TX-25 Congressional District Town Hall Tickets, Sat, May 13, 2017 at 11:45 AM | Eventbrite

Source: TX-25 Congressional District Town Hall Tickets, Sat, May 13, 2017 at 11:45 AM | Eventbrite


Did you know that 45% of Congressman Roger Williams voters live in Travis County?

Austin constituents from Texas Congressional District 25 are hosting a town hall meeting for Congressman Roger Williams in the King-Seabrook Chapel at Huston-Tillotson University on May 13 from 12:00 p.m. (noon) to 2:00 p.m. Doors open at 11:45 am.

If you are a constituent of District 25 and have a personal story that you wish to share regarding fair chance hiring, immigration reform, education, gerrymandering, consumer protection, criminal justice reform or any other political issue, please contact us using this form:

You can check to see if you’re a constituent of Congressional District TX-25 here:

We will have a moderator and non-partisan policy experts lined up to answer your most pressing questions if Congressman Williams chooses not to attend.

Make your voice heard!

The False Claim of ‘Sanctuary Cities’

Photo credit:

There are 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants in the US. Regardless of anyone’s stance on it, the fact is, we let this happen. In Nebraska during the 90s they launched a pilot program targeting employers. It was so effective that the same officials who had called for the crackdown started complaining to Mark Reed, the INS official responsible for the program, that it was slowing down the slaughterhouse lines and affecting the state’s economy. He was also ‘told that the enforcement actions were “pulling the fabric of their community apart.”’1 His comment on our current situation is that, “If you take hypocrisy and then put in a good dose of unintended consequences, you can see why we are in such a mess.”2 And that policing the border is a priority because of the optics of lights, fences, and border patrols agents with guns, but that “Employer sanctions are the real wall.”3 The takeaway is that conservatives claim that they want to fix immigration but can’t live with the implications.

So that’s how we got here, now let’s look at the implications for Austin.

The term ‘Sanctuary City’ is a misnomer. It originated in the 80s when churches in Arizona started providing food, shelter, legal advice and other assistance to people fleeing violence in Central America. Members of the Sanctuary Movement actually did act in violation of federal law and many were charged and put on trial. This is completely different than what is happening in Austin and other places falsely being labelled as ‘Sanctuaries’.

SB4 in the Texas State Senate seeks to require law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in Texas to assist and participate in the prolonged detention, investigation and determination of the legal status of immigrants who come into their custody.

  1. Public Safety – Cooperation agreements between ICE and law enforcement agencies have existed for many years. Nevertheless, the agreements are not mandatory, and different law enforcement agencies have been able to choose their level of involvement with ICE officials. Many LEAs throughout the U.S. have chosen to have minimal cooperation with ICE. Though there are several reasons often cited by the LEAs for the choice to provide minimal cooperation, one very common reason is the fact that the LEA’s cooperation with ICE actually damages the ability of the LEA to properly investigate and prosecute crime. In areas with high populations of immigrants, trust between the immigrant community and the LEA is crucial to the ability of the LEA’s fundamental task of protecting and serving the community as a whole. If the immigrant community is aware that the LEA readily cooperates with ICE, or is legally required to assist ICE in its efforts to apprehend deportable persons (a la SB4), members of that community will be fearful of cooperating with the LEA. When members of the community fear having contact with the police, the policy impedes the LEA’s ability to solve local crimes because the effectiveness of that job relies on information from witnesses and statements from victims and other members of the community.
  2. Resources and training of the law enforcement agencies – Local police agencies have an extremely difficult job as it is, and they are often underfunded. Many LEAs do not support cooperation with ICE because it adds another level of investigatory requirement to their already strained workloads and budgets. In order for local officers to properly and lawfully act in a role as an immigration enforcer, the officers would need extensive training in federal and immigration law and would have to increase work hours to comply with the new requirements.
  3. Federal preemption – Under a constitutional principle called federal preemption, state and local authorities are generally not allowed to enforce federal law, particularly when an enforcement procedure is already in place. This is a long-standing principle that has been addressed by several federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. The policy is also reasonable on a practical level because federal authorities are usually in the best position to enforce federal law. Specialization and extensive training is often required to carry out this enforcement due to the complicated nature of the laws being enforced. Also, federal preemption precludes states from enacting their own laws related to federal matters so that overlapping jurisdictions do not end up with conflicting laws on the same matter. Generally, if that happens, the federal law will supersede the state law and the state law will be invalid.4

A doctrine of federalism, “known as the “anti-commandeering principle,”5 says that the federal government can’t require state officials to enforce federal law. Its leading formulation was written by the late Justice Antonin Scalia in the 1997 case of Printz v. U.S.

The Printz decision struck down provisions of the Brady Act that required state and local law enforcement officials to do background checks of firearm purchasers. Scalia reasoned that the federal system separates state officials from the executive chain of command that covers federal employees. And he concluded that the constitutional system of federalism bars Congress from pressing state officials into service to execute federal laws.”6


2) Ibid.

3) Ibid. 



6) Ibid. 

ACA Candlelight Vigil

ACA Candlelight Vigil

ACA Candlelight Vigil

MAR 22nd

ACA Candlelight Vigil

Let’s gather together in solidarity with dozens of other Indivisible groups across the state on Wednesday evening at dusk for a candle light vigil outside of Lakeway’s Baylor Scott & White regional hospital in support of saving the Affordable Care Act.

Bring a candle- we will have some extras…We will provide the light!

This is a do-or-die moment for the ACA. Exactly seven years to the day of the Affordable Care Act becoming law, the House of Representatives will be voting to repeal it and replace it with TrumpCare—a plan that would lead to 24 million Americans losing their health care.

Republicans are rushing to get this bill through before the upcoming April recess, ignoring the normal legislative process. They are attempting to ram through a TrumpCare bill that will cut coverage for millions and raise premiums for millions more. Their proposal simultaneously guts Medicaid and gives a $600 billion tax break to the wealthy and corporations.

Millions of lives hang in the balance. The House vote, currently scheduled for Thursday, is the first step towards enactment of this devastating TrumpCare bill. Our MoC, Roger Williams, has indicated that he will vote in favor of this bill. His vote could mean the difference between life or death for thousands each year. You need to demonstrate your resolve.

Let’s join together on Wednesday night to show Rep. Williams that we do not condone stripping healthcare from millions of Americans.

Join us for an epic ACLU of Texas fundraiser on 3/25

TX25 Resistance fighters! Join us for an epic ACLU of Texas fundraiser on 3/25. A $20 donation gets you a ticket to a night of free beer + cocktails, bites, live music, activism and good people gathering to support a great cause. 100% of proceeds support the fight for human rights throughout TX.

Please share, grab a friend + join us! Tix here:

Those Texas Women

SXSW is just ramping up, but we’re already excited for the after-party.

100% goes to the ACLU of TX
See More

SXSW is just ramping up, but we’re already excited for the after-party.

Tickets here:

Prepaid Card Regulation Rollback

This is constituent Howard Porter’s response:

Roger Williams’ Latest: Doing the Dirty Work for payday prepaid cards

Congress wants to block the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s prepaid card rule, and in the House this effort is being lead by Congressman Roger Williams (R-TX25)

The prepaid card rule, issued by the CFPB in October, protects consumers who use prepaid cards to make purchases and manage their money. The rule enhances rights in case of loss, theft, and unauthorized charges – protections already given to Debit Card Holder. And, the rule takes steps towards making sure prepaid cards remain prepaid, rather than a vehicle for high cost credit products or hidden fees.

Any rollback of the protections in the final rules will disproportionately affect low-income and younger consumers, two groups that use prepaid cards in higher number

In Texas, 10.2% of households used prepaid cards in 2015, according to the FDIC, higher than the national average.

The biggest beneficiary of stopping this rule? NetSpend! They charge some $80 million a year in overdraft fees on payday lender prepaid cards. Senators from NetSpend’s home state filed the resolution in the Senate and they’ve gotten Representative Williams to do their bidding in the House.

Rep. Williams has filed a resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) and recruited 34 cosponsors. CRA resolutions allow congress to undo recent rules and protections. The CRA has special provisions to expedite a vote and prevent a filibuster, so if it moves forward it will be a big fight.

A successful use of the CRA now would not only hurt those who use prepaid cards, but would erode the young CFPB’s authority, despite its tremendous success at returning nearly $12 billion to 29 million consumers across the nation.

Post to Facebook or Tweet: (find their twitter handles here)

Let @CFPB do its job: prepaid cards should be prepaid #DefendCFPB #RulesAtRisk [ADD TWITTER HANDLES]

Don’t let @Netspend scam customers by blocking @CFPB’s prepaid rule #DefendCFPB [ADD TWITTER HANDLES]
Don’t use the CRA to let prepaid card buyers get scammed #DefendCFPB #RulesAtRisk [ADD TWITTER HANDLES]

Roger Williams Top 20 Contributors, 2015-2016

Roger Williams Top 20 Contributors, 2015-2016

Re-posted from the Center for Responsive Politics

Representative Roger Williams has reported a total of 896 contributions ($200 or more) totaling $1,080,752 in the current cycle. Search

Top 20 Contributors to Campaign Cmte

*registrants, or active lobbying firm

This table lists the top donors to this candidate in the 2015-2016 election cycle. The organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organizations’ PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

Why (and How) We Use Donors’ Employer/Occupation Information


NOTE: All the numbers on this page are for the 2015-2016 election cycle and based on Federal Election Commission data available electronically on Wednesday, February 01, 2017. (“Help! The numbers don’t add up…”)

Feel free to distribute or cite this material, but please credit the Center for Responsive Politics. For permission to reprint for commercial uses, such as textbooks, contact the Center.

District office visit – Indivisible Advice

Roger Williams Office Visit

From our friends in TX25 Indivisible EAST Austin

The first section of this document is a cut-and-paste from the Indivisible Guide, followed by some Austin-specific information from folks who have visited his office before.

District office visit – Indivisible Advice


Every MoC has at least one district office, and many MoCs have several spread through their district or state. These are public offices, open for anybody to visit — you don’t need an appointment. You can take advantage of this to stage an impromptu town hall meeting by showing up with a small group. It is much harder for district or DC staff to turn away a group than a single constituent, even without an appointment.


  • Find out where your MoCs’ local offices are. The official webpage for your MoC will list the address of every local office. You can find those webpages easily through a simple Google search. In most cases, the URL for a House member will be www.[lastname], and the URL for Senate offices is www.[lastname] Roger Williams Austin office address is on private property at 1005 Congress Avenue, Suite 925, Austin TX 78701.
  • Plan a trip when the MoC is there. Most MoC district offices are open only during regular business hours, 9am-5pm. While MoCs spend a fair amount of time in Washington, they are often “in district” on Mondays and Fridays, and there are weeks designated for MoCs to work in district. The MoC is most likely to be at the “main” office — the office in the largest city in the district, and where the MoC’s district director works. Ideally, plan a time when you and several other people can show up together. Roger Williams office is open 9:00 – 5:30 on weekdays. The office is small and they have access to an additional  conference room, as needed.
  • Prepare several questions ahead of time. As with the town halls, you should prepare a list of questions ahead of time.
  • Politely, but firmly, ask to meet with the MoC directly. Staff will ask you to leave or at best “offer to take down your concerns.” Don’t settle for that. You want to speak with the MoC directly. If they are not in, ask when they will next be in. If the staffer doesn’t know, tell them you will wait until they find out. Sit politely in the lobby. Note, on any given weekend, the MoC may or may not actually come to that district office.
  • Note that office sit-ins can backfire, so be very thoughtful about the optics of your visit. This tactic works best when you are protesting an issue that directly affects you and/or members of your group (e.g., seniors and caregivers on Medicare cuts, or Muslims and allies protesting a Muslim registry). Being polite and respectful throughout is critical.
  • Meet with the staffer. Even if you are able to get a one-off meeting with the MoC, you are most often going to be meeting with their staff. In district, the best person to meet with is the district director, or the head of the local district office you’re visiting. There are real advantages to building a relationship with these staff. In some cases, they may be more open to progressive ideas than the MoC, and having a good meeting with/building a relationship with a supportive staff member can be a good way to move your issue up the chain of command. Follow these steps for a good staff meeting:
  • Have a specific “ask” — e.g., vote against X, cosponsor Y, publicly state Z, etc.
  • Leave staff with a brief write-up of your issue, with your ask clearly stated.
  • Share a personal story of how you or someone in your group is personally impacted by the specific issue (health care, immigration, Medicare, etc.).
  • Be polite — yelling at the underpaid, overworked staffer won’t help your cause.
  • Be persistent — get their business card and call/email them regularly; ask if the MoC has taken action on the issue.
  • Advertise what you’re doing. Communicate on social media, and tell the local reporters you follow what is happening. Take and send pictures and videos with your group: “At Congresswoman Sara’s office with 10 other constituents to talk to her about privatizing Medicare. She refuses to meet with us and staff won’t tell us when she will come out. We’re waiting.”

A little extra general advice


Highlights from this Barney Frank article

  • Make sure you’re registered to vote – lawmakers check (who knew?)
  • Know where your representative stands on the issues that matter to you. “If you have contact with an organization that is working on this issue, try to learn if the recipient of your opinion has taken a position on it. When I received letters from people urging me to vote for a bill of which I was the prominent main sponsor, I was skeptical that the writer would be watching how I voted.”
  • Communicate – even if you and your legislator disagree. “Legislators do not simply vote yes or no on every issue. If enough people in a legislator’s voting constituency express strong opposition to a measure to which that legislator is ideologically or politically committed, it might lead him or her to ask the relevant leadership not to bring the bill up. Conflict avoidance is a cherished goal of many elected officials.”
  • Say “thank you.” (That is good advice for life in general. 🙂

Austin-specific intel

The office is right in front of the Capitol, so you can easily go by before/after any Txlege visits. Capitol garage parking is free for first two hours.

Before you head downtown…

  • Plan your specific “ask” ahead of time
  • Write it down
  • Leave it with the staffer

Before going to the office…

  • Huddle with your group at the Starbucks at 10th & Congress
  • Lay out your game plan
  • List the topics you will address as a group-keep it simple-prioritize!
  • The staffers love stories! Stories humanize issues, and nobody can argue with somebody’s story.
  • Take a picture of your group beforehand. Pics or it didn’t happen! 😉

Entering the building

  • There may be a security guard at the desk-mostly to handle large groups
  • Just go right to the elevators. Small groups, won’t have any problems
  • Large groups should encourage a staffer to come down instead of splitting up
  • Ninth floor, please!
  • They may be remodeling the office-expect a mess. They have access to an additional conference room if they decide they need it.
  • When you enter, they may invite you to sign their guestbook.

The staffers

  • John (last name unknown) and Aaron (last name unknown).
  • John does most/all of the talking. Aaron is the younger, quieter one.
  • John travels 70% of the time-often to DC
  • Aaron travels the districtr 50% of the time (but he’s never been to DC)
  • Hanna, the scheduler in the DC office, may have shared your name John and Aaron  


Things John will say, over and over:

  • ‘We’re here to listen.”
  • “I can’t speak for the congressman.”
  • “Asked and answered.” (He’ll say this when he’s tired of your questions.)
  • “The Congressman won the last election.” So what? His job is to listen to all of his constituents, not just the ones he agrees with. Your visit to the office is a four-alarm fire for them! They should be nervous, not you. Don’t let John bully you.
  • Aaron will be taking notes
  • Ask him to write down anything that you feel is especially important. Be sure they get the information straight.
  • Sometimes offices allow attendees to film/take photos. If not, ask why. Write down/remember any answers you’re given.

While you’re there…

  • Be respectful. BUT…
  • Persist until your question is answered
  • Ask for an official response from Williams
  • Tell them what YOU think and what you expect the congressman to do on your behalf
  • Be clear that this is important to the group and that you’re not going away


If you have questions, ask them — just be know that staff may deflect. Don’t let this throw you. They may just not know the answer and may not want to broadcast that. Remember, ask for an official response if they can’t answer your question. Write down any answers you’re given.


Be sure to leave behind your talking points, a postcard, a letter, an annotated picture

Be sure each person takes a business card. We may have met there together, but we are each an individual and we expect individual answers to our concerns.

After the meeting

If Aaron asks to photograph your group. You can decline or agree if YOU can take pictures as well. Get a business card from any staff you meet.


Consider filming a short video after the meeting; debrief.  Send videos to and post to social media, if appropriate.



You just participated in democracy!!! Wahoo!!!! Treat yourself, you deserve it! And thanks. 🙂


Weekly Indivisible Action Email (2/27)



LOST! Representative Roger Williams

Re-posted from Vimeo. Watch the video here.

LOST! Representative Roger Williams

US Representative (TX 25) Roger Williams appears to be lost. He has not shown up for Town Hall meetings and his office has been closed during recess. The women in this video ask you to join us in defending Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act by phoning your Congress persons today — Rep. Roger Williams, 202-225-9896, Senator John Cornyn, 202-224-2934, Senator Ted Cruz, 202-224-5922. Also, let us know of great candidates as we emerge for 2018. Thank you! Love and peace with justice, equity and diversity on top.