James Dell Talarico (born May 17, 1989) is an American politician and former teacher. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2018 to represent District 52, which includes the cities of Round Rock, Taylor, Hutto, and Georgetown in Williamson County. Following the 2020 redistricting cycle, Talarico announced his run for a seat in District 50 in 2022. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

James Talarico
Talarico in 2023
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 50th district
Assumed office
January 10, 2023
Preceded byCelia Israel
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 52nd district
In office
November 19, 2018 – January 10, 2023
Preceded byLarry Gonzales
Succeeded byCaroline Harris (redistricting)
Personal details
Born (1989-05-17) May 17, 1989 (age 34)
Political partyDemocratic
EducationUniversity of Texas, Austin (BA)
Harvard University (MA)

Talarico currently serves on the Texas House of Representatives' Public Education Committee, Calendars Committee, and Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee.[1]

Early life and education Edit

Talarico was born at Round Rock Hospital in Williamson County, Texas, to Tamara Causey and was later adopted by Mark Talarico. He has a younger sister. He attended Round Rock ISD schools and graduated from McNeil High School in Williamson County.

Talarico earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin,[2] where he organized students for tuition relief.[3] Talarico was a member of the Friar Society, the University of Texas's oldest honor society.[4] He later earned a Master of Arts degree in education policy from Harvard University.[5]

Career Edit

In 2011, Talarico joined Teach For America, teaching sixth grade English language arts at Rhodes Middle School on the west side of San Antonio.[6] After leaving the classroom, Talarico was the central Texas executive director for Reasoning Mind, a Texas nonprofit focusing on bringing technology to low-income classrooms.

Texas House of Representatives Edit

2018 Edit

Talarico launched his campaign for the Texas House shortly after incumbent state legislator Larry Gonzales announced his retirement. At 28, Talarico won both the special and general elections against Republican Cynthia Flores in 2018,[7] garnering media attention for walking the full length of the district.[8]

Talarico was sworn into the Texas House of Representatives on November 20, 2018. He was appointed to the Public Education and Juvenile Justice Committees, and currently serves as the youngest member of the Texas Legislature.[9]

In the 86th Texas Legislature, he filed the Whole Student Agenda,[6] a legislative package with bills addressing public education policy. As a member of the Public Education Committee, he helped draft House Bill 3, which contained $11.6 billion in funds for school finance and property tax reform.[10]

During Talarico's first term, a recording of Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen was leaked by Michael Quinn Sullivan of the conservative advocacy group Empower Texans. In it, Bonnen claimed he had recruited a challenger for "that Talarico kid."[11]

2020 Edit

Talarico won reelection against former Hutto City Councilmember Lucio Valdez with 51.5% of the vote.[12] For the 87th Legislative Session, he was reappointed to the Public Education and Juvenile Justice Committees and appointed to the Calendars committee.[13]

During the 87th legislative session, he filed Javier Ambler's Law, demanding an end to police contracts with reality TV shows,[14] in response to the role Live PD is alleged to have played in the killing of Javier Ambler by Williamson County police. He had previously criticized Sheriff Robert Chody's handling of the incident, calling for his resignation.[15]

Talarico was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes during a five-day stint in the ICU after a 2018 campaign event where he walked 25 miles. In response, he passed a bill which caps prices at $25 for each insulin prescription per month.[16][17]

At the end of the legislative session, he was named one of the Best Legislators by Texas Monthly magazine. [18]

2022 Edit

After being drawn into a Republican district during the 2020 redistricting process, Talarico announced that he would run in the neighboring House District 50, a Democratic seat being vacated by Rep. Celia Israel.[19][20][21]

He won the primary election with 78.5% of the vote and won the general election with 76.8% of the vote.[22]

During the 88th legislative session, he passed House Bill 25, which creates the Texas Wholesale Prescription Drug Importation Program and allows Texas to import lower-cost Canadian medications that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.[23]

Talarico was an outspoken critic of SB 1515, which sought to have the Ten Commandments displayed in a “conspicuous place” in elementary and secondary classrooms. [24]

Election history Edit

2018 Edit

Texas General Election, 2018: House District 52[25]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic James Talarico 36,798 51.7%
Republican Cynthia Flores 34,340 48.3%
Margin 2,438 3.4%
Texas Special Election, 2018: House District 52[26]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic James Talarico 32,235 50.89%
Republican Cynthia Flores 31,113 49.11%
Margin 1,122 1.78%

2020 Edit

Texas General Election, 2020: House District 52[27]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic James Talarico 50,520 51.5%
Republican Lucio Valdez 47,611 48.5%
Margin 2,909 3.0%

2022 Edit

Texas Democratic Primary Election, 2022: House District 50[28]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic James Talarico 9,117 78.5
Democratic David Alcorta 2,497 21.5%
Margin 6,620 57%
Texas General Election, 2022: House District 50[29]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic James Talarico 36,876 76.8%
Republican Victor Johnson 9,717 20.3%
Margin 27,159 56.5%

Personal life Edit

Talarico is a devout Christian and was raised Presbyterian.[30]

References Edit

  1. ^ Stone, Richard. "Talarico wins seat on Pub Ed Committee". Taylor Press. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  2. ^ "Freshman lawmakers Jon Rosenthal, James Talarico reflect on how UT impacted their future - The Daily Texan". www.dailytexanonline.com. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  3. ^ Smithson, Cate (February 26, 2009). "University of Texas Grapples With Tuition, Funding". ABC News. Retrieved May 6, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Alumni". Friar Society. Archived from the original on June 11, 2021.
  5. ^ Sanders, Austin (January 4, 2019). "Rep. James Talarico on the 86th Texas Legislature". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  6. ^ a b McNeel, Bekah (April 30, 2019). "Texas's 'Whole Student Agenda': How a Former Teacher Is Using His Legislative Seat to Push 24 New Bills Supporting Sex Ed, Mental Health, Restorative Justice & More". The 74. Retrieved January 27, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ "Texas House of Representatives District 52". Ballotpedia. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  8. ^ "Texas House candidate James Talarico takes campaign to the streets". Austin American-Statesman.
  9. ^ Samuels, Alex (January 8, 2019). "James Talarico, youngest state representative in Texas Legislature, settles in for the 86th session". Texas Tribune. Retrieved May 7, 2023.
  10. ^ Svitek, Patrick (June 11, 2019). "Gov. Greg Abbott signs $11.6 billion school finance measure into law". The Texas Tribune.
  11. ^ Samuels, Alexa Ura and Alex (October 15, 2019). ""This is all confidential": Key excerpts from secret recording of House Speaker Dennis Bonnen". The Texas Tribune.
  12. ^ "Incumbent Talarico defeats challenger Valdez for Texas House District 52". KXAN. November 4, 2020.
  13. ^ "Texas House of Representatives". Texas House of Representatives.
  14. ^ Ford, Brittany; Bontke, Jordan (November 10, 2020). "New Williamson CO. Sheriff reacts to bill that would ban police contracts with reality tv". KEYE.
  15. ^ "State Rep. James Talarico joins calls for Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody to resign". FOX 7 Austin. June 9, 2020. Retrieved May 7, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ "'This disease affects anyone' – Diabetic emergency leads to Texas Rep. James Talarico's bill to cap insulin costs". KXAN Austin. April 11, 2021. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  17. ^ "Talarico reveals he has diabetes while introducing insulin legislation". FOX 7 Austin. April 6, 2021. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  18. ^ Hooks, Christopher; Ratcliffe, R.G.; Zelinski, Andrea (June 15, 2021). "2021: The Best and Worst Legislators". Texas Monthly. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  19. ^ Svitek, Patrick (October 13, 2021). "After his Round Rock district was redrawn to help Republicans, state Rep. James Talarico says he'll move to Austin to run in 2022". kxan. Retrieved February 4, 2022.
  20. ^ Isgur, Dorothy (October 15, 2021). "Rep. Talarico blames 'racist gerrymandering' for causing move to new House district". kxan. Retrieved February 7, 2022.
  21. ^ Johnson, Brad (October 15, 2021). "The Back Mic: Democrat Moves After Redistricting, New Legislator Off to Fast Start, Approval of University Spending Requested". The Texan. Retrieved February 4, 2022.
  22. ^ "James Talarico". Ballotpedia. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  23. ^ "Bill to allow low-cost prescription drug imports from Canada headed to Gov. Abbott's desk". kvue.com. May 23, 2023. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  24. ^ "Texas bill promoting Ten Commandments in public classrooms poses complex legal questions". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  25. ^ "Elected Officials Directory: Texas Representative James Talarico". The Texas Tribune.
  26. ^ "2018 Special Election House District 52".
  27. ^ "Directory: James Talarico". November 4, 2020.
  28. ^ "Texas House of Representatives District 50". Ballotpedia. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  29. ^ "Texas House of Representatives District 50". Ballotpedia. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  30. ^ Wren, Adam (June 16, 2023). "He's Deeply Religious and a Democrat. He Might Be the Next Big Thing in Texas Politics". POLITICO. Retrieved June 17, 2023.

External links Edit