In the past, a simpler economy that relied heavily on natural resources and a dominant Anglo, Protestant, and rural population exerted little pressure for social services and limited inclusion in the political process. But today, the Texas economy and the Texas population are being transformed. Texas conservatism is deeply engrained, but new citizens, raised in urban environments with different ethnic, religious, and economic experiences, and with different needs and expectations, will influence Texas political culture into the future.
Texas remains a low-tax, low-services, conservative state that celebrates individual effort and responsibility, resists government interference in economic life, and relies on traditional social values to maintain stability in a rapidly changing world. Whether this political culture can survive in a world fundamentally different than the one in which it was born is an open question.
The 21st century will test the ability of state government to address the issues posed by changing economic and demographic trends. What are the major challenges facing Texas government in the 21st century?
Sen. Judith Zaffirini, Texas 21st Senatorial District, Laredo, TX
Allan Saxe, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Texas at Arlington
Jessica Lavariega Monforti, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Texas - Pan American
Elise Hu, Journalist & Political Reporter, Austin, TX
Rep. Rafael Anchia, Texas House of Representatives, District 103, Dallas, TX