December 4, 2019
by Paula S. Hall – CCDP Messaging Team
Save our state, vote our Democratic slate!
What could be more important than beating Donald J. Trump in his Presidential run for a second term? One could argue that flipping the Texas House to Democrats could be the most important – a win not had by Democrats in more than 20 years!
Currently, the 150-member Texas House has 83 Republicans and 67 Democrats. However, if Democrats could win nine seats, the Texas House would flip. This could be a seismic shift and alter the balance of power in Texas and the country as a whole!
State legislature controls our re-districting
The Texas State House gets to re-draw both state and congressional voting district lines at least once per decade. If the lines are manipulated strategically, also known as gerrymandering, this can result in one party (think “Republican”) controlling a disproportionate number of seats.
In the Texas 2018 midterm races, Republicans received a little over 50% of the votes and Democrats got 47%. Yet Texans sent 23 Republicans (64%) and 13 Democrats to Washington as our US congressional representatives. What’s fair about that?
Currently, there are 18 Republican House Districts (HD) within 10 points of flipping to Democrats and two of these house districts are located in Collin county – HD 66 and HD 67, with less than 0.6% and 2.2% margins, respectively. The Party was successful in 2018 when Texas Democrats picked up 12 state house seats and two state senate seats. We can do this again!
With maps that are more representative of the population and therefore fairer, politics will be less extreme. Our legislators will be forced to work with each other. We will have more lawmakers listening to their voters, and we will no longer have politicians picking their voters!
State legislatures work hard
Over the last decade, the US Congress has gradually descended into a state of complete dysfunction because of increased division. It is broken! Even when Republicans controlled both branches of Congress and the White House, the US Congress passed just over 500 bills, a third of which were ceremonial. With divided government, legislating has proven all but impossible.
State lawmaking, however, moves faster and bills are passed more often than at the federal level. According to the Texas Association of Community Colleges, “The 86th Texas Legislature filed over 7,300 pieces of legislation during its 140-day regular session, passing over 1,400 bills into law.”
State Laws Have a Huge Impact on Daily Life
The Texas State legislature makes decisions on issues ranging from education, healthcare access, transportation, and the environment — all things that directly affect our daily lives, sometimes even more so than federal policy.
Democratic gains in the Texas legislature in November 2018 — 12 seats in the House and two in the Senate — made House Bill (HB) 3 possible (overhaul of Texas public school finance that increased per-student funding, expanded pre-K offerings, etc.).
“If Democrats continue to win elections, bills like HB 3 will become the norm, not the exception,” state party spokesman Abhi Rahman said.
State Leaders Become National Leaders
If we grow Democratic candidates at the state level, we can build a pipeline of highly qualified folks with the experience and credentials to become national candidates. Almost half of all Presidents, including Barack Obama, started their political careers as state legislators.
Texas Democrats Can No Longer Be Tardy to the Party
True accountability to the voters can never be achieved through single-party control of the Texas legislature and governorship. It is not the recipe for a responsive state government.
Let’s focus on electing Democratic candidates who will seek to strengthen our democracy, fight for working families, defend civil rights, and protect the environment. Want to change our government? It starts with the Texas State House in 2020!