Episode 107 with True Texas

It’s hard to believe that 12 years ago the tea party started. And it started as a grassroots organizations with just moms and dads and grassroots activists, many of whom had not really been involved in politics before then. Well, now here we are 12 years later and these leaders have come up. And I am excited to be joined with True Texas, which started off as the Tarrant County or Tarrant Area Tea Parties Coalition and it’s now around the state. I have the President, Fran Rhodes, and CEO, Julie McCarty. Fran and Julie, welcome to the show. Thanks for being on The Elephant Heard.


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Jonathan Schober:
Give us a little bit of the history and what you guys are doing.

Fran Rhodes:
Well, history-wise like you said, we started out as a tea party group in Northeast Tarrant County back in 2009. As time went by, we had a lot of successes growing our group and getting some really great people elected to the Texas legislature. Along about 2019 on our 10th anniversary, we kind of looked back and decided it was kind of time to take ourselves into the next generation of grassroots activism, so we changed our name. We are True Texas Project. We are no longer isolated to Northeast Tarrant County because we had already grown to be somewhat of a statewide recognized group. And we changed our mission a little bit to educate and motivate citizens to engage in government at every single level. So, that’s mostly what we do. We don’t spend a lot of time and effort trying to get good people elected anymore. We’ve spent a lot of time and effort holding them accountable and teaching every one of our followers to do that.

Jonathan Schober:
Excellent. So, we’ve got the legislative session going on right now. Julie, why don’t you give us a little bit of an update of what the priorities have been for this session and how you guys have kind of been working at the Capitol to really make sure that our elected officials that ran as Republicans are actually doing what they said they’d do? Give us a little update.

Julie McCarty:
Sure. And honestly, I’m so glad we have Fran on because Fran runs our legislative efforts for True Texas Project. But we have defined six different priorities for our organization, which fall right in line with the GOP priorities. And we’ve been tracking them all session. I think the neat thing about True Texas Project is that we have no interest in just building ourselves up. So, we have a coalition of people. All kinds of organizations that help us track every one of these priorities. Experts in each one of the areas that say, this is where we need to push today and this is where this bill is at.

And so, we join efforts with organizations all over the state, whether they’re other tea parties, or grassroots organizations, or one issue organizations like Texas Right to Life or whatever. And we put out the call. We train our activists. We teach them what to say or where to go or how to testify in hearings. And we show up, and we show up in big numbers. And we know that it works because we hear all the rumors from behind the scenes where the legislators are freaking out. Who’s True Texas Project? And, what are they doing here? And, how do we stop them?

Jonathan Schober:
I love it. Politics is all about who shows up. And so give us some thoughts as you’re training some of the activists, what are some practical things that you can provide to the people like me that are just out there trying to raise a family and keep a job, but want to make sure that we’re being engaged and doing our part? How can you help us with that kind of training? What can we do to be involved?

Fran Rhodes:
That’s one of the things that we do at True Texas project. Every legislative year, we offer a citizen advocate training program at the beginning of the year just to help people understand how do you do this thing in Austin. Where do you go? What do you do? What’s the process? We did it in 2017 and in 2019 and this year. The first two years we had about 25, 30 people show up, and we thought that was pretty good. This year, we did our first one in January. We had a room with a capacity of a hundred people. It sold out and we had a waiting list. So, we did it again in March. It’s sold out in two days and we had a waiting list. So, we did it again in February. So January, February, and March. We did it again in March.

It’s sold out with a waiting list. Now, we have done it for Parker County Conservatives over in Parker County. Last week, I did it for Wise County Conservatives. And we will be doing it in our Lubbock group in June. So we’re finding people are very hungry for this sort of knowledge because they’re mad and they’re fed up and they want to do something and they don’t know what to do, so we teach them. We teach them how to navigate the Capitol. If you know that your representatives in room, whatever, how do I get there? It’s a big, scary place.

Jonathan Schober:
I want to come back to the prayer, but I want to land on something that you said because this is something that I hear all the time. I used to work for the party and it was always like, “Hey, when are you guys going to get rid of all the RINOs, right?” It was always you guys. When is somebody else going to get rid of that person that runs, saying one thing, and then ends up not doing anything? And I finally just gotten almost kind of rude. I’m just like, “Look, I’m just going to be straight with you. If you’re waiting on some guy to get rid of this elected official, you’re looking to the wrong person. The only one that’s going to hold the elected officials accountable are you and me. It’s not going to be the state party. It’s not going to be this other organization.”

I’m not saying that to be critical. I’m saying that the power and the place to keep people accountable is you and me holding these elected officials accountable. And if you think they’re RINOs, then go out there in primarium and run against them. Run yourself, but whatever you do, don’t just wait on somebody else to get rid of the RINO that you don’t like. It’s you and I, men and women like you and me that are holding them accountable. And we have to do that. We have to do that during the legislative session. Maybe we can give a little bit of an update because I think that we’re here in the last 30 days of the session. And I think we’re already kind of seeing some rumors of, “Look at this great stuff that we got done.” What do you think? How do you think we’re going to end this session?

Julie McCarty:
I think it’s going to end just like every session has ended. And that’s with every legislator and the governor saying, “Wow, we’re so awesome. Look at everything we did.” And we’re already hearing them come out and say, “This is the most conservative session in the history of Texas and therefore [crosstalk 00:09:50]-

Jonathan Schober:
The last 48 hours. The most conservative 48 hours in history.

Julie McCarty:
Yeah. I just think what they could have done if they hadn’t taken off the first two months of session, or if they weren’t taking long weekends, or going… I mean, they went home early just like two days ago. So, how much could they have done if they had really put in the effort that we hire them to put in?

Jonathan Schober:
Yeah, exactly. I think when the results are done, we’re going to look at all the bills and we’re going to see, did they actually do what they said they were going to do? Or, is it just a lot of fluff in them and vigor and noise without a whole lot of substance? So, I hope that True Texas keeps them accountable.

Julie McCarty:
Yeah. It scares me because the sound bites are going to be very easy. Oh, we passed the heartbeat bill and we did this, that, and the other. And when you look at the details, the devil’s in the details. There’s a reason why that’s the same, because it’s not as great as they’re going to try to make it sound. And it’s unfortunate because we know that voters… Nobody wants to be fighting. Nobody wants to be in a battle. And so, if they get told what they want to hear, they’re like, “Oh, phew. Let’s just keep those Republicans in charge and we’re good, where everything’s all peachy keen.” And it’s not. And so, that’s why we keep hammering away.

Jonathan Schober:
Absolutely. Well, we’re going to take a quick break. But when we come back, I want to know what is it that keeps you guys up at night.

Pastor Vic Schober:
Promises. God’s promises. He makes them and he keeps them. I’m looking with you to Proverbs today. Hi, I’m Pastor Schober. I’m looking at the sixth chapter and the 22nd verse. It says, “When you go, the word of the Lord shall lead you. And when you sleep, it shall keep you. And when you awake, it shall talk with you.” In other words, the word of God is good for you when you go, and when you come, when you go to bed, when you wake up, when you’re sleeping, when you’re not. The word of God is something that feeds your mind, your soul, and your spirit. We’ve already said in a past program, it gives you a shield. It shields you. I’m so grateful for God’s word. Remember, God keeps his promises.

Jonathan Schober:
Once up again, we’re having a conversation with True Texas. Fran and Julie are really helping the grassroots activists stay engaged, stay involved, and hold our elected officials accountable. So Fran, I want to start off with you. What is it that keeps you up at night?

Fran Rhodes:
I do try to grab sleep where I can because we are so busy these days that we’re staying up late and getting up early just to do the work. But I guess the thing that keeps me up most is worrying about our children and the future of Texas. And I’m going to get emotional here because it’s important. So, much of this legislation that we are fighting for this session is so important. Saving unborn babies, stopping gender mutilation of minor children, election integrity, so that we can have some sort of faith in the fact that our vote will be counted accurately and truly. There are so many issues that have come to the front and then there’s the federal government doing what it’s doing that is just literally ruining our country between the border, and the economy, and the gas shortages, and the tax increases, and the spending.

We’ve gone to everything running smoothly to almost complete disaster in four short months of this administration. So I’m constantly thinking about, what more could I do? What other thing could I promote? What Facebook posts can I make that will get people fired up to do something? You mentioned before that people keep coming to the party and they come to us too saying, “What are you doing about X or Y or Z?” And chairman West is very good about this, putting it right back on and saying, “Well, what are you doing about it?” Because you are the Republican party. You are True Texas Project, whatever group you belong to. And Julie and I do a lot, but we cannot make things happen without the people. We need people showing up. We need people contacting legislators. And then, we need people to run for office and to help support those candidates in the primary in 2022. So the list is long and impressive of what keeps me up at night, but it basically boils down to the future for my children and my grandchildren.

Jonathan Schober:
Thank you for what you’re doing. Julie, what keeps you up at night?

Julie McCarty:
Well, honestly, I would echo a bunch of what Fran just said. And I’ll say that I literally am up all night because that’s when I do best work because there’s no interruptions. But I take kind of an opposite take from a lot of people I think because in my eyes… I hear all the time, “Oh, Jesus is coming back soon.” Or, “The world is ending.” Or, “It’s hopeless. There’s nothing we can do. And maybe I should just quit.” And my thought is, oh my goodness, what a privilege to be alive right here and now and get to be part of this great adventure. And I want to take as many people along as I can. I want to share that passion and get other people involved.

So when Fran says, yes, she’s up at night thinking of ideas how she can get people engaged. That’s exactly it. I have so many ideas in my head and there’s just not enough time in the day. And so, that’s why I’m awake because I want to get it all done. And I’m so passionate about getting more people involved, bringing more people in. And if we have to, I don’t know, I don’t want to say dumb things down, but make things more fun and engaging, then we will. We’re starting a softball team. And we’re going on a float trip tonight. We’re going camping. And we have a dinner club. And we do things to make things social and make them fun.

Jonathan Schober:
What you mean people might actually want to get together and have community and be conducted and live? What a crazy idea building a community around people that share values and living life together. What a great idea.

Julie McCarty:
I totally, I couldn’t agree more. The people that we meet in politics, we meet a lot of yucky, ugly, evil people. There’s no bones about it. They are evil people, very selfish. But at the same time, man, the grassroots activists, they’re the best people on the planet. I love them. I love hanging with them. I love hearing their ideas. Some of them are brilliant. And when we hang together, you’re right, it builds that community and it makes all this fun. It takes the yuck away and it’s fun, and it gives you hope, and it’s an adventure.

Jonathan Schober:
Great. Well, if someone wants to connect with True Texas Project, what’s the website? What’s the best way to get ahold of you guys?

Julie McCarty:
Sure. So, it’s www.truetexasproject.com. It’s very easy, truetexasproject.com. We’re on Facebook. We actually had to have two Facebook pages because of course they shut down one of them for advertising and creating events. So, we have True Texas Project and True Texas Project Events. I’m on there as Julie White McCarty. Fran is on there as Fran Waters Rhodes. We are on all the social media. You can follow us anywhere. We’re a little bit sassier on Twitter than we are Facebook, probably. And then of course, if you want to hear about us, you can always go to the mainstream media and see how they trashed us.

Jonathan Schober:
There’s the great. Find out who your detractors are, who are your enemies. They will know you by your enemies as they say.

Julie McCarty:
Yeah.

Jonathan Schober:
Well, thank you so much. Thanks for all that you’re doing. Thanks for what you’re doing to engage and empower the grassroots. It was an absolute pleasure. I look forward to hearing more from you guys as the session comes to a close, as we get back into election season and primary season. Thanks for all you guys are doing.

Julie McCarty:
Thanks for having us on.

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