AUSTIN, Texas — Ahead of Texas's 87th Legislative session on Tuesday, the Texas Republican Party held a rally outside the Capitol building in Downtown Austin to educate voters on the party's priorities.
While GOP Chairman Allen West hosted about 10 speakers touching on such topics as education reform, abortion and ending taxpayer-funded lobbying, the main point West drove home was: get involved.
"Some of you don't know who your state representative is, your [state] senator," West called out to the crowd gathered in Downtown Austin on Saturday.
West encouraged people to, above all else, learn who represents them and learn the legislative process, because only then can their ideas be heard. Beyond that, West suggested people run for office themselves if they believe the Republican party's priorities did not match their own.
"Run for city council. Who is running for county commissioner, for municipalities, for your school board?" West said.
Some in the crowd questioned the speakers – who ranged from new members of the state legislature to activists – about whether the rhetoric in Saturday's rally was just more of the same, and some speakers said Republicans were not focused enough on core conservative values. One man in the crowd went so far as to call out, "Make new parties! What are the solutions?" during one of the speeches.
West, while not responding to that person directly, revisited his main point.
"There are some people that are angry, there's no doubt about it," West said after the rally. "Leadership is all about being able to temper people and getting them to channel their energies in a positive way. That's what we wanted to do here."
The next legislative session starts on Tuesday, Jan. 12, and continues through May 31.
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