'Inside the TCMA' featured Article
The Coming Year
Jared Patterson  |  June 5, 2020

What does your crystal ball say about 2021? Mine says it’s going to be another challenging year.

Though the Coronavirus vaccine appears to be on the horizon, it may take at least a couple of quarters before the vaccine is widespread enough to make a large impact. For now, the virus appears to be spiking again. With many industries, like travel, hotels and restaurants on the brink, I’m not sure our economy can take much more of this.

Politically, I’m not sure where we stand either. President Trump has yet to concede the national election due to voting irregularities in several states. For the first time in history, Republicans picked up at least 9 US House seats, is on pace to keep the Senate, kept every Governor and defeated one sitting Democrat and control more State Houses throughout the country – but apparently lost the presidency.

What will President Biden’s policies do to our economy? In our industry we may have to watch the EPA more than any other agency. Though Republican control of the Senate and a slimmer Democratic majority in the House will create barriers for radical policy changes, the last several presidents have used Executive Orders too frequently.

Here in Texas, Republicans kept control of the Texas House by the same margin as last session, 83-67, though Democrats did defeat one sitting Senator to eliminate the super-majority previously held by Republicans in the upper chamber. Still, Republicans control every statewide office, including the Texas Railroad Commission, which controls oil and gas policy.

Given the logistical limitations from the Coronavirus, I suspect the 2021 legislative session will be a “nuts and bolts” session. That is, the legislature is likely to pass far fewer bills than in previous sessions. Constitutionally, the only requirement is to pass a budget – a balanced budget – which will be difficult with billions less this cycle.

Also, a requirement this session is the once-per-decade redistricting, or reapportionment, of districts across Texas. This is the most political process a legislature can take on as it calls for redrawing every Texas House, Senate, State Board of Education, Congressional (including adding new districts from population growth) and many judicial seats. Given the lack of growth outside of the Texas triangle (DFW down to San Antonio, over to Houston and then back up to DFW), rural Texas will likely lose districts to urban and suburban Texas. The balance of power in the legislature, and in Congress, will be affected for the foreseeable future.

All in all, we have a number of challenges before us. A global pandemic, the economic fallout and a new administration in the White House is certain to bring about one constant: Change. As business leaders in the foundry industry, that’s something you’ve navigated before. And 2021 will be no different. It’s time to grab those bootstraps and pull yourself up, yank those gloves a little tighter, and get to work. You can do it.

  Jared Patterson
TCMA Vice-Chairman
Texas State Representative District 106