Politicians in Central Texas are confronted with a unique set of challenges when it comes to tackling issues that are specific to their region. From race and immigration to the economy, these issues have a direct effect on the lives of those living in the area. With partisan fervor, Republicans have drawn new maps for Congress and the Legislature that could potentially weaken the power of voters of color, leading to demands from groups that feel marginalized as they strive to have representation in the corridors of power. The Rio Grande is a key point of contention, as thousands of migrants cross it to reach border cities like Eagle Pass and El Paso. In response, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has implemented Operation Lone Star, a border security mission that has cost billions of dollars.
While physical barriers are intended to push migrants to legally cross through a port of entry, Abbott has also been accused of transporting migrants by bus to Democratic-led cities. Republican Ellen Troxclair from Lakeway has expressed her readiness to support more border security legislation during the October special session. The people of Texas had limited capacity to have a say in the new maps drawn by Republicans, which could potentially lead to legal challenges claiming discrimination against Texans of color. This is especially relevant when it comes to debates about the renaming of military bases, the removal of Confederate statues, brutality and police reform, and how all of these issues are addressed in schools. A survey conducted by Lone Star Progressives revealed that 97% believe racism is still an important issue in Texas today, while 86% of Heritage Advocates and 72% of Reverent Texans disagree. Religion plays an important role in Texas, with 70% saying it is important in their lives.
While the energy sector remains a major contributor to the state's GDP, Texas has also experienced rapid growth in the high-tech sector. A clear majority believes that the state's future lies in knowledge-based industries such as technology, health and education, rather than oil and gas industries. However, there are sharp divisions when it comes to views on the influence of religion in Texas.
90%of Lone Star Progressives believe religion has too much influence on Texas politics, while more than 75% of Reverent Texans and Heritage Advocates and more than 60% of Staunch Texans think that religious influence is too little. This year marks the first time in nearly half a century that the Legislature has drawn new political districts without federal oversight. This could potentially lead to legal challenges claiming discrimination against Texans of color.
Despite traditional perceptions of Texan values, a small majority believes racism remains a major problem in Texas today. Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds believe that the Texas education system should equip young people with applicable business skills. As Central Texas politicians grapple with these regional issues, they must take into account the diverse opinions held by their constituents. It is essential for them to be aware of how their decisions will affect those living in their region and ensure that all voices are heard and respected.