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UNT professor to run for Denton County Democratic party chair

UNT professor to run for Denton County Democratic party chair

Dr. Angie Cadena explains her why she's running and what difference she wants to make for the Denton community. Cadena is a professor at UNT and running for Denton County Democratic Party Chair. Kelsey Shoemaker

UNT professor to run for Denton County Democratic party chair
October 02
22:04 2017

UNT professor Angie Cadena is running against incumbent Phyllis J. Wolper for the Denton County Democratic party chair.

The Democratic chair holds primary elections and recruits candidates for the party. They organize key events and are the primary contacts regarding local and state elections.

Cadena’s campaign mantra is “DentonCountyForward.” She hopes to turn Denton County blue.

“I want to see more Democratic candidates on the ballot and I want to see them get elected and not have to hide the fact they’re Democrats to do that,” Cadena said.

Cadena has taught finance at UNT for three years and has been teaching at the college level since 2004. She plans to continue her job at UNT.

Cadena became active in the Democratic party while living in San Antonio. She served as the co-chair of the finance committee, the precinct chair and member of the communications committee while working for the Democratic party in Bexar County.

Cadena moved to Denton in 2015 and got involved with several Democratic clubs, including the House District 64 Club, Stonewall Democrats, Latino Democrats and Progressive Leaders Toastmasters Club. She has been the treasurer for many candidates and organized the 2016 candidate forum.

A group of activists approached Cadena about running and she accepted the offer. The group was comprised of leaders from different Democratic clubs.

“Everybody needs to step up their game,” Cadena said. “I’ve seen it happen and it’s my time to step it up. [The county] is stuck in a rut and we need to do something to jumpstart it.”

While working in Bexar County, Cadena saw the Democratic party grow and she hopes the same will happen in Denton. Cadena said Bexar County saw a full slate of Democratic candidates and they won. Most of the positions in Denton are empty and she wants to change that.

Cadena said people agree with the Democrat’s values but are afraid of that label.

“We’ve got Democratic-leaning candidates but they don’t go under the Democratic title,” Cadena said. “That to me says our values are good because people are willing to elect us – it’s just the title that is wrong.”

She will be running against Wolper, who has been the party’s chair since 2009. Cadena acknowledged Wolper’s ability to keep the party running and is appreciative that it is still alive. She also mentioned a Democrat was never elected while Wolper was county chair.

“Phyllis has been there since 2009 and we haven’t made any changes,” Cadena said. “For the last 10 years, we have not had a single Democrat elected to a state, county or a federal office.”

On top of being the current Democratic county chair, Wolper serves on the Denton County elections board and redistricting board. She has been working on the 2020 plan. This plan is designed to turn the state of Texas Democratic by 2020.

Wolper has spent time in Austin with representatives and county entities to prepare the 2020 plan.

“Anyone coming into the party at this time does not have that background and has not been involved,” Wolper said. “I am looking forward to seeing this through to the end of 2020 and changing Texas government.”

Mathew Eshbaugh-Soha, professor and chair of the political science department at UNT, said the dream of increasing Democratic candidates can be done if the party thinks longterm.

“It’s going to be an uphill climb until the demographics of Denton County and Texas change,”  Eshbaugh-Soha said. “If the Denton County Democratic party is thinking longterm then they can certainly work to increase their changes. However slight they may be.”

Cadena says she is trying not to have a divisive campaign and believes that division can get in the way of productive policies.

“It’s been too divisive between Democrats and Republicans,” Cadena said. “If we really look at the issues themselves instead of trying to see how we are different, we can see how we are alike. That way we can come up with better policies for everyone.”

Featured Image: Angie Cadena explains why she’s running and what difference she wants to make for the Denton community. Cadena is a professor at UNT and running for Denton County Democratic Party Chair. Kelsey Shoemaker

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Devin Rardin

Devin Rardin

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