Travis County, located in the heart of Texas, is known for its vibrant culture, beautiful landscapes, and thriving economy. But beyond its picturesque scenery and bustling cities, Travis County also has a rich political history. From local government officials to national leaders, this county has produced some notable political figures who have made a significant impact on the state and the country as a whole.
The Political Landscape of Travis CountyTravis County is a Democratic stronghold in the traditionally conservative state of Texas. The county has consistently voted for Democratic candidates in presidential elections since 1992. In fact, it is one of the few counties in Texas that voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. But this wasn't always the case.
In the early 1900s, Travis County was predominantly Republican. It wasn't until the 1960s that the county started to shift towards the Democratic party. This shift can be attributed to the growing population of Austin, the county seat and state capital, which has a more liberal and progressive population compared to other parts of Texas.
Notable Political Figures from Travis CountyTravis County has produced several notable political figures who have left their mark on Texas politics and beyond. Let's take a closer look at some of these individuals:
Ann RichardsAnn Richards was a trailblazer in Texas politics.
She was the first woman to be elected as governor of Texas and served from 1991 to 1995. Richards was known for her sharp wit and progressive policies, including increasing funding for education and implementing environmental regulations. Before becoming governor, Richards served as the Travis County Commissioner from 1977 to 1983. She also served as the Texas State Treasurer from 1983 to 1991. Richards' impact on Texas politics is still felt today, and she remains a beloved figure in the state.
Lloyd DoggettLloyd Doggett is a long-serving member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Texas' 35th congressional district, which includes parts of Travis County. Doggett has been in office since 1995 and is currently serving his 13th term. Doggett is known for his progressive views and has been a vocal advocate for issues such as healthcare reform, LGBTQ+ rights, and environmental protection. He has also been a strong supporter of public education and has worked to increase funding for schools in his district.
Glen MaxeyGlen Maxey made history in 1991 when he became the first openly gay member of the Texas State Legislature. He represented Travis County in the Texas House of Representatives for 12 years and was known for his progressive policies and advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights. Maxey was also a strong advocate for environmental protection and was instrumental in passing legislation to protect the Edwards Aquifer, a major source of drinking water for central Texas.
He continues to be involved in politics and is currently the Executive Director of the Texas Democratic Party.
Sarah EckhardtSarah Eckhardt made history in 2015 when she became the first woman to be elected as Travis County Judge. As County Judge, Eckhardt oversees the county's budget and serves as the presiding officer of the Commissioners Court. Eckhardt has been a strong advocate for social justice issues and has worked to address issues such as affordable housing, criminal justice reform, and healthcare access. She also played a key role in the county's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, implementing measures to protect public health and support small businesses.
The Future of Politics in Travis CountyTravis County continues to be a hub for progressive politics in Texas. With a growing population and a diverse community, the county is poised to produce even more notable political figures in the future. One rising star in Travis County politics is Sheryl Cole, who was recently elected as the first African American woman to represent Travis County in the Texas House of Representatives.
Cole has a background in social work and has been a strong advocate for issues such as healthcare, education, and criminal justice reform. Another rising star is Greg Casar, who was elected as the youngest member of the Austin City Council in 2014. Casar has been a vocal advocate for affordable housing, workers' rights, and environmental protection. He has also been a leader in the fight against gentrification and displacement in Austin.