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Inauguration Day: How the Biden Administration will affect state and local government

New federal leaders can have a significant impact
Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 10:31 AM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Every four years, the nation is rapt with attention on one question: Who will be the next President of the United States? Yet often, life-altering decisions are made at the state and local level.

Ann Bowman, a state and local politics scholar at the Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service, says that while that is true, a new presidential administration can affect how state and local governments do their jobs.

Especially with--Bowman’s research shows--a Democratic administration and Congress, new federal leaders can have a significant impact.

“The general thinking is that Democratic presidents and Democratic congresses tend to be more ambitious with regard to the federal government’s role in our system; you typically find a more robust policy agenda on the part of Democratic presidents in regards to what goes on in state and local governments,” said Bowman. “In a sense, there’s kind of a shift in power, with emphasis on the role of the national government.”

However, Bowman is clear: the level of impact ultimately depends heavily on the state government. For example, in Texas, the Republican Party controls the governor’s mansion and the state legislature.

“You’re likely to see them push back against some of this,” said Bowman. “They certainly like the funding but they don’t oftentimes like the strings that are attached to it… The reaction to this is likely to vary based on state partisan control. Texas, for example, has been quite notable in its willingness to sue the federal government on numerous occasions. We’re likely to see that continue in the near future.”

Bowman also says she expects to see the Biden Administration specifically push for policies to address climate change, federally supported job creation, social policy, and a concentrated effort on racial and social inequity.

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