Author: Sarah Pollock

Of, By and For the People: Getting Involved in Local Government

Photo: Sarah Pollock For a state that prides itself on having a culture of go-getters, Texas has a population of citizens who are remarkably disengaged from the political process. According to the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, voter turnout in Texas has been one of the lowest in the country for presidential and midterm elections alike, dating back to 1972. Turnout only gets lower for more local elections—here in Austin, only 13.3% of eligible voters participated in final round of the most recent mayoral election. In recent months, however, prominent voices on the national and local stage have...

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For what purpose do you rise? A slice of life at the Texas State Legislature in its 85th session

Photo: Eric About three weeks into my internship at the state legislature (or “lege”), we had the senate live feed playing in our office while we worked and for the first time, I noticed a unique feature of parliamentary procedure. One of the senators asked to be recognized and in response, the president said, “For what purpose do you rise?” This phrase had a poetry that moved me, and I immediately wrote it down on a sticky note and attached it to my computer monitor, where it has remained for the rest of session. It is the first thing...

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45 Arrests and Counting: a John Lewis Documentary at the 20th Barbara Jordan National Forum

Photo: Get In The Way Movie “Tell the story. Tell it over and over again.” So exhorts the titular figure at the beginning of “Get in the Way: The Journey of John Lewis,” a new documentary about John Lewis and his participation in the Civil Rights Movement. Filmmaker Kathleen Dowdey’s moving portrayal of this piece of American history was screened this week as part of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs’ 20th annual Barbara Jordan National Forum. As many in the audience noted during the Q&A panel that followed, the lessons we can learn from John Lewis’...

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