LEGISLATIVE DAY 2005
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This report can be read at www.tmra2.org
The Day itself has come and gone but the memories will live for a long time Hopefully for those who were in attendance for the first time it will kindle a fire that will get them involved for the long haul. A close guess would place the number of 1st timers at about 40% of the total. The total participation was nearly double last session. You can all be proud to have been a part of it.. Bikers across Texas should be thankful for what you accomplished this Day.
Our weekend started with a few riders who stopped by the office on Saturday evening. We were doing an interview with the crew from Chromed Out Magazine concerning the association and the agenda for Sunday and Monday. They shall be working with us throughout the year to inform riders what is really happening in Austin and around Texas that will affect them. We look forward to the alliance with them. After the interview about a dozen of us went to the Krazy Horse down on Main Street for dinner. Prior to leaving we received a call from Dad who had just ridden into town and he met us at the restaurant. Walked in and found Casey Bolt and another rider already there. Everyone headed for Austin and My wife and I went back to the office.
Left the office and headed for Beverly's at 10:00am Sunday morning for the party hosted by the State Office of Texas COC. Despite the cold weather riders were already showing up and preparations were underway for a good time. We dropped off position papers and sign in books then headed to the Travelodge to set up a temporary office for the day. We had applications, member patches for new members, Rockers for renewals and thanks to Elmer McKeegan we had plenty of T-shirts on hand for sale. The office was busy immediately with people picking up position papers, joining, renewing and just generally having a great time.
Left there and went back to Beverly's in time to address the issues and explain the agenda for the following day at the capitol. Boy was it packed and the food smelled great. News media were coming out of the woodwork. Did a few quick interviews, said what needed to be said and then Bandido Jimmy addressed the gathering. We rushed back to the Travelodge to get ready to do the same thing there. The office was still filled and riders were everywhere. Our state secretary was getting broken in right but with Dee and a few others assisting she was a quick learner. Thanks to all the members who took part in getting the job done in the office. It was appreciated.
As we gathered around the pool to discuss issues and give instructions for the next day we received a beautiful blanket from Cowboy and Pam to auction off as a donation from the 1st Brazoria Chapter. They stood proudly lined along the upper rail of the balcony behind their Chapter Banner. We started off by presenting the SPUTNIK AWARD TO THE Big Country Chapter for having been the most active chapter for last year. We then announced the winner of the ANGEL WARRIOR AWARD and Mike gave it up to Del Essary of district 28 as the most supportive Advisor of last year.
We handed out the Staff Armbands and then Robert Fletcher of ABATE Confederation of Texas spoke. He asked everyone to come back to the capitol again on March 21st from 7-10:00am for Breakfast With The Bikers. This event is hosted by ABATE as a follow up for Legislative Day. They reserve a section of the cafeteria, put out plenty of snacks and drinks and invite the legislators to join the Bikers for a free breakfast and some informal talks. This was a great event last session and will be even better this year. He asked that everyone pick a third day of their choosing to come back to the capitol to make the rounds and be seen. Robert then issued a Legislative Challenge on behalf of Texas ABATE. The contestants will be given points for letters to and responses from legislators and for cards picked up during visits to state and federal legislators' offices. Points will also be received for attending ABATE chapter meetings and state functions. More points can be acquired for volunteering to work at functions. The top point getter for the year will receive
$ 1,000. Now that is a prize worth working for.
Gary, the TMRA state Chair presented the Share the Road booklets they had prepared to be handed out next day and then we auctioned the blanket which brought a $200 bid from Gary. Thanks to him and 1st Brazoria. Sputnik gave a man a Mohawk who wished to show his solidarity with Sputnik and then we all had a good time. Janet (Her Highness) shared a room with us and even after the crowd played out sleep did not come easy. Laid down at about 1:00am and by 4:00am was having coffee, waiting for time to head for the battleground. Finally bounced Gwen & Janet out of bed and made what has become a routine trip for yours truly. Of course they were still tired and Gwen remarked "There must have been a thousand bikers passed through our room last night."
Unlike routine days the old fire was raging again as we looked forward to the vision of so many of our brothers and sisters walking down these hallowed halls. We were greeted in the cafeteria by Staff members eager to receive the day's assignments. Then the steady flow of leather clad constituents began to swarm into the Rotunda and the invasion had begun. Gimme Jimmy had scheduled a ride in from Beverly's for 8:30 am and a few hundred Patch Holders followed him straight up Congress to the Capitol where Da'Lady led them on a rumbling ride around the capitol before they pulled into the reserved parking and dismounted. Sputnik was there to meet them and we walked to the South door enmasse followed by the media. We stopped on the capitol steps for a photo-op by the House photographer and then as we moved for the door said "They know we are here, now let's go tell them what for." And tell them we did.
Da'Lady went on the Floor and presented the Legislative Warriors to the House with HR 62 as she wore here leathers and proudly announced her position as a rider and member of TMRA ll. Roughly 5000 riders filed through the halls on this day, nearly 40% for the first time. We are confident it won't be their last. Were we successful? You bet. Getting that many riders, well versed on the issues and ready to share our views was noted with respect by the legislators and awe by bystanders who had never expected such a sight in their capitol. Three days of constant news coverage by television, print and on the radio helped our case tremendously.
Thanks to all who took part in this show of solidarity. To the many Staff members who spent their day helping others, to those who made an appearance and conducted yourselves so grandly. All too many to name but special thanks to just a few. Thanks to Mike Alvey for filling the position in the Rotunda normally held by Sputnik. To Da'Lady for the media Blasts and arrangements at the capitol, the cake in her office and her staff who did themselves proud serving the bikers. A very special thanks to Gimmee Jimmy for all the advance preparation in bringing the 8 Regional Texas Confederations of Clubs on board. I can confidently say that no other state can bring so many Patch Holders together in their capitol at one time.
Special thanks to Robert Fletcher who stayed in constant touch to assure support from ABATE Confederation of Texas. These three groups working together are what made this event so grand. It was an honor to work so closely with these groups to make Legislative Day a day to remember. And thanks to Elmer for taking the time and trouble to bring down the shirts and deliver a scooter to the office for me to take to my brother.
Tuesday morning and the sight and sounds of the riders has left a vacuum in the capitol halls except for the shouts from across the halls and the words from those who stop to congratulate your chair on the large showing and the exceptional conduct and knowledge of those who had made the trip to Austin. We visited only twenty offices on this day due to time limitations. Only 12 were present as we made those rounds. We received 11 yeses and one no vote on HB 264. The no came from Rep. Myra Crownover who wasn't interested in facts she says she would vote to put the helmets back on our heads. You made those votes possible with your appearance on Monday. We will get down to serious business next Monday. Expect a request for letters in the near future. We shall keep a running report going throughout the months ahead.
We shall be making a DVD next week.
Congratulations folks, you did yourself proud.
State Chair - TMRA ll