Your Local Lawmakers Enter the 88th Lege Arena

We talk to our reps about their priorities going into the new session

Photos by Jana Birchum / Design by Zeke Barbaro

There's always been whiplash involved when turning one's attention from Austin's generally genial progressive politics to the mean and base bullshit in which Texas legislators must trade. It kind of feels even more intense now that Austinites have repeatedly taken to the streets promising to break the laws the Lege has passed. (Aid and abet, y'all.) But even though the 2022 midterm results in Texas mostly ratified the status quo, the disastrous results elsewhere for Republicans have shaken up the Fox News Nation discourse from which the Texas GOP takes its cues.

And so there's a sense among the Central Texas Democrats, particularly in the House, that things that repair and renew the state's broken-down systems of education, justice, health care, environmental stewardship, and more might make it through the session. Four of the House Democrats who represent parts of Austin first took office in 2019, part of a 12-member blue wave that, more than anything explicitly "progressive," focused the Lege's attention on its most down-to-earth and apolitically meaningful tasks, like paying teachers more. Two years later, the endless 87th Lege did the opposite of this, becoming a yearlong parade of MAGAfied culture warfare and lib-owning and then walkouts and ultimately failed protests by the Dems. So just reverting to the mean between those poles would be nice. – Mike Clark-Madison

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