Two female Democratic state representatives are calling on the Texas House to consider more women leaders in the upcoming legislative session.
In an op-ed published in The Dallas Morning News last week, Democratic Reps. Ina Minjarez of San Antonio and Donna Howard of Austin wrote that despite the 22% of Texas House seats filled by women – most of whom are Democrats – only five women have been assigned to chair the 38 House committees. No women lead the most powerful committees, including House State Affairs, Appropriations and Public Education.
“We’re looking at a first-time, record number of women running for the Texas House. We’re looking at bringing in possibly 14 new female members,” Minjarez said in an interview with the Texas Standard. “The composition of the House is changing; it’s starting to reflect the population of the state. And so many of the women coming in and many of my female colleagues who have served continuously for a number of sessions have been overlooked for these committee appointments and assignments.”
Minjarez said Texas has never before had a female House speaker. And while that could change as more women are elected to the House, she also said whomever the speaker is, they’ll need to prioritize equity and diversity on House committees.
“When our constituents trust us and elect us to serve them in the Texas House, as well as the Texas Senate, the Legislature should look like Texas,” she said. “We represent specific communities, and it’s time we partake in committee assignments and carry policies and hold leadership positions. If we continue to ignore, so-to-speak, the elephant in the room, we can’t advance issues, we can’t advance our state, we can’t become better.”