After attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Drew Galloway moved to San Antonio furthering his career in the wine industry working with large wine retailers. While in San Antonio, he was bit by the public policy bug and went back to school. Since then, he has immersed himself in voter registration and voter engagement issues through MOVE Texas. He shares successes and discusses his passion for bagpipes.
Justin Hill: Hello and Bienvenido San Antonio. Welcome to the Alamo Hour discussing the people, places, and passion that make our city. My name is Justin Hill, a local attorney, a proud San Antonian, and keeper of chickens and bees. On the Alamo Hour, you’ll get to hear from the people that make San Antonio great and unique and the best kept secret in Texas. We’re glad that you’re here.
All right, welcome to this episode of the Alamo Hour. Today’s guest is Drew Galloway. Drew is the executive director of MOVE Texas, and also a bagpipe player. We’ll talk to him about that in a little bit. MOVE Texas was started in 2013 by some students at UTSA right here in San Antonio. The goal was to increase participation in local elections. Really I think it’s largely been doing that by way of voter registration and we’re going to talk to Drew about that. Drew, thanks for being here.
Drew Galloway: Thanks, Justin. Awesome to be here with you today.
Justin: I got to know about y’all through a mutual friend Stephen Lopez when he was doing some fundraiser.
Drew: Stephen’s been with us for a couple years now and he’s now serving as the board chair.
Justin: I didn’t know that. Well, I won’t hold that against you. Stephen will listen to this and he’ll give me his critiques on how I did. He always does. I started all these with a top 10 give a little color to who I’m talking to. I’m just going to walk you through some. They change every time.
Drew: Let’s go.
Justin: All right. When and why did you move to San Antonio?
Drew: I got a job with Spec’s Family Partners. I was working in the wine business. They reached out. They wanted me to do a new market development for them and I came to San Antonio.
Justin: What year was that?
Drew: That was 2011.
Justin: New market. Did that mean they were just starting to move in here?
Drew: They had the store that was in the north part of the city. I helped work at that store and then open the days of all a store and a couple of others.
Justin: The one close to me is the one about the airport and it’s pretty sad.
Drew: It’s tucked away under that bridge.
Justin: You go to the Spec’s in Houston and they’ve got all the bells and whistles and cheeses and meats and you go to that one by the airport and it’s sad.
Drew: If you go to the flagship store in Houston, you get spoiled.
Justin: All right. Well, we’ll take that up with specs. We’re all doing our best to support right now. Things are strange. You were talking to me off the record about how you’re doing some cooking but are you doing any of the to-gos or the takeouts, the places that are trying to survive and we’re all trying to help. Are there any that you’ve found, “Hey, they’ve got a great deal like supporting them?” We did Play Lane yesterday and it was fantastic. Any other the places you’ve been frequenting?
Drew: No. There’s a little wine shop called Little Death. That is right on the St. Mary’s strip. I’ve been frequenting them just walk in pick up a bottle of wine just because-
Justin: You live over there?
Drew: No. I live on the south west side. That’s one my favorite wine bar in the city. If you’ve never been at the Little Death you should go.
Justin: Were you there when Stephen was cooking his Italian tripe?
Justin: Did you see it?
Drew: No. I did not.
Justin: I was there.
Justin: Not only do I support. I went to their, and it was very earthy flavor. It was tripe cooked in a ton of white wine, and they just turned into a party. This was right before everything shut down. It was great.
Drew: I know. I’ve done a couple happy hours like personal and professional there. I love that place. It’s my favorite little bar in town.
Justin: Also, you can grab a Burger boy and then get some wine. That’s my favorite thing with wine is a burger actually. Not the steaks and all that — burger.
Drew: I try to be good and just drink wine. Then usually I have a couple glasses of wine and then go out with a burger.
Justin: I’m not going to tell you what I do. Favorite hidden gems in San Antonio. We’re going to try to stick with this with everybody. Ron brought up Denman Estate Park, which I had never heard of. Somebody else brought up Jack White Trail, which I’ve never heard of. To me I think the Japanese Tea Garden is definitely up there. What are some of your favorite hidden gems that if you have guests that come in and you say, “Okay. It’s probably not in your little manual, but go check out this.”
Drew: Yes. That’s a great question. I will tell you that my family loves Pearsall Park. If you haven’t been there it’s amazing. I live literally five minutes away from that if not closer.
Justin: Is it Pearsall?
Drew: Yes. It’s right on Pearsall Road, and the trails are phenomenal. You can do a wooded trail or there’s some hills if you want to get [unintelligible 00:04:48]
Justin: Like south of 1604?
Drew: Yes. We’re where overseas lackland. You can see the Boeing plane.
Justin: Okay. I didn’t know about that.
Drew: I love the place. It’s great. It’s got a great Kitty Park too post quarantine.
Justin: Is it open right now?
Justin: Is it a city park?
Drew: It is a city park. The trails are open. I don’t think the playgrounds are.
Justin: All right. Are you a reader and if so, anything right now?
Drew: Yes. I am a reader. I read a lot. I’m reading How to Be an Antiracist right now. It’s a great book.
Justin: [laughs] Is it like one page long which is don’t be a racist?
Drew: No. I’m reading that. Let’s see. I recently, like a year or so ago, brought a book to move called Radical Candor. I’m rereading that because we’ve got some new staff members on and stuff. That’s another great business organizational book.
Justin: Okay. Do you watch South Park?
Justin: All right. I feel like Radical Candor might have micro aggressions discussed on there somewhere, but I don’t know. Who’s your favorite bagpipe player?
Drew: Oh man, that’s such a hard question.
Justin: Is there more than six of them?
Drew: Yes. I’m going to totally nerd out now. I’ve started playing bagpipes when I was 14, in Georgia, and I loved Simon Fraser University, and which is in British Columbia, Canada. They alternate with a couple other bagpipe bands as the world champions every year. The pipe Sergeant of that band is Jack Lee. I get to see Jack Lee a couple times a year, and I’m always like giddy.
Justin: Okay. This is the bait, that one of the major reasons behind this podcast is there are so many people with these strange passions that are just, they’re interesting to hear. I wanted to do that. We’re going to talk about bagpipes in a little bit. Are you a social media person and if so, which is your favorite platform?
Drew: That’s a great question. I’m a forced social media person. I do quite a bit because of my work. I would say my favorite platform right now and for the last year has been TikTok. If you are on TikTok, it’s the win.
Justin: Do you TikTok?
Drew: I do not okay. I am a voyeurisc TikTok observer.
Justin: I have it. I’ve gotten on it a few times. Have you ever heard of Gary Vaynerchuk?
Justin: Okay. I was at some conference. He spoke and he starts talking about TikTok. I had never even heard of it. I opened it and now I’ve realized, I don’t know. You swipe one way and you favorite them. You swipe another way you get a new video. I don’t really understand the process so I think I’ve favorited a lot.
Drew: There’s like a 4UChannel and then a following channel or something like that. MOVE has to TikTok channel and so we’re building content for that.
Justin: Okay. Well, Gary Vaynerchuk said, even lawyers should have one and I don’t know how that would work.
Drew: If you want to talk to under 21-year olds, that’s where you do it at.
Justin: I don’t know if the wife would be real jazzed about me marketing under 21-year olds, or the law, for that matter. Outside of the pandemic, take that veil away right now. What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing San Antonio?
Drew: I think that the two biggest challenges facing San Antonio right now are equity and poverty and that’s only been elevated from the market.
Justin: What do you mean by equity?
Drew: The fact that there’s such like we’re the most economically segregated city in the United States. If you grow up in the neighborhood that I live in right now, versus if you grow up, say 15 miles to the north of here there’s essentially a 15 to 20-year life [unintelligible 00:09:03]
Justin: Or one mile to the east of here.
Justin: Or one mile to the west of here.
Drew: I think that we can do more as a city to address that and poverty is linked in with that. I think that we can do a lot to address that and that has been exasperated by this moment.
Justin: Mayor Nirenberg made a good point when he was on. We were talking about the opportunities of the pandemic. One of the things he brought up was that it is going to give the city an opportunity to rewrite our rulebook because it has highlighted those problems, but it has also put so many people in the pot that they thought they were not in. Hopefully it’ll allow attitudes to change and therefore policy to change.
Drew: Yes, absolutely. If it happens to you or somebody that you know and love, it changes that perspective.
Justin: Favorite Fiesta event.
Drew: I’m going to be super basic and say Battle The Flowers because typically-
Justin: It’s the first so far.
Drew: Yes. For me, I typically work most of Fiesta, or I do fundraising events or that kind of stuff. Battle of the Flowers is the first morning off that I have and I take my kids to the parade and that kind of stuff.
Justin: Have you ever done pooch parade?
Drew: No, but I have friends who actually have had dogs that have won or have placed in it.
Justin: Anyone can have their dog in it, by the way. If you’ve got a friend who’s like, “My dog was in it,” that just means they walked in the parade.
Drew: They just walked down. Okay, great.
Justin: It’s a cool event. A morning event, cool event, kid-friendly.
Drew: My dog is not capable of that. She’s a very good dog, but not to the quality of the pooch parade yet.
Justin: Mine probably wouldn’t do well because he’s just going to bark at all the dogs. He’s a good-looking dog so he could probably win it. A lot of what I’ll do is voter registration. You do not have a voter registration background as a human being. I mean, you went to Culinary Institute, you did wine, and then you had this circuitous path to get there. Once you got into voter registration and voter engagement, what has been one of the more surprising demographic groupings or behaviors that you have seen that you thought, “Wow, I would have never expected this?”
Drew: That’s a good question. I think that the biggest misconception that I hear all the time is that young people don’t care about this. They will tell me that I’m talking to a very thin group of people and that’s not necessarily the case at all. We see that, if we engage them, tell them why their vote matters, that kind of stuff, we can move them from unregistered voter to registered voter to active.
Justin: What’s the harder thing there? Moving them to a registered voter or moving them from registered voter to someone who actually votes? I would think the latter.
Drew: Yes, it is. For the most part, it takes only a couple of minutes to get registered. In this moment, with COVID-19, it takes much, much longer, because we can’t actually see people. If it was normal times, I could register you in a couple minutes. It really does take some significant work to get a registered voter to the polls. The average at least remove and most youth organizations is somewhere between six and eight touches and that includes text message, phone call, door notch, potential like maildrop, that kind of stuff.
Justin: It’s just such a strange dichotomy because the passion level among those age groups is so high up there, going to the polls is so low, and then you take the maybe elderly, who’s going to the poll is very high, but their passion levels way less. It’s just a strange dichotomy in that world.
Drew: It’s really like a habit is what it is. Voting itself is a habit. It’s like going to the gym. That’s the way I see established elderly voters as they’ve been going to the gym for weeks and weeks and weeks and then they just go do it. It might not be like, “Oh, my God, I’ve got to go to the gym.” It’s like, “I’m just going to the gym because this is what I do.” Then the new voter is the folks that are like, “We’re trying to get to go the gym twice this week.” What we really do is focus on vote three times, and then studies show that that person is almost a lifelong voter. We’ve got to get them to vote in a city election, a state election, and a federal election, like back to back to back.
Justin: All right. That’s what we’re going to talk about for a little bit and then, as we get close to running out of time, I’m going to talk to you about bagpipes because it’s my show and I think it’s interesting. What is MOVE and how is MOVE different than thrive and some of these other voter registration groups?
Drew: That’s a great question. MOVE is an acronym and most people don’t realize that. It stands for mobilize, organize, vote, and empower. Even though we’re one of the largest youth organizing groups and youth voter registration groups in the nation now, it was started by these seven students at the University of Texas at San Antonio. We’re homegrown.
Justin: Are they still involved?
Drew: Yes, our advocacy manager, Alex Bernal is one of the founders. It’s one of those things of like these students came together in 2013, and said, “How can we get more involved, especially in city politics, but how can we get more involved, to get more of our peers voting, that kind of stuff?” They decided, “We’re going to form the student organization at UTSA called mobilize, organize, vote, empower. They formed it and they were like, “We’re going to register people to vote or young people. We’re going to teach them why voting matters and link issues that they care about to voting.
Then we’re going to do the most crazy visible things we can possibly do to make voting fun, engaging, cool. They registered 1000 people in 60 days at UTSA. Over the course of that 2013 City Election is when they really worked out a lot of the early model on dressing in banana suits and putting our robot-like cardboard costumes on and throwing parties at the polls and things like that. We were like, “We are going to make voting fun and engaging for young people and not just this top-down narrative of something you got to do.
The one thing that we have learned is that it’s your civic duty narrative is actually detrimental to voter turnout for young people.
Justin: Young people being 35 and younger.
Drew: Yes, I would say 35 or younger. We deal with that entire spectrum of young people.
Justin: It’s nonpartisan?
Drew: Nonpartisan, yes.
Justin: Okay. I’d ask but I’m going to go back to it. How do you all separate yourself? How are you different than some of the other young person voter registration groups that are in Texas?
Drew: We’re youth-lead. We’re hyper grassroots. We believe that young people are powerful, and we believe that they can make a massive difference in essentially, all levels of government. We’re really working with new, first, second, third-time voters and the best way to show that that power is by getting them involved at the city level or regional level and showing them that they can have a voice. If they show up to County Commissioners Court of Bexar County, most likely, they will be like, if we can mobilize 15 people on an issue there, that is a giant like turnout for Bexar County Commissioners court because your average large groups are not paying attention to that hyper level local.
Justin: If you’re nonpartisan, how do you all decide what specific issues you can and cannot get involved in?
Drew: That’s a great question. Nonpartisan, to us, means independent so we don’t endorse parties. We don’t endorse candidates, that kind of thing. We do work on issues. We identify those city by city that we work in. When I joined MOVE, it was just in San Antonio. I joined in 2016. We were moved to San Antonio at that point, we’re in about 10 campuses. In early 2018, we began growing. We went to Laredo, and then to Seguin and San Marcos, and Austin. Then, in 2019, we went to Dallas and Houston. We’re now in seven cities, 55 campuses. We’ve got six field organizers that are doing this work day in and day out with advocacy folks as well.
Justin: Then within the issues, are you all advocating for issues related to access to voting? Mothers against Drunk Driving is nonpartisan, they can’t support but they do support Safe Road drunk driving issues. Are you almost all about involvement and voting?
Drew: Yes, we’re at our core of voting rights issue. We also advocate for young people’s issues, student issues. We’ve done work around polling locations on college campuses, our very first issue we got involved in was the non-discrimination ordinance in San Antonio. Equality, access, all of that stuff, is things that we work on. We’re doing a ton of climate work now, some criminal justice work.
Justin: Who decides what issues to get involved in?
Drew: That’s decided at the local level. We might be doing a lot of like say, immigration justice work in Laredo and San Antonio, but in Dallas, we’re doing some housing work and some climate work and that kind of stuff. It’s really tailored to the students that we work with. I think that’s what sets us apart from some of the other top down national organizations is that we listen to young people. We put them out front, and then we show them the power that they have.
Justin: Does each individual group get to decide what issues they want to get involved in or does it have to be vetted?
Drew: We obviously have a process for issue screens and that kind of stuff so that we don’t like-
Justin: Because college kids can be crazy. There’s a lot of things they care about and we can’t do everything, but yes, it is one of those things of like we do our best to be responsive, but at our core, we are voting rights groups. I mean that we got started with expanding voter registration, and we’re working on vote by mail right now and lots of other things.
Justin: How did you get involved?
Drew: That’s a good question. I landed in San Antonio in 2011, and I got really deeply involved in the non-discrimination ordinance. I was working at Specs. I loved working in the wine industry. I got deeply involved in the non-discrimination ordinance, and I was like, “I love this.” I started interning outside of college with then Barry County Commissioner Tony Atkinson. I was like, “I want to do this.
I’m going to make this pivot,” and so I pivoted out of the wine industry and into civics by going to UTSA. I studied public administration there and I ran into all these political science students who had started MOVE UTSA. We had classes together. We knew each other. I went to Washington DC as a Bill Archer fellow and worked in the White House. Then I came back. I landed at UT Austin at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life. I ran their Millennial programming there. I got a call one day from Hannah Beck who was the first ED at MOVE.
Justin: I didn’t know she were head in that.
Drew: Yes, she was one of the founders and now sits on our board. Hannah was like, “We’re looking for a new ED. Are you interested?” I applied. I was super fortunate that they selected me and I started in April 2016. It was me and a field organizer, two fellows, and two interns. Our budget that year in a presidential election was $90,000.
Justin: I mean that’s not bad for a first-year.
Drew: Well, yes, by that time we’d been three years operating. For us, it was a big year. We still registered 8,500 people with essentially a two-person staff and on a $90,000 budget. Now, we’re seven cities, 55 campuses, 22 employees, full-time employees.
Drew: 3.8 million.
Justin: Nice. Are you all 501(c)(3)?
Drew: 501(c)(3) and (c)(4).
Justin: Okay, so you have an advocacy arm?
Drew: The (c)(4), we do all of our get-out-the-vote, and some advocacy work under that.
Justin: What are the sources of funding?
Drew: We’re funded from a lot of national state local. We’ve got a lot of larger national foundations, Family foundations that fund us. We’ve got statewide funders that fund us, political donor that kind of stuff. Then a lot of our local donations come in from students, their parents, professors. We have this program called Movement Makers that you can be a monthly donor, and it’s really, really popular.
Justin: Do you need the political parties to support you all financially?
Justin: Could they?
Drew: I don’t know if they could illegally, but because we don’t have a pact or anything like that and we’re not interested in that.
Justin: I was wondering. I mean if they’re just saying, “Hey, it’s in everybody’s benefit to register voters, we know you all are nonpartisan. Here’s some money. They could do that I think, but–?
Drew: Probably, they could. Yeah.
Justin: Because they want to go register their people.
Justin: Talk to me about the funding. Since you went from a $90,000 to a $3.8 million budget. Talk to me just generally about how does a small nonprofit like that with such a niche focus, how do you increase your budget, 3.71 million dollars in four years?
Drew: Yes. It was a struggle. I think that my first year and a half was a lot of relationship building. For us, there was a catalyst moment at the end of 2017 where we knew that we had to grow because we were just like, “There’s no way to grow the size of the budget and just stay in one city.” We had a donor, Michael Watts who was super gracious.
Justin: Previous guest of the show.
Drew: Yes. He did a match with us which was the catalyst for growth. He gave us $100,000 if we could raise a $100,000 out of our grassroots donors. We did it and that propelled us into growing to Laredo, and Seguin, and San Marcos.
Justin: Has he continued the support?
Drew: Yes. I’m sure he’s a supporter of us.
Justin: Well, how did he get involved in it?
Drew: We met through some mutual friends here in town at Christian Archer and an ex-board member.
Justin: That’s still just $100,000 of a $3.8 million. I mean is a lot of the money from this foundation money nonprofit money?
Drew: Yes. Well, once we started to grow, not only our geographic size and our influence, that began to attract larger national foundations that would budget our second-year budget of 2017 was one was $110,000 and then we jumped to, I think, it was $800,000 for 2018. Then $1.4 million for 2019 and $3.8 million for 2020.
Justin: Outside of COVID, talk to me how do you all go about registering people? What’s the most successful way you found to register voters and what is your five-year goal in terms of expanding your voter registration or avenues to register voters?
Drew: Yes, that’s a great question. We consider our folks young Texans at aged probably 17 through 35. We do some high school work, so we talked to 16, 17 years old but at 17 and 10 months, you can get registered to vote. I think there’s a misconception as well as like we are just a voter registration group. We’re really a youth organizing group. Voter registration is just the first step and that one of the more visible steps than that, and so because of that, we work on college campuses, community college campuses, high schools, vocational schools.
We’re also out in the community. We try to work and workforce areas where the folks that didn’t go to college. We can still talk to them and they’re in that age group and have issues that they care about. That’s where we do most of our voter registration is in those early interactions. That could look like us presenting to classes on college campuses or us like at the farmers market, we’ve–
Justin: Setting up a booth in the square whatever.
Drew: Yes. A lot of times we just have canvassers, they’ll walk around with a clipboard and MOVE Texas t-shirts and that kind of thing. The great part about it is seeing it pop up from friends and supporters on social media of like, “I just ran into your organizer and they helped me change my address,” or whatever. It’s great. Yes, because of that, I think we’re in a lot of different places. We diversify the places that we do voter registration.
We also are we’re evergreen. We’re on college campuses every single day. We don’t’ just pop up three weeks before the election and try to get as many people registered as possible. It’s like we’re there during the summertime when it’s–
Justin: So that all these campuses have a student chapter of MOVE?
Drew: Some do, some don’t. Some have a group of engaged students. Some are just overseen by one of our field organizers and they just go and do voter registration. There’s different levels of engagement across campuses. Like UTSA is being our home campus is highly engaged. It has a student chapter that kind of stuff, or maybe a new school like the University of Houston has a cluster of students that are really engaged, but not a chapter yet and it’s working towards that.
Justin: What’s the long-term goal of MOVE?
Drew: We’re building power for young people across Texas, and so I think we’re doing that. Not only through voter registration but it’s the engagement. It’s not only just electoral engagement, but it’s getting them involved in other aspects of that too. I think our strategic plan shows that we want to have deeper conversations and become more of a transformational power building organization over the next three to five years.
We’re going to do that by growing to areas that young people need somebody to help uplift their voice and where we can create spaces for young people to come together and power build together.
Justin: Will there be an advocacy arm that includes picking candidates or endorsing candidates, or is that something MOVE’s always going to stay out of?
Drew: Yes, our current strategic plan actually just says no. It’s like we aren’t interested right now in endorsing candidates or advocating for them.
Justin: Let’s talk about some of the actual successes. Steven was talking to me about what they were able to accomplish, what you all were able to accomplish in San Marcos recently. Talk to me about that, talk to us about some of the real-world examples then I’m going to talk to you all about being litigants and litigious, and you all fights for opening up voting access and voting rights. Talk to us about you all wins and successes in San Marcos recently.
Drew: Yes, that’s a great question. We went to San Marcos in 2018 and we began building at Texas State little by little. This is a perfect example of where we put a field organizer there that was overseeing not only San Marcos and Texas State but also Texas Lutheran and Seguin, but a small group of students came together. We hired fellows there the next semester, that kind of stuff.
These small groups of students registered 6,500 students at Texas State which has a population of 40,000 students on campus or that live nearby or commune in. What happened was the elections department there only put a polling location at Texas State for three days. The first three days of early voting Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Probably in the past, that would have been totally cool or whatever, but between us and other organizations that were doing get-out-the-vote work and just students being deeply involved in the 2018 election, essentially, day one, the line was three hours long and stayed that way from open to close.
Drew: Day two, three hours long. Day three, three hours long. By day three, us Texas Civil Rights Project arrived a couple of other organizations started calling on Hays County Commissioner to expand voting at Texas State because otherwise, students would have to go off-campus, take buses, that kind of stuff. Originally it was like, “Nope, not going to do it.”
I think through the efforts on our part and the League of Women Voters, and a couple of other groups, they ended up changing their minds. They put two extra days of early voting on that campus, and an election day polling location on that campus. An additional 4,500 students voted during that time. Yes, it’s one of those things of now elected officials in Hays County to know they have to go talk to students at Texas State. Even in this last March election–
Justin: There we some electoral changes in San Marcos arguably as a result of this too.
Drew: Yes. I believe their students had a major part in shifting the representations and the narrative in that County for sure.
Justin: Yes, City councilor commissioner’s court one of them flipped, didn’t it?
Drew: I think that they basically– Yes, I mean the Statehouse flipped. The county commissioners went almost all democratic, I believe, that kind of thing for the City Council too. I think that’s indicative of young people being involved, being informed.
Justin: How do you convince them to stand in line for three hours? I can’t sit still for three hours.
Drew: Yes, it was one of those things in March in this past primary election, we had lines at UTSA and a couple of other campuses here, and I was bouncing around town on Election Day watching those and everything. Our organizers were buying pizza and having sodas and stuff because people can’t get out of line.
Justin: It will be like the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon.
Justin: Every checkpoint, it’s a band.
Drew: Yes exactly. We were doing everything we could to keep people in line or let them know like, “Hey if you don’t want to stand in line, this polling location closes at 7:00 P.M. or whatever.”
Justin: Do you all do any rides to the polls?
Drew: A little bit but that’s more for commuter type schools. Well, like if Texas A&M has a campus in down south San Antonio, and then we’ll shuttle people from Palo Alto over or vice versa because they’re so close. For the most part, we do site-based mobilization which is a polling location is put on college campus most of the time because our advocacy folks fight for it. Then we throw a giant party there with a DJ and that kind of stuff and it attracts a couple of hundreds of students and then we like, “Go vote.”
Justin: Shuffle them in?
Drew: Yes. When polls closed in Bexar County, UTSA still had a 30-minute wait or so but was pretty close to ending. In Texas State, they had a three-hour wait to post the poll is closing. I went up there with a couple of our organizers and we helped students. We bought a pizza, it had drinks.
Justin: They keep it open? Is that the law that if you’re in line, then you have to vote?
Drew: Yes, and so that polling location closed at 11:30.
Justin: I’m sure those poor groups weren’t happy about that. Okay. You all are also heavily involved in the litigation and the legal fights that are revolving around online voter registration. Some of these I mean people like me think it’s crazy why can’t we register to vote online but some of these new fights, MOVE actually is involved as a plaintiff or an amicus.
Some of these basically a friend of the court saying here’s our position or the actual plaintiff suing on these. Talk to us about what you all are hoping to accomplish. There are some of these pieces of litigation that are moving through the courts right now.
Drew: Yes, we saw the legal avenue as a new tactic for us. We first deployed that I think in 2017 in the SB4 case. We are still a plaintiff on that case and The Fifth Circuit right now. That’s under consideration and on hold. Yes, we saw litigation as an opportunity for us to uplift the voices of young people into that space that they would normally not have been in. We did that through being involved in it.
We have three ongoing cases right now Stringer 2 which is a case on the DPS voter registration system. You can walk into the DPS station to get your driver’s license and that is the only type of truly online voter registration.
Justin: It’s something strange like that if you renew your license in the DMV, the law says you have to be able to register to vote at that time right, but if you renew your license on your home computer–
Drew: It doesn’t do it.
Justin: Even though the law says you have to be able to, so that’s one of those fights.
Drew: That’s Stringer 2. Richardson is a vote-by-mail signature case right now that’s under litigation. Then also we are an intervener in the TDP case on vote-by-mail which was just at least not state or upheld while the appeals process happens in.
Justin: The vote-by-mail case in which people are saying that fear of COVID is a disability so I should be able to vote by mail.
Justin: Is Drew Galloway the plaintiff in any of those or is it MOVE Texas?
Drew: Nope, I represent the organization, so it’s either MOVE Texas Civic Fund which is our 501(c)(3) entity or MOVE Texas Action.
Justin: Well, I don’t know, if you sue the state of Texas, you sue Ken Paxton, so I didn’t know if MOVE when they file actually–
Drew: No, we do it from an organizational standpoint, but if the organization is called in for deposition or whatever or representation, I do that.
Justin: Have you been deposed yet?
Justin: How’d you like it?
Drew: It was okay.
Justin: Was he nice to you?
Drew: I actually had an attorney from the attorney general’s office. She was very nice. It was long though. It was like six hours but–
Justin: She’s just doing her job.
Drew: Yes, exactly.
Justin: I was actually joking with someone today. I never understand when defense lawyers act like it’s their own money. I mean sometimes they get so worked up about it. You’ve got the San Marcos success story where you can actually really put numbers and wins to a movement. You have litigation in which you all are actual movements in court seeking to change the way we do things in the state of Texas in a way that would benefit honestly everybody.
I mean, I don’t want to go vote and also die of COVID. It’s just this bizarre idea where I don’t think we should have to push it off to prove it disability, to begin with. Then I don’t think that this should even be a consideration of is the risk of COVID worth it? They just did this in Wisconsin, and there was a political game and, they ended up losing that election.
Drew: Yes, totally.
Justin: I mean, sweet justice.
Drew: Yes. I mean it’s just one of those things of like we see any vote that’s disenfranchised as a problem for democracy, and so we’re going to push back on that at any point.
Justin: Is your organization planning on staying focused on youth mobilization or is there a consideration or thoughts about moving into some of these other traditionally disenfranchised communities?
Drew: Nope. We are an organization that’s focused on young predominantly people of color, but young people.
Justin: Almost all college-educated it sounds like.
Drew: Yes, for the most part. We have done more work recently in the last 12 months with vocational schools, or workforce spaces, that kind of thing because we see that as like they are folks that are just not fortunate enough to or maybe just don’t want to go to college and they wouldn’t [unintelligible 00:39:59]
Justin: That’s a way larger percentage of young people than are in college. Is there any groups or do you have any thoughts on how you enfranchise and mobilize the classically disenfranchised communities of color along with the “We don’t vote young people.” That’s a bad combo, your organization is doing a great job. Are there organizations that are focusing on that odd demographic of people that really aren’t involved in the process?
Drew: Yes. There’s a couple of organizations in the state that are doing some, I think everybody’s taking a little bite of that pie because they ought to be messaged through differently. Again, if I was going to talk to even over 50-year-old voters, it’s your civic duty. Now is the time for you to represent your country type thing, is the perfect messaging for them. The correct messaging for young people is like, “Be a part of this group” or “Be a part of this movement” or “We need your voice now in this.” It’s a much more collective stance versus an individual action.
Justin: Do you have any independent thoughts on ‘why vote or die’ just didn’t catch on and work?
Drew: I don’t know.
Drew: This is the moment where I–
Justin: When I interned in DC is when all that was kicking in, and I just always remember– I was fresh off the turnip but I always can remember thinking, “Does this work? This is so just absurd.”
Drew: Well, in young people, one of the things is that they are hyper and tuned to authenticity. That’s why I think we’re so successful as we put young people in charge of social media. I don’t run the TikTok channel.
Justin: Lots of memes.
Drew: Yes, exactly. Our most popular content and that kind of stuff is this generated by our organizers. That kind of stuff. Then they just are in tune with that, that being authentic and–
Justin: Does it ever go too far and you’re like, “Oh, hey, don’t post that.”
Drew: Yes, we have to strike down some stuff every once in a while, yes.
Justin: [laughs] Okay, so what you’re doing is fantastic. My firm and me have given a little bit of support because I think it’s great.
Drew: Thank you.
Justin: You need more involvement, you need more people that are younger than me and you voting because a lot of communities they either vote for things that are bad against them or they don’t vote knowing that things are going to be passed that are bad for them, and the people that do vote, those things are usually pretty good for them a lot of times.
Drew: It’s also a really special organization too. I think every nonprofit executive would say this, but it is like this place, it is a political home for young people and specifically new voters or people that are new to politics. We have folks that come through our fellowship program and then they leave and then they go run campaigns or they will show up in the statehouse or whatever. We have this amazing alumni group of hundreds of people that have come through our program.
San Antonio City Hall, out of the 11 offices, 8 of them have MOVE alumni. It’s like we’ve built this leadership pipeline that when most people think of MOVE, they think of voter registration, that kind of thing, but it’s actually skills building, the building of a civic culture inside the organization that I think is going to be the lasting legacy for me.
Justin: Is this the stop for you? Are you going to run for office?
Drew: No, I don’t want to run for office at all. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be at MOVE. I’m not planning on leaving anytime soon but it is one of those things, I think MOVE being a young organization, it’s imperative that we have youth leaders. I don’t know what I’m going to do after this. I’m going to be very sad because I love MOVE but until then, I’m going to do my best to register and turn out as many young voters as I can.
Justin: Okay. Well, I hope you’ll have more successes like San Marcos, and then we can talk about those. Those are fantastic ways to sell your story by having an actual, “This is what was bad. This was what we did to fix it, and here was the success of fixing it.” Those are the stories that resonate.
Drew: Yes. In 2018, we turned out 68% of the people we registered. That’s a solid 15 points higher than the national youth organizing average. If you don’t talk to youth voters at all, they vote much much much lower. We’re obviously talking to them in the right way and that kind of stuff and we’ve got stories like that. Even like we’re new to Houston but we’ve got stories of how Al Gore crashed one of our parties at the polls this last year in March.
Drew: We found out the day before that he was going to come to one and same way we’ve had the same thing happen but–
Justin: The he’ll say, “I’m serial.”
Justin: South Park is most of what’s going on in my brain. Okay, so I want to pivot a little bit. You’ve also got interesting stories and I want to talk to you about a couple of them. One of them was that after you got out of school, you wanted to get into wine business. You went to Culinary Institute in Hyde Park.
Drew: I did. I graduated in high school, wanted to be a winemaker. There’s not really many vineyards outside of Augusta, Georgia.
Justin: Blueberry wine or whatever thing, nothing?
Drew: Yes. Great cow and horse farms, but yes. I went to London, I studied there for about a year and a half. I worked in a hotel off of Hyde Park and I worked in a pub and that kind of stuff. I learned the wine and spirits industry and specifically, the wine industry. Came back, went to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, learned how to cook, learned about wine. I left there, went to work for a small wine shop right outside of Hyde Park, near the college. Then I jumped to Total Wine. I loved my time at Total Wine. Worked up and down the East Coast, new market development as well jumping from city-to-city opening new stores, then get settled. Then that’s when I came to San Antonio Specs.
Justin: Did you graduate from CIA?
Drew: I did.
Justin: My understanding was there’s the cook route and then there’s the restaurant manager route. Is that correct?
Drew: Actually, the two main routes are cook or baker, and then after that is the restaurant management or culinary management degree.
Justin: Did you know either of the guys that are at [unintelligible 00:46:48]?
Drew: No, I didn’t.
Justin: Steve and Bob, the manager both went there.
Drew: Yes, there’s a great alumni network here.
Justin: Is there?
Drew: Johnny Hernandez.
Justin: I didn’t know that.
Drew: Johnny Hernandez I think is the head of the National Alumni right now. I could be wrong about that, but he is definitely the guy.
Justin: He won’t listen to this. [crosstalk]
Drew: He is a big alumni from CIA.
Justin: Okay, what got you into wine?
Drew: It was one of these things that like I went to Europe for the first time when I was 15. My grandparents are German, and so I went to Spain, Germany, France, and I was like, “This is amazing.” I’m used to farms but that have cows and chickens and this is vineyards and it’s incredible. I was like, “This is what I want to do.”
Justin: Yes. Wine grows in the best weather and locations. It’s not ugly places that have vineyards.
Drew: Well, and even the ugliest soil is the best for wine. Wine likes to be stressed out. The grapes like to be stressed out. Like Panama and France, it’s literal rocks that you have to plant these vines and–
Justin: So stressful up in the hills and in the fall growing, and it’s so stressful.
Drew: Yes, I know. It’s a hard rock.
Justin: We don’t need soil though, so what do we care but it’s always great weather, it’s never too hot, never too cold.
Drew: Yes. They’re always surrounded by good food.
Justin: So what is the romanticism of it? Was it the taste of it? Did you like to get a little buzz?
Drew: No. I think it was it was just like, “Hey, this is the actual thing. There’s this profession where I can learn how to taste this and that has literal millions of different types of aromas and maturation and all that stuff.” This is so complex. I was a big nerd in high school if that did not surprise you at all, as a 14-year-old bagpipe player in Augusta Georgia. It was one of those things of like there’s these complexities and every– in France–
Justin: Were you wearing a suit when you were 14?
Drew: I totally was.
Drew: I totally was the kid in high school that wore the corduroy sports code with the patches.
Justin: Okay. Yes. Perfect.
Drew: That’s me.
Justin: All right.
Drew: It was one of those things in France, this vineyard can give you a completely different wine than one that’s half a mile down the road.
Justin: The whole Left Bank is better, right bank thing.
Drew: Yes, exactly. If it’s on a hill versus flat, and so that was fascinating to me.
Justin: Okay. What’s your favorite wine movie?
Drew: That’s a good question. I like the documentaries better than I do the fictional movies.
Justin: Which one? Psalm?
Drew: Psalm, probably is my favorite.
Justin: It had terrible reviews, but it was fantastic.
Drew: I thought it was great.
Justin: Yes, I did too. Did you see the one about the counterfeiting?
Drew: Yes, I did.
Justin: It’s crazy.
Drew: I was actually in the business whenever that happened in the early 2000– [crosstalk]
Justin: Did you know that guy, the-
Drew: I did not know that person, no.
Justin: -Asian-American guy?
Drew: I did my internship at CIA at Restaurant Daniel which holds the Zachys Piece Wine Auctions. I worked in the kitchen and was still learning how to cook and that kind of stuff, but it was one of those things to see a $30,000 bottle of wine get sold, I was like, “I have to do this.”
Justin: Okay. What are some of the one or two most rare bottles you’ve drank?
Drew: That’s a great question.
Justin: You’ve told me about 20 times today that I ask great questions so you’re really building me up. I appreciate this.
Drew: I’m glad I can make you feel good. Domaine Romanée Conti is one of the most expensive bottles I’ve ever had.
Justin: That is what he was counterfeiting a lot, DRC.
Drew: Yes. It was mind-blowing, it changed every 15 minutes. It was one of those wines that you drank the entire night and it just changed. It would go from raspberry, jam type with spice to it to earthy, raked leaves, and I can still remember it now.
Justin: Who were you with? Where were you? How did you get your hands on that?
Drew: I was at a wine dinner with some very rich friends, and I was not rich but I was lucky to hang out with them.
Justin: It’s always better to have rich friends that share.
Drew: We had great food, all the wines were great. That just happened to be this crazy bottle that was really good. I love to blind taste too and so the second bottle that I would say is not super rare and it’s not super expensive but it’s one of those wines that I was at a blind tasting and I picked up the glass, I smelled it, I took a small taste and I’m like, “That is 1996 [unintelligible 00:51:42]“. I was like, “I 100% know– I know that wine. I know that region. That’s [unintelligible 00:51:49]“. They pulled the bag off of a North ’96 [unintelligible 00:51:51].
Drew: For me, that was like–
Justin: Have you ever thought of going to sit for the test or anything?
Drew: I’m a level two–
Justin: Oh really?
Drew: Mm-hmm. I would never sit level three.
Justin: Level three is the Som, right?
Drew: Yes, that’s the Master Sommelier.
Justin: There’s like 12 of them?
Drew: I think there’s probably like 60 to 100 right now but–
Justin: Yes, something like that.
Drew: Yes. I mean, it’s years and years and years of dedicated experience.
Justin: You also have to learn cigars, right?
Drew: Yes, and service and all that stuff.
Drew: Yes. I didn’t work on the restaurant side, I worked on the retail side. I’m also like a wine and spirit education trust.
Justin: Where should normal people buy their wine?
Drew: You’ve got tons of great choices here in San Antonio. I’m obviously partial to Total Wine and to Spec’s [crosstalk]–
Justin: Okay. What’s the deal with Total Wine? Total Wine’s got their winery direct thing now. I feel like that is just a shady deal.
Drew: You can find good stuff there. Like I said, I used to work there but there’s some really great gyms there as well but it’s definitely like talk to the folks there, there’s usually some really passionate– I used to be a wine manager for them so I would train folks and–
Justin: Are they getting kickers if they sell Winery Direct wines?
Drew: I don’t know if they do. I don’t know if they get–
Justin: It just feels that way. They’re always pushing these certain things on you that I’ve never heard of and then the things you’ve heard of are never the ones that are included in the I6, get 10% off deal.
Drew: I don’t know. It’s one of those things of I think that–
Justin: You signed a nondisclosure agreement, didn’t you?
Drew: I did not. I think for a lot of the folks that work at both Spec’s and Total, they love wine and so the part of it is that I was telling you before you hopped on is my lunch at like Spec’s would be tasting through 10 Rosés from Provence and whatever. It’s like whenever you have somebody that comes up and says, “I want a Rosé,” you’re like, “Oh my God. I can think of 10 bottles right now.”
Justin: Yes but the tenth one you’re tasting, I mean–
Drew: Most of the time in the industry, you spit.
Justin: Okay. You’re also a bagpipe player, and I don’t know if I’ve ever met a bagpipe player. I’m going through my brain [unintelligible 00:54:07]. I don’t think I ever have– My association with bagpipe players is limited to funerals I think in my own mind, and also I remember an old man telling me one time that the rudest thing anyone can do is play bagpipes indoors. I don’t know why but he told me that as life advice. How did you get into bagpipes?
Drew: That’s a great question. One, they’re incredibly loud so that’s the reason you don’t want to play them indoors. Most bagpipe players wear earplugs even if they play outside.
Drew: Yes. They’re–
Justin: Yes. Somebody said the reason why bagpipe players are always walking is to get away from the horrible noise. I looked up a bunch of bagpipe player jokes.
Drew: I was going to say to prepare for this, yes.
Justin: That was more interesting.
Drew: I played bassoon and oboe in middle school and high school, and so both of those are double-reed instruments. During the summer of my freshman year in high school, I was like, “I want to pick up another double.” My choices were contrabassoon or English horn or things that–
Justin: Are you having a stroke?
Drew: Yes. Unless I’m going to go to be a music major, I’m not going to play professional contrabassoon with anybody. I did some research, found bagpipes and I’m like, “I’m going to teach myself bagpipes.” I ordered a practice chanter, which is how you learn bagpipes, and then a book and then I ordered a set of bagpipes that were not great quality bagpipes. I taught myself over the summer. I learned all the basics, that kind of stuff, but the first time I tried to play my bagpipes when they came in, they were not sealed properly and that kind of thing. They take a tremendous amount of air. It’s a very physical instrument.
Justin: Just to build it up before it starts to even [crosstalk]?
Drew: Yes. It’s one of those things of– Yes, and it takes a lot to just maintain it. It’s a stamina instrument. The more you play, the better you get at it, but I passed out my front yard and my grandma ran out to get me and stuff. I hang in there, I found a teacher in Atlanta, I joined a pipe band in Augusta, and so slowly, I got really good. I was a pipe sergeant of a pipe band in Augusta by the time I was 16, 17, and I was competing at that point and everything. Then when I went to London, I played a little bit in London, came back and then in culinary school, set them down. Just in the last three or four years, picked them back up and that kind of stuff. Now I play very competitively across The United States.
Justin: Is there a pipe band in San Antonio?
Drew: There’s a couple actually.
Justin: Are you part of one?
Drew: I am, yes.
Justin: What’s the name of it?
Drew: Alamo City Pipes and Drums.
Justin: I figured it would be more kilt-ish, Scottish?
Drew: Yes, it works.
Justin: Do you have a kilt?
Drew: I have multiple kilts. I have a pipe band kilt, I have my family kilt. If I play solo, I wear my family kilt and then if I play in the pipe band–
Justin: What is a family kilt?
Drew: Tartan is the actual term for it. Tartan is basically cloth that symbolizes a family. It’s basically the first protest cloth because it was banned by the English.
Justin: It is not your specific family?
Drew: It’s the Galloway Tartan, yes.
Justin: Okay. You are Scottish?
Drew: Yes. My great, great, great-grandfather was from Scotland.
Justin: Okay. Did any other cultures culturally play it?
Drew: Yes. They are extremely popular in Britain, France. They are very popular in Canada mainly because of the Scottish influence there.
Justin: Wales or Ireland?
Drew: Different types of pipes. The uilleann pipes are in Ireland. If you think like the Titanic bagpipes on the Titanic movie, those were Irish pipes, uilleann pipes.
Justin: Can you play those?
Drew: No. Those are extremely difficult.
Drew: Yes. Even more difficult than–
Justin: I read somewhere that it’s the hardest instrument to learn.
Drew: Yes. Mainly because there’s no way to stop the airflow. Even on the uilleann pipes, if I’m playing it, I can push it on my knee and stop the air from flowing but once you start playing bagpipes, you can’t stop it.
Justin: That’s why there’s a constant [noise]
Drew: Yes. You’ve got the three drones playing steady note and then the chanter, which is the part you actually make the melody on, has to place as well. There’s no way to stop the air so you have to add very small notes in between the notes which are called grace notes, and then there is a series of small notes called embellishments that are put together. They say the average time is seven years to make a high-level piper.
Justin: Do you think it would be harder to learn that than a giant harp because those always look pretty impossible?
Drew: Yes. I would say the stamina part with bagpipes is different than most instruments. I could sit down and play flute or clarinet or whatever but you can physically just not be able– it takes you time to build up to bagpipes.
Justin: What is the next play with the bagpipes? Just keep competing?
Drew: Yes. I just want to keep– Normally, I would be traveling to the east coast quite a bit on the weekends and that kind of stuff but everything’s shut down because–
Justin: You’re traveling to compete?
Drew: Yes. A lot of it right now is online competitions. I placed fourth in two competitions of the world’s level.
Justin: You say that in your Facebook but you don’t have videos of it up?
Justin: You’re going to share one of those videos?
Drew: One of these days I will.
Justin: Maybe. with us, it can roll out with this episode.
Justin: What is the plan for MOVE in terms of battling COVID? How can listeners help? What are you hoping changes as a result of this pandemic? We’re redefining what it means to do everything else. What are you hoping comes out of this?
Drew: I think that COVID has taught us we knew that there were like fractures and democracy especially here in Texas. I don’t think that most people don’t realize that Texas is one of the hardest, if not the hardest, most difficult states to register to vote and the entire nation. If I want to register you to vote, I have to go get it. Take a class in the county I live in and that class is only given like once or twice a month on the same day. If I’m out of town that day or I’m at work, I can’t take the class. I can’t register people to vote. Once I get deputized, then I have to follow all these rules and everything is in hand, and I have to go drop it back off.
When we say that we registered 55,000 to 60,000 people in the last two years, like that is a big deal. That’s predominantly because that is every conversation is a two to four minute interaction with someone.
Justin: Everybody had to get deputized.
Drew: Plus, you have to like we have organizers that are deputized in 15 counties.
Justin: County, I forget you said that, yes.
Drew: You have to go to each individual county. It’s easier for me to get on a plane, or used to be a pre COVID, to easier to get on a plane, fly to Denver, get off, register people to vote in Denver than it is to go to Guadalupe County and register people.
Justin: That’s so bizarre.
Drew: I think that COVID is showing all of these like fractures in the system from voter registration, because voter registration rates of fall and statewide, to the need for vote by mail for all voters to increase like polling locations and we need to get more young people involved. As poll workers, most poll workers are over the age of 55, and–
Justin: Very white and very old. That’s the demographic, yes.
Drew: Exactly. How do we get more young people involved? One of the ways that we did that as we pushed Frio County, Harris County, and Dallas County to increase the amount that they were paying their poll workers. Frio County went from $9 or $10 an hour to $17 an hour.
Justin: I didn’t know they’re paid.
Drew: If you work and– High schoolers can get out of high school to go work at the polls.
Justin: Is that right?
Drew: Yes. One of the things that we’re doing is encouraging high schoolers to sign up for that and encouraging college students to sign up–
Justin: $17 an hour is a lot of money.
Drew: Yes, especially, it’s only two weeks maybe or it’s only election day, but still that’s like now that maybe will cover some of your books in college or something like that.
Justin: How can people learn more about MOVE, and how can people learn more about what MOVE is doing on an ongoing basis?
Drew: The easiest way is to follow us. Our website is movetexas.org, all spelled out, and then follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tiktok @movetexas.
Justin: All the handles are @movetexas?
Justin: Well, Drew, thank you for coming.
Drew: Justin, it’s a pleasure. Thanks so much for doing this.
Justin: You’re going to give me a video of bagpipes for our website, right? I need that “it” factor to draw people in, and I feel like that’s it.
Drew: That’s it. Maybe that’s [crosstalk]
Justin: You should have came into the office playing. It would scare the hell out of everybody. All right. That about does it for this episode. Thanks, Drew, for coming on. Thanks for telling us more about MOVE Texas. I knew generally what it was. I really didn’t have any understanding of the scope and breadth of what y’all are doing. I think it’s great. Thank you for doing what you do. It helps us all. Thank you for coming on.
After y’all have another big win or another big election, it’d be great to get you back on and see how that budget moved, how many people have been registered. We’ll keep the conversation going.
Drew: Sounds great.
Justin: Join us on our next episode. We’re going to have next week the guy from Alamo brewing and is planning on coming on. Mr. Cooper from the San Antonio food bank is coming on next week, as well as a CEO of one of our publicly traded companies here in town, Ryan Pape, who’s with XPEL coming on as well. Those will get trickled out over the next few weeks.
Guest wish list continues. Top three are going to keep going until one of them comes on. Coach Pop, you’re probably never coming off the list. I’ll have to just do an Emeritus list. Shea Serrano, Patty Mills, all the great things you’re doing and your love for our city. If you know any of them, help us out, we’d love to get them on. Thanks for being here and we’ll see you next time.
Justin: Thanks for joining us on this episode of the Alamo Hour. You are all what make this city so great. We hope you join us next week. In the meantime, subscribe to our podcast and check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/alamohour or our website alamohour.com. Until next time, Viva, San Antonio.
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