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Do Republicans In The Texas House Have A Drinking Problem?
Several caught-on-video moments seeming show multiple Republicans completely hammered.
During the last session, Republican Dan Huberty was arrested for a DWI after a car accident. Early in this session, Republican Charles Schwertner was arrested for drunk driving. Republicans have been arrested during the last few legislative sessions for driving under the influence.
The legislature only meets for 140 days every two years. During that time, they often work long and stressful days. So no one would blame them for throwing back a few cold ones after a 15-hour day in the Capitol. However, driving under the influence should never be okay. Moreso, legislating while inebriated should, at the very least, be frowned upon.
Over the last month, as I’ve been watching our elected officials, I’ve noticed interesting behavior.
It all started near the end of April with this odd interaction:
Several Republican women crowded around Representative Charlie Geren as he read a bill. They grinned and made mischievous faces. When Geren finally noticed the creepy ladies, he’s heard on a hot mic moment saying, “I don’t want y’all standing up here.”
The GOP ladies giggled in excitement.
At the time, it seemed like such a strange interaction. But less than an hour later, Speaker Dade Phelan hinted that alcohol was being served in the lounge.
The women who crowded around Geren were Carrie Isaac, Caroline Harris, Lacey Hull, Shelby Slawson, and Genie Morrison.
Several members appeared sloshed on May 1 after a 1 pm call time.
They were all Republican members. It was almost like the GOP had a lunch event together before the House met, and a few of them may have had one too many.
First, Valoree Swanson appeared to be slurring her words.
Then, John Kuempel rambled nonsense at the back mic for a minute straight.
Last, new Republican House member Richard Hayes was asked by a sober Gina Hinojosa what he had in common with Ana-Maria Romos, and he responded, “I drink heavily. I don’t recall.”
Hayes’ admittance to drinking heavily on a new job, in front of a camera open to the public, isn’t a good look. And it is unlikely the only time he was intoxicated at work:
The behavior continued.
The fascist-peddling former Rep. Jonathan Stickland posted this on Twitter on May 11:
Most of the reps seemed well-behaved in front of the cameras that day. Then there was Jeff Leach (standing behind Will Metcalf):
This was only a little while later:
And the last video you probably already saw, as it’s now gone viral, is Speaker Dade Phelan from last Friday night:
A concerning pattern has emerged within the Texas House, as these Republican lawmakers have been captured on video displaying signs of being under the influence of alcohol while conducting important legislative affairs.
This behavior raises serious questions about their ability to make sound decisions directly impacting the lives of over 30 million Texans. It is highly inappropriate for elected officials to engage in their duties while impaired, as it undermines the integrity and responsibility entrusted to them by the public.
Texas Republicans think they are invincible and disregard the seriousness of their positions. The people of Texas deserve a government who approaches its duties with sobriety, clarity of mind, and a deep sense of responsibility, ensuring that the citizens' best interests are at the forefront of their decision-making processes. Anything less undermines the democratic process and erodes public trust in the institutions that govern our lives.
Texas deserves better.