Texas is known for a lot of things. Political participation is not one of them. We rank near the bottom of the list when it comes to civic engagement, including voter registration and voting, volunteering, contacting elected officials, and discussing government and politics (for more information, see the 2018 Texas Civic Health Index).
This has serious implications. According to theories of substantive representation, participatory democracy, and pluralist democracy, civic engagement should promote more responsive government. Communities with strong civic health tend to have better employment rates, schools, and physical health.
What few people aren’t turned off by government and politics tend to focus their attention on the federal government when, honestly, states and local governments are closer to home and have a more direct impact on our day-to-day life. Instead of following Washington, D.C., we should be following what is happening in our own backyard. And herein lies the purpose of Texas Political Science: to serve as a resource to promote civic engagement and political efficacy where it matters most – in the Lone Star State and our local communities.