The Story of TUTA:
Austin takes the lead
February 2012, several Austin groups including Coffee Party Austin, Austin Move to Amend, Common Cause and Occupy Austin End Corporate Personhood work group partnered to present a resolution to Austin City council calling on Congress to write a Constitutional Amendment. The resolution we sought was part of a nation wide campaign to reverse the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens Untied v FEC case. Money in politics has long been a problem; however, after this critical decision corporations and the wealthy and powerful hijacked our elections and the legislative process.
next step was to seek endorsements. We met with other activist organizations and leaders such as Austin MoveOn Council, Austin IndyMedia, Travis County Green Party, Travis County Justice Party, and many more. One of our members met with local Union leaders for their endorsement while another sought local small business support. The name of each endorsing organization, union, and small business was listed at the bottom of our resolution. This helped to show our broad base of support and ultimately impressed the Council.
we started talking with each City Council member and their staff. One of our members has been an activist for many years. She made a point of mentioning our Move To Amend effort at events where she bumped into the Mayor, City Council members and their staff. We were told outright that we needed at least two but preferably four Council members (out of a total of six – not including the Mayor) to sponsor a resolution before it could be presented for a vote before the whole council. We made appointments to speak with the Mayor and Council members at City Hall. Although we met with several staff members, we were assured that our message would be passed along. They were interested to learn about Municipal success stories in other states as well as the ongoing efforts of the Texas network. Our goal was to persuade at least two council members to sponsor our resolution. These meetings helped us identify which council members were persuadable, even if they were not completely supportive. Our conversations with potential sponsors could then turn to advice on how to approach the other council members.
we asked the members of each of our organization partners to write letters to the Mayor and City Council and Letters to the Editor of the Austin American Statesman and the Austin Chronicle about why they support a Constitutional amendment to establish that money is not speech. In January 2013 the Austin Resolution was unanimously passed by the Austin City Council. This was the first one in Texas to pass.
order to regain control of our government, citizens around the nation are bringing similar resolutions to their city councils, county governments and up to their state legislatures.