Democratic Nominee for Texas HD 112 Keeps it Real About Why She's Running
Brandy Chambers on "Tumpacalypse" and realizing she was in fact qualified to run for office.
April 9, 2018
I had the pleasure of meeting candidate for Texas HD 112 and her campaign manager, Tina during a recent visit to Dallas. We ran into one another at a Texas Tribune event - but Tina had already been doing her homework to solicit an interview with Pink Granite to spread the word about Chambers' candidacy for House District 112 in North Texas. I of course was happy to oblige - a woman running for office that wants to chat with my about why? I'm in.
In this interview I appreciate Brandy's openness - her willingness to share her motivations for running for the Texas House, including her realization that "Democrats just aren't running."
Where do you work, what is your title and what does your job actually entail?
I own my own law firm, Chambers Legal, PLLC. I am owner/proprietor. I am employment attorney/ investigator and mediator. I don’t litigate. I counsel companies how to be compliant with the law, institute best practices, and avoid risk. By helping companies in this way, I am able to help protect the workers. I am the Democratic candidate for the Texas House of Representatives for District 112.
How long have you been performing this work?
I am 20-year practicing attorney but have just opened my own firm in July 2017.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
What did you study in college and where did you attend school?
I went to college and law school at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK from 1991-1998. I graduated with a B.A. in Sociology with an emphasis in Criminal Justice and Family Studies. I also graduated with a minor in Psychology.
Political party affiliation?
True Blue Lifelong Democrat
How did you get your start in politics and why did you decide to run for HD 112?
I have had my eye on politics since my mother took me phone banking and marching on the steps of the Oklahoma capitol when I was 8 years old to fight for the passage of ERA (which didn’t pass because … Oklahoma). I never thought about actually running for office because I never felt qualified for any position. I didn’t go to Harvard or Yale. I didn’t graduate Summa Cum Laude from anything. I haven’t ever donated a kidney or started my own non-profit saving whales, so you know … not qualified.
Then the Tumpacalypse happened. The most unqualified human became the President of the United States. The most qualified woman lost. Suddenly my perspective changed. If HE could be President, then I could, maybe, be qualified for something.
Next, I was sitting on my couch, watching the greatest President in my lifetime give his farewell speech. Fighting through my tears of despair and fear, I heard President Obama say, “If you don’t like what is happening, get yourself a petition. Get some signatures and get your name on the ballot. Do something about it.” (Or something to that effect). Then it struck me like lightning — just like my mother said to me when she drug me along to those boring phone banks. She said, “If you don’t like it, fix it. Don’t wait for someone to come save you. They aren’t coming. You have to do it yourself.” That is when I really started thinking about getting off the couch and Facebook and becoming a candidate.
I started to look around to see what offices for which I might be eligible. I realized that three out of the last five legislative cycles the incumbent for Texas House 112 had gone unchallenged by a Democrat. Essentially, she was the only one to show up for the job so she got it. I really didn’t like that. I then investigated more to discover that for most years, Democrats don’t field a candidate in many state positions. That is why the extreme right is setting the agenda in Texas. Democrats just aren’t running. Well, no more. I knew I had to stand up for my district, for those who feel ignored and vilified. I had to run for Texas House 112 because I don’t like what’s going on in Austin. So I’m going to fix it.
"I had to run for Texas House 112 because I don’t like what’s going on in Austin. So I’m going to fix it."
I’m a young woman and I want to run for office. What do I do now? First?
- Immediately look up the rules for running for your office. State? Federal? Municipal? There are explicit rules that you don’t want to violate.
Reach out to the county or state party for resources.
Take as many trainings as possible on what to do as a candidate, run for office, etc. Better to know before you do than try to survive a baptism by fire.
Start networking like crazy. You should be doing this anyway, regardless of your choice to run for office.
Reach out to female incumbents in the same type of position in which you are running. Nine times out of 10, they will help you in some way.
Start fundraising as soon as your legal paperwork is filed. You would be amazed at how much even the smallest of campaigns costs.
If you don’t necessarily want to run for office this next cycle, then become embedded in a similar campaign to get your feet wet and to know the ins and outs of a campaign. Network. Network. Network.
I’m thinking of running for office years down the road. What skill set, relationship/tribe should I be developing and thinking about now?
Network. Become a known resource to those that you champion. Reach out to female incumbents and heads of state, if you will, of those that are like minded. Build that foundation now for a strong future.
"Start networking like crazy. You should be doing this anyway, regardless of your choice to run for office."
Something you wish you knew before running for office.
Politics divides even the closest of friendships. You will ALWAYS be tired. Asking for donations is hard.
Best professional advice you’ve ever received?
Be shameless but not notorious.
Advice you wish you could give your younger self?
Get more involved, be more open, study harder, avoid boys until you are at least 27, give up carbs, the “safe” road isn’t always the best road, and exercise.
Best tip(s) for staying on top of your to-do list/staying organized?
Make a list and take one thing at a time. Calendar time to do certain things so you make sure you will get them done.
Something that is often misunderstood about your job?
That because I am an attorney that I must have lots o’ lots of money. HAAAAAA!!!!!!
Last time you were the only woman in the room during an important meeting.
Thank goodness, it has been a long while. I am often only one of just a few.
You can have dinner with anyone, living or dead - who and why?
I love these types of questions. Does it have to be just one? 1) Jesus. I have to ask: What he thinks about the conservative right using his name in all they’re doing; who really shot JFK; why did you take Prince from us too soon; are you a liberal … etc. 2) Martin Luther King, Jr. 3) Harriet Tubman 4) Gov. Ann Richards.
What’s always in your bag during work/session/meetings?
Ibuprofen, many mangled receipts, Starbucks card, and a hair tie.
Favorite place for a business lunch?
Tie between Chipotle and Urban Eatz in Richardson, Texas.
Favorite place to get your news?
MSNBC, Washington Post, Texas Tribune
Favorite political TV show/movie?
Reality politics: Meet The Press; Fictional: The West Wing.
Favorite social media apps?
Facebook and Twitter. That is all I can handle!
A very very big thank you to Brandy for joining the Pink Granite club! Learn more about Brandy and her campaign by visiting her website here: https://brandykchambers.com.