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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

On The Record: Cecelia Crossley

For this installment of On The Record, I spoke with Cecelia Crossley, Vice-Chair of the Texas Environmental Democrats.

How did you get started in politics? Did you come to it in your youth or later on?

I was always interested, but I was a federal employee and couldn’t be affiliated with a specific party. In ’95, Clinton reformed the Hatch Act, and I was able to become more involved.

When I worked at the I.R.S., I was in a union, and I wanted to learn more about issues.

I joined the Sierra Club and began volunteering. I realized there were issues that needed to be addressed, which led to volunteering for local Democrats.

What was your personal progression from the role of activist to the role of representative for the Texas Environmental Democrats?

I volunteered a lot, and I became involved in the south Austin Democratic Party. I attended meetings and they needed a president. I took the position, which led to becoming the vice president of Texas Environmental Democrats.

What would you say are the primary issues concerning your area of Austin?

There is a probation office in the area. The high crime on Commission Hill includes drugs and prostitutes. We have low cost housing projects around, which we need, but the area is now putting in a day-labor site next to the probation office, which is also by a night club. They day-labor labor site will be located under awnings, which is not in a building. The day-laborers will also be lumped into the sex offenders looking for work, as well, because it is next to the probation office. If you are hiring a day-laborer you won’t know if you’re hiring a sex offender or not.

The day-labor site was initially to be placed on Riverside, but it was ousted by the developers.

How do local politics affect your family?

Our area has high crime rate due to the facilities in out area. People sell drugs around the neighborhood, along with prostitution, which is not safe.

The day-labor site will more than likely increase the crime rate in the area.

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 like to help and volunteer my time. I enjoy fundraising, and I will step up if I need to, but I need to retire soon. So no running for me, I am happy volunteering for others.

Who are some of your political heroes?

Congressman Lloyd Doggett is a wonderful representative for his area. He has a 100% voting record for: the environment, federal employees and social welfare programs. At the end of it all, he always receives awards for being frugal with money.

All of the people on my city council, and Mayor Will Wynn.

My representative Eddie Rodriguez has a terrific voting record against school vouchers, for education, and social services.

What are you looking forward to in the coming cycle?

Nationwide, I’d like to see every person in the United States to have access to health coverage, but no by insurance companies. It should be ran by the government, not by companies. It is much more cost effective when ran by the government.

What advice would you give to young people just getting into politics?

The most important thing is to be honest, and to not be tempted by the lobbyists to go against your principles and the constituents you might represent. It’s important to represent the people you work for as an elected official.

I would also like to see the votes against vouchers, because it takes money away from public schools.

What one thing would you say a political organization never has enough of?

Good, reliable volunteers, which we are lucky to have. It’s expensive to hire people for all the work which needs to be done. A good volunteer coordinator is important and should contact people who want to help.

Tell us a little bit about the Texas Environmental Democrats, and what roles you feel like you fulfill in that group, official or otherwise.

I work in the state group, and I am vice president. I’ve been very active, but it’s my last year.

When the session starts, we lobby for environmental issues like: clean water, parks, and better air quality. It is exciting for our cause because even Republicans are beginning to pay attention to our environmental issues. They have been brought to the forefront, and people are paying attention.

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