Of Course We are Non-Partisan

By: ewhite422

Apr 30 2014

Category: Uncategorized

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Back when I was the County Coordinator for the Travis County Christian Coalition in Texas, we distributed Voters’ Guides to churches and organizations to inform voters how the candidates stood on our issues.  We made sure to explain that these were non-partisan voters’ guides.

However, we hardly had any Democrats in our organization.  We were planning a forum on faith and politics and everyone wanted to invite our good friend, Jan Galbraith, chairman of the Travis County Republican Party. She was, and still is, a dear friend.

I said, “Okay, but if we invite her to speak, we also have to invite the chairman of the Travis County Democratic Party.”  I was adamant.

I called Kirk Watson the next day and asked to meet with him.  He was a little surprised to say the least.  I went to his law office to meet with him personally. We sat in his office and got acquainted.  I had done my research on him.  I knew that he had gone to a Christian college.

“I assume your faith is pretty important to you,” I said.

“Absolutely!” he answered.

“Well, then, I’d like you to come and speak to our group about faith and politics.” He was surprised by the invitation but accepted right away.

The day of the meeting, the room was packed, everyone with anticipation of a showdown between the Democrats and the GOP.  We waited and waited, but Jan did not show up.  Finally, we learned that she had been injured in a fall at Republican headquarter and that Kirk would be the only one speaking that day.  The room was tense.  We were obviously concerned about Jan AND we weren’t quite sure how Kirk Watson would be accepted.

He, though, is a natural in front of a group.  That is why he went on to be mayor of Austin, Texas, and has been serving for years now as state senator.  He started out with, “I am so concerned about Jan Galbraith.  I hope she is okay after the fall she took at Republican headquarters, and as a lawyer, I would be happy to sue the Republicans on her behalf.

He got a chuckle.

He talked about how faith informs our lives, and for him, his party was more involved in being concerned about “the least of these, our brethren.”  He wanted to make life better for everyone.

The crowd shifted in their seats and then we got to the Q&A.  Things got heated.  They wanted to know about abortion and homosexuality.  Many of the questions were rude.  I had to take the podium for a minute and remind everyone that Kirk was our invited guest and we would be civil…after all, we were all Christians.

Kirk Watson was a good sport.  We remain friends to this day, and I am happy that he was honored this week with the dedication of the Kirk Watson Lecture Hall at Boswell High School in his hometown.

He deserves it!

Jan, fortunately, recovered from her fall and spoke to our group later.


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