SB1: Who’s Fighting For Latin@ Interests?

If one hasn’t noticed themake-up of the Senate Bill 1 (the budget) conference committee, one should take a look-see. One will find that on the Texas House side, there are no Latinos. State Rep. Sylvester Turner, I’m sure, serves folks well, but Latinos are not even represented on the committee. On the Senate side, at the very least there is one Latino (Hinojosa) and one whose district has a good chunk of Latino population (Whitmire). Why is the Texas House different?

Before anyone responds with, “what about this group?” or “that group?” let’s get real. Mexican Americans and Latinos are the fasting growing demographic; if anything, it was more than evident in the last Census. Republicans proved it by redrawing Congressional and other district boundaries with the intent of decreasing the power of the Latino vote in one way or another.

Obviously, as far as Republicans are concerned, Latinos are on their radar, but the results of their actions have tended to be negative, rather than supportive.

Here are some facts:

  • Hispanics accounted for 65% of Texas’ population growth.
  • Non-Hispanic Whites account for 45% of the population.
  • As Education is a major portion of the budget, half of Texas’ K-12 students are Hispanic.

I can go on with the demographics, obviously. And I can also give an entire listing of how billions cut from K-12 and higher education, or cuts to health care, in 2011 have affected Latinos. And if it affected Latinos, one knows it affected everyone else, too.

I guess all I’m asking for is a little fairness and representation on a conference committee that is supposed to decide on a budget that affects a huge chunk of Texans. A huge chunk that has obviously impacted politics and policy in Texas.

If you want me to suggest names, I can give you some, too, but chances are they will be members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.

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