye out for “Madame President” the RV, out on the roads!
There was so much support out there, there was a book circulating that has been gathering signatures over the campaign and at the end they will send it as gift to Secretary Clinton on behalf of El Paso Democrats.
There was a cake and buttons made, all donated by volunteers time and funds. This kind of support must take a lot of time, so I made it my
mission to find and talk to the man that helps bring all this together, Javier Aaron Paz, a man who wears many hats, teacher at Coronado, Chair for Precinct 5 and the head of the Hillary Grassroots Campaign for El Paso.
Javier, has a long history with the Democratic process, having campaigned in Iowa for the 2008 election, he then had the honor to also serve as a National Delegate, which he will be reprising his duty again at this year’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where he will be 1 of 4 El Pasoans chosen to represent the Sun City.
I asked him what made him want to get involved in the process all those years ago,
” I love America, I love my country and I knew since 2008, that I wanted to be a part of the election, I wanted to do my part to support Hillary, all the way to the White House” – Javier Aaron Paz
I left feeling a brand new air of hope for El Paso, so many people gathering to make positive changes, not only for the city but to bring the spotlight to El Paso on a national level.
As Chairwoman Iliana Holguin told me, “people need to see, El Paso is relevant. We are a big deal to politics and we need to make sure people start to take notice of us.”
YAS!!! I’m with you chairwoman, as I have often said, El Paso is a special place unlike any other…and that goes for our politics too.