Grassroots America – We the People exists to “advance the Cause of Liberty as rooted in limited government, personal responsibility, good citizenship, defense of traditional family values and the free market system, and a return to the U. S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”
Last weekend, the Tyler-based conservative organization hosted a candidate forum for the three women running for vice chair of the Republican Party of Texas: Alma Jackson, Dr. Dana Myers, and Adrienne Peña-Garza.
Alma Jackson is a Bexar County resident active in the local party as a former precinct chair and election judge. She also served as the vice chair of the RPT from 2018 to 2020. Jackson currently serves as the chairman of engagement for the RPT and as president of the Juan Seguin Society, an organization created to reach the Hispanic population.
Active in Harris County politics, Dr. Dana Myers is a medical business consultant. She also serves on the Engineering Board of Houston Baptist University and is the two-term vice chair of the Harris County Republican Party (HCRP), the chair of Operation Wrangler (RPT/TRCCA) to train and recruit precinct chairs, a former RPT Communications Task Force member under former Chairmen Dickey and West, and two-term president of the Magic Circle Republican Women’s group in Houston.
With Texas politics in her blood, Adrienne Peña-Garza is the daughter of former State Rep. Aaron Peña and is the current chairwoman of the Hidalgo County Republican Party. She also serves as auditor for the Young Republican National Federation, is a former vice chairman for the Texas Young Republican Federation, and is a former president of the Hidalgo County Young Republicans.
The vice chair will work closely with RPT Chairman Matt Rinaldi and coordinate efforts with grassroots organizations throughout the state.
GAWTP asked that the candidates share their top three priorities for the upcoming 88th Legislative Session.
Jackson: “I think at the top of that would be election integrity. Property taxes is a big one that we really need to work on. And gender modification. Those three are very important to me. They’re all important, but … if we don’t have election integrity, we’re not gonna get anywhere, period.”
Myers: “The good news is we all agree that election integrity has to be the first priority in the state, and I think that’s become clear ever since 2020 and onwards. Second would be border security. Clearly, we have open borders, and a lot of the things that we’re experiencing in Texas are a direct result—whether we have crowded classrooms, increased crime, increased drug overdoses, and general insecurity. That is due to the open border and that is also a huge financial cost. The third would be to protect our children, and that applies to both eliminating CRT in schools and eliminating gender modification at young ages and onwards. And basically, going back to protecting our families and the infrastructure and their decision to make on how they raise their children.”
Peña-Garza: “Election integrity, I think, is number one. There were a lot of different things that happened in Hidalgo County that I thought needed to be looked into a bit more. That is something that we need to desperately focus on because if not, we are going to continue to lose elections. If we don’t have integrity in our elections, then we don’t have a state. Also, constitutional carry is very, very important. Gender modification is something that really just frustrates me completely because it goes against everything that we stand [for] and believe in. We need to stand up strong against it because it’s destroying families and it’s destroying our children, our religious freedom as well.”
Challenges in the RPT
Candidates were asked to identify the biggest challenges facing the Republican Party of Texas.
Peña-Garza: “I think it’s complacency. And I’m not trying to get everyone upset at me. I’ve just … I’ve seen it. People think, ‘Oh, the state’s red’ or ‘I live in a very Republican area’ or ‘Oh, [Beto O’Rourke] Francis will never take over Texas.’ But that’s not true from what I see. And I think there’s a lack of training; we need to invest in the future generations to help them understand why the Republican Party is the party for Texas—why the Republican Party is the party for America.”
Jackson: “What is so bad right now in the state of Texas is property taxes; there are so many people who are suffering because of high property taxes; that is a big one that really does bother me. And the disintegration of families, where we are redefining what a family is. A family is the foundation of society. And without strong families, our society comes apart, and that’s exactly what’s taking place. I think we need to rebuild families and stick to biblical principles about what it is that creates what a family consists of according to what God tells us.”
Myers: “I do agree that there is a sense of complacency out there. However, I do know there’s quite a bit of hope. I can tell you in our area—which is heavily Democratic—our turnout for Republican voters was almost two and a half times what the Democrats’ [was]. And so, I think that’s reflective of what’s going on along the state, and it gives me quite a bit of hope. I do think there’s a lot of things we can rectify, but I don’t think it’s without hope at all. … Again, it goes back to what Alma [Jackson] said about the importance of the nuclear family; I think we’ve substituted a lot of government for a lot of family values.”
Awarding RPT booths to groups that don’t support the RPT platform
This question arose from the controversy that has emerged following the Republican National Committee’s creation of an LGBT pride coalition. The RPT condemned the creation of the pride coalition due to the fact that it conflicts with multiple RPT platform planks, including Plank #317, which strongly supports the biblical definition of marriage.
Meanwhile, Log Cabin Republicans have been denied a booth at the RPT convention due to their lack of support for RPT planks that they say speak against their chosen lifestyle.
Due to this issue, GAWTP asked the candidates whether they would support awarding booths to organizations that don’t support the party platform.
Jackson: “I do not want to extend the booths to anyone who is not following our platform. What is the purpose of the platform if we go around it? I would say no. If you agree with our platform, you get a booth. If not, go to the other party.”
Myers: “I think it’s a fairly simple answer, as Alma already stated. If our platform is very clear about the tenets that we support, and if it comports with the platform, then they get a booth. If it does not, there’s no booths, no affiliation.”
Peña-Garza: “I see it as following the rules, and the rules are the platform. And if they break those rules, then they don’t get a booth. As I said before, when we speak as Christians, we should love all people. But help them understand, and maybe do a better job with messaging. Show them why they don’t get a booth. There’s rules that we have to follow as leaders. And if we want to lead by example, then we’re going to have to follow that.”