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  1. Think of an issue that is important to you or an issue that has been in the news in Texas. Included is a list of possible topics that can be used but those are just some examples – you may use one of these or you may use something completely different and should be in depth. Topic needs to be a state issue, not a federal issue. Examples of issues;
  • Voting – ways to increase turnout; voter id
  • Education – suggestions for improving the system; school funding; standardized testing; funding
  • Regulation – should there be more regulation on businesses that store hazardous chemicals or on food safety
  • Justice system – death penalty; reforms on sentencing; equality in the system; public defenders
  • Health care – ways to improve access in Texas
  • Water issues – municipalities and farmers fighting over access to water during drought; actions the state can take to ensure adequate water supply
  • Revenue – ways the state or city can collect revenue; how should a budget surplus be used; should the state change the way it collects revenue
  • Social issues — gay marriage, abortion, guns, etc.

 

  1. Once you pick a topic, prepare a background analysis of the issue.

* Write a comprehensive, full-length articles from mainstream newspapers or news magazine publications.
* Your articles should discuss the substance of the issue, provide recent information and should consider various viewpoints.  Avoid strict opinion pieces that provide a one-sided analysis of the issue.
* Background analysis should include the people/groups involved in the debate, description of the conflicting viewpoints of the people/groups involved, including economic or ideological positions, and the various policy outcomes that are desired by the different participants in the debate.
* Including statistics or data that help explain your issue will make your analysis stronger.  To help find articles, you can use the Newspaper Source available on the list of databases through the Central Texas College Library at www.ctcd.edu/academics/library or other online searches available to you.
 

  1. The background analysis should be three to four pages and cite all the articles used including URL for the article.

 

  1. Once background analysis is completed, identify a state, county or city government official in Texas that can address your issue. Hint:  US Senators and members of Congress are not state level officials.

* Using formal correspondence style, prepare one page (single spaced) letter informing the official of your concern and offering a solution or making a request for action.  Yours may be an emotional issue, but your argument must be based on reason, not just emotion.  Support your position and refute opposing positions with factual information, data and well-reasoned arguments.
* When writing your letter, use information from your background analysis, but you should not just cut and paste the information from your background analysis into the letter.
 

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