Everything is bigger in Texas, including the lies people tell. The reason Texas’ 31st district first caught my eye was that the current representative profited from the lie that launched the political career of Donald Trump: the lie that our first Black president was illegitimate because he is an “illegal alien.” When I met the person who is ready to retire John Carter online, she had a small grassroots campaign (she had about 250 Twitter followers). She didn’t have a high level produced video introduction. What she had was that intangible “authenticity.” Dr. Christine Mann now has a greater presence online, and is speaking to voters where they live in her district. Dr. Mann left her practice because she saw a need and wanted to meet it. With the debates ahead about health care, education and immigration, I have confidence that Dr. Mann is the candidate who is the most qualified to go to Washington and get the best deal for TX-31 and America. That’s why Majority60 has chosen to step out in a contested primary and endorse Dr. Christine Mann for Congress.
Texas is a state that Democrats and political observers are paying close attention to. The first primary vote on March 6th was an encouraging mix of new data for political junkies to digest, but the big headline was Democratic turnout increasing by 100% from 2014 (the last midterm primary). Christine is very aware of the uphill battle she faces in her effort to win a congressional seat as a Democrat in deep red Texas. The last two Dems who lost to Carter lost by more than 60,000 votes. It takes a strong spirit to face those odds with a smile, but Mann has her reasons.
“I decided to get in for a myriad of reasons,” she told me. “But I have 10,000 reasons for continuing the fight: the 10,000 people I have served in my practice.” Dr. Mann pushes ahead for them. “The mothers who have lost sons to gun violence. The veterans who have mental and physical scars from their service. The LGBTQ people who tell me about the discrimination they face. My practice has given me broad insight into most of the issues that we face. I carry their stories with me and will fight for all of my constituents the way I have fought for my patients. I will turn those numbers around by interacting with voters, meeting with them, knocking on doors, holding Town Halls (I’ve already had three, unlike my competitors) and showing them that they can have a representative in Congress who will hear them.”
It’s difficult to tell that Dr. Mann is facing an uphill battle. She has a gritty pragmatism complemented by a complete lack of cynicism. She believes that our US Representatives should be honest and forthright and they should communicate with their constituents. “Representative Carter is unwilling to engage with constituents in any meaningful ways,” she told me. “He has not held a public Town Hall in many years. He holds highly screened TeleTownhalls. A few months after the 2016 election, I organized a group of constituents to meet with his senior staff. After that meeting, his office refused to make any more appointments for me and the group that I was leading.” So she decided that maybe he needs to be replaced.
She has a track record of doing the extraordinary. Her daughter Taryn explained in an International Women’s Day tweet thread, “Whether it was showing me that women can make it in the once male-dominated field of medicine, that a single mother can attend medical school while raising a 5 year old (who was VERY difficult), or showing me that someone whose favorite hobby is sleeping can stay up 18 hours a day to fight against inequality, injustice, retrogression, and tyranny. She showed me that being a woman means being as strong as a man while taking harsher criticisms. My mom has never backed away from a challenge once she’s decided it’s the right thing.”
Frustrated with her experiences within the healthcare industry, Christine decided to become a doctor. “I originally wanted to be a doctor as a child, for no particular reason…then after my daughter was born when I was 21, I met Dr. Randall Hayes in FW. He was different. He came in the room and sat on the floor because my daughter and I were [using the only seats]. He stayed in the room and talked forever. I thought that if I could be a doctor like that, then I’d do it! And I did. I later did some of my training with him. I hope to be as great of a doctor and human being as he is.”
Having the voice of a doctor like Christine is critically important with the Republicans assaulting the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I asked Christine what she will do to impact the health care debate and what actions she will advocate for once elected. “The immediate steps will be to protect and expand the ACA,” she says. “Increasing subsidies for those using the exchanges, making sure every state expands Medicaid, and that Medicaid is properly funded through immediate legislation.” This is the triage needed to shore up the system that we are living with now. But Dr. Mann is ready with a long term prescription. “Then, it’s on to Single Payer healthcare. I spend a lot of time explaining Single Payer to people, even to some of my supporters! And we can have an entire additional Q&A on why, after training and working in healthcare, I am convinced that it is the way to go. But the short story is, we need to cover everybody, and Single Payer is the easiest, cheapest way. I’m looking forward to sitting with my future Congressional colleagues and explaining it to them face to face!”
The reason that goal is a possibility is because of Dr. Mann’s fighting spirit and a little help from her friends. Christine credits Indivisible and her loyal base made up of the patients she has been serving over the years. “I was relatively well known in the local activist groups because of my work as a leader of Wilco-Indivisible. These are newly activated people who are alarmed at the current administration and ready to take decisive action. I also have decades of experience in the community within the medical field and a very loyal patient base. Because of our long relationship, they are highly trusting of me and ready to help get me elected.”
Dr. Mann’s campaign wasn’t only greatly outspent by her primary opponent, but her supporters were attacked and her life threatened. One attack made headlines. A large campaign sign on private property had a noose placed on it. “That sign was one of the first road side signs we had put up,” Dr. Mann explained. “My husband set it up on a Thursday, and by the day after, the noose appeared. The couple who have the sign on their property is a lesbian couple who have been harassed for years by their neighbors. They refused to be intimidated, and the sign is still there! We received two subsequent messages on Facebook about how the photos of the noose would have been better if my neck was in them, but no other issues since.” It’s sad to see this kind of ugly attack but ugly is commonplace in American politics. The incumbent congressman joined Donald Trump in attacking the first Black president by questioning President Obama’s birthplace. Christine rejected that mindset. “We can’t tolerate this type of belief in our elected officials.”
Dr. Mann embodies the fighting spirit of the Lone Star State, and she has already beaten the odds to reach a primary runoff. Her campaign is reaching out to voters in a way that demonstrates how the doctor’s bedside manner will assist her in providing the service her constituents deserve. Her strength and positivity, her integrity and energy make her the right candidate for Texas Democrats and will make her an excellent Congresswoman for Texas’ 31st Congressional District. Find her online at https://christine4congress.com/
Dr. Christine Eady Mann is a practicing physician from Cedar Park, Texas and a Congressional candidate for Texas’ 31st District. Besides having run her own medical practice in two Texas towns, she is also a wife and mother of 3. Service is a family affair for the Mann’s as her husband works with incarcerated juveniles. Dr. Christine sat on the board of directors for the Williamson County American Heart Association and volunteers to help at risk children. Find her on Twitter @DrMann4Congress