Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Endorses Additional 2018 Candidates

Today, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) announced additional candidate endorsements for the November election, including Justin Nelson for Attorney General and Miguel Suazo for Land Commissioner.

PPTV wants to elect candidates up and down the ballot who unequivocally support women’s health and reproductive rights, including access to birth control and safe, legal abortion. You can see the full list of endorsed candidates below.

“We need elected officials who will not only support but champion our rights,” said Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director of PPTV. “Our endorsed candidates will stand up against the extreme and relentless political attacks on reproductive health and help stop laws that hurt Texans regardless of who they are or their zip code. We must elect a new set of leaders in 2018 who will protect our rights without question.”

Additional Candidates Endorsed by Planned Parenthood Texas Votes:

Statewide
Attorney General – Justin Nelson
Land Commissioner – Miguel Suazo

State Senate Districts
SD 17 – Rita Lucido

State House Districts
HD 45 – Erin Zwiener
HD 47 – Vikki Goodwin
HD 52 – James Talarico
HD 102 – Ana-Maria Ramos
HD 104 – Jessica Gonzalez
HD 108 – Joanna Cattanach
HD 112 – Brandy Chambers
HD 113 – Rhetta Andrews Bowers
HD 116 – Trey Martinez Fischer
HD 136 – John Bucy

Statement: Lawsuit Filed by Allied Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice Groups Against Texas’ Abortion Laws

Statement from Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, On Lawsuit Filed by Allied Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice Groups Against Texas’ Abortion Laws

Today, The Lawyering Project, an advocacy organization dedicated to improved reproductive health care access, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Texas’ abortion funders and reproductive justice organizations to fight against our state’s onerous abortion restrictions.

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes fully supports this lawsuit and its aim to dismantle current laws that hurt Texas women and their health. Women deserve access to safe, legal abortion without barriers or delay.

Statement from Yvonne Gutierrez:

“The lawsuit filed today in Austin is a big step in the right direction. Planned Parenthood Texas Votes stands alongside our allies in fighting against the state’s dangerous and restrictive abortion laws that threaten the lives of Texas women.  

“Our mission is to fight to protect and expand women’s access to preventative and reproductive health care, including abortion. This lawsuit takes aim at Texas’ current anti-abortion laws, which are some of the most oppressive in the country. We hope this case helps shine a light on the true motives behind these restrictions — to end access to safe, legal abortion. Texas women deserve better.”

Lives at stake in the Democratic runoff for governor

Governor Greg Abbott, who is running for re-election this year, relentlessly attacks Texans and their rights. Workers’ rights, women’s health care, the public education of our children, and voting rights are all under siege. Immigrants and LGBTQ Texans are being outright threatened.

With the Democratic gubernatorial runoff election now upon us, our organizations remain committed to the rights of all Texans to live and raise families in healthy and safe communities, with dignity and justice — regardless of race, income, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious belief, or immigration status. Because of this commitment, our organizations have endorsed Texas Democrat Lupe Valdez for governor.

Lupe Valdez has spent a lifetime breaking down barriers and defending Texans. We know who she is and what she stands for. Her candidacy is about the fair shot Texans from all walks of life deserve. The same cannot be said of her opponent and we feel a moral obligation to step forward and speak out.

When Andrew White first launched his campaign to become the Democratic nominee for governor, he was serving as a church leader in a conservative anti-LGBTQ church that describes homosexualty as “sexual perversion,” he directly told a Planned Parenthood board member that he would sign anti-choice legislation if it came to his desk as governor, and he owned a border surveillance company that used anti-immigrant slurs in its marketing materials.

White’s positions and affiliations on core progressive issues were offensive in their own right, but what is  even more troublesome is that as each of these issues have come to light, White has conveniently changed course. Four days after news broke regarding his affiliation with an anti-LGBTQ church, the first-time candidate resigned as a church elder. He stated his personal faith would never affect how he would govern, but he never actually clarified if he believes homosexuality is immoral. After announcing his candidacy and having his anti-choice position called into question, White said his personal position on choice would not affect how he would govern and he denounced legislation restricting reproductive rights passed under Gov. Abbott. In the days following a forum led by Latinx youth he stated that IF he won the primary runoff he would divest from his border surveillance company.

He became supportive of LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights and immigrant rights only when he realized that Democrats would not support a candidate who does not support these values – when people were looking. Character and leadership, however, are defined by who you are and what you do when people are not looking.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time,” as Maya Angelou said.  

As progressive advocates in Texas, we are all too familiar with political compromises that regularly occur in the Legislature on the backs of women, LGBTQ communities, immigrants, teachers and hard-working Texans. White’s candidacy promises more negotiating on the importance of the lives and rights of each of our constituencies — and that is something we can not and will not risk.

As a private citizen, White is certainly allowed the space to evaluate and grow in his personal and political beliefs. But as a candidate for governor of Texas, a state with 26 million people from different backgrounds, we demand solid, unwavering leadership that Texans can count on now. No matter what. And that is why we are supporting Lupe Valdez for governor.

Mayor Annise Parker, LGBTQ Victory Fund
Yvonne Gutierrez, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes

PPTV is hiring an Executive Assistant!

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes
Executive Assistant
Position: Full-time, permanent
Location: Austin

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) works to foster and preserve a social and political climate in Texas favorable to full reproductive health care access including abortion, through electoral activity, legislative advocacy and grassroots organizing, to promote and protect the mission of Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas.

PPTV is expanding our team and is hiring an Executive Assistant that will work for both PPTV and PPTV Political Action Committee (PAC).

The Executive Assistant will support the Executive Director, as well as managing the operations and administrative needs of the office. The ideal candidate for this position will have the ability to organize, coordinate, and manage multiple tasks and responsibilities, with a very high attention to detail and high level of diplomacy and interpersonal skills.

This is a full-time exempt position based in Austin, Texas and does not supervise any other employees.

EXECUTIVE SUPPORT

  • Complete a broad variety of administrative tasks for the Executive Director including:
    • Managing an extremely active calendar of appointments and travel; arranging complex and detailed travel plans, itineraries, agendas; compiling documents for travel-related meetings; and completing expense reports;
  • Monitor and respond to Executive Director emails when necessary and ensure appropriate follow-up, including drafting time sensitive responses to elected officials and candidates, gathering information, and assigning tasks to other team members for follow-up
  • Work closely with the Executive Director to keep her informed of and prepared for upcoming commitments and responsibilities
  • Manage all components of board and committee meetings including scheduling, logistics, agendas, record keeping, and transcribing minutes

ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT & BOOKKEEPING

  • Track, classify and reconcile all receipts, reimbursements, deposits, payments, and contracts in Quickbooks
  • Process daily deposits
  • Liaison with external accountants to ensure timely reconciliation of various accounts including checking and prepaid accounts and monthly accounting reports, and providing all necessary information for tax filings.
  • Prepare regular financial reports for the Executive and reconcile with the Development team
  • Manage all aspects of monthly reporting for the Texas Ethics Commission including lobbying and campaign reports, contributions, and expenditures
  • Coordinate timesheet collection process and the performance review process
  • Track employment applications and manage the publication of job postings.
  • Liaison with the professional employment organization that manages the HR functions for the organization, including ensuring compliance with deadlines and data entry for employee onboarding and offboarding
  • Ensure supplies needs for the office are met
  • Other duties as assigned

EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION:

  • At least two (2) years of professional executive support or administrative experience, preferably in a political or social issues setting.
  • Excellent writing, editing, grammatical, organizational and research skills.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective relationships, and work collaboratively, with PPTV and Planned Parenthood affiliate staff, as well as external partners and consultants, including elected officials and candidates for office.
  • Some professional bookkeeping experience preferred. Coursework in accounting may be considered in lieu of experience. Proficiency with QuickBooks and fundraising databases is a plus.
  • Skill in producing clear and consistent high quality work with attention to detail.
  • Able to meet deadlines in a fast-paced, team environment, manage multiple projects and adapt to changing priorities.
  • Proficiency in Google Docs and Microsoft Office Products (Word, PowerPoint and Excel).
  • Ability to work independently, with minimal supervision.
  • Ability to work after regular business hours, as needed.
  • Maintain knowledge of existing and proposed reproductive health and family planning regulations

PERSONAL QUALITIES / OTHER ATTRIBUTES

The Executive Assistant will demonstrate the following:

  • Deep appreciation for mission of Planned Parenthood
  • Enthusiasm for public policy and political campaigns
  • Enjoys creating order and solutions to complex problems
  • Diplomatic style and high emotional intelligence
  • Comfortable in ambiguity; able to create clarity and understanding
  • Enjoys operating in a fast-paced and demanding environment; a nimble and flexible work style
  • Collaborative work style; able to facilitate amongst diverse communities and individuals

ADDITIONAL POSITION INFORMATION

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes is an equal employment opportunity employer and is committed to maintaining a non-discriminatory work environment, and does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.  Planned Parenthood is committed to creating a dynamic work environment that values diversity and inclusion, respect and integrity, customer focus, and innovation.

BENEFITS & COMPENSATION

PPTV offers a competitive benefits package that includes 100% employer paid medical, dental and vision coverage, life and AD&D ($20,000) and short term and long term disability for the employee. We also offer an optional flexible spending account and additional life coverage. Full-time employees receive 11 paid holidays plus an additional winter break and two weeks paid time off.

HOW TO APPLY

Email a cover letter, resume, and a list of three references to jobs@pptexasvotes.org with “Executive Assistant” in the subject line. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

  • Each document should be a separate attachment; all attachments should be saved in PDF format and named in the format of “Last Name, First Name – Document Name”.
  • Cover letters included in the body of the email will not be accepted.
  • References from employment, academic and volunteer experience are acceptable.

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Announces 2018 State Endorsements

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) is proud to announce candidate endorsements for the 2018 election cycle. The PPTV board of directors assesses candidate positions on a variety of reproductive health issues including access to birth control, evidence-based sex education, and safe, legal abortion. Endorsement decisions are based on a combination of voting records for incumbents, responses to candidate questionnaires, and publicly stated positions.

“The actions by the Trump-Pence administration and extreme politicians in the Texas Legislature have fueled an unstoppable grassroots movement determined to fight back. 2017 was about resistance. 2018 is about accountability, and taking power,” said Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes. “When it comes to support for women’s health, there is no room for negotiating. Whether it’s in the primary election or the general election, we will let the 820,000 Planned Parenthood supporters in Texas know which candidates will stand with them, no matter what.”

In 2017, reproductive rights were under attack at the federal and state levels. During the Texas legislative sessions, lawmakers filed nearly 40 anti-abortion regulations — several of which passed under Senate Bill 8, which includes a ban on certain abortion procedures that has been blocked in federal district court. The 2018-2019 state budget continues to block patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers through health programs and goes even further to ban Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving any state funding whatsoever. At the federal level, Donald Trump and Mike Pence spent the last year working to block access to affordable birth control, defund Planned Parenthood health centers, cut teen pregnancy prevention programs, and strip away women’s fundamental right to control their own bodies.  

As a result of these attacks, Planned Parenthood saw an unprecedented outpouring of organizing, activism, and support. This year more than 90,000 Texans took action to support Planned Parenthood for the first time. Texans are demanding elected officials who will stand strong in support of their health and rights. Between now and election day, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes will work around the clock to make sure that voters know what is at stake in this election and where the candidates stand.

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Endorsed Candidates:

Challenger Endorsements:
Statewide
Lupe Valdez, Governor
Mike Collier, Lieutenant Governor
Joi Chevalier, State Comptroller

State Senate Districts
Beverly Powell, SD 10
Nathan Johnson, SD 16

State House Districts
Terry Meza, HD 105
John Turner, HD 114
Julie Johnson, HD 115

Incumbent Endorsements (with primary challenges):
State Senate:
Kirk Watson, SD 14
John Whitmire, SD 15

State House:
Bobby Guerra, HD 41
Mary Gonzalez, HD 75
Eric Johnson, HD 100
Roberto Alonzo, HD 104
Victoria Neave, HD 107
Diana Arévalo, HD 116
Phil Cortez, HD 117
Tomas Uresti, HD 118
Ina Minjarez, HD 124
Jarvis Johnson, HD 139
Harold Dutton, HD 142
Mary Ann Perez, HD 144
Shawn Thierry, HD 146
Garnet Coleman, HD 147

Resisting in 2018: The promise I made at the Women’s March

One year ago, I stood with thousands of people at the Dallas Women’s March and realized the power of my voice. The strength of my convictions.

I found myself.

Before the march, I had never blockwalked, called a legislator, or spoken in public. As the daughter of an immigrant, I was raised with the idea that I needed to be grateful and keep my head down, even in — especially in —  the face of injustice. My mother never acknowledged the everyday injustices we struggled with. It was just how things were if you poor and Latino.

Latinos still have the lowest insured rate and along with other communities of color, face systemic barriers to getting the care they need and deserve. Texas mothers are dying at a higher rate than anywhere in the developed world. Black women in our state face the greatest risk of pregnancy- related and maternal death.

As I grew up in Dallas, moved to Austin for college, and then left for Colorado, I relied on Planned Parenthood for birth control and non-judgmental information about my sexual health. They were the first to raise the red flag that my family history of breast cancer meant I should begin clinical breast exams and mammograms earlier in life. But certain politicians are dead set on shutting down health centers, and blocking access to reproductive health care.

Now, I lead a community outreach program at Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas called MUJER, Mujeres Unidas Por Justicia, Educacion Y Respeto. At the Women’s March, I approached the group from Planned Parenthood about volunteering and we talked about how it seemed more common for a 15-year-old Latina teenager to tell her parents she’s pregnant than to ask for their help getting birth control. Together, we built the MUJER program for Latina women to have a safe, non-judgmental space to talk about the issues that might be stigmatized or embarrassing in other environments. And we do it over coffee and pan dulce on Saturday mornings, like generations of women in our families have done.

This year, I have been to Washington, D.C. as a patient-advocate for Planned Parenthood, I’ve made dozens of trips to Austin to protest the Texas Legislature’s attacks on reproductive and immigrant rights, and I’ve spoken in front of thousands of people at rallies and demonstrations. I’ve befriended so many incredible, passionate people. Now, I call myself an activist.

All it takes is that first step. At the Women’s March in 2017, I raised my fist in solidarity with other women and as a promise to keep fighting for more. To fight for a Texas where everyone has access to health care, regardless of gender expression, race, income, sexual orientation, religious belief or immigration status — where every Texan has the opportunity to live a healthy and meaningful life. To fight for comprehensive sex education, affordable birth control, and access to safe legal abortion.

On the anniversary of the Women’s March, what are you fighting for?

Meet the Organizer: Summer Lollie in Dallas-Fort Worth

When I was growing up in Dallas, my sister and I would often visit our cousins in Wichita Falls on weekends and during the summer. We grew up playing freeze tag and hide and seek with walkie talkies at my grandparents’ house and talking about how we would grow up to be doctors, lawyers, or the first black President of the United States. But as I got older, my sister and I saw some of our teenage cousins get pregnant and start working low wage jobs to make ends meet for their families.

While my cousins are living great lives and raising amazing children, my sister and I knew we didn’t want to make the same choices — so we took to the internet to learn about sex. We found a number of websites, some more informative than others, before landing on the Planned Parenthood website. We had heard about Planned Parenthood and the work they did in the Dallas community, so we knew it could be trusted as a good source of information on birth control and sexual health. Thanks to that resource, we were able to navigate through high school and college without an unintended pregnancy. Now, I am building a career at Planned Parenthood where I work to make sure everyone has access to Planned Parenthood’s health and education resources to control when and if they want to have children and go on to have the careers they want and participate in their communities in they way they choose.

As an organizer, I am committed to making sure marginalized populations in Texas have a voice in electing public officials who will champion the rights of women and all Texans. Before joining Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, I worked at Battleground Texas as an organizer working in east Dallas to register new voters and help Rep. Victoria Neave win her state house seat over an incumbent anti-abortion Republican. I also previously worked as an executive assistant at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, advocating for strong safety public nets like debt-free college and Medicare for all and in Shreveport, LA, as a teacher and school personnel union organizer, fighting for strong public schools.

If you are looking to make a difference in your community, know that you don’t have to create your own movement. Prioritize one or two issues you are passionate about, and find a group that works on them. When we work together, we are more powerful!

Here in Dallas, we have regular opportunities for people to get involved in the work Planned Parenthood does to protect and expand access to reproductive health care. On November 7, we are hosting a Planned Parenthood 101 to give first-time activists a chance learn about Planned Parenthood as an organization and the different ways you can fight back against attacks on our care. Every month, we also host supporter engagement phone banks to grow our team of activists. I would love to meet you and get you plugged into the work we are doing on the ground!

To join Summer in the fight for reproductive health and rights in Dallas-Forth Worth, email her at summer.lollie@pptexasvotes.org!

Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month with Action

From September 15 to October 15, Planned Parenthood is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month! Part of honoring Hispanic heritage in this country is ensuring that we stand with Hispanic communities so they are able to access affordable, high-quality health care and live free from discrimination. In addition to providing direct medical services, Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas are driving three major community-based initiatives to increase Hispanic Texans’ access to health care.

Through the Raíz (Spanish for “root”) programs in San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston, Planned Parenthood affiliates work to build long-term, sustainable community organizing structures in partnership with the Hispanic and Latinx community. In Dallas, organizers have helped enroll people in health insurance plans through the ACA marketplace and hosted Platicas Sobre La Salud, a conference on the significant disparities in health care outcomes in Latinx communities.

Meanwhile, the Promotores de Salud program brings bilingual health education into homes across the Rio Grande Valley, in San Antonio and Houston. Promotoras are community leaders who care about about their communities, recognize barriers to health care, and are committed to helping their peers overcome health disparities and health system challenges. They share medically accurate information and clarify misconceptions about risky sexual behavior. The promotoras program is modeled off Mexican and Central American adult peer education programs that have been recognized for reducing health disparities.

Planned Parenthood Greater Texas also just kicked off a program called MUJER, or Mujeres Unidas for Justicia, Educacion, y Respeto (Women United for Justice, Education and Respect). This program, designed by and for Latinas, aims to increase advocacy and knowledge about reproductive health in Latinx communities in Dallas. PPGT provides participants, also known as MUJERes, with leadership development and organizing training opportunities so they can lead movements in their own neighborhoods and communities. MUJERes meet over coffee and pan dulce to discuss health care related issues in a safe space, alongside women who share and understand the unique challenges of a shared cultural experience. The intention is to connect the dots between the issues and how Latinas are impacted by decisions made by politicians in Austin and D.C. so the MUJERes can go on to take action.

Hispanic Texans are Planned Parenthood patients, volunteers, supporters, educators, and staff. We are proud to advocate for and with Hispanic communities to harness their political power and increase their access to health care through these programs!

#WeArePP: I’m Getting Stronger for the Fights Ahead and Ready to Create Change on my College Campus

This summer, Planned Parenthood is training volunteer leaders in the core principles of grassroots organizing at a series of Power Summits. Over the past two weekends, activists from Texas joined leaders from across the Midwest and Southwest for summits in Phoenix and Oklahoma City. Right now, our communities are facing unprecedented attacks on our health care, our rights, and our dignity. To be ready for the fights ahead, we are building muscle for a strong and united resistance.

At the summit in Phoenix, volunteers like Carleigh, 19, from Austin, got a 101 on reproductive justice and community organizing and developed tools to run their own successful campaigns. Below, Carleigh shares what brought her to Planned Parenthood, what she took away from the Power Summit, and how she will use those new skills to take action moving forward.

“In fifth grade, my classmates and I were brought to the cafeteria to watch a video on puberty. It was one of those educational videos filmed in the late 90s — cheesy sound effects, denim overalls, you know the drill. Most of the students said they thought the video was “gross” and “weird,” but I remember feeling intrigued. After all, this was the first time I was formally introduced to that side of myself.

When I think back, I imagine many of the students must have been as interested as I was. We were all just too ashamed to say it. I came to know the association between sex and shame too well. So well, in fact, the two words became synonymous to me. As a faithful person, I resented myself for having and acting on sexual impulses. From the day I watched that video up until recently, I was at constant war with myself. Every moment of pleasure was immediately followed by hours of guilt. It was draining; it was hurtful; it was difficult; it was unnecessary.

Eventually, I stopped fighting myself. I remained a person of faith, I remained a sexual being, and I became comfortable figuring out how to balance those two identifies. Wanting to share my newly acquired sex-positive lens, I started to volunteer with Planned Parenthood. Not only does Planned Parenthood provide essential health services to all people, it also provides a safe space to those people. At a Planned Parenthood health center, you can talk to a provider without feeling the shame and you can talk to a health educator to receive unbiased, factual information. You can also talk to volunteers who genuinely care and understand that no one’s journey to sex positivity is the same.

Before the Power Summit, I had never shared my story with anyone. Thanks to thoughtful coaching from other organizers, I was able to finally put into words what had brought me to Planned Parenthood and the fight for reproductive rights.

It’s pretty easy to say, “We will create change.” It’s much harder to actually do. But over the course of the weekend, I met with community leaders of all ages and backgrounds. Each person I spoke with invigorated and inspired me. The training on strategy supplied me with the tools I needed to create change on my college campus. Now, I am developing relevant social campaigns with the advice of my peers. I am meeting with other volunteers here in Austin next week to build teams and set goals. We’re already planning a voter registration drive for September 26.  

It may be difficult to create change, but with the knowledge and power we gained from this weekend, we are powerful. We are strong. And we are ready.

— Carleigh”

These Female Texas Legislators Are Fed Up and Fighting Back!

During both the regular and special Texas legislative sessions, extreme legislators once again demonstrated a total disregard for the health and well-being of Texas women. But these female legislators fought back at every turn. They worked hard to protect the rights we have, reclaim the ones we lost, and just generally were not having any nonsense. Watch below for the highlights!