Texas Standard for November 16, 2021

South Texas switcheroo: for the first time in a decade, a Texas lawmaker changes parties. A harbinger of other political changes? We’ll have more on representative Ryan Guillen’s decision to leave the Democratic party, and what if anything it says about a changing political climate in a region where Democrats have long been dominant. And: Gromer Jeffers of the Dallas Morning News counts down the five things to look for as we approach primary season 2022. Also: Community colleges in demand to help train workers. But where’s the money coming from? Plus: A program to help formerly incarcerated women find jobs in technology. All that and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardNovember 16, 2021 9:30 am,

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Tuesday, November 16, 2021.

Guillen Switching Parties

It’s been almost 10 years since a Texas state lawmaker flipped sides – then a south Texas Democrat joined the GOP. But history repeated itself yesterday when Rio Grande County lawmaker Rep. Ryan Guillen announced his change from D to R. Mark Jones from the Baker Institute at Rice University joins us with more.

Boquillas Reopening

Few border communities were hit harder by COVID travel restrictions than the Mexican community of Boquillas. When the border shut down completely in March 2020, Boquillas was cut off from its only source of income: tourists in Big Bend National Park. Marfa Public Radio’s Annie Rosenthal reports citizens had to turn tech-savvy and creative to survive.

Community College Funding

It’s been nearly 50 years since the state examined the way it funds community colleges. But the Legislature recently established a Texas Commission on Community College Finance. The group’s job is to report back in two years about how the state should fund public junior colleges and community colleges. San Jacinto College Chancellor and commission member Brenda Hellyer joins us today with more.

HISD Houston Symphony

Texas schools are familiar with budget cuts. For some, that’s meant cutting arts and music classes. But a few schools in the Houston Independent School District actually expanded opportunities for kids interested in music this year. Houston Public Media’s Matt Harab recently visited Hogg Middle School to explore how a partnership with the Houston Symphony is providing music education for students and teachers.

Resiliency Infrastructure

President Biden signed the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill into law on Monday. And in the $35 billion dollars going to Texas, the plan calls for rebuilding roads and bridges with a specific focus on climate change mitigation and resilience – but what exactly does resilience mean?Ali Mostafavi, director of the Urban Resilience Lab at Texas A&M, joins us with an explanation.

Tarantula Hawks

Wizzie Brown is a program specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Standard’s go-to insect expert. Something bugging your listeners? Have them send their insect requests to us!

Formerly Incarcerated Women Tech Training

It’s not easy to rebuild a life after prison. People who’ve been to prison are five times more likely to be unemployed and 10 times more likely to experience homelessness. From KERA, Christopher Connelly reports on a new program aimed at helping women who’ve been imprisoned to launch careers in tech.

Five Primary Season Dramas to Watch

“On Saturday Democrats and Republicans began filing their candidacies for the March primaries, the prelude to what should be a rollicking midterm election cycle,” Gromer Jeffers writes for The Dallas Morning News. He joins us with a recap of five races to watch this primary season.

All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.

If you found the reporting above valuable, please consider making a donation to support it here. Your gift helps pay for everything you find on texasstandard.org and KUT.org. Thanks for donating today.