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Texas Democrats Kicking Off State Convention In San Antonio

The Texas Democratic Party
Volunteers get ready at the Alamodome for the Thursday kickoff of the state Democratic Convention.

Tonight in San Antonio Democrats kick off their state convention.  They’re hoping to generate Party excitement in a state so red Republicans have been elected to every statewide office since 1998.

Democrats are focusing their message on working families.  They’re also prepared to take a few shots at Donald Trump.

The 12,000 Democrats crowding into the Alamodome will talk strategy for improving schools, accessible healthcare, and a pathway to citizenship for immigrants.

State Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa says the message is designed help mobilize four million Texas Hispanics who could vote but don’t.

“If one-fourth of them went out to vote Texas would be a blue state.  We want those out there who are staying home to know that we can achieve everything in America we want to achieve for our families if we participate in the electoral process."

Helping to deliver that message will be two San Antonio leaders who are rising national stars.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, who’s mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate for Hillary Clinton.  He’ll give a key-note address.

His twin brother Congressman Joaquin Castro will chair the convention.

Rep. Castro believes Trump’s comments about immigrants and women hurt the Republican Party and may energize the Democratic vote.

“Ours is a message of inclusion; Donald Trump as leader of the Republican Party, even right-wing conservatives have criticized him as pandering to racism and fascism," he says.

Trump is planning a Friday fundraiser in San Antonio across town from the Democratic convention.  A large crowd of protesters is expected to turn out.

Shelley Kofler is Texas Public Radio’s news director. She joined the San Antonio station in December 2014 and leads a growing staff that produces two weekly programs; a daily talk show, news features, reports and online content. Prior to TPR, Shelley served as the managing editor and news director at KERA in Dallas-Fort Worth, and the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.