October 25, 2012
By Ben Philpott
Ten years ago, the Texas Republican Party won control of the Texas Legislature. With that control, the long-time minority party got a chance to flex its conservative muscle.
Over the next three days, KUT will look back on the Republican decade.
It was a gradual takeover, with the minority party trending upward for several years: George Bush was elected Governor of Texas in 1994; Republicans took over the Texas Senate in 1997; and by 2001 the party was just four seats away from taking a majority in the House. The resulting 2001 legislative redistricting maps would cement the state’s shift from blue to red....
Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson says that budgetary road map established in 2003 has directed GOP policy ever since. Over the years, he says, this has led to less money for state infrastructure, health care programs, and public and higher education.
“They are far more oriented towards stopping bad things from happening – from their perspective – than causing good things to happen,” Jillson says. “They don’t have a positive agenda in the sense of [making] improvements to education or access to health care, transportation, the environment or any of the other major policy issues.”...