While county democrat parties in Northeast Texas have been sparse and under-active; a group of Young Democrats are looking to make a change.
Northeast Texas Young Democrats is the under 40 arm of the Democratic Party for Bowie, Camp, Cass, Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Hopkins, Hunt, Lamar, Morris, Rains, Red River, and Titus Counties.
Only chartered a few months, this group has hit the ground running and is working on municipal elections all across Northeast Texas. Recently I spoke with the group’s chairman, Hunter Evans, about what they are doing now and what their plans on in the near future.
Evans is from the small town of Deport, TX. If you’re unfamiliar with it, the town has a population of less than 600 and is split between Lamar County and Red River County. I wanted to know what some of the issues that young Democratic voters in Northeast Texas were concerned about.
With municipal elections coming up in just a few short months, I asked Evans have they recruited any candidates or are they actively recruiting for city and county positions.
“We already helped support a non-partisan mayor win an election in a small town. Yes, we are actively recruiting for municipal seats, but we’re also supporting the reelection of several other seats.”
I asked what some of the challenges that Northeast Texas is facing.
Evans told me, “One of biggest challenges we face in rural communities in Northeast Texas is the fact that so many of our hospitals have closed during the past 10 years, including my county’s hospital.”
From his tiny town in Deport, Texas the closest hospital is 30 to 45 minute drive away. Think about that. If there is a medical emergency a person has to drive 45 minutes to get help.
Rural healthcare in Texas.
It’s no secret that Texas sucks for rural healthcare, but we keep electing legislators who haven’t been working to make a difference. According to this 2019 article from the Texas Observer one easy fix for rural healthcare in Texas would be expanding Medicaid. Every year in Texas, hundreds of people die without access to healthcare and Northeast Texas is one area hit hard by that.
Their State House Rep, Gary VanDeaver HD1, has been in office since 2015 and hasn’t done much of anything for his district, especially not for healthcare. His focus has been on the guns and education, but when you look at the state of education in Northeast Texas, it makes you wonder what VanDeaver has been doing. VanDeaver has ran unopposed for years. Considering that Empower Texans gave him an F rating, he isn’t even liked among the right. A good strong candidate for HD1 in 2022 could really change that.
Their State Senator, Bryan Hughes SD1, isn’t really much of nothing either. Audrey Spanko ran against him in 2020, unfortunately she did not win, but his seat is up again in 2022, and hopefully there will be a good, strong contender. Hughes also has done nothing for rural Texas healthcare.
These districts are highly gerrymandered and Democrats have a lot of work to do up there, but they know it. A group like Northeast Young Democrats is the energy that Northeast Texas needs. They are going to work hard to start pushing for change.
Until I spoke with Hunter Evans, I didn’t even know that this was a thing. But it’s a real problem in Northeast Texas. And despite VanDeaver having an education platform, it doesn’t appear that he or other elected representatives are doing much to fix it.
Consolidating schools is when rural schools have to merge with larger public school districts. It really hurts a small community to lose their school system. Aside from the jobs, it also discourages younger families with children from moving to that area.
Many areas in Northeast Texas still don’t have broadband internet. (Still, in 2020) And the areas that do have broadband, it’s slow, unreliable, and frequently experiences blackouts. Neither Gary VanDeaver or Bryan Hughes has put any effort into expanding internet access in rural Northeast Texas.
It’s time for change.
If you live in one of the counties listed above and are 40 or younger; you should consider joining Northeast Texas Young Democrats. They have a lot of drive and are looking to really make a difference.
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