YOUR TEXAS AGRICULTURE MINUTE
Rural representation in new political reality
By Gary Joiner
Lawmakers in Austin are in a special legislative session tackling redistricting.
They’re redrawing the political boundaries for Texas districts in the U.S. House, along with the Texas House, Texas Senate and State Board of Education.
Growth in Texas the last decade was greatest in urban centers and suburbs. The state’s five largest counites -- Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar and Travis – experienced 44% of the state’s growth. All 10 of the state’s fastest-growing counties in the last decade were suburban. Hays County, between Austin and San Antonio, experienced the most growth, doubling its population.
The challenge of redistricting is each district must have similar populations. The reality is there will be fewer rural districts when the process is complete. And rural Texans that find themselves drawn into a suburban district. They will have to engage with suburban and urban elected officials to make sure rural Texas matters. And rural Texans need to find and support candidates in the suburbs with a rural background and personal understanding of farm and ranch issues.
If we educate and engage under this new political reality, we will ensure that rural Texas matters. The success of agriculture and rural Texas depends on it.
The preceding commentary is brought to you by Texas Farm Bureau, the “Voice of Texas Agriculture.” Called “Your Texas Agriculture Minute,” TFB will issue thought-provoking editorials each week—via print and audio—to spark understanding of agriculture in the Lone Star State and its impact on each and every Texan.
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