If there’s a “Texas miracle,” it’s hard to see it from where María Ayala is sitting.
The Mission woman, her oilfield worker husband and their five children have lived for years in an unfinished home where the second-story windows were never installed. The family only manages to make ends meet by spending half of each year away from Texas, in Indiana, where they pick corn.
Lone Star State leaders like Gov. Rick Perry often tout the so-called Texas miracle – the idea that the state’s economy is thriving thanks to its small-government approach.
But Texas also has the highest rate in the nation of people without health insurance. And it ranks last in the percentage of people 25 and older who have completed high school.
“That miracle has left a lot of people out of the picture,” said Celia Cole, CEO of the Texas Food Bank Network.
Among them is Mike Bryan of San Antonio, a small-business owner struggling so much to make ends meet at his auto-repair shop that in the fall, the father of three became one of nearly 4 million Texans on food stamps.
“We might be doing good in the economy,” Bryan said of Texas, “but we could do a lot better.” Here are the stories of Ayala, Bryan and four others from across Texas who have found little relief in the Texas miracle.