The Wave Of Roses: Exclusive Interview With Adrienne Bell
The Wave Of Roses is a Citizens Truth series which highlights progressive candidates and organizations which challenge corporate Third Way control of the Democratic Party. This entry looks at key United States House of Representatives races for the reignited movement in the United States.
Adrienne Bell is running against Republican incumbent Randy Weber in the 14th United States House District of Texas. In progressive circles, Adrienne earned the nickname ‘Liberty Bell’ due to her Social Democratic platform and impressive primary performance, “…We did reach out to him requesting a debate. I visited his office, sent e-mails, sent certified letters…and we haven’t heard anything from him,” said Adrienne when asked if she felt her near sixty point primary victory grabbed Congressman Weber’s attention.
“We [Adrienne Bell campaign] are going after our base, we have a large population of non-voters, and we have a large population of newly registered voters,” she mentioned when asked about her strategy in winning in what has been a solidly Republican district. “When you look at Texas as a whole, we are not so extremely conservative — there is a lot of progressivism that has always gone on in Texas; especially among the people…So it’s about getting a balance of what we have in the state and what you see from afar, it’s just about turning out the voters,” she continued.
Adrienne commented on how a grassroots campaign can increase low voter turnout numbers in Texas mid-terms. Throughout of the 2018 primary cycle, there was an increase in turnout from previous midterm elections, providing a possible insight as to what could occur in November. Beto O’Rourke’s progressive Senate campaign against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz could help turn out the vote in the Texas 14th, providing a boost for the Bell campaign.
“…I am a progressive candidate, and I’m not changing the issues that we’ve been talking about: Medicare for all, criminal justice reform, attention to our veterans, taking care of our seniors — those issues won’t change for me. So to be endorsed by President Obama for me was his belief that this district could flip when there is no attention being paid by the establishment of our district, but then President Obama can recognize the greatness that can happen in Texas 14 and he endorses it. I was pleasantly pleased.” Adrienne stated when asked about the endorsement she received from President Barack Obama.
Adrienne spoke on the need to decrease veteran homelessness and suicides, especially with the veteran community not receiving the attention they need. From her time on the campaign, veterans have also spoken to her about the need for increased medical services, veteran group sessions, and better housing after the catastrophic damage from hurricane Harvey.
She gave credit to Justice Democrats for helping to increase her popularity with younger voters, while referencing the groundwork Brand New Congress provided when asked how the two organizations have aided her campaign.
“…That is not at all true,” she responded when asked if the national stereotype stating Texans are not receptive to Medicare for all was true, “I haven’t run across any Texans who were against Medicare for all,” detailing that those within her district want changes to the healthcare system. A sentiment supported by recent polling data.
“Medicare for all could also be a component in reducing gun violence, once we can get everyone with healthcare — access to mental health services, it goes into other programs we need in order to help the people,” she continued when speaking on why there is a need for Universal Healthcare in the United States. On gun reform, Adrienne said, “That is one of the most sensitive issues I find in the district.” She went on to explain the importance of speaking about the issue in terms of school safety and not limiting the rights of gun owners.
“As a teacher, I feel that is one of the most ludicrous ideas I’ve ever heard,” Adrienne responded when asked about the idea of some Texas legislators to arm teachers with firearms following the Santa Fe school shooting. “You would have to look at your students, your kids as someone you’d have to shoot, and that’s a different mindset,” she described.
Adrienne was working on her Doctorate of Education and taught for approximately five years before going on political leave. “Student loan debt is crushing. I believe we penalize the very people who are trying to better their lives through education,” she commented while expressing her support for a college for all program similar to the one proposed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.