(Wow. Just, wow. - promoted by Karl-Thomas Musselman)
As reported in today's American-Statesman, hours into a hearing of the Health and Human Services Committee, Republican committee member Gary Elkins, an eight-term member of the Texas House of Representatives asked,
"What's Medicaid? I know I hear it ... I really don't know what it is. I know that's a big shock to everyone in the audience, Okay?"Elkins comes to the Capitol from Jersey Village, which lies along U.S. 290, just outside the tollway in northwest Harris County.
The town is named for the Jersey cows once ubiquitous on Clark W. Henry's 1,236 acre F&M Dairy. Clark sold the land for residential development in 1953, and Jersey Village was incorporated in 1956, around the time Elkins was born.
Jersey Village makes up a small albeit privileged fraction of the 135th House District. The 2000 census found 6,880 people living in Jersey Village, 9,498 in scattered random bits that had been annexed into Houston, and 118,089 spread across the vast non-incorporated areas making up the bulk of the district.
In contrast to Jersey Village, which is 82% white, the Houston bits and unincorporated areas are 48% minority. The poor of the district outnumber the entire population of Jersey Village, which enjoyed a median family income of $82,689 in 2000, some 60% higher than the corresponding national figure.
So if your reaction to Elkins' question was, "Does this guy live in a bubble?" The answer is an unqualified "yes."