Reporting Texas
News and features from UT-Austin's School of Journalism

Issues, Voting Challenges Made Midterms Personal for Highly Engaged Students

On the West Mall of the sprawling University of Texas campus on this gray, drizzly November Election Day, an eagerness for change was evident as the end of a tumultuous year filled with issues deeply affecting them beckoned students to the polls. 

Weeks before, on the other side of campus, a glimpse down Speedway confirmed the UT Austin community was overwhelmingly left-leaning. There was little doubt these young people planned to vote blue.

Scenes such as these provided a warmth and excitement for Democratic voters while conservatives were left out in the cold – by classmates and their candidates alike.

Not so much for McKennon Rice, economics senior and executive board member for Young Conservatives of Texas.

“I just feel like I don’t have the space to share my voice,” Rice said. “We’re already a minority, and there’s an even smaller minority that’s actually willing to talk and be open without fear.”

Young voters across a divided nation are being credited by political analysts for preventing a Republican-dominated midterm from coming to life. Yet, that “red wave” did come to shore in the Lone Star State. Every statewide Republican candidate won by double percentage points, and a frustration from the large majority of UT students the day after the election was palpable.

Political Action Groups Battle for Texas School Board Power Amid Fights Over Book Bans and Race

Battles over removal of LGBTQ-themed books from libraries and the teaching of race in Texas schools are moving to the ballot boxes in hotly contested school board elections. 

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Electric Vehicle Charging Set to Expand in Rural Texas in Next Five Years 

Planning a long-distance trip in an electric vehicle can be tricky, especially in rural parts of Texas where electric vehicle charging stations can be sparse.
Texas is working to improve rural access to charging stations. The Federal Highway Administration in September approved $408 million to help the state government to install EV charging stations along designated alternative fuel corridors. Those corridors are along interstate highways, such interstates 10, 20 and 35.
Texas received the most federal funding for the EV project through the Infrastructure and Investment and Jobs Act approved by Congress in 2021. California was second with an estimated $384 million for chargers. 

Amid Global Demand for Oil, Gulf Coast Town Grapples With Plans for Offshore Export Terminal

The seemingly laid-back island town of Surfside Beach has found itself at the forefront of oil industry expansion, as a plan to build the Sea Port Oil Terminal, known as SPOT, has divided the community.
The plan includes building an oil pipeline from Harris County through Brazoria County, across vacant lots in the village of Surfside Beach and connecting to a deepwater port 27 nautical miles offshore. 
The construction project is one of six new permit applications for offshore terminals in the Gulf of Mexico to export oil or natural gas to the global market. The permit for the Sea Port Oil Terminal has received more than 37,000 public comments, and a final decision on permit approval is expected this month from the U.S. Maritime Administration.

Award-Winning Chef Edgar Rico’s Taqueria Is Giving Back, One Free Meal at a Time

Diversity in Tattooing Opens Up Art Form to People with Different Identities

As Teacher Vacancies Mount, Special Education Teachers Struggle to Meet Student Needs

Residents, Businesses Face Prospect of Moving to Make Way for I-35 Expansion