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From Texas Standard:

President-elect Joe Biden has begun rolling out his transition plan, including a website listing four priorities for the start of his administration: COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change.

Republicans Maintain Majority On Texas Education Board

Nov 6, 2020

Democrats are gaining one seat on the Republican-dominated State Board of Education, while Republicans held on in the other races that Democrats had hoped to flip in the 2020 general election.

At a senior staff meeting one Thursday morning in May, with much of the Texas attorney general’s office working from home and morale seeming low, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton arrived at the Price Daniel Sr. State Office Building in downtown Austin with a surprise honor for a top deputy: a copy of "Scalia Speaks," the late conservative U.S. Supreme Court justice’s book.

Paxton had inscribed it with a congratulatory note for Blake Brickman, and presented it personally at the meeting of about 20 people.


Cases of COVID-19 in El Paso continued to skyrocket on Wednesday as the city reported a record 3,100 new people contracted the virus, smashing the previous single-day record by more than 1,000.

Texas House Appears To Remain In Republican Control

Nov 4, 2020

It would be the biggest political shakeup in Texas in nearly two decades – snapping Republicans’ long control of the House, Senate and governor’s office. And it seemed like it might be within reach.

Democrats needed to hold the 12 seats they picked up in 2018 – and win nine more. They poured money into races around the state.

"Democrats gave it a really good try," Rice University political science professor Mark Jones said. "The difficulty is they’re still in a Republican state and a majority of the voters in many of these districts are still Republican-leaning."

Lee esta historia en español.

Below are results for statewide races and Texas Legislature elections in Central Texas, courtesy of The Texas Tribune.

More Than 1 Million Young Texans Voted Early In 2020 Election

Nov 2, 2020

Texas was one of the first states to cast more votes in the 2020 election than in all of 2016.

More than a million young Texans cast their ballots before early voting ended on Friday. That also put the Lone Star State first in the U.S. for young voter turnout.

On the same day, the statewide total vote soared to about 9.7 million, compared to just under 9 million in 2016.

On Saturday morning, Bexar County reported 594,735 early votes.

There’s been a record turnout of voters in Texas. The number of ballots cast during early voting has already surpassed the total turnout of voters from the 2016 General Election.

This high turnout has Democrats hopeful that this could be the year Texas turns blue, and the Biden campaign spent the weekend trying to further mobilize the Texas electorate to come out and vote.


The man who arrived at the emergency room in Childress earlier this month did not have COVID-19, but he did have a serious abdominal condition that required surgery, hospital administrators said.

The number of voters who cast ballots in the Texas early voting period this year has now surpassed the total number of people who voted in all of 2016.

There have been eight new polls of Texas likely voters released in the last five days — and on the presidential level, the results are decidedly mixed: Six show Donald Trump in the lead, and three have Joe Biden in front.

Kamala Harris’ trip to Texas on Friday will include three stops across the state, including in the Rio Grande Valley, according to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign.

Biden’s running mate is set to visit to Fort Worth, Houston and McAllen.

Juan Venancio and his parents flipped through an old photo album in their home in Southwest Houston, reflecting on the chaos of 2020. A first time voter, Venancio keeps COVID-19 and the economic fallout in mind as the election approaches.

“Most people, when they turn 18, they’re really happy you know to get a car or go to college,” Venancio said. “I was obviously happy to go to college and do these things and become more independent, but one of the things I was most excited about about turning 18 is being able to vote.”

Lee esta historia en español. 

From Texas Standard:

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans With Disabilities Act, or ADA. It bars discrimination in public accommodations and is supposed to allow for full participation for people with disabilities.

But even with something as fundamental as voting, people with disabilities sometimes face limited access.

Slowly And Cautiously, The VA Is Reopening Its Medical Clinics

Oct 28, 2020

You won't see rows of parked cars on the first floor of the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital parking garage in Tampa. Instead, the garage is filled with hospital beds, computers, medication carts, and an X-ray machine.

The medical center has begun seeing more patients after it initially sharply restricted care at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. But to do that, it has moved most of its emergency department outside.

Patients with minor issues like sprained ankles can receive treatment in the garage and never have to step foot inside the hospital.


Texas voters are now required to wear face masks when casting ballots during the pandemic, a federal district judge ruled Tuesday, invalidating an exemption for polling places that Gov. Greg Abbott had included in his statewide mask mandate.

Texas has been home to several high-profile mass shootings over the past decade. And after each deadly event, like clockwork, there's a debate about the types of legislation that can be passed to prevent the next tragedy. But for some reason, the issue has hardly been spoken about during the 2020 election cycle.

Sylvia Cervantes is 74 years old, retired and spends a lot of time tending to her front garden in Laredo.

“These are my pride in joy,” she said in Spanglish. “These are my Angel Trumpets. See how beautiful they open up.”

Her garden is filled with flowers like Angel Trumpets, Plumerias and Hibiscuses. The upkeep can be grueling work.

“When you’re poor, you have to work very hard because you don’t have to get a gardener. I don’t have the money,” she said.

But she’s used to hard work.

Lee esta historia en español. 

From Texas Standard:

On Election Day, members of the Texas Army National Guard will be in the streets of some Texas cities. According to reporting on Monday, the order came from Gov. Greg Abbott. The troops are said to have been called in case of disturbances that arise during the Nov. 3 election.

But many questions remain about where exactly troops will be, and what they'll be doing. 

Texas voters are on pace to break records this year: The state already has surpassed 80% of its total 2016 vote total.

But while Texas is among those states leading the country this election cycle, it's long been notorious for low voter turnout – and rules that make it harder to vote here than in most other states. A recent University of Northern Illinois analysis ranked Texas dead last in terms of access to the ballot.

Kamala Harris, Joe Biden’s running mate and the California U.S. senator, will be visiting Texas on Friday, according to an email Biden’s campaign sent to Democratic lawmakers in Texas on Sunday.

Harris will be the highest-profile representative of the Biden campaign to visit Texas in person during the general election, though his campaign was already set to spend millions of dollars on TV ads in Texas.

Three years after the #MeToo movement went viral, the military is having its own version of the movement: #IAmVanessaGuillen.

People are using the hashtag to share their accounts of being raped, sexually assaulted, and sexually harassed in the military. They say there often were few or no consequences for their attackers.

From Texas Standard:

The Texas unemployment agency is reinstating work search requirements for those receiving unemployment benefits starting Nov. 1.


Thousands of Texans spent hours waiting in long lines to vote early over the past 10 days. Many wore masks. Some didn’t.

About half a million Texans under 30 have voted so far, according to new data from Tufts University.

When Debbie Chen temporarily closed her Houston restaurant in March due to the coronavirus, she was worried about her health and her financial livelihood.

But as a Chinese American, she was also worried about vandalism and her physical safety, given how President Donald Trump and others were blaming China for the pandemic and using racist monikers for the virus.

Seven months later, as Texans head to the polls in the 2020 elections, she hasn’t forgotten. Chen works on Asian American and Pacific Islander voter turnout every year, but this year she feels even more motivated.

From Texas Standard:

Lubbock saw the same summer spike in COVID-19 cases as much of Texas. And, like much of the state, those cases decreased for a while after. But they jumped back up again in recent weeks, says Covenant Health Regional Chief Medical Officer Dr. Craig Rhyne.

Republicans in Texas are overwhelmingly behind President Trump’s reelection, as are statewide officials like Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton.

But a few past GOP leaders support Democrat Joe Biden, including former Congressmen Alan Steelman and Steve Bartlett.


If a COVID-19 vaccine is ready next month, Texas health officials predict it won’t be widely available to Texans until at least July.

Texas native Chuck Rocha knows a lot about how to reach Latino voters.

The former senior adviser for Bernie Sanders' 2020 campaign was pivotal in helping garner an unexpected amount of Latino support. That success has lead to him being seen within the political world as an expert in engaging Latino voters.

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