State of Texas: In-depth – The Loyal Opposition

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – President Donald Trump signed a record number of executive orders in his first week in office.  Many of those orders have the President’s political opponents bracing for battle. “We have our work cut out for us,” said Congressman Lloyd Doggett.  The Austin Democrat says he will work to stop policies that could hurt Texans.  “I see my role as being part of the loyal opposition,” Doggett added.

President Trump’s orders on immigration drew the congressman’s concern this week.  Doggett says the orders will have an impact beyond immigrant communities.  “It’s really a big jobs issue,” Doggett explained.  “Our economy throughout this area is so inter-related with Mexico, and it’s a major export market,” Doggett said. “So a disruption, a building of a wall, in more than a physical sense will cost people right out of their pocket book here in Texas,” the congressman concluded.

With Democrats in the minority in Washington, some believe there is little chance to stop President Trump’s orders.  Doggett remains optimistic. “I think that this is no time for despair, it is time for democracy,” he said. “In the House, it’s a matter of respectfully presenting alternative view points, alternative plans,” Doggett continued.  “That’s part of a loyal opposition.”

At the State Capitol, momentum for school choice plans seems to be gaining strength.  Both Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick voiced their support at a Capitol rally last week. But even with their backing, there’s still significant opposition, and not just from Democrats. “A lot of rural Republicans feel really close to their local school boards and their local school superintendents,” explained John Moritz, a politics editor for the USA Today network.  Ben Philpott, Senior Editor for KUT Radio, pointed out another issue for rural districts: “It’s hard to make the case to the districts that this will provide an extra choice for your students, when the closest school might be 40 miles away.”

Another sticking point could be whether private schools would have to meet state accountability standards. “Will they have class size limits?  Will they have teacher accreditation?  Will they have testing?” Philpott listed off some unanswered questions.  “All things, you know, we will finally see when the bill gets rolled out and debate begins.”

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