Welcome to the Texas Legislature 2021. What an opportunity to counter the Washington narrative and carry out the people’s business with calm, dignity and wisdom. My hope is that partisanship, incivility, and flagrant dishonesty, all of which we see across the aisle both ways in Washington, D.C., will be resoundingly rejected by conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats, both.
And we got a gift to start 2021, as the deficit in the next biennial budget is projected to be far less than originally feared during the worst part of the pandemically induced economic downturn. Meeting budget priorities and living within our means appears very doable, while remaining fiscally prudent, with no tax increases. Also, it would be a breath of fresh air to see the redistricting process handled in a fair and transparent way this year.
Republicans should resist the urge to draw districts that protect incumbents too dramatically – carving as many districts that are 80-20 Republican as possible, rather than carving as many 57-43 districts as possible, which will insure the strong public servants are elected, and the weak ones face a real threat of losing. This provides accountability and a focus on the quality of the officials, not allowing career politicians to remain forever, because the districts are drawn in such a partisan way even poor public servants cannot be defeated.
Yes the Republicans will control the process – elections have consequences. Yes, we still badly need term limits, in the executive and legislative branches. But it’s still possible to prepare for the next decade in a way that we get an excellent policy start in the 2021 Texas legislature, and we insure future public servants are the highest quality possible, in districts as competitive as possible.