The party invites you The Texas Democratic Party’s rules and affirmative action com mittees will hold four public meetings around the state to help them determine how Texas’ 152 delegates to the 1980 national convention will be selected. In 1976 the delegates were picked according to the presidential primary vote, though in previous elections the convention method had been used. The dates, locations, and times of the meetings are: June 30 in Houston \(HoliSan Antonio \(Democratic headquarters, 14 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area \(Airport County Democratic Party has also scheduled a meeting on this subject for July 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the Travis County Courthouse. The public is invited to testify. Interested speakers should notify the party in advance \(215 Stokes Building, Austin Chris Brown AAM gets organized More legislative clout and better representation of the grassroots membership are some expected results of the recent organization of the American Agriculture Movement into a nonprofit corporation. State delegates gathering in Wichita Falls early in June voted 20 to 0 in favor of incorporation, though some disagreements over policy-making procedures remained unresolved at the conclusion of the sevenhour meeting. “It became evident that the only way to maintain a grassroots movement was to set up a means of accurately coming up with grassroots thinking,” Jerome Friemel, director of one of five AAM districts in Texas, told the Observer. One of the problems that has frequently confronted AAM lobbyists has been uncertainty in Washington about whom they representedpoliticians have confronted delegates of the looseknit movement with the question: “How do we know you represent anyone?” It’s a tougher question than it seems for an organization with broad support, but which “never got a handle on who and how many [constituted its] membership,” according to Friemel. The new corporate organization will provide for formal membership rolls, annual dues, and a governing body chosen from delegates elected by each of the 37 member states. AAM has in the past purposely avoided membership lists, which are subject to seizure through court injunction, to protect demonstrating farmers. Procedures for policy development were at issue during the conference initially; the flap caused eight of the state delegates to vote against incorporation. The nature of the policy-making mechanism which will connect the national organization to the state affiliates, and, in turn, to the individual members who comprise them, has not been worked out to everyone’s satisfaction, and will be addressed at the next meeting. For now, the national office will take only one stand: working for 100 percent parity of prices. Friemel, who chaired the committee which drafted the new AAM bylaws, says he wants to make certain that the new set-up guarantees a continued airing of grassroots views. He will propose at the next AAM meeting that a national all-corners convention be called annually to sift through grievances or suggestions AAM members have about the conduct of the national body, which would then be required to act in accordance with cOnvontion recommendations. At present, papers of incorporation have been filed in Colorado, where AAM was founded two years ago. A board of officerschair, vice chair, secretary and treasurer will be elected to one-year terms in the near future. Edward Humes Curtain going down A round of applause for Sen. Ron Clower who hashe hopeskilled off the infamous split primary bill once and for allagain. Yes, we know this isn’t the first time the Garland lawmaker has sounded the death knell on Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby and Speaker Bill Clayton’s pet project. When last we left the players in this, the most important political drama of 1979, Clower and the other 11 Killer Bees had prevented the Legislature from creating a March presidential primary separate from the regular party primaries in May. Enter a new character, the regional primary. This little Hobby-Clayton scheme is supposedly designed to maximize the Sunbelt’s clout in national politics. Texas and other Southern and Southwestern states would get together and hold presidential primaries on the would force the contenders to spend a lot of time campaigning in the region and pay a lot of attention to regional wants and needs. It was an intriguing idea, and Clayton told anyone who would listen that he had checked it out with officials in the other states before bringing it up. Gov . Bill Clements mumbled something about how neat it would be to offset Northeastern influence in the presidential nomination processhe calls it “the tail wagging the dog”and said he might consider allowing the Legislature to take up the idea in the special session he plans to call. Enter Senator Clower, a suspicious soul who decided to see for himself whether anyone besides a few Tories in Texas was interested. He sent telegrams to officials in the states Clayton had been mentioning as possible participants to get a first-hand reading on “the interest in and feasibility of your state’s participation in a same-day regional primary in 1980.” All Clower’s suspicions were confirmed. After getting responses from the governors or Democratic Party officials in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, the state senator announced that “not a single one of them indicates any possibility or even any interest in participating in a regional primary.” He also discovered that the four states bordering Texas have their primaries scheduled on four different dates next year, none of them the same day as Texas’. Clower went on to say, “I don’t know who the speaker contacted in many of these states, but in at least one, we were told by phone that he had contacted them and they told him at that time that there was no chance. Maybe he knows something that the officials in these states aren’t aware of. Or maybe the people who touted this idea thought we wouldn’t think to check with these other states before everyone jumped on the bandwagon.” So the primary bill is down again, but not necessarily out. Hobby says he remains dedicated to fixing the election rules next year, so Clower and other opponents of the split primary will have to stay on their guard. 10 JUNE 22, 1979
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