The Politics of Race, Gender, Ethnicity and Representation in the Texas Legislature
The Journal of Race and Policy, volume 5, number 1, Spring/Summer 2009: 35-53
19 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2014
Date Written: May 16, 2009
We examine whether descriptive representation, in terms of race, ethnicity and gender, influences substantive representation among black, Hispanic, and female legislators. Using the 2001 Texas state legislature’s lowerhouse, we investigate the demographics of the districts represented by minorities, finding that all but one of the representatives of color was elected from majority-minority districts. Districts represented by blacks and Latinos were found to be poorer than those represented by Anglo legislators. As a result, we expected legislators of color to introduce legislation that is more progressive than their Anglo counterparts. We also employ the framework of intersectionality to determine whether race/ethnicity, gender, and party interact to affect the introduction of progressive legislation. Using a newly developed substantive representation index, we find that minority legislators and female-Anglo Democrats sponsor bills that are more progressive based on their sheer numbers in the legislature, when compared to all other groups.
Keywords: intersectionality, Texas, gender, race, ethnicity
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