ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – Across the Big Country, the state, and the nation, it’s been a year of turmoil, upheaval, and change on the political stage. From the White House all the way down to the local city hall, things have been changing. Even though the changes in Washington are at the forefront of many people’s minds, there is still plenty of action closer to home.
A lot of change has come about following the election of Donald Trump, but it’s a change that’s bigger than just one politician. It’s an all out war of ideals amongst the Republican Party. Dr. Paul Fabrizio, professor of political science at McMurry University explains it as a civil war.
“There’s no other way to describe it. They don’t like each other.”, he says, talking about traditional, or “establishment” Republicans. Dr. Fabrizio explains how they’re at odds with the populist movement exhibited by President Trump. “They’re competing for cash, they’re competing for votes, they’re competing for governing philosophies.”
That war has trickled down to government at the local level, and it can be seen in the Abilene City Council.
Dr. Fabrizio says that we can see “the establishment wing of the Republican Party, which is the majority of the City Council.” The populist wing has come to the council in recent years, and he says, “They have specific issues and specific agendas they want discussed. They want them brought out, they want to be heard on that.”
Much of that change has come about because of what some saw to be a very opaque council: “What we have had in the past is a sense that city goverment has been closed to many people. And now there’s a real concerted effort to open it up and let people’s voices be heard.”
Mayor Anthony Williams, in his first year at the head of council meetings, is a part of that change as well, with his campaign built on “bringing everyone to the table.” He agrees that things have changed across the nation, and he says that it’s exactly what the people have demanded.
“I think the American people and the citizens of Abilene have said the status quo isn’t good enough anymore.”, says Mayor Williams. He continues, “They’re looking for government to look, and act, and feel different. We’re delivering on that.”