AUSTIN (Nexstar) — As one special legislative session wraps and another begins, state leaders are keeping the watchful eye of Texas kids in mind as they craft policy for the future.
The monument on the north Capitol grounds depicting schoolchildren on a field trip to the Capitol, consisting of four students gazing up at the historic building, embodies the reminder that Texas kids are paying attention.
This group of young people can be seen from the floor of the Texas House — watching as lawmakers debate the future of education, argue energy policy, and while legislators draw battle lines over voting rights.
“I hope that my kid and every Texas kid takes from this how critical the freedom to vote is, I hope they take from it that our democracy is worthy of protection and that this next generation, who shows all signs of being the most progressive and politically engaged generation in history, will take that mantle on and help reinvigorate democracy here in the United States and Texas,” State Rep. Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, said in a Zoom call this week.
That concept of carrying the torch resonates with members of both parties, regardless of ideology or the topic at the forefront of discussion.
“For kids out there, know — work as hard as you can get involved get active and engaged in this process. And then however it shakes out, you know, consequences come from that, but be active and involved in the process,” State Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, said.
As the Voting Rights Act of 1965 turns 56 years old, Luci Baines Johnson reflected on being a child of politics and having a front seat to history.
“I was able to stand behind my father and see the world changed forever,” she recalled.
Her father, President Lyndon B. Johnson, signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on her 17th birthday.
“I knew that my parents, who had very purpose-driven lives, were doing it for me, for my children, for my grandchildren,” she said.
Said Zwiener: “Luci Baines Johnson just reminded us that not only was she a political kid, her dad was a political kid in the Texas Legislature while his father served, and so I think we’ve seen the results of children being at the frontlines of this fight, they care, they get engaged, and they keep meeting making progress.
These moments in history are unfolding in front of the faces of Texas children, which may lead some of them to want to spend more time at the Capitol. And maybe they’ll run for office and make decisions for their kids, as a new group watches in the wings.