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Texas State Sen. Nathan Johnson talks Super Tuesday results

“I think Democrats are in a good position to be more influential than they’ve been in in quite a long time,” said State Sen. Nathan Johnson.

TEXAS, USA — State Sen. Nathan Johnson won his primary on Super Tuesday and faces no Republican opposition in November.

Based on the results from the March primary, the already conservative Texas House could lean even more conservative when Johnson returns to Austin for a new legislative session in January 2025. 

But he isn’t sure that’s a bad thing for Texas Democrats.

“They have run on very narrow issues,” Johnson said of some conservative Republicans. “Those issues are going to get boring and old really quickly.”

“The work still has to get done. So who’s going to do it?” he asked. “It is an opportunity for productive-minded, experienced, serious legislators – Democrats and Republicans – to take the lead and get things done because I don’t think the incoming class is going to be able to.”

“I think Democrats are in a good position to be more influential than they’ve been in quite a long time,” Johnson added.

He’s not convinced a school voucher bill will pass, but some of the Republicans who voted against vouchers were either defeated in their primaries or forced into a runoff by candidates backed by Gov. Greg Abbott or Attorney General Ken Paxton.

“Will [vouchers] pass? I don’t know. I mean, there’s still some primary runoffs out there, and we have to see how those turn out,” Johnson said.

“The political opportunity, I don’t think, lies so much in what we do with vouchers,” he said, adding that he does not see room for negotiating on the issue. “If they’re going to move this little bill, well, then can we finally get done all the work that for the last two years didn’t get done in legislative sessions? We need some clear-headed leadership in the education space, not the whole thing to be taken hostage by vouchers.”

Johnson said the single biggest failure of the previous legislative session was linking public education funding to a school voucher program.

“I don’t think it will happen again because I think that everybody in government knows that the voters will not tolerate it happening again,” he said. “And if it does happen again, I think we will see results at the ballot box.

His number one issue heading into next year’s session is infrastructure, which he said encompasses water, electricity, education, health care and transportation.

“Texas is a huge state,” Johnson said. “We have 30 million people. We have a nearly $2.5 trillion economy. We are growing in population, in production, gross domestic product, higher education. We have a ton of money. And if we don’t prepare our infrastructure with some of that money, we will not be ready for the future.”

Without investment, Texas will “collapse under the weight of our own success,” he said. 

“I think there’s been too much attention paid to backward social issues,” Johnson said. “All five of those things have to have our attention and that’s why it also isn’t helpful to be simplistic-minded when you come into the legislature. You can’t just come in here and be the anti-abortion person or whatever your issue is. You’ve got to attend to all this stuff. That’s why you were elected ultimately, and it is your responsibility.”

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