Dynamics of the Political Alliances of Black Elected Officials in Three Local Governance Bodies in Austin, Texas
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The purpose of this research is to study the black/Latino elected leaders of Austin, Texas, particularly those who have served or are serving on the city council, the county commissioners court, and the school board. More specifically, this study is concerned with whether sharing minority status brings about convergence, cooperation and coalitions, or separation and indifference. A starting assumption is that no elected official can consider himself successful if he fails to get the minimum number of votes casts to get his issues passed. This study explores how well this goal is accomplished through alliances with colleagues and what negotiating styles help or impede this goal. In addition, this paper explores the specific issues that bring about convergence and divergence, the influence of constituents on the decision-making of minority officials, and the consequence of elections-at-large vs district elections for the effectiveness of minority office holders.