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Victoria County Democrats support legalizing marijuana (Video)

By Sonny Long
April 21, 2012 at 10:01 p.m.
Updated April 21, 2012 at 11:22 p.m.

James Stewart, resolution chairman of the Victoria County Democratic convention, reads a resolution in favor of adding the legalization of marijuana to the Texas Democratic Party platform.

CANDIDATES SPEAK

The following candidates for office addressed the Victoria County Democratic convention Saturday.

LOCAL RACES

Sandra McKenzie, judge, 24th Judicial DistrictDanny Garcia, county commissioner, Pct. 1Gabriel Soliz, county commissioner, Pct. 1Richard Williams, constable, Pct. 1Jane Bernal, tax assessor/collector

Richard Castillo, justice of the peace, Pct. 1Emmett Alvarez, Victoria City Council, District 1Denise Rangel, Victoria City Council, District 1

STATE RACES

Alex Hernandez Jr., state representative District 30

FEDERAL RACES

Rose Meza Harrison, U.S. Representative District 27Jerry Trevino, U.S. Representative District 27

VICTORIA COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY DELEGATES TO STATE CONVENTION

The following people were elected as delegates to the state Democratic Party convention in June in Houston.

John Griffin, Lucinda Cano, Debbe Busby, Rosemary Smith, Russell Fowler, Ingrid Junor, Ron Reyna, Gabriel Soliz, Richard Williams, Gilbert Servin, Lummie Peterson, Jim Busby, Philip Guittard, Melissa Roth, Lanell Manley, Keisha Smith, Rachel Monday, Dennis Tardan, Brenda Peterson, Omar Rachid and Kelly Humpert. County party chair Kelli Gill will also represent Victoria County at the convention and was elected chair of the delegation.

Philip Guittard knows the importance of county party conventions.

The 73-year-old former precinct chairman has been attending the Victoria County Democratic Party conventions since 1986.

"This is the grass-roots," said Guittard, also a former Victoria city councilman. "The convention shows that the average person has some say so in what happens. It isn't just the big shots."

Forty-three Victoria County residents signed oaths of affiliation with the Democratic Party and took part in the convention Saturday at the Liberty Academy cafeteria, 1110 Sam Houston Drive.

Business conducted included the election of 21 delegates as well as alternates to the state convention in June.

The group also passed seven resolutions that will be presented for consideration in the state Democratic Party platform.

One of those resolutions, supporting the legalization of marijuana, evoked a lively discussion.

"I think it's insane personally," said Ron Reyna, who was elected as a delegate to the state convention.

Justice of the Peace Richard Castillo also questioned the resolution.

"From a law enforcement background, how are you going to control it when they are using it operating vehicles?" Castillo asked. "If we don't have guidelines, it should never be considered. We're opening ourselves up."

Dennis Tardan, also a delegate to the state convention, proposed an amendment to the resolution.

The amendment proposed giving the state of Texas the authority to regulate marijuana sales, age restrictions, consumption guidelines, growing and to tax with that tax to be used for education, drug prevention and drug treatment programs.

The resolution as amended then passed with several opposing votes.

Additional resolutions proposed included the topics of affordable healthcare, against voter identification requirements, a moratorium on the death penalty, supporting same-sex marriages and women's rights.

In addition to party business, a dozen candidates for political office each briefly addressed the convention.

Those candidates included two seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Congress in District 27, Rose Meza Harrison and Jerry Trevino.

Both briefly touched on highlights of their platforms and concluded their presentations asking for support.

"The Republicans say a woman's place is in the home," Harrison said. "I say a woman's place is in the House and in the Senate."

Trevino told convention goers, "I can assure you I am ready to take on this job and serve you well."

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