Many of you are ready to reclaim freedom for yourself, your family and Texas. You’ve looked around at the tyranny and overreach, and said, “Enough!”
As a grassroots movement, the strength of Texans For Vaccine Choice is in our incredible, united membership. The light of truth and freedom is spreading throughout Texas because people are boldly speaking up and taking action in their communities. We have realized that it is up to us to decide our future.
As our Executive Director Jackie Schlegel will tell you, she was just a mom who decided to stand and fight. She had no training or political experience. She simply saw a clear threat to her children’s health and was not going to sit idly by, waiting for someone else to act. Jackie showed up at the capital in 2015, on her own, with determination and truth on her side. Like one candle lighting another, she recruited a few more passionate volunteers. With courage and conviction, they began changing the legal trajectory of Texas for the better. More volunteers joined, spreading the flame of truth, and soon TFVC was a shining force for freedom.
In the beginning, Jackie and her small group of dedicated volunteers relied on the legislators who were already in office. But as TFVC’s membership and reach grew, we were able to help get the right legislators in office. One of our goals is to promote incumbents and candidates who strongly support vaccine choice, and to draft legislation accordingly. The more freedom minded legislators we have at the capital, the more we can accomplish.
Kristin Browne is a shining example of how one TFVC member can make a big difference by getting involved at the local level.
When I texted Kristin to learn more about her role, she texted back, “Let me change a diaper right quick and I’ll call you.” Our interview call ended when it was time for her to head out to the high school homecoming game. As a married mother/stepmother with 5 grown children and 2 at home, Kristin is busy. But, she decided that health and freedom are a priority.
Kristin researched vaccines many years ago, before her two youngest kids were born, and joined TFVC shortly after it was formed. Her call to action came when she volunteered as a judge for a junior high UIL speaking event, in 2019. From a list of possible topics, many kids had chosen the subject of vaccine mandates. Kristin was frustrated to see the biased way that the topic had been worded, and the thoughtless way the students had approached it. She listened as one child after the next cited the CDC’s “safe & effective” claims found in quick google searches which lead those students to believe that every vaccine should be mandated.
“My blood pressure was through the roof because there was no critical thought. They didn’t get what they were saying. And I knew these students had been helped by teachers and parents ahead of time, which meant the adults also didn’t understand the implications. ” Kristin said.
At about the same time, Kristin got an email from TFVC on the need for people to get involved in elections at the local level. It was also the year that her county’s longtime republican chair had decided not to run again.
“I had no idea what a county chair did, and I was not big into politics. But, I was concerned about the vaccine issue, and I could see what was coming down the pike.”
Kristin ran for Republican County Chair during the primary elections and was the only name on the ballot. As the newly elected county chair, she was allowed to appoint some conservatives she respected to the empty precinct chair positions, forming the County Republican Executive Committee. Her win was already multiplying.
She began to see, firsthand, how local government is structured and the importance of local election committees. She learned that many rural counties had no one in certain positions that impacted the elections and she chose to get far more heavily involved at the local level.
Further, she found that the role of county chair usually does not require much time, at least in rural areas where county clerks run elections. Once a quarter there are executive meetings, and she receives paperwork for mayors, sheriffs, or anyone in her party running for office at the county level. Other than that, for most of the year, she finds her duties are minimal.
“I wanted to use my role to make an impact by having meetings and connecting people to organizations they could support and to people with boots on the ground in Austin. I wanted to educate my community on important issues” she said.
The title of County Chair gave her immediate connections and legitimacy when she called community leaders to invite them to speak. The previous county chair was also instrumental in introducing her to influential people.
Kristin explained, “It was such a foot in the door. I met one person who gave me the contact of another. I could call the next person and say, ‘so and so gave me your number’. It made it easier.”
She started by having speakers come to meetings, then she put on a rally. She was helping her community while also supporting TFVC by having Jackie come to speak and getting the word out about our organization.
Finding her stride, Kristin ambitiously planned and put on “West Texas Patriots Rally”, with help from the precinct chairs. It was a two-day event at her local fairgrounds, with workshops by experts on topics from functional medicine to border concerns to gun rights. They also had food trucks, live music, and vendors. Sunday began with a worship service, followed by some presenters, and culminated with Jackie speaking on TFVC, followed by both Allen West and Don Huffines speaking about their campaigns for Governor.
This is grassroots in action. Can you see the light spreading?
Kristin says that the biggest bonus to being County Chair is the relationships she’s made. “I’ve met so many awesome, like-minded people. I’ve been so encouraged by how many people are working their tails off to make a difference and how it looks different for everyone. Not everyone is going to plan a big two-day event, but everyone does have something to contribute. And if you’ll step out and do something that falls within your wheelhouse you’ll be surprised at who will step alongside you to help.”
The ways to make a difference in your community are endless – county chair, school board member, campaign supporter, or organizer of a local group of like-minded neighbors to name a few. Find your strength and your voice because YOU can make a difference!