Past Speakers

August 14, 2017: Rich DePalma spoke about the AISD bond and Kim Olson was introduced as the candidate for Texas Agriculture Commissioner.

July 10, 2017: Our speaker was State Senator Kirk Watson who discussed the past legislative session as well as the upcoming special session.

June 12, 2017: David Albert, ACC professor, discussed how Trump won and how the Democratic Party can reach out to low-information voters, millennials, and suburbanites.

May 8, 2017: Jc Dufresne, Chairman of Common Cause of Texas. Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose priorities include ending hyperpartisan gerrymandering, fostering civic engagement, defending voter rights, and ethics reform.

April 10, 2017: Mike Collier, candidate for Lt. Governor

March 13, 2017: Austin AISD Trustee Yasmin Wagner

February 13, 2017: Representative Donna Howard

A packed crowd of 229 active Democrats heard from Representative Donna Howard about the 85th Texas Legislative Session.

January 9, 2017:  Ann Beeson

Ann Beeson, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities. CPPP is an independent public policy organization that uses data and analysis to advocate for solutions that enable Texans of all backgrounds to reach their full potential. Its priorities for the 2017 Texas Legislature are ensuring health and wellness, expanding economic opportunity, and investing in Texas public services, including education and health care.

A social justice lawyer, Ms. Beeson was previously executive director of U.S. Programs at the Open Society Foundations, where she promoted human rights, justice and accountability. Ms. Beeson was also the national associate legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, where she argued twice before the U.S. Supreme Court and litigated numerous cases around the country.

November 14, 2016: Mark Littlefield

Mark Littlefield, political consultant, spoke about the results of the November 8th election. A record number of individuals (141!) attended this meeting and twenty-one new members joined the club.

October 10, 2016: Garry Mauro

Garry Mauro, Texas Chairman for Hillary for America, spoke about the Democratic National Convention and the current state of the presidential race.

September 12, 2016

Candidates for office in the November election, including Tom Wakely, Ana Jordan, Sally Hernandez, Margaret Moore, David Holmes, Rebecca Bell Metereau, Jan Soifer, Cindy Anderson, David Quintanilla, Sean Hassan, Michael Lewis, Nora de Hoyos Comstock, Guadalupe Sosa spoke at the September meeting. In addition, Jim Wick presented detail about the Austin mobility bond  proposal which is on the ballot in November.

August 8, 2016: Cindy Weatherby

Cindy Weatherby, the president of the Austin Area League of Women Voters, spoke about the recent ruling about the Texas voter ID law. Since the meeting, more rulings have been handed down. Find the latest rules at

July 11, 2016: Bee Morehead

Bee Morehead, Executive Director of Texas Impact, a statewide religious grassroots network whose members include individuals, congregations, and governing bodies of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths, was our guest speaker. Her talk was entitled; From Ambition to Action: Bringing the Paris Climate Agreements to Life.

June 13, 2016:  Mike Collier

Mike Collier, former candidate for Texas State Comptroller, and current finance co-chair of the Texas Democratic Party, spoke about his meetings with Democrats across the state. He and his team are working on the 2018 election cycle. 

May 9, 2016:  Dana DeBeauvoir

Dana DeBeauvoir, Travis County Clerk, spoke about existing voting machine technology and plans to upgrade it. 

April 11, 2016: Brigid Shea

 Brigid Shea focused on transportation issues, from the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority’s plans for expanding South Mopac to the future for driverless cars.

Commissioner Shea, who represents Precinct 2, came to Austin in 1988 to start the Texas chapter of Clean Water Action and later became co-founder of the Save Our Springs Alliance. She had been an award-winning journalist at NPR stations in Minnesota and Philadelphia. She served on the Austin City Council from 1992-1996.

March 14, 2016: Vince Harding

Vince Harding, Travis County Democratic Party Chair, spoke about the recent primary election and the strategy for winning in November.

Vince Harding graduated from University of Houston and UT Law School. He has been involved in serving the homeless community and volunteering with ‘Feed My People’and with Mobile Loaves and Fishes, as well as African American Mens and Boys Harvest Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters. He has interned for Senator Kirk Watson and the Travis County Juvenile Public Defender’s Office.Vince has worked with the Obama for America campaign, coordinated the Black Austin Democrats 2012 Election Outreach Campaign, and was a 2012 National Delegate to the Democratic National Convention. He and his wife Meagan are attorneys in Austin.Vince Harding, Travis County Democratic Party Chair, will speak about the recent primary election and the strategy for winning in November.

February 8, 2016 Cathy Herzog

Human trafficking, a modern form of slavery, is the third most profitable crime worldwide. The victim is controlled through manipulation, violence or the threat of violence, and cannot walk away. In 2015, Texas ranked second nationwide in total calls received at the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline that works to help victims.

Cathy Herzog, a volunteer with two Austin-based organizations—Allies Against Slavery and Survivors of Trafficking Empowerment Program (STEP) at Refugee Services of Texas(RST), will discuss the work of these organizations. RST is the leading agency in Central Texas that provides services to survivors of human trafficking.Working closely with law enforcement agencies and the Central Texas Coalition against Human Trafficking (, RST provides 24-hour support to identified survivors to ensure their safety and long-term success.

January 11, 2016 Carisa Lopez

Carisa grew up in Garland Texas and graduated from UT in 2013 with a government. She got her start in community activism by working with the Texas Freedom Network (TFN) and registering students to vote. She currently serves on the TFN’s board of directors. In 2013, she began working with the Texas Democratic Party fundraising, directing events and working with statewide candidates. She worked with the Texas State Employees Union during the 2015 legislative session organizing union members and lobbying the legislature. She then was recruited by the Travis County Democratic Party to help build a strong party infrastructure to turn texas blue. She feels strongly that when we work together, we win.

November 9, 2015 Lea Masiello

Our November speaker, Lea Masiello, from the League of Women Voters (LWV),  discussed issues related to Pay Day Loans, an important Democratic platform in the last election. Lea is the chair of the Austin Area LWV’s Pay Day and Auto Title Loan Study, particularly the impact of these practices on low-income borrowers. The study concluded that alternatives to such loans should be supported and additional regulations should be adopted to safeguard consumers. For more information, see the Texas League of Women Voters website.

October 12, 2015 Kathy Miller

Kathy Miller, President of Texas Freedom Network (TFN), was the featured speaker. She served as Deputy Director of TFN from 1996-2000 and returned as President in January 2005. She has also served as communications director for the Texas Council on Family Violence and National Domestic Violence Hotline and as public affairs director for Planned Parenthood Federation of Austin. She has testified before the Texas Legislature and the US Congress and has appeared on many cable and major broadcast networks, local and national radio stations, as well as being interviewed by major newspapers. In 2012, Kathy was featured in "The Revisionaries," an award-winning documentary film on the culture wars at the Texas State Board of Education. 

Texas Freedom Network, founded in 1995, is a nonpartisan grassroots organization of more than 100,000 religious and community leaders and is based in Austin. TFN acts as the state's watchdog, monitoring far-right issues, organizations, money and leaders. It has been instrumental in defeating initiatives backed by the religious right in Texas, including private school vouchers and textbook censorship.

© Circle C Area Democrats 2017