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Season 10: Facing Reality, Claiming Leadership | Episode 8

Living ‘Love Your Neighbor’ in the State House of Representatives

Overview

This week’s episode of Igniting Imagination Podcast is a bit of a departure for us – for the first time, our guest is a politician! Yep, State Representative James Talarico. We decided that if we are going to do a season on Facing Reality and Claiming Leadership, we ought to directly address the polarization in our country – and where better than Texas politics!?!

James Talarico, a lifelong Christian, active church member, and student at Austin Presbyterian Seminary while serving in the Texas House of Representatives, lives his deep faith in startling ways in his legislative work. If you find yourself disagreeing with his stances, then all the more, he wants to draw you into conversation and even collaboration. He lives a very biblical and profoundly challenging understanding of what it means to love your neighbor. We look forward to hearing your reactions. We pray it will spark new conversations for you, perhaps a new insight into God’s call for you or your church.

In this conversation, you’ll hear:

  • Why James is in seminary and how he navigates faith and politics.

  • Why polarization is the greatest challenge of our time and how people of faith can respond.

  • The threat of Christian nationalism to the country and church.

  • How to lead in an environment of constant criticism.

  • Stories of hope and making a difference at the local level.

Meet Our Guest

Rahel Billups

Rep. James Talarico

Representative James Talarico is a former public school teacher first elected to serve in the Texas House of Representatives in 2018. Born in Round Rock, Rep. Talarico attended Wells Branch Elementary School and graduated from McNeil High School before earning degrees from The University of Texas at Austin and Harvard University. After college, he taught middle school in the Westside of San Antonio. He currently sits on the Public Education Committee, the Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee, and the Calendars Committee.

As a former teacher, Rep. Talarico has worked to ensure all Texas students have access to a quality education. In his first term, he helped write the most significant reform to the state’s school finance system in 20 years. He went on to pass major legislation to open up millions of dollars for student mental health and character education programs, establish the first-ever cap on Pre-K class sizes to reduce student-to-teacher ratios, and improve the quality and affordability of child care. As a type 1 diabetic, Rep. Talarico also passed historic legislation to cap insulin copays in Texas at $25 a month and import low-cost prescription drugs from Canada — dramatically reducing prescription drug costs for Texas patients. In addition, he passed laws to combat teen fentanyl overdoses, ban reality TV policing, increase accountability within the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, and give all incarcerated minors in Texas the opportunity to earn a high school diploma.

For these accomplishments, Talarico was named one of the Top 10 Best Legislators by Texas Monthly magazine.

The article by Adam Wren referenced in the episode can be accessed here.

Talarico’s websites are here and here.

Show Notes

Representative James Talarico is a former public school teacher first elected to serve in the Texas House of Representatives in 2018. Born in Round Rock, Rep. Talarico attended Wells Branch Elementary School and graduated from McNeil High School before earning degrees from The University of Texas at Austin and Harvard University. After college, he taught middle school in the Westside of San Antonio. He currently sits on the Public Education Committee, the Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee, and the Calendars Committee.

As a former teacher, Rep. Talarico has worked to ensure all Texas students have access to a quality education. In his first term, he helped write the most significant reform to the state’s school finance system in 20 years. He went on to pass major legislation to open up millions of dollars for student mental health and character education programs, establish the first-ever cap on Pre-K class sizes to reduce student-to-teacher ratios, and improve the quality and affordability of child care. As a type 1 diabetic, Rep. Talarico also passed historic legislation to cap insulin copays in Texas at $25 a month and import low-cost prescription drugs from Canada — dramatically reducing prescription drug costs for Texas patients. In addition, he passed laws to combat teen fentanyl overdoses, ban reality TV policing, increase accountability within the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, and give all incarcerated minors in Texas the opportunity to earn a high school diploma.

For these accomplishments, Talarico was named one of the Top 10 Best Legislators by Texas Monthly magazine.

Article by Adam Wren referenced in the episode can be accessed here.

Talarico’s websites are here and here.

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