Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections


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This year, he put the measure forward again, for the fourth time. Thirteen people were killed. The driver of the truck was twenty-year-old Jack Dillon Young, who was largely unhurt. The accident was one of many that might have been prevented had Governor Perry signed the texting bill into law.

The long-term goal of cultural conservatives is to cut off access to abortion in Texas, to end state subsidies for birth control, and to gut state funding for Planned Parenthood—which, in , served sixty per cent of the health needs of low-income women in the state. Eighty-two family-planning clinics subsequently shut down.

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Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people in the nation, and, according to the Center for Public Policy Priorities, about seventeen per cent of Texan women and girls live in poverty. After the family-planning budget was cut, there was a disproportionate rise in births covered by Medicaid, because so many women no longer had access to birth control. By defunding Planned Parenthood, the legislature also blocked many women from getting scans for breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

In May, , Governor Perry, who was gearing up for his first Presidential race, signed a bill requiring all women seeking an abortion to have a sonogram at least twenty-four hours before the procedure. Nonetheless, the bill passed in the House, — Between and , the proportion of women who died in childbirth in Texas doubled, from These figures represent six hundred dead women. Obesity, heart disease, drug overdoses, and a lack of health insurance—all serious problems in the state—play a role. The mystery might be cleared up if Governor Abbott released records about how these women died.

In , when he was attorney general, he issued an opinion stating that information about the deceased would be withheld, supposedly to prevent fraud. Their legislation has been equally heartless toward children. A fifth of the uninsured children in the U. In , the Texas Education Agency lowered the percentage of children who can be enrolled in special-education classes from thirteen per cent about the national average to eight and a half per cent the lowest in the country.

According to the Houston Chronicle , tens of thousands of children have been denied the education they need because of this arbitrary limit. Governor Abbott promised to overhaul the child-welfare system, but things have only worsened. Child Protective Services, the state unit charged with investigating cases of abuse, is in chaos. Hundreds of children have been sleeping in hotels or emergency shelters, or on air mattresses in government offices, because the state has nowhere else to put them.

Hundreds of caseworkers have quit, complaining that they were overworked, demoralized, poorly paid, and often placed in dangerous situations. Union leaders have said that higher pay would help attract more applicants to the job, which offers a starting salary of thirty-seven thousand dollars, but state officials countered with a plan to lower the educational requirements for caseworkers.

During the legislative session, while bills addressing the child-welfare crisis were being considered, a teen-age girl who was being housed in a state office building fled in the middle of the night. She was hit by a van and killed. Then, there was this:. Masturbatory emissions created in health or medical facilities will be stored for the purposes of conception for a current or future wife. Lobbyists got their name because they stand in the lobby.

When I returned to the capitol on February 7th, about fifty of them, almost all dark-suited men, stood outside the Senate chamber, forming a mosh pit for any legislator who might appear. Although they seem like supplicants, lobbyists actually write much of the legislation and corral the votes. Bill Miller has been working in the lobby for three decades. When he first arrived, he noticed that all the political leaders had animal heads mounted on their walls. Inside the chamber, a crucial debate was under way about Senate Bill 4, known as the sanctuary-cities bill.

There are about a million such immigrants in Dallas and Houston alone. A few days earlier, four hundred and fifty people had lined up to testify before the State Affairs Committee in protest of S. The line snaked around the rotunda floor and up to the second level. The hearing lasted more than sixteen hours, and broke up well after midnight.

The police chiefs of Austin and San Antonio testified that S. A young woman spoke about attempting suicide after her father was deported. In the end, the bill passed out of committee, 7—2, on partisan lines. Otherwise, people who posted bond would be released.

It was as if Hernandez had opened the door to a ravenous mob of flesh-eating zombies. Of the thirty-one members of the Texas Senate, only eleven are Democrats; seven are Latino. Under one amendment, Sheriff Hernandez—whom Abbott began calling Sanctuary Sally—could be jailed for up to a year if she refused to grant a detainer. He has undergone thirty-nine operations and numerous skin grafts. Juan Chuy Hinojosa, a Democratic senator from the fertile South Texas region known as the Valley, spoke against the bill.

But the bill, he warned, could become an excuse for the wholesale expulsion of undocumented immigrants who had committed no crimes. He and his father were American citizens, but his mother was undocumented. Hinojosa tried to find a middle ground during the debate. If you got caught committing a burglary—hell, yeah, you ought to be detained.

Meanwhile, Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE began a national dragnet that ostensibly targeted undocumented criminals and violent offenders. Undocumented bystanders were also picked up. Fifty-one people were seized in Austin, fewer than half of whom were criminals—a lower proportion than in any other city in the country—leading residents to believe that the city had been singled out. Many Mexican-Americans in Texas support stricter enforcement of immigration laws. Hinojosa said that it makes no sense to allow undocumented people into the country, let them go wherever they want, and then conduct raids to root them out.

In session after session, the Texas legislature has sought to impose strict rules on voter identification, with the putative goal of preventing election fraud. A law required voters to present a U. The same law excluded federal and state government I. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case. The appeals court sent the case back to Judge Ramos, asking her to determine if the law was intentionally discriminatory. The question of voter fraud became a national issue after the Presidential election.

Gregg Phillips, a former official of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, gave Trump the false idea that he would have won the popular vote if illegal votes were discounted. Phillips, the founder of a group called VoteStand, tweeted that three million unqualified voters had cast ballots in the election.

Trump soon demanded a widespread investigation into voter fraud. She had lived in the U. She assumed that she could also vote, and had done so previously, in and The local prosecutor decided to make an example of her, and she was sentenced to eight years in prison. When she gets out, she may be deported to Mexico. Evan Smith, of the Texas Tribune, has closely followed thirteen legislative sessions. He noted that, even as Dan Patrick and his Republican allies slashed government services, they allocated eight hundred million dollars for border security. In , the Anglo population in Texas became a minority.

The last majority-Anglo high-school class in Texas graduated in There will never be another. Texas leads the nation in Latino population growth. Latinos account for more than half the 2. Every Democrat in Texas believes that, if Latinos voted at the same rate in Texas as they do in California, the state would already be blue. It would also overturn any local antidiscrimination ordinances that permit transgender citizens to choose which bathroom to use.

In , a similar bill was signed into law in North Carolina. In response, musicians such as Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam cancelled concerts in the state, and sporting associations, including the N. The bathroom bill was drafted after the superintendent of schools in Fort Worth announced, in April, , that transgender students could henceforth use the rest room or the locker room that corresponded to their gender identity. This was in accordance with federal guidelines. The business community in Texas fiercely opposed S. PolitiFact determined that this figure was hyperbolic.

A month after the Texas legislature began the session, the Super Bowl was held in Houston, and the National Football League intimated that, were S. Governor Abbott, who had been keeping his head down as the legislature debated the issue, told the N. Bathrooms have been an issue in Texas before. It was actually a rather jolly moment.

The debate over S. In Austin, the bill was being sold as a way to protect women against sexual predators who might pose as transgender—a problem that scarcely exists. Laws already on the books protect women from being accosted or spied on. The sponsors of the bill claimed that S. The only remedy for trans people would be to change their birth certificates, a costly and time-consuming process. The bill proposed fining schools and state agencies up to ten thousand five hundred dollars per day for violations.

Even in the Texas Senate, there were doubts about the need for such a bill. Four retirees representing Buffalo Soldiers—the black cavalrymen who made their mark in the Indian Wars—had come to present the state colors. A tall man wearing a top hat paced about, preparing to recite the letter that William Barret Travis, the lawyer who led the Texian forces at the Alamo, wrote during the battle. A member proposed that the breakfast taco become the official state breakfast item. I met Straus in his office. He switched on a closed-circuit TV to watch a press conference by a new group of a dozen cultural conservatives, the Texas Freedom Caucus, which is led by Matt Schaefer, a state representative from Tyler, in East Texas.

What distinguished this group was that the members were all vociferously anti-Straus. We moved to the dining room, which had Audubon bird prints on the wall. Straus comes from a longtime Republican family in San Antonio. One of his ancestors founded the L. Frank Saddlery Company, which made saddles, harnesses, and whips.

Frank gear on their way to fight in the Spanish-American War. When Joe Straus is not in Austin, he is an executive in the insurance and investment business. During that period, Straus served in the Commerce Department. In campaigns, his opponents have mentioned his religion, to little effect. This is his fifth term as speaker, which ties the record. Joe Straus is so much tougher than he appears. His speakership has focussed on providing the workforce and the infrastructure that Texas businesses need, by protecting public education, building roads, establishing more top-tier universities, and expanding job training.

Perhaps his biggest victory was in in the middle of a devastating drought, he ushered through a two-billion-dollar revolving loan fund for state water projects. Although Democrats and non-Tea Party Republicans alike see Straus as a brake on the controversial cultural agenda being pushed by Abbott and Patrick, he worries that his supporters have unreasonable expectations.

Sometimes he thinks that his moderation, along with the relative centrism of the Texas House, is being used as a foil for the Senate radicals. Before the session began, Straus spoke out against the bathroom bill. He frequently urges business leaders to remain firm in their opposition to such legislation.

He had been taking testosterone supplements as he transitioned to male, and he had won fifty-six matches in a row. In February, the Trump Administration withdrew the protections that President Obama had instituted for transgender students in public schools. On March 6th, the U.

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That left the issue up to individual states, at least for now. Dan Patrick said that the Texas bill would be a model for the rest of the nation. On March 7th, the bill had its first public hearing before the State Affairs Committee. Transgender Texans, along with their families, came to the capitol to speak, as did preachers, business leaders, and moral crusaders of all types. More than four hundred people signed up to testify at the hearing. Dana Hodges, the state director of a right-wing Christian organization called Concerned Women for America, was the first to testify in favor of the bill.

She held up a plastic coat hook that, she said, was embedded with the kind of miniature camera that had been used to spy on her. Under questioning, she acknowledged that a non-transgender man had hidden the camera inside her stall, and that he had been punished under existing laws. Kolkhorst also conceded that she knew of no crimes committed in Texas bathrooms which had been attributed to transgender people. But her intent, she said, was to prevent nefarious people from taking advantage of inclusive bathroom policies.

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Crimes against transgender people, meanwhile, are routine; according to Texas Monthly , a quarter of all transgender Texans have been physically assaulted. On March 30th, the North Carolina legislators, assailed on many fronts, partially repealed their bill. In Austin, the vast majority of witnesses spoke against the bathroom bill. One of them was Colt Keo-Meier, a transgender psychologist, who is currently enrolled in medical school at the University of Texas at Galveston.

He wore a white lab coat, and a stethoscope around his neck.

I have not once seen any genitalia. A woman in a short-sleeved black dress identified herself as Jess Herbst, the mayor of New Hope, a tiny town north of Dallas, in a firmly Republican section of the state. A few weeks earlier, Mayor Herbst had written to her constituents to tell them that she was taking hormone-replacement therapy and transitioning to female.

She had received overwhelming support, she told the committee. The testimony continued until nearly five in the morning.

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The committee voted to support the bill, 8—1. On the evening of April 6th, I went to the capitol to watch the legislature struggle to fulfill its mandatory duty to pass a budget. House members had been at it all day, and, yet again, the discussion would go on until the early morning.

The air-conditioning was merciless; one of the members showed me the long johns poking out from under his shirt cuffs. I saw 5-Hour Energy shots arrayed on some desks. Desperation suffuses the chamber on Budget Night—the last stand for bills that have not been funded. The trick is that, in order to get the money for your legislation, you have to take it from somewhere else. The members were on guard, lest their own bills be raided.

More than four hundred amendments to the budget were awaiting their turn. There are some extraordinary people in the House. Senfronia Thompson is a seventy-eight-year-old former teacher from Houston. Known as Ms. Unlike a lot of other state legislatures, the Texas legislature still follows a tradition of awarding important posts to members of the minority party.


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Thompson once told me that, when she was a girl, African-Americans were not welcome in the capitol. Now she is the longest-serving woman and black person in Texas legislative history. Among her many accomplishments is a hate-crimes act, passed in , that includes protections for homosexuals. She has also fought against racial profiling and passed measures to help low-income Texans pay their utility bills. Armando Martinez, a forty-one-year-old Democratic member from the Valley, is a firefighter and a paramedic.

A business conservative in the Straus mold, he is deeply respected in the legislature, and Straus selected him to craft the House version of the budget. The fund, which is amassed largely from oil and gas taxes, is designated for emergencies. It is projected to grow to twelve billion dollars by , which is more than the annual budget of a dozen other states. An incident in the afternoon had suggested how the budget fight would play out.

A freshman member, Briscoe Cain, presented an amendment to shut down an advisory panel on palliative care. Normally, freshmen keep quiet, but Cain is an assertive member of the insurgent Freedom Caucus. Soon afterward, Zerwas came to the microphone and stood there, giving Cain what Jonathan Tilove, in his blog for the Austin American-Statesman , jokingly called the morem pellis hispidus distentione nervorum: the hairy eyeball. The Freedom Caucus members gathered with Cain at a microphone in the front of the chamber; the traditional Republicans, along with some Democrats, stood beside Zerwas at a microphone in the rear.

It was the Texas version of the Montagues versus the Capulets. The old warhorses in the House knew, if Cain did not, that Zerwas had lost his first wife to brain cancer. He wore a ring on his right hand in her memory. Zerwas forced Cain, several times, to admit having made false or uninformed statements. He lives in a wealthy, intensely conservative bedroom community that was all cow pasture when I was growing up nearby.

Many young legislators, like Fallon, are not originally from Texas. I asked him how he came to live in the state. He said that, after playing football for Notre Dame, he joined the Air Force, and was stationed in Texas. This term was his third. Of course, anything attacking Austin—a spore of the California fungus that is destroying America—is popular. Ken Paxton, I reminded Fallon, was under indictment for securities fraud. He has pleaded not guilty. One of the most feared is the Fiscal Responsibility Index, a powerful weapon against less than ultra-radical Republicans.

Sullivan is tall and friendly. Corps of Cadets , and his three children. A right-wing zealot, he is sometimes described as the most powerful non-elected political figure in Texas. Empower Texans is funded largely by a reclusive Midland oilman named Tim Dunn, an evangelical Christian who hopes to create in Texas an example of small government that could be replicated by other states and countries. He has steadily pushed Republican lawmakers farther right, eliminating the kind of middle-ground figures who support Joe Straus. Dunn has made it a mission to bring down the Speaker. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies.

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Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections
Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections
Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections
Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections
Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections
Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections
Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections
Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections
Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections Turning lost customers into gold: --and the art of achieving zero defections

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