Texas Legislature: “Pale, Male, and Stale”

The Texas Legislature has been described as “pale, male, and stale.”  When we look at the 87th Legislature (2021-2022):

  • 61% of state legislators are white
  • 73% of state legislators are male

“Representation is more lopsided when broken down by political party.  Almost all Republicans in the Legislature are white” (Ura and Astudillo, 2021) – and the Republican party holds the majority of seats in both chambers.

Party affiliation of members within the Texas Legislature
Party affiliation of members within the 87th Texas Legislature

Membership in the Texas Legislature tends to overrepresent middle and upper-income groups.  The most common profession of our state legislators is a lawyer; business executives are also well represented.  People from these professions are generally those most likely to be able to adapt to the “full time, part of the time” nature of our state legislature.  They also seek to gain name recognition, prestige, and contacts from their time in the Texas Legislature, which benefits them in their primary roles.  Because these people do not officially leave their jobs (remember, part of the citizen legislature concept is having a legislature staffed with people who have full-time occupations outside of government), there’s always the opportunity that a special interest can “buy a legislator” by hiring their law firm or company.