After the seminar class, Talarico got into his truck and headed north on I-35 to his old neighborhood. At a food truck called Taqueria Jaguar’s, he ordered two breakfast tacos with bacon and eggs. « Why would anyone order any other type of taco when breakfast tacos are an option, » he said.
The cashier refused to take his money and the two seemed to know each other. At one table, he offered an explanation: A year ago, a tornado wiped out the same taco truck. Talaric, a frequent patron, reached out to his political donors, raising something like $8,000 for the family — his constituents — to get back on their feet.
During his campaigns, he he walked 25 miles through the length of the district twice, holding three town halls over 10 hours. But during the first of these walks, he started to feel nauseous and fatigued. He vomited several times during the walk – you can see him changing his shirt on a YouTube video that filmed his campaign – but finished the walk and went to bed. He hasn’t woken up for 36 hours.
In a state of diabetic ketoacidosis, his parents rushed him to the emergency room, where his blood sugar was 10 times the normal limit. Doctors diagnosed him with diabetes and he found out that insulin would cost him $684 a month.
He understood immediately the burden the cost would place on his constituents, so he wrote to Experience Twitter thread which has received more than 50,000 retweets. But he attempted to back it up with real change, creating and passing a bill that capped insulin costs at $25 a month. Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law. He has already achieved serious bipartisan results in his two terms. In its first session, his name touched no fewer than 112 pieces of legislation; 25 became law.
What does the frantic pace of legislation add up to? “I can’t wait to race all over the state,” Talarico said. In another conversation, he told me that « Ted Cruz would be fun to discuss. » Talarico and his advisers have discussed whether to challenge Cruz next year or Gov. Greg Abbott in 2026. But those close to him say he’s leaning towards a bid against the governor, especially now that Rep. Colin Allred has stepped in. race against Cruz. Talarico is expected to launch a statewide political action committee, Big and Bright PAC, later this year.
But beyond the mechanics of choosing his moment, he told me he’s far more interested in reshaping how Texas Democrats talk about their values to voters.
« In our political discourse, you see a white, straight Christian, male Democrat, talking about religion, talking about family values, talking about Texas exceptionalism, and you start to think they’re the Republican light, » he said. “There is a theory that this is how Democrats win, by simply making themselves more like Republicans. And I refuse it.