Departing Bullies

A video was released last week showing State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) purposefully trying to trip a citizen in the halls of the state Capitol. Why? 
 
Because Cook is a bully.
 
He’s the kind of guy who threatens business owners in his district if they put up signs for his opponents. Sadly, he’s not the only legislative bully. 
 
Video gathered by the independent organization American Phoenix Foundation allegedly shows other lawmakers behaving boorishly and worse. Some reportedly show drunken legislators being physically restrained – in the Capitol, coming off the House floor – from attacking people trying to ask them questions about votes.
 
These individuals all have one thing in common: they are tied in with the governing coalition of Democrats and liberal Republicans that keep a stranglehold on the Texas House. These are the lawmakers who block conservative reforms and resent being asked to govern the way they campaign.
 
(And if your state representative voted for Joe Straus as speaker of the House, that’s who your legislator put in power.)
 
Cook, as you might know, is Straus’ point man on major policy, chairing the powerful State Affairs committee. As chairman, Cook singlehandedly killed popular reforms, like those curtailing public employee unions. And it was Cook who also hijacked Gov. Greg Abbott’s ethics reform agenda. (On the other hand, Cook augmented his parade of horribles by pushing for the state to give drivers’ permits to illegal aliens.)
 
Cook and his cronies simply don’t like taxpayers being involved. They don’t want citizens participating in the governing process. And they certainly don’t like being asked questions. They simply “know better” and “have to govern.”
 
Four years ago, a state senator – who retired a few weeks later – complained to the media that “outside groups” had made it impossible for him and other members of “the club” to impose new fees and taxes. Those outsiders he decried? Citizens who were awakened to the games in Austin, paying attention and making calls. How dare they!
 
Last month, State Rep. Patricia Harless (R-Spring) announced she wasn’t seeking reelection in the face of a strong primary challenge. In her announcement, she decried other GOP lawmakers who listen to those citizens “who vote in Republican primaries.” The shame!
 
Harless is just one of a growing number of disgraced coalition lawmakers walking away before being shown the door. State Rep. John Otto (R-Livingston), who this session chaired the House Appropriations Committee, is “retiring” after he gutted strict spending limit legislation favored by 94 percent of GOP primary voters, and replaced it with a meaningless mishmash of grow-government metrics. Knowing he was dead-on-arrival in 2016, he went ahead and quit.
 
Reportedly, there are another half-dozen coalition bullies ready to call it quits.
 
Cook hasn’t announced yet for re-election, but he does have a strong challenger already running against him. 
 
Before he can trip up more legislation, assault conservative values, and bully taxpayers, Byron Cook needs to retire or be retired. The Austin establishment governing coalition’s disservice to Texas has gone on long enough.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael is president and CEO of Empower Texans, and its premier project, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capital Hill staffer, think tank vice president and an Eagle Scout, Sullivan is married with three children. He divides his time between the Metroplex, the rest of Texas, and Austin.

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