AUSTIN, Texas -- Sometimes in the thick of this coronavirus crisis it's hard to think about a post-pandemic Texas. But the authors of a first-of-its-kind report are asking us to do just that.
Leaders of the University of Texas at Austin's LBJ School of Public Affairs and the University of Houston's Hobby School of Public Affairs collaborated on a proposal that calls for a more inclusive, more resilient Texas.
“A Playbook for Resiliency” outlines nine steps, including things like increasing investment in public health care, protecting essential workers, promoting rural communities and making sure all Texans have access to the Internet.
"Instead of just trying to recreate the past and act like we have a luxury to ignore certain parts that are problems with our economy, we ought to be focusing on how we can do better, so that our economy will be more resilient and be more equitable," said Kirk Watson, a former state senator and now founding dean of the Hobby School.
The authors of the report also point to building more partnerships instead of rivalries.
“As we look at the economic recovery, I think one of the things to keep in mind is what’s needed here in Austin, Texas, versus what’s needed in Dallas or El Paso or Houston will be different, and local officials bring that expertise and that knowledge that’s necessary to ensuring that we can open up and really do this in a way that closes some of the inequities and gaps that we see in our economy,” said Steven Pedigo, inaugural director of the LBJ School’s Urban Lab.
Watson and Pedigo say that collaborative approach will be essential for any recovery from the pandemic because financial resources will be limited.
Click the video link above to watch our full interview with Watson and Pedigo.