WAXAHACHIE — The Ellis County Democratic Party hosted a luncheon on Friday with close to 100 persons in attendance — among those was Texas Democratic Chair and former Cameron County judge, Gilberto Hinojosa.

“It was comforting to see the fresh enthusiasm of the local Democratic support, which has not been witnessed for quite some time,” said Jerome Begnaud of the event, which took place at the Ellis County Democratic headquarters. “I have not seen so much blue since we moved from Houston and Harris County.”

“I’ve never been so motivated to get the Democratic message to people in Ellis County and help them understand what we’re about,” said Lynda Begnaud.

In serving as the keynote speaker, Hinojosa was part of a statewide initiative where party leaders respond to Democrats in rural Texas.

“I am really happy that they came to a smaller county. I think it provides a lot of encouragement to the people here,” said Waxahachie City Councilmember Mary Lou Shipley.

Phyllis Duggan added, “It was an honor to hear Hinojosa’s inspirational talk today. I feel much more hopeful about the future of Ellis County – and the well-being of all our citizens – and our state."

Several in attendance at the luncheon had also traveled to Austin last month to hear Hinojosa address the Texas Democratic Women’s Convention.

“It was good to hear him speak again, this time delivering a speech on how we can work locally and address important issues in our community and statewide,” said Leslie Kelley, a member of the Ellis County Young Democrats.

Democratic candidates present for the luncheon included Mike Collier for Lieutenant Governor; Kim Olson for Commissioner of Agriculture and Marvin Sutton for Arlington City Council. Also in attendance were candidates running for U.S. Congress, District 6 — John Duncan, Jana Lynne Sanchez, and Ruby Faye Woolridge.

“I am delighted to come to Waxahachie. I’ve been traveling the entire state, particularly rural and non-urban areas, carrying a vital message which is that our state’s current top political leaders can no longer be trusted with the Texas miracle,” said Mike Collier, candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 2018. “Over the next 18 months, I will be discussing why, in recent years, we’ve wandered in the wrong direction in terms of job creation, public education, transportation, infrastructure, and tax policy and how that works hard against the interests of Texas families and small businesses. That is why I am running against Dan Patrick."

A Houston resident, Collier is a CPA with 33 years of experience as a business leader.

“It was great to see so many Democratic officials and candidates here, talking about the issues that really matter to Ellis County residents: a healthy economy, jobs, public education, and affordable healthcare. It’s awesome to be a part of the solution for the biggest issues facing our community,” said Jana Lynne Sanchez, candidate for U.S. Congress.

National, state and local officials in attendance included Democratic National Committeewoman Betty Richie, State Democratic Committeewoman for Senate District 22 Tammie Hartgroves, State Non-Urban/Ag Caucus members Joann Jenkins and Bill Brannon, Ellis County Democratic Chair Nancy Cannaday, and Waxahachie city council members Mary Lou Shipley and Chuck Beatty.

“We had great attendance today,” said Ellis County Democratic Chair Nancy Cannaday. “Chair Hinojosa was fantastic. Democrats were united and enjoyed the meeting."

Texas Democratic Women of Ellis County President Kathy Kinkaid added, “Such a tremendous gathering is a wonderful sign of the growing enthusiasm and confidence of Democrats in Ellis County. It’s an inspiration to those of us who have felt invisible. Today we are reminded that kitchen table issues are those shared by all our families. I look forward to more gatherings, more Democratic city officials, and more empowered conversations.

“Thank you to Gilberto Hinojosa, Texas candidates, guests, and all those who quietly planned, set up, cooked, and cleaned. This was thrilling."

Ellis County Democrat Headquarters is located at 215 E. Main St., Waxahachie. For information on Texas Democrat Women, Young Democrats, Democrat Men’s Coffee, or 4th Friday Movies, go to www.elliscountydemocrats.org