With apologies for the title to my hero, James Carville…
Juliet Kathy Stipeche will be sworn in as the next HISD Trustee for District 8 after defeating Judith Cruz in a battle between grassroots activism and deep big business and out-of-town pockets. Although the race was a close one, it can finally be said that the people of District 8 have spoken.
Juliet can be credited with assembling what became a strong and united (and some say unlikely!) coalition of Latino elected officials, Union activists, educators, Latino business leaders and neighborhood activists which led to a ground campaign to earn every vote possible on Election Day.
Unofficial results show that Cruz had won the mail ballots and after early votes were tallied held an 88 vote lead. But as folks on the ground reported in some of the election day tallies, worry turned into hope. Some of us at the Watch Party at Bohemeos knew that she would need to have earned around 60% of Election Day to win. As it turned out, 55.56% was just enough.
Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with a caring, proven individual like Juliet Stipeche. The political newbie I met in 2009 who was trying to gain some Primary traction really came into her own and put in the sweat equity needed to pull it off. I expect the same, if not more, effort after she’s sworn in on Thursday.
Still, the fact that only 2,052 voters decided this race left me considering one fact: Even with this low a turnout, an elected seat cannot be bought by out-of-town money. And we cannot let outside forces with their corporate agendas take over our public schools. The fight doesn’t end with this race, but I think we have proof that there are enough folks willing to fight for what’s right.
I won’t bother rehashing some of the campaign negativity (or in my case, facts) because now is a time to re-commit to a whole bunch of things, including making up with some of the folks “on the other side” who I’ve been debating on Facebook and in person; that’s, if they want. 2011 is right around the corner, and guess what? Juliet is filling an unexpired term and she’ll be back in the running in 2011.
As far as Juliet goes, it’s time for her to get to work, and I have no doubt that she’ll hit the ground running.
As for the rest of us–let’s enjoy the win, enjoy the holidays, and gear up for what may be a busy 2011.
Special Note of Congrats: Zeph Capo and the campaign team–great job!
Final Note: I think it’s safe to say that us hardcore Democrats really needed this win. It wasn’t pretty, but as they say, a win is a win.