Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Rep. Lloyd Doggett: Welcome Back, Democracy is Calling

Copyright U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s Office, and reproduced with permission

Editor’s note: This column was submitted to the Texan by a member of the UT community.

 “What starts here changes the world.” It’s a phrase heard often and one that will guide your success as a Longhorn. Whether this is your first or final year, you are forever a part of UT’s history. 

As a student at one of our nation’s top public universities, I hope you use this opportunity to expand your skill sets and become a more actively engaged citizen.

As a lifelong Longhorn and Austinite, the professors and classmates I met on campus—including my wife, Libby—helped shape my view of the world. While serving as UT student president and advocating for more student participation in the decisions that impact our lives, I first developed a love of public service.

In Congress, I strive to help Texans afford higher education and overcome the weight of crushing student debt. The Supreme Court’s wrongful decision to overturn up to $20,000 in student debt relief was a blow to millions of hardworking Americans. But even if this one-time relief had been enacted, long-term reform to our education system would still be necessary.

For years, I’ve worked to simplify the FAFSA process and recently authored legislation to expand Pell Grants on a tax-free basis and improve coordination with the American Opportunity Tax Credit to ensure students don’t lose any of their benefits. Unlocking financial assistance for students of all backgrounds is crucial to relieving the stress of rising costs for tuition, technology, housing and, for some, child and elder care.

 However, Republican obstruction is making our work even more urgent.

At the state level, Gov. Abbott and Texas Republicans continually seek to undermine our public education system. Instead of increasing teacher pay and making college more accessible, they are banning books and prohibiting college diversity, equity and inclusion. After several meetings with student leaders concerned with interference at UT, I joined their opposition to anti-DEI bills degrading Texas colleges and universities. This misguided legislation also jeopardizes UT’s standing as a top-tier research institution.

At both the state and federal levels, this past year Republicans blocked any response to gun violence, interfered with women’s health care and reproductive freedom, ignored the climate crisis and attempted to turn back the clock on LGBTQ+ rights.

Like many Americans after Roe v. Wade fell, I am appalled by abortion bans in Texas and elsewhere as well as the attempt to impose a nationwide abortion ban. I’m an original cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would safeguard the federal right to an abortion.

I believe in accountability for elected officials at every level of government. Those who refuse to meet urgent needs should be replaced. Make your voice heard by registering to vote in Austin through several student groups on campus or at

 Democracy is fragile; our commitment to protect and enhance it must be strong and enduring.

 Each semester, Longhorns intern in my Austin and Washington offices. Learn more online and help me understand your federal priorities at Follow me @RepLloydDoggett on Twitter, Threads, Facebook and Instagram.

U.S. Rep. Doggett serves in the House of Representatives for a district that includes UT and most of Austin. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business and the School of Law.

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