Rag Radio: Elliott Naishtat, Champion of Texas Progressive Politics, in Exclusive Interview

Democratic State Rep. retires after 26 years fighting for progressive causes.

Elliott Naishtat

Democratic State Rep. Elliott Naishtat, a Texas progressive icon, joins Thorne Dreyer to talk about his life, his career, and Texas politics — and why he decided to retire after 26 years in the notoriously conservative Texas Legislature. This is an informative, entertaining, and very important interview.

The Austin Chronicle wrote in early January 2016, that, “A tectonic shift just rumbled through Austin politics: Democrat Rep. Elliott Naishtat, the dean of the Travis County House delegation, has announced he will not run for re-election.” The Chronicle added that, “Along with Congressmen Lloyd Doggett, Naishtat has been the defining face of Austin progressive politics for over two decades.”

A native New Yorker, Rep. Naishtat — who has lived in Texas for 45 years and has represented District 49 since 1990 — came to the state as a VISTA volunteer in Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. Elliott was a founding board member of the House Progressive Caucus. In 13 legislative sessions, he has passed 330 bills.

His legislation has focused on the needs of low- and moderate-income people, children, senior citizens, minorities, people with disabilities, victims of domestic violence, and vulnerable populations. And he has been a tireless advocate for medical marijuana.

Elliott Naishtat was also our guest on Rag Radio on September 30, 2011. You can listen to the podcast of that show here.

Rag Radio is produced in the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM, an all-volunteer, cooperatively-run community radio station in Austin, Texas, in association with The Rag Blog and the New Journalism Project, a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The host and producer of Rag Radio, Thorne Dreyer, is a prominent Austin-based activist and writer who was a pioneer of the ’60s underground press movement. The show’s engineer and co-producer is Tracey Schulz and the staff photographer is Roger Baker. The syndicated show is broadcast (and streamed) live Fridays, 2-3 p.m. (Central) on KOOP in Austin, and is later rebroadcast and streamed on WFTE-FM in Mt. Cobb and Scranton, PA., on Houston Pacifica’s KPFT HD-3 90.1-FM, and by KKRN, 88.5-FM in Round Mountain, CA — and is a featured podcast at VT. All Rag Radio podcasts can be found at the Internet Archive. Contact: ragradio@koop.org



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