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Pecos, Politics And Oil


All right. NPR has been visiting pitch districts in a 2018 midterms. And in a state of Texas, that is a 23rd Congressional District, that is where we find a possess Rachel Martin today. Hey, Rachel. How’s it going?


Hey, Noel. It’s going flattering good. we am in Del Rio, Texas, looking out over Lake Amistad, that is indeed partial of a healthy separator that separates a U.S. from Mexico, during slightest in this partial of a border. But this is a outrageous congressional district usually in terms of geography. It stretches all a approach from outward of El Paso to San Antonio. But what is in a center of this district is also unequivocally engaging during this moment. Fracking has incited a once tiny city of Pecos, Texas, into a boomtown.


MATT ELLIOTT: This is a frack that’s going on. There’s a lot of things that are function all during once here.

MARTIN: The voice we hear is that of 30-year-old Matt Elliott. Like a lot of people innate and lifted here in Pecos, he knows a denunciation of oil drilling.

ELLIOTT: So they call it zipper fracking. They’ll go down hole. They’ll put a block in, and afterwards they’ll…

MARTIN: He’s one of many people creation income off a oil courtesy here. He’s got a mother and 3 kids and not a lot of toleration for risk.

ELLIOTT: You’ll hear people contend that a oil courtesy is like a drug. And it unequivocally can be since if people aren’t careful, they get so contingent on it that when it’s gone, they don’t know what to do. And we didn’t wish that to be us.

MARTIN: So he started a business that rents out construction equipment, like port-a-potties, to all sorts of corporations, including oil companies. And when it comes to politics, Matt Elliott doesn’t give President Trump all a credit for this boom. But he does like what he’s been seeing.

ELLIOTT: “America First,” holding honour in what we do, we know, vouchsafing people know that, we know, that we’re not – we know, we’re usually not – we’re not usually going to be somebody’s tiny welfare all a time and that, we know, we wish to grow a economy here.

MARTIN: And as for Pecos specifically…

ELLIOTT: As prolonged as we keep relocating forward, that’s a categorical thing.

MARTIN: But Pecos hasn’t usually been relocating forward. It has been barreling down a highway during breakneck speeds with no highway map.

VENETTA SEALS: It’s unequivocally an puncture situation. We weren’t prepared for this.

MARTIN: This is a mayor of Pecos. Her name is Venetta Seals. And she says her city needs to see some-more of that income since now there are approach some-more people here than this place can handle.

What’s a race of Pecos?

SEALS: That’s a tough one to answer. According to a 2010 population, we’re usually underneath 10,000. We are simply on any given day somewhere between 30 and 50,000 depending on how many people are pushing in.

MARTIN: And that’s putting a outrageous aria on this tiny town’s infrastructure. There aren’t adequate things like restaurants or even grocery stores.

SEALS: Unless you’ve indeed been here, we don’t know what a need is here. You don’t know what it’s like to mount in these lines during a grocery store. And afterwards when we go, a shelves – they’re out of bread, milk, eggs, we know, all a staples. My husband’s retired. He knows when a divert male shows adult during Walmart (laughter), when a bread male shows adult literally. And that’s when he goes to get those things for us.

MARTIN: That’s crazy.

SEALS: It is crazy. We would substantially have exploded even some-more if we’d had a housing in place since right now so many of these workers that are vital in a RVs, transport trailers, a workforce stay – they’ll live there. But many of a time, their families aren’t going to live there for an unfixed length of time.

KAYLEY DUKE: This is a oil field. You don’t wish to move your family here anyway. This is a male camp. Like, no, and then, we know…

MARTIN: Yep. She pronounced male camp. That is literally what people here call a proxy housing sites that have popped adult in a final few years to accommodate all of these oil workers. Kayley Duke is a 24-year-old manager of this male camp. She’s wearing a rainbow tie-dye T-shirt with a unicorn on it. It says gripping it real.

DUKE: They work these crazy hours, so we usually have to get in there and make it like home, like home-cooked meals, grin on your face, we know, hail them, like, kind of that thing. So it’s not like it’s – they’re princesses, yet it’s good to come home to a done bed.

MARTIN: Kayley points out a double-wide trailers as we travel around. Each of them can nap adult to 10 men. Sometimes they get their possess room. Sometimes if they work conflicting shifts, they share.

DUKE: We got a dual full-sized beds, and we have a night list and dual closet-like – with drawers.

MARTIN: Two years ago, Kayley was doing a same work in North Dakota. And when a oil in Pecos took off, so did she.

DUKE: It’s good money. And let’s contend you’re not going to college during a moment. we mean, this is a place to be if you’re wanting to smoke-stack some money.

MARTIN: So that’s a image of a conditions here in Pecos. Fracking has non-stop adult a basins. And there’s income to be done by anyone who can find a foothold into oil or any of a associated businesses. Not everybody is saying a approach benefit, though. Property taxes have left adult here. The problem is it’s not usually a oil companies that compensate that hike. It’s working-class families who have been here for generations.

ALVA ALVAREZ: The genius is take it while we can, yet they don’t commend that there are people who are being left behind.

MARTIN: Alva Alvarez is a county attorney. She’s a lifelong Democrat as are many people here, yet a oil bang seems to be changing that.

ALVAREZ: Here we are, Reyes.


MARTIN: Alva has been going doorway to door.

ALVAREZ: Hi, how are you, sir? We are perplexing to get a opinion out for Beto O’Rourke.


ALVAREZ: OK (laughter). Thanks. Bye-bye.


MARTIN: Beto O’Rourke has given Republican obligatory Senator Ted Cruz a run for his money. And Alva never approaching that O’Rourke would have an ascending conflict here.

ALVAREZ: People we knew who had been Democrats for years have now usually motionless that, we guess, a Republican approach is better.

MARTIN: Better since even if they themselves aren’t creation income palm over fist, people around them are. And that has to be good in a prolonged run so a meditative goes. Maybe they’ll finally get that grocery store. There’s also speak of a new hospital. Maybe a city will have adequate income to repair adult a run-down tomb in a center of town.

So what happened to a blue wave? we mean, a reason Beto O’Rourke has gotten so most inhabitant media courtesy is since he’s come serve than any other Democratic claimant in new history. But you’re not feeling it.

ALVAREZ: I’m not feeling it here.


MARTIN: When we were stuffing adult a GMC Yukon during a gas hire on a categorical drag, a bearded male in an equally vast lorry gathering adult and started chatting. His name is John Pack.

JOHN PACK: we late from a glow dialect after 23 years to come out here to work.

MARTIN: So are we creation good money?

PACK: (Laughter) Yes. I’ve doubled my income from a glow department.


PACK: I’ve struggled for a prolonged time. And I’ve come out here, and I’m usually – I’m not struggling anymore like we was.

MARTIN: Does it feel like it’s going to dry adult anytime soon?

PACK: No, as prolonged as Trump’s in office.

MARTIN: So you’re feeling good.

PACK: We’re roving a Trump train.

MARTIN: Do we feel like a country’s divided right now? Do we care?

PACK: Do we care? No, since right now we’re relocating brazen quick, quick and in a hurry.

MARTIN: Quick, quick and in a hurry.

KING: Yeah.

MARTIN: People like a feeling of a movement here, Noel. And a impact of a oil boom, as we heard, is changeable politics in Pecos. But like we said, this is a unequivocally large congressional district. It is truly one of a state’s usually pitch districts, and we try dual other fascinating corners of it this week.

KING: Well, it was good to hear those voices. And we can hear some-more stories from Rachel’s stating in those other corners of a 23rd Texas Congressional District elsewhere in today’s uncover that includes a story of a city along a U.S.-Mexico border.

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Article source: https://www.npr.org/2018/10/26/660850271/pecos-politics-and-oil