“I mostly focus on the bottom, up,” says David Medlin, “not the national stuff, down.”
Although originally a native of Shreveport, LA, Medlin has called Texas home for fifty-two years, after settling in the North Texas suburb of Irving in 1964. He currently lives and works as a financial advisor in Colleyville, where his family has resided since 2007. Medlin says it’s easier to get involved – and to be effective – than most people realize.
“Just go to some meetings and respond to some of these invitations,” Medlin said. “Then start learning, and – when you find something that interests you – answer the call to volunteer. Before you know it you’ll be making a difference.”
Medlin was inspired to get more engaged after attending a local meeting of the North East Tarrant Tea Party, a venerable group known across Texas for inspiring activist leaders. There he heard from State Reps. Jonathan Stickland and Giovanni Capriglione who were both talking about the need to get more real conservatives elected in Austin.
“When new lawmakers get sent o Austin,” Medlin reiterated, “the establishment and lobbyists pull them aside” and tell them not to listen to constituents. “They tell them to ignore the very same people who elected them.”
Medlin immediately began to help in any way he could, volunteering in ways some people find simplistic. But he says it’s taking action that’s important. “Activism really isn’t complicated,” he says. It’s just that some people fail to take that first step.
“Stickland and Gio needed us to block walk in the Republican primaries that year. So I did. I walked for Stick, Tony Tinderholt, Rodney Anderson and Matt Rinaldi—they all won!”
Unfortunately, Capriglione succumbed to the political forces Medlin was fighting against.
“It’s ironic that it was State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione saying he needed our help to fight the establishment…only to watch him turn his back on us after we delivered the help he said he needed.”
After helping to elect conservatives in legislative races – and witnessing disappointment – Medlin dug deeper. He saw irresponsible governance in his own city, despite the fact that Colleyville’s voters are overwhelmingly conservative. The problem was two-fold; too few taxpayers were paying attention locally, and too few voted.
“Chris Putnam told me and others he wanted to run for city council to fundamentally change the culture at city hall to reflect our community’s conservative values. So we knocked on a lot of doors, put out signs and beat the long-time incumbent by a 20-point margin. At the polls on Election Day, Chris’ opponent told me I should start attending the council meetings rather than ‘just’ doing the campaign stuff.”
Again, Medlin took immediate action, and confirmed what he already knew to be true. City officials were ignoring citizen-concerns, and worse. Medlin attended almost all of the council meetings to get more informed on the issues, and to support Putnam. Medlin and his neighbors have already made an enormous impact by getting to work after their electoral victories and reforming local policies.
“It was Putnam against them all of them. I know he needed me there. Then I met Bobby Lindamood – who’s now on the council after running twice – and hundreds of other concerned neighbors. A movement organically started in Colleyville. Some things we’ve already accomplished will last a long time – like the new term limits – and the government ethics reforms our voters approved by an 80 plus percent margin. The new financial disclosures we enacted for the city council and senior staff…I think that’s why the city manager just resigned. Thanks to our efforts, we inspired record voter turnout and took back a majority on our council.”
Colleyville’s government ethics reforms hold local politicians and staff to a higher standard than state lawmakers. But in addition to these critical reforms, activism has helped Medlin forge life-long relationships with other liberty-loving Texans.
“You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference one person can make. And as a side benefit, you’ll meet some very nice folks. I now have friends I never would have otherwise met.”
Medlin says it’s time for him to take a breather. But after what he’s learned, he’s in the fight for the long haul.
“Politics can suck you in for sure…but that’s OK. If you’re thinking you’d like to get engaged, I guarantee there’s someone already involved wishing there were more people just like you to simply show up and serve. Stop yelling at the TV and go talk to people—it’s that easy.”