6 State Representatives Who Have Been Ruined by House Leadership
In a red state that typically elects a Republican into nearly three quarters of the seats on the House and Senate floors combined, it does not add up that conservative legislation is not passed, even with a legislature that does not need the Democrat members present to conduct business.
If Republicans have the majority in both chambers, why is it that session after session few things seem to really get accomplished? Why is CPS still allowed to run rampant over the rights of Texas families? Why are vindictive in-laws still able to take possession of grandchildren without having to prove that the children’s single parent is unfit to take care of them?
The answer to these questions and many others concerning the lack of conservative values in the Texas State Capitol is House leadership. House Speaker Joe Straus of Bexar County and the people behind him have been in control of the House since 2009, and in those seven years, very little has been accomplished by conservatives. House leadership has both directly and indirectly killed conservative legislation written by THSC and other similar organizations.
In 2015, THSC fought tooth and nail to make critical reforms to a CPS bill authored by Rep. Cindy Burkett, but the reforms were blocked by House leadership. In fact, reports from the House floor indicate that House leadership threatened to kill the pro-life bill and the pro-gun bill behind the CPS bill on the schedule with procedural moves if the reforms to the CPS bill were not pulled. Consequently, the CPS bill was passed without any of the necessary provisions to protect Texas families.
Countless Republicans who have professed to be conservatives during their race, once elected, have moved toward leadership, and the consistent result is that conservative legislation is not passed.
Stumping for House Leadership
As mentioned above, the current leadership in the Texas House has been responsible for the demise of countless conservative reforms over the past seven years, including many that would have protected Texas families and parents. THSC cannot stand by and count blameless those who defend that leadership and facilitate the continuation of a leadership structure that so blatantly harms Texas families and parents.
Six Representatives to Remove and Who Should Replace Them
Below are just a few of the representatives whose trend to the left and strong support of the Austin establishment has warranted THSC’s opposition.
- Cindy Burkett, House District 113
A prime example of this unfortunate phenomenon is State Rep. Cindy Burkett of House District 113. Because she was a candidate that the Texas Home School Coalition previously endorsed, people looked forward to this conservative candidate representing her constituents well.
Once elected in 2010, she began to slowly drift to the left (as evidenced by her declining scorecard ratings). In the 2015 84th Legislature, Representative Burkett once again carried House Bill 524, our parental rights bill, for us in the Texas House. Representative Burkett insisted continually that THSC come to a compromise with the Family Law Foundation on the bill.
While the Texas Home School Coalition wanted to protect and expand parental rights, The Texas Family Law Foundation sought to prioritize litigation access by in-laws in order for the in-laws to take possession of any child of any parent without proving that the parent was unfit to take care of the child. The significant delays caused by these tactics put the bill at the very end of the time window available for it to pass, which caused time to run out when THSC ran into opposition from another Republican member.
Additionally, Representative Burkett authored a major CPS bill that THSC fought tirelessly to reform before it reached the House floor.
This is why THSC is endorsing home school graduate Jonathan Boos for House District 113. Jonathan is the conservative advocate that families in HD 113 can count on to defend them.
- Debbie Riddle, House District 150
Despite aligning herself with THSC values and principles in past races, Representative Riddle has begun to trend more and more left while moving closer and closer to House leadership in Austin. In addition to earning extremely low scores on several conservative scorecards in the past, including Texas Right to Life and Empower Texans, Representative Riddle especially betrayed the trust of THSC and many other conservative groups and individuals during the 2015 84th Texas Legislature.
First and foremost, Riddle was the primary roadblock for THSC’s House Bill 524, also known as the Texas Parental Rights Restoration Act, getting through the Texas House. This bill would have closed a loophole in the Grandparent Access Statute that allows for single parents to lose their children to vindictive in-laws without evidence that the parents were unfit to raise their own children. This past legislative session, Representative Riddle was the swing vote in the Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee in the Texas House when THSC’s bill came to a vote. Representative Riddle was the only Republican legislator on the committee to withhold her vote on the bill.
Those who worked the legislative process daily, like Representative Riddle, knew clearly that the two weeks it had taken to regain her support had been the same critical two weeks needed to meet with other legislators to gain their support and get the bill to the House Floor on time. As a result of these delays caused by Representative Riddle, the bill died in committee.
In addition to this, Rep. Debbie Riddle effectively killed HB 562, which is known as American Law for American Courts. This bill would have prevented Texas courts from using foreign law over Texas law in our legal system. For someone who so clearly states on her website that she “wholeheartedly agree(s) that no foreign law should supersede Texas law, Federal law, or our Constitution,” it seems inconsistent that she would cease to support this bill authored by Texas State Rep. Jeff Leach with the help of Texas Eagle Forum.
Last, but certainly not least, one of Representative Riddle’s other high profile mistakes during the 84th Legislative Session was on Senate Bill 575 in the House Calendars committee. The bill, which was authored by Texas State Sen. Larry Taylor with the help of Texas Right to Life, would have prohibited insurance companies from covering abortions in the state of Texas. According to Texas Right to Life, Representative Riddle originally voted for the bill to not be placed on the calendar in order for a hearing on the Texas House Floor to be scheduled. Once she had made this critical mistake, she quickly asked the chairman for a second vote. This time, she reversed her vote, and the bill was placed in the middle of the calendar. The damage had already been done, however, because the bill was placed so low on the calendar, it would not be heard before the deadline.
THSC is strongly supporting home school mom Valoree Swanson to replace Representative Riddle in House District 150.
- Dan Flynn, House District 2
When University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall shed the light on significant corruption in the UT admission system and implicated several high profile legislators and public officials in the scandal, Texas House leadership wasted no time in pouncing on Hall to silence him. Unfortunately, Representative Flynn was right in the middle of the effort to impeach and silence Hall for Hall’s honesty in bringing this issue to light.
This breach of public trusts from Representative Flynn by deliberately attempting to silence Wallace Hall’s exposure of government corruption is an ugly representation of the disconnect that grows between many elected officials and the best interests of their voters.
THSC has chosen to endorsed Byran Slaton as the conservative choice in House District 2.
- Byron Cook, House District 8
Representative Cook has been perhaps the single largest obstacle to the passage of conservative legislation in the Texas House. Cook’s State Affairs committee was used liberally as a one-stop butcher shop for many conservative reforms from pro-life legislation to Medicaid expansion to accountability for public sector unions.
Cook, the same representative who once sought to repeal parent-taught driver education, is being challenged by conservative champion Thomas McNutt, whom THSC is strongly supporting.
- John Frullo, House District 84
Representative Frullo has proven time and time again that he is not as conservative as he claims to be. In fact, an independent study ranked the 97 Republican House members from most conservative to least and ranked Representative Frullo as number 85 out of 97. In addition to trending to the left, over the past several legislative sessions Representative Frullo neglected to support the efforts of the Texas Home School Coalition advocating to keep the freedom of Texas families.
THSC has proudly endorsed Jim Landtroop for Texas House District 84. Jim is a proven conservative and is the advocate that families need in Austin.
- Charlie Geren, House District 99
Representative Geren has been an integral member of the House leadership team that has worked to block conservative legislation in the Texas House. Sometimes a member will cross the line from being merely dishonest to being openly hostile towards conservative legislation and towards conservative lawmakers. During the 2015 legislative session Representative Geren taunted conservative champion Jonathan Stickland by dragging a cookie across the House floor on a string in an effort to tempt Stickland away from the back microphone.
Geren also made headlines when he ripped down a pro-life sign from Representative Strickland’s office door and threw it at a staff member. Geren’s record of defending life has been sorely lacking and considering the support that Geren has from anti-life organization the Texas Medical Association this should come as no big surprise.
It is time for a change in House District 99, and this is why THSC is endorsing Bo French in this key house race.
Your Opportunity to Make a Difference
It is vital to support truly conservative candidates who are willing to unseat moderate and liberal opponents who are deceiving their constituents and the people of this state.
Power corrupts, and the longer an average State Representative stays in office in Austin, the more left he or she tends to lean. House leadership has a tendency to corrupt potentially good State Representatives early on in their Austin career, and they have become the single largest roadblock to conservative legislation. Soon after these new representatives are elected, they quickly become less and less conservative, until their true values are nearly unrecognizable in comparison to their original political composition when they began block walking their district. You have an opportunity to keep Texas strong with your right to vote.
What you can do
As THSC has spent long hours over the decades fighting for Texas families’ home school and parental rights, the Watchmen and the policy team have seen firsthand these legislators and the candidates running in action.
- If you are not sure for whom to vote, check out THSC’s endorsements in your specific area.
- Sign up for email notifications to keep updated on valuable information in Election 2016.
- Share and re-tweet this info to friends and family.
- Don’t forget to vote and encourage your friends to vote as well.
Remember, early voting has begun. You must vote to continue the fight to Keep Texas Families Free!