University Democrats host State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez

Allyson Waller

Some students put watching the World Series on hold Wednesday night to hear State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez talk about the new front lines of Texas politics.

At the University Democrats weekly meeting, Rodriguez discussed changes in political dynamics in the state of Texas. A Texas House Representative since 2003, Rodriguez said this past legislative session was by far the worst he has experienced.

“You name the issue that has to do with humanity and good stuff — this was a really terrible session (for them),” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said there seems to be three factions of Republicans emerging from the Texas House as of right now: the extreme-right, Republicans stuck in the middle and business-type Republicans similar to Speaker of the House Joe Straus.

“This is the world of the Republican party right now in the House, I can’t speak for the Senate because I think they’re even worse, but that’s what we’re dealing with right now,” Rodriguez said.

Concerning Straus’ decision not to run for re-election in 2018, Rep. Rodriguez said some of the worst legislation that has happened under the state of Texas has happened under Speaker Straus’ power. However, Rep. Rodriguez said Straus has been a relatively moderate Republican compared to some Republicans today.

UDems President Doug Snyder said he feels that Rep. Rodriguez is one of the most well-versed representatives in the House.

“Democrats don’t have enough votes to do anything,” said Snyder, a management information systems and government senior. “But we can make procedural maneuvers and we can file amendments and file point of orders against bills in an effort to sort of stave off the worst of the worst. Rep. Eddie Rodriguez is one of our best examples of that.”

UDems member Brianna Cross said she appreciates UDems hosting events where students can hear major voices in Texas politics.

“It kind of motivates (students) to get politically active, which is something that definitely needs to happen especially in this political climate,” said Cross, a government freshman.

At the end of his talk, Rodriguez encouraged students to get involved in advocating for the issues that matter to them, saying there are many ways to get involved in the political process.

“Find the issues that you’re passionate about, that you really care about and just go all in,” Rodriguez said. “There are organizations out there already that exist that you can be a part of, lend your voice to that.”