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Year in Review: The Hot Seats Across Texas

For more than a year, Evan Smith has traveled all over Texas to interview state legislators back home, in their districts, in front of hundreds of their constituents. At university campuses from Corpus Christi to Tyler and in between, lawmakers talked about issues that affect every one of us in Texas, from education and health care to water and immigration.

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For more than a year, thanks to a generous grant from the Austin-based KDK-Harman Foundation and the support of sponsors in local communities, I've had the great honor of traveling all over Texas to interview state legislators back home, in their districts, in front of hundreds of their constituents. Typically we talk about some combination of public and higher ed, health care, immigration, transportation, water and other issues that affect every single resident of every single community — but too often don't get discussed enough, or at all, in the current non-competitive electoral environment. The audience gets to ask questions, too. Many are probing and trenchant; others are, let's say, charming byproducts of our system of democracy.

In 2012, we visited McAllen, Denton, Odessa, San Angelo, Tyler, Huntsville, Galveston and San Antonio with a total of 18 lawmakers. We availed ourselves of the hospitality of eight great university campuses: University of Texas-Pan American, North Texas State University, University of Texas of the Permian Basin, Angelo State University, University of Texas-Tyler, Sam Houston State University, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Trinity University. The presidents of those schools and especially their staffs have our heartfelt thanks.

Of course, we filmed each of those conversations, as we do with most of our events, and we present them here to you as a year-end report on our efforts to hold elected officials accountable. Enjoy.

Next year's schedule is coming together nicely. We'll travel to UT-Arlington with state Sen. Kelly Hancock and state Rep. Diane Patrick in January, and then to Baylor University with state Sen. Brian Birdwell and state Rep. Doc Anderson in February. After that, Abilene Christian University in March and Texas Tech University in April — we hope. Join us! You can RSVP for these and other events on our events page.








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