Runaway Texas Democrats in DC get pep talks from Stacey Abrams, the Clintons

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As a group of runaway Texas Democrats continued their stay in Washington, D.C., they reportedly received a video pep talk from Democratic activist Stacey Abrams on Thursday – and also reportedly met with Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Texas state Rep. Donna Howard posted a Twitter message Thursday that quoted “inspiring words” from Abrams and included a photo of the video meeting with former Georgia gubernatorial candidate.

“This fight is worth fighting. Voting is about the ability to have a voice,” Abrams told the Texas state lawmakers, according to Howard. “We are finding the power we need to protect our democracy.”

Texas state Rep. Erin Zwiener also tweeted about the video meeting with Abrams.

“Big thank you to @staceyabrams for speaking to us today,” Zwiener wrote. “Her words about ‘people who’ve never believed that power belonged to them’ particularly resonated. We must talk to people consistently and well before an election. Our organizing must be about policies, not personalities.”

Abrams herself tweeted about the meeting afterward, saying she and the Clintons were both urging support for two voting-rights bills in Congress.

Hillary Clinton released a statement about the Texas Democrats’ voting-rights goals prior to her scheduled meeting with the group, Politico reported.

“The fight to protect our voting rights is the fight to protect our democracy, so we stand with them and applaud their ongoing efforts to ensure our citizens have access to the ballot box,” Hillary Clinton’s statement said, according to the outlet.

The meetings with the Texas Democrats were intended to help build support for two Democrat-sponsored voting-rights bills in Congress, as well as draw attention to their own cause back in Texas. 

Thursday’s meetings happened on the same day that some of the Texas Democrats in Washington were scheduled to testify at a Capitol Hill hearing regarding voting rights. They also came the same day that U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat from Houston, was arrested at a voting-rights protest in Washington.

The group of Texas Democrats fled to Washington earlier this month with the goal of denying a quorum for a special session of the Texas Legislature in Austin, where lawmakers were expected to vote on election-reform proposals from the Republican majority.

Republicans in Texas and other states have argued that election reforms, such as new voter ID rules, are needed to promote election integrity and prevent voter fraud, while Democrats have argued that such measures are veiled attempts to discourage minorities from voting.

The Texas Democrats have said they plan to remain in the nation’s capital until after the Texas special session in Austin is over. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has threatened to have the Democrats arrested upon their return to the Lone Star State.

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