Stakes high yet little interest in state Senate race - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Stakes high yet little interest in state Senate race

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

If voter turnout is a measure of caring within a community, then a charge could be made that in mostly Hispanic, mostly east side State Senate District 6, indifference is rampant.

In the Jan. 26 special election to replace the departed Mario Gallegos a little more than 3 percent of those eligible even bothered to cast a ballot.

"It was sad. When only 16,000 people in a district that has over 800,000 residents turns out to vote, that's a sad state of affairs," said Mark Jones, Chairman of Political Science at Rice University.

And yet few if any areas of the Lone Star State have more needs.

In District 6, 43 percent of adults lack a high school diploma and a quarter of all residents live below the official poverty line.

On the east side, decades worth of under investment are easy to detect.

"Our highways are deteriorating and so are our bridges," said Houston city council member James Rodriguez.

Rodriguez believes the formula for improvement demands an effective voice in Austin chosen by engaged voters who understand the stakes.

"Making sure that social services aren't cut and that we are getting our fair share of tax dollars being spent back into this community," said Rodriguez.

"We need folks to know that this is an important election that a state senator effects your daily lives and your children's lives and the quality of lives for our seniors and our residents," he added.

And yet odds are the March run-off between political veterans Sylvia Garcia and Carol Alvarado will draw tepid interest at best.

Professor Jones has a theory as to why.

"I think part of the explanation is you have two Hispanic candidates and that most folks would be happy with either," said Jones.

Governor Rick Perry has yet to set a date for a run off election that will likely be scheduled sometime in March.

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