Texas Standard For April 27, 2021

A pickup of two seats in Congress and the electoral college. A missed opportunity for Texas? A top demographer notes the state’s population boom and why estimates for a bigger gain didn’t materialize. And: A special election in Texas that may offer a window on the state of state politics at large. Also: Texas leading the nation in the rate of hospital closures…a look at who’s hardest hit and what’s being done to turn things around. Plus: A new culinary piece de resistance: French tacos? for real? All of that and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardApril 27, 2021 9:30 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

Texas Gains Two Congressional Seats

Texas gained about 4 million more residents in the past decade, according to newly released Census data. The population growth means the state will gain two new congressional seats, bringing its total U.S. House districts to 38. Texas will be a bigger player in the Electoral College, growing from 38 to 40 votes. Rogelio Saénz, a demography professor at the University of Texas in San Antonio talks to the Standard about the impact.

Ron Wright Special Election

More than two dozen candidates are running in a special election to fill a congressional seat left open after North Texas Republican Ron Wright died from COVID-19 earlier this year. The race is likely headed to a runoff. But as the race has intensified in the past couple of weeks, it’s harder to say which Republican will make that runoff, despite Ron Wright’s wife, Susan Wright,  being the favored front-runner just a month ago. Jim Riddlesperger is a political science professor at Texas Christian University and has been following the race. He talks to the Standard.

J&J in San Antonio

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration lifted the pause on the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against COVID-19. There was a temporary halt on the vaccine so researchers could further assess the link to very rare, but dangerous blood clots. In San Antonio, some vaccine providers will begin using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine again this week. Texas Public Radio’s Bioscience and Medicine Reporter Bonnie Petrie has more.

East Texas Hospitals Close

Texans in rural communities face a growing crisis. At the center of it? The closure of rural hospitals. The Texas Newsroom and American Public Media found Texas has the highest rate of hospital closures in the United States. Texas Tech Public Media’s Jayme Lozano reports that as rural residents lose access to healthcare, one team is working to restore hospitals in the areas that need them most.

Exxon Gulf Coast Carbon Capture 

For the most part, Irving-based Exxon Mobil is largely in the business of extraction. But its latest big idea is all about putting things back in the ground, specifically, carbon dioxide. In order to cut carbon emissions that come from the Gulf Coast’s many refineries and manufacturers, ExxonMobil wants to pipe would-be pollutants directly into old oil and gas reservoirs under the Gulf of Mexico, one of a growing number of proposals to cut the impact of emissions along the Gulf. Jim Blackburn, an environmental lawyer and co-director of Rice University’s Center on Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters talks to the Standard.

Emerald Ash Borers

Wizzie Brown is a program specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and she’s our resident insect expert. She talks about Emerald Ash Borers.

 French Tacos

There’s a food phenomenon in France right now called French Tacos. Tacos in fact might be the most popular fast food in France at the moment. But what are we talking about here when we say tacos? Texas Public Radio’s Jerry Clayton explains.

Ted Cruz 

The day after a 21-year-old drove from his home in Allen, Texas to murder Hispanic shoppers at a Walmart in El Paso, a leader of one of the most prominent Tea Party organizations in the nation posted this comment on Facebook: “You’re not going to demographically replace a once proud, strong people without getting blow-back.” With that, the Northeast Tarrant County Tea Party was seen by many as planting a flag that has been hard to ignore, as some other Texas conservatives distanced themselves from the group, one notably did not: Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Beth Reinhard, an investigative reporter for The Washington Post, talks about Cruz’ ties to the group.

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

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