Texas Matters
3:05 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Get Ready For Next Week: ACA Exchanges Open & Wendy Davis Announces Her Decision

Texas Matters: Wendy Davis will finally announce her decision on the governor's race, which will finally end the speculating and kick the 2014 election campaigning into a new gear. Ted Cruz' attempt to "defund Obamacare" is still playing itself out, but has he gained or lost political capital? The insurance exchanges that are part of the Affordable Care Act open up on Oct. 1 and people for and against the new health care law are working their tails off for their case. A look at boomtowns from Mose Buchele of StateImpact Texas, and last, a few words about sustainability from an International Space Station flight controller.

Democrats Have Faith In Davis Run

It’s been widely speculated that Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, will run for governor and she would be the highest profile democrat to run for the office since Ann Richards. The other side of the ticket is led by Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is seeking the GOP nomination.

Davis will formally make an announcement about her political future on October 3 in the auditorium where she received her high school diploma in 1981, the Wiley G. Thomas Coliseum in Haltom City.

Davis brings a lot of excitement to the governor’s race but Republicans are downplaying the news. They say she won’t change the math that keeps electing their candidates to office in Texas.

But in one North Texas suburb, Democrats are optimistic that Davis can reverse their party’s losing streak as KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports.

Also in this edition of Texas Matters:

The Ted Cruz Show

Credit Flickr user Jamelle Bouie (jbouie) / cc

This week Texas Sen. Ted Cruz took to the Senate floor and spoke for over 21 hours against the Affordable Care Act. Cruz is trying to strip the ACA funding from the federal government stop gap spending bill – threatening a government shut down.

He had promised to speak against the ACA until he could no longer stand, but only made it until Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said it was time to move on. A short while later, he voted in favor of the bill he had just spent the night trying to stop.

Along the way Cruz raised his political profile and made plenty of people mad at him – including some in his own party.

Burgess Everett, congressional reporter for POLITICO.com:

"You could write a story about the rift between Ted Cruz and any number of Republican or Democratic senators at this point. He's not really interested in playing this inside game in the Senate where you just get to be friendly with people, figure out where you have a little common ground on compromising and he seems to be pretty proud of that."

Kathleen Sebelius visits Dallas to talk Affordable Care Act

Despite the best efforts of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and others in the Republican party, it seems that on October 1 Texans and the rest on the nation will be able to start going online to check out health insurance options as part of the Affordable Care Act.

To make more Texans aware of that news, this week an all-star cast headlined by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius went to Dallas to pitch the new marketplace. KERA’s Lauren Silverman reports on the case they’re making.

How Texas could make or break the Affordable Care Act

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (center) joined Mayor Julián Castro (right) and his brother, Congressman Joaquín Castro, in San Antonio at the beginning of August.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (center) joined Mayor Julián Castro (right) and his brother, Congressman Joaquín Castro, in San Antonio at the beginning of August.
Credit David Martin Davies / TPR News

It was planned that when the Affordable Care Acts Health Insurance Exchanges go live online on Tuesday - October the first there would be people available to help others figure out the system. These are the Navigators. But not now.

Gov. Rick Perry has recently ordered that the navigators must have an additional 40 hours of training and meet other requirements. Critics say this is Perry again doing all he can to hobble the roll out of the ACA. If he’s successful in Texas it could have repercussions for the ACA nationwide.

Locals sing the boomtown blues in West Texas and beyond

Unemployment in Texas stands at 6.4 percent -- lower than the national average of 7.3 percent -- and the area with the lowest unemployment in Texas is in Middland/Oddessa at 3.2 percent. What's it like to live in a place with the lowest unemployment in Texas and the fastest growing GDP in the country?  Maybe not as wonderful as it sounds, especially in an area that's had its share of oil busts.

KUT’s StateImpact Texas reporter Mose Buchele has been looking into the development in West Texas and reports on the pitfalls of prosperity for Midland-Odessa and beyond.

Sustainability and space technology

This weekend in Fredericksburg, Texas is the 13th annual Renewable Energy Roundup & Green Living Fair -- the largest renewable energy event in Texas. As many are looking for ways to keep the earth healthy for future generations, some are turning their gaze to the heavens looking for clues in what works.

Diane Dailey is a certified International Space Station flight controller for NASA. She’ll be taking part in the fair discussing her work in keep life support systems operational for the International Space Station.

"We're really limited on re-supply capability for the International Space Station. Think about how much it costs to launch every pound -- and water and air are very heavy -- so we really make efforts to have our life supports as closed loop as possible. So really that means capturing as much waste as possible and basically utilizing everything we possibly can to re-use it. So very similarly to the earth being sustainable is reducing our waste and being efficient with how we use our water and our air and the consumables that we have."

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