Dalila Reynoso rounded up more than half a dozen friends and family, mostly teenage girls, to knock on doors and make phone calls Saturday morning on behalf of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis.
Sen. Davis’ life story and position on education and women’s rights, whether talking about their bodies or equal pay, resonate with Ms. Reynoso, 32, a single mother and the first in her family to graduate college.
Ms. Reynoso said Sen. Davis’ filibuster to stall GOP legislation to limit women’s access to health care created a movement among women and minorities.
“I loved it,” she said. “It’s the moment (that) motivated me to get involved in the party.”
On a gloomy but cool Saturday morning, Ms. Davis stopped at Liebbe Law Firm on Broadway Avenue at the edge of the Azalea District to energize volunteers before they began their block walks and phone calls to potential East Texas voters.
Ms. Davis told the crowd of about 40 volunteers she appreciated their work spreading her message to Tyler.
The focus was on the different paths for Texas represented by her campaign and that of her GOP opponent Gregg Abbott.
She said her path includes restoring more than $5 billion in public education funding to improve learning opportunities for Texans; setting up a health care exchange to bring more than $100 billion in federal funding to help uninsured Texans and fight for equal pay for women all of which Abbott has fought against as attorney general.
Ms. Davis also mentioned Abbott’s defense of chemical companies, who have denied the public lists of dangerous chemicals stored at their facilities, following the West explosion.
“I have a record of fighting for causes and standing by hard-working Texans,” she said. “He represents Austin insiders.”
Ms. Davis has a lot of work to do in East Texas, especially Smith County, where Democrats have struggled to break the 30 percent mark in recent presidential and gubernatorial elections. She also stopped for a picnic with local International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine & Furniture Workers and a private fundraiser.
Saturday was her second stop in Tyler during the campaign.
Bill Liebbe, a local trial lawyer who spends time in Austin during legislative sessions, called Ms. Davis “the next generation Anne Richards.”
“I’ve been there and seen what kind of leader she is,” Liebbe said. “She’s smart, charming and dedicated to the rights of Texans.”
Liebbe said the political climate is shifting in Texas. Women are more dependent and activated and view Ms. Davis as “their candidate,” he said.
The same goes for Hispanics because Ms. Davis wants all Texans to have equal ability to climb the socioeconomic ladder via education and equal rights and opportunity, Liebbe said.
Ms. Reynoso works for the Smith County Democratic Party and focuses on registering and mobilizing Hispanic voters. They’re not just focusing on Democrat-friendly doors, she said.
“We’re knocking on doors to persuade people,” she said. “They know who she is and after hearing what she stands for and her message they are open to voting for her.”