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banner Friday, 7 January, 2000, 17:44 GMT
Texas

The Lone Star State was built on cattle, cotton and oil and cherishes its independence. Many Texans hark back to 19th century when it was an independent state.

Key facts
Population: 19,759,614 (ranked 3 among states)
Governor: George W. Bush (R)
Electoral College votes: 32
The Texas Governor and presidential hopeful George W Bush enjoys saying that "what Texans dream, Texans can do", and the state's wealth, power and creativity are the fruits of this approach.

Until the 1960s the Democrats ruled Texas. Now it is staunchly Republican, and most traces of the traditional Democratic hold on the Texan countryside have disappeared. Governor Bush won re-election in 1998 with 68% and Republicans are the largest party in the state Senate.

Texas is certain to back the Republican presidential candidate, especially if that candidate turns out to be one of the state's most prominent figures.

1998 Congress
House of Representatives: 17 Democrats, 13 Republicans
Senate: 2 Republicans
In the 1990s Texas overtook New York as the second most populous state in America and its growth rate is double the national rate. Texas is now the most experienced place in the world at extracting oil and natural gas and it is home to firms such as Texas Instruments, computer giants Compaq and Ross Perot's former company Electronic Data Systems.

Despite an economic downturn at the beginning of the 1990s when oil prices collapsed and defence spending was cut, Texas created more jobs than any other US state in the last decade. The Texas gulf coast has more than half the total chemical and petroleum production in the US.

Voting record
1996: Dole 49%, Clinton 44%
1992: Bush 41%, Clinton 37%, Perot 22%
1988: Bush 56%, Dukakis 43%
The state has also nurtured and profited from its relations with Mexico, a stark contrast to California's Latin relationship. Today, 70% of US exports to Mexico are from Texas and the two cultures are increasingly intertwined. This is in part due to the positive role played by Governor Bush.

The racial discrimination and segregation that blighted Texas for so long now seems to be a thing of the past too although there is still a big gap between the rich and poor.

Behind the gleaming oil refineries and computer centres of central Dallas and Houston lurk areas like the 15th District in southern Texas that rank among the poorest in the nation. Four of the 20 counties in the US with the lowest household income are located in Texas.

But the Texan approach to social problems is very different to that of other big states. It has very low taxes, a small public sector, minimal welfare provision and the highest execution rate of any state in the nation.

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Links to more States stories are at the foot of the page.


Links to more States stories