Three High-Profile Visitors Signal Texas’ Growing Role In National Politics

This week in Texas politics with The Texas Tribune.

By Alexandra Hart, Michael Marks & Caroline CovingtonJuly 2, 2021 12:28 pm, , ,

It’s time for the week that was in Texas politics with Ross Ramsey, executive editor of The Texas Tribune.

Texas is allocating $100 million from federal COVID-19 relief money to support Texas colleges that are training people to enter health care, logistics and other jobs in demand right now. Ramsey called it a “kick-start” for those programs and those industries.

First Lady Jill Biden and First Gentleman Douglas Emhoff visited North Texas this week to promote COVID-19 vaccination. Ramsey says their visit came on the heels of former President Donald Trump’s visit to the South Texas border with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday. Ramsey says it’s part of a larger trend of national political figures visiting Texas – one he expects to continue as Texas becomes more politically competitive.

“We’re seeing national politics come into Texas. And I think it’s something we need to get used to for the next couple of years,” Ramsey said.

But the first lady and first gentleman’s visit is also a strategy for tackling the pandemic: Texas is a large state in terms of population, so bumping up vaccinations here could do a lot of good for the country’s overall vaccination rate.

Former state Rep. James White announced he will challenge Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller in the 2022 Republican primary. White was the only Black Republican in the Texas House. He resigned earlier this year, but didn’t say at the time what he was planning for the future. Ramsey says he’s waiting to see who one important non-Texan – Donald Trump – will endorse in the race.

“I think he could do anything … he’s not a predictable guy. And I think it’s a very important endorsement,” he said.

Trump’s endorsement has also been an important factor in Texas’ upcoming attorney general race.

“The former president could really play in Texas politics this cycle,” Ramsey said.

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