While all indications are that Texas will remain a red state in the upcoming Nov. 8 election, hopes are high that Democrats will be able to make some inroads in key districts in the state legislature. One of the likeliest districts to flip is House District 105, where Democrat Terry Meza is challenging incumbent Rodney Anderson.
Meza is not exactly a newcomer to the race. She vied for the position two years ago, and faced stiff competition in the primary, including a runoff, before heading into the General Election where she was unsuccessful at claiming the seat in Austin.
House District 105 straddles Irving and Grand Prairie with a few slivers of Dallas thrown in. Anderson is well-entrenched in the district, out-raising Meza three-to-one in campaign funds. But Meza has been becoming better known in the last two years and has attracted some key endorsements she has not had in the past. Adding to that the minority vote which some expect will only increase with the rhetoric being thrown around on the national stage, and an upset is not outside the realm of possibility.
Two key areas where Meza could gain ground on Anderson this time around are with working-class families and women.
Meza is targeting the “payday loan” industry, which she refers to as “predatory lending.” It was one of her key areas when responding to questions on why she is seeking the office. This is an area of particular interest to those working in low-wage jobs that often find themselves stuck in a never-ending cycle that begins with coming up “just short” of making bills in one tough month that ends up stretching out endlessly.
“Payday lending is a debt trap,” Meza said in response to inquiries from the Dallas Morning News. “In the absence of action by the Legislature, municipalities have had to enact local ordinances to regulate the predatory operations of payday lenders who prey on low-income families and on our military. The best rules are included in the Texas Municipal League’s Model Ordinance which has been enacted by dozens of local city councils throughout Texas. My opponent voted against a bill requiring payday lenders to comply with federal debt collection laws and protections regarding military borrowers. He sees their practices as “providing a needed service.” He has not worked in the best interests of our residents in Grand Prairie and Irving.”
In their endorsement of Meza, Annie’s List, which advocates for women’s issues in politics, chastised Anderson for supporting the payday loan industry along with other Republicans in Austin as well as a host of other issues.
“In contrast, Terry’s Tea Party opponent has focused on fringe issues: he’s sided with predatory lenders, he voted against expanding healthcare, he voted to slash education funding resulting in 10,000 teachers losing their jobs, and he even voted down equal pay and funding to care for rape victims,” said Patsy Woods Martin, executive director of Annie’s List. “Who does that?”
Annie’s List is not alone in endorsing the Democrat to unseat Anderson in the General Election. The Texas State Teachers Association, the Texas Organizing Project, the National Association of Social Workers, the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans Educational Fund, Texas Democratic Women, the Texas Latina List, the Texas AFL-CIO, the Texas State Employees Union/Communications Workers of America as well as a growing list of elected officials at the state and local level have all given their support to the challenger.
While this will be a tough struggle going into the final stretch of the election, and 2016 has been a divisive and abrasive season politically, Meza emphasizes that one of her highest hopes is being able to work across the aisle, and help to unite one of the most diverse districts in the country. “Building bridges to all communities instead of pitting one group against another,” is the first priority on the platform Meza intends to bring to Austin.