On The Record: Bill Brannon
Sun, 02/18/2007 - 10:51am
This week I spoke with Bill Brannon, a Regional Field Director for the Democratic National Committee.
How did you get started in politics? Did you come to it in your youth or later on?
It was when I was younger. I have always been interested in politics, starting when I was young and especially in college.
What was your personal progression from the role of activist to the role of a leader?
I have never stopped being an activist, and I don't know if someone can designate themselves as a leader. Educationally, I started by majoring in government, but the university did away with the program, so I had to change to political science. The academic training there, along with personal interest, was useful in the application.
What would you say are the primary issues concerning East Texas?
Generally, the issues are the same as in the rest of the state. There is the continual squeezing of the middle class, but there are also some regionally specific issues dealing with environmental resources.
How do local politics affect your family?
The political profession is straining for families, but my family is all to some degree a participant in the process. My wife is personally involved also, so we try to spend as much time together as we can.
Do you have any ambition for higher office? Do you have plans to run for any other party office, or possibly even public office?
No, I made my decision a long time ago to work on the back side of the camera, not the front side.
Who are some of your political heroes?
John Kennedy is my number one hero, but I have had the opportunity to view people both up close and from a distance that are very impressive. For example Ann Richards, and her capacity to move the party and state forward. Also, Bill Clinton; he always has the best and most immediate grasp of a room. And then Bob Slagle must be mentioned. Convention politics is a lost art, and he is an expert at it.
What would you say has been the single most defining moment in your political life?
I would say the Vietnam War because it is the most defining moment for my generation, and the Civil Rights Movement; as a Southerner who grew up in a different time, there came this understanding that you hadn't been told the truth about race, and that racial inequality was a damn real thing.
What are you looking forward to in the coming cycle?
There's an excellent chance for Democrats over the next two cycles to take back the Texas House. If we hold the House, there will be a tremendous amount of redistricting.
What would you say the political breakdown of your family is? Is it mostly Democratic or are you somewhat unique?
My family is fairly unanimously democratic. There may be different degrees, but all the same orientation.
What advice would you give to young people just getting into politics?
Political involvement is critically important to having influence on things around you. If you want to make a living in politics, you have to at least get an academic background in advertising and some sort of sociological background.
What one thing would you say a political organization never has enough of?
It can never have enough people, money, or time. Resources are the answer. Outside of that, what they lack is cooperation and collaboration.
What has been the most valuable lesson you've learned in politics?
I have learned that efforts have consequences. Votes have consequences. Actions have consequences. Statements have consequences. The effort you are putting into getting someone elected have consequences beyond that point in time.