Thinking Big For Texas

Texas is big sky country, and its people are the landscape.

Texans are warm, welcoming, can-do folk. Nowhere is this more evident than the extremely accomplished Dallasite Tom Luce. He’s not looking at his legacy but trying to ensure future Texans have his same opportunities. His vision: Texas 2036.

What is it?

What it’s not is a political organization, a fundraising organization, or a lobbying group.

Instead, mega leaders from around the state have formed a coalition to make sure that Texas focuses on the problems that lie ahead by its 200th birthday (2036).

Its diverse board, including Ron Kirk and the Hunts, wants people to poke about the website and get informed and give feedback.

The organization is accumulating data by experts and analysts in six areas to determine where Texas is today and where it’s headed. Amazingly, in the information age, nobody has done this.

The six policy areas are education and the workforce, natural resources, infrastructure, justice and safety, and drumroll, government performance.

You don’t have to wait for an election or join a PAC to have a voice. Once you join (for free), you can opt in to emails or texts on the data that interests you, and when the time comes to support a legislative initiative in Austin, join in. So far, there are 13,000 followers on social media.

The catchphrase “strategic data” can make the eyes glaze over. Still, Texas has a certain amount of tax money to be allocated to various problems, so helping to determine where to get the biggest bang for the buck to accommodate the 10 million people expected to be added to the population by 2036 is huge.

Some ideas, such as getting broadband to the least populated areas so those residents can stay educated for the jobs ahead, is just common sense, but it needs to be effective.

Data shows only 30% of school children are reading at grade level. That’s unacceptable.

Remember that Zager and Evans’ song from the 1960s, “In the year 2525, if man is still alive, if woman can survive…”

Well, in the year 2036, we don’t want a quick fix.

With data-driven planning, we can prepare our children for a good life. It’s the Texas way.

Len Bourland

The views expressed by columnist Len Bourland are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of People Newspapers. Email Len at [email protected]

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