Who’s Holding a Town Hall?

According to the Republican Party of Texas Platform, GOP state representatives are to hold town hall meetings to discuss House leadership between now and the start of the 83rd session. So far, only a handful of GOP legislators say they plan to hold this important meeting with their constituents.

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Only a handful of members said they do in fact plan to hold a town hall meeting to discuss House leadership.

As mentioned last Wednesday, we set out to learn the intentions of the GOP members in regards to these town hall meetings. We called the campaigns (if phone numbers were available) and district offices (of incumbents) asking if the respective future or current state representative was planning to hold a meeting discussing the leadership of the House with their constituents, as called for by the party platform:

“We call for the Republican members of the Texas House of Representatives after the November election, leading up to the Legislative session, to hold public town hall meetings in which the voters can express their wishes and thoughts about the leadership for the 83rd Session.”

Frankly, it was surprising to see just how many members weren’t at least in the process of planning one. Even more so was the number of legislators openly dismissive of the idea of meeting with their constituents all together.

Take Rep. Myra Crownover for example. A staffer in her office questioned why constituents should even be involved in the speaker’s race, noting that in her 13 years working there, it’s never been an issue before. (Mind you, it was only four years ago that a statute banning public participation in the speaker’s race was ruled unconstitutional.)

A staffer of Rep. Angie Chen Button told us she “is busy being a representative” going to committee hearings right now, and would have not have time to meet with her constituents between now and the start of session.

Rep. Jim Murphy’s office told us they would not be holding a meeting because he “has too much on his plate right now” and doesn’t have time.

And a staffer for Rep. Debbie Riddle told us “her constituents are tired of all the elections” and if she holds one, it would likely be after session starts. (The vote for speaker is the first day of the session.)

As of now, only a handful of members said they do in fact plan to hold a town hall meeting to discuss house leadership.

Rep. elect Jeff Leach and incumbent Rep. Jodie Laubenberg are both part of those few. They plan to hold a joint town hall in the Metroplex regarding House leadership. Rep. elect Stephanie Klick is also planning to hold a meeting in district closer to the start of the session, as well as Rep. elect Giovanni Capriglione. 

Mr. Capriglione was emphatic about the importance of holding these meetings, saying:

“It’s vital that representatives give constituents as many opportunities as possible to communicate their concerns–whether by email, facebook, or local townhall meetings. In fact, townhall meetings are specifically encouraged in the Republican Party platform and I’m looking forward to an ongoing conversation with District 98.”

Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, Rep. Elects Bennett Ratliff and Ed Thompson have meetings in the works, but were unable to provide any other details.

So far, there doesn’t seem to be sense of urgency for many incoming and incumbent GOP house members. The best way to fix that is to get in touch with your representative and encourage them to meet with their constituents.

You can see a full list of responses we have gathered so far below. Check back for updates:

DistrictFirst NameLast NamePlanning a Town Hall?
1GeorgeLavenderYes
2DanFlynnNo Response
3CecilBell, Jr.Maybe
4LanceGoodenNo Response
6MattSchaeferNo Response
7DavidSimpsonYes
8ByronCookNo Response
9ChrisPaddieNo Response
10JimPittsNo Response
11TravisClardyYes
12Kyle J.KacalYes
13LoisKolkhorstYes
14JohnRaneyNo Response
15SteveTothYes
16BrandonCreightonNo Response
17TimKleinschmidtMaybe
18JohnOttoNo Response
19JamesWhiteYes
20MarshaFarneyNo Response
21AllanRitterNo Response
24GregBonnenNo Response
25DennisBonnenNo Response
26RickMillerYes
28JohnZerwasNo Response
29EdThompsonYes
30GeanieMorrisonNo Response
32ToddHunterNo Response
33ScottTurnerYes
43J.M.LozanoNo Response
44JohnKuempelNo
45JasonIsaacYes
47PaulWorkmanNo Response
52LarryGonzalesNo Response
53HarveyHilderbranNo Response
54JimmieAycockNo Response
55RalphSheffieldNo
56Charles "Doc"AndersonNo Response
57TrentAshbyNo Response
58RobOrrYes
59J.D.SheffieldNo Response
60JimKefferNo Response
61PhilKingNo Response
62LarryPhillipsNo Response
63TanParkerNo Response
64MyraCrownoverNo
65RonSimmonsYes
66VanTaylorYes
67JeffLeachYes
68DrewSpringerYes
69JamesFrankNo Response
70ScottSanfordYes
71SusanKingNo
72DrewDarbyNo
73DougMillerNo Response
81TryonLewisNo Response
82TomCraddickNo
83CharlesPerryNo Response
84JohnFrulloNo Response
85PhilStephensonN/A
86JohnSmitheeNo
87FourPriceNo Response
88KenKingNo Response
89JodieLaubenbergYes
91StephanieKlickYes
92JonathanSticklandNo Response
93MattKrauseYes
94DianePatrickNo Response
96WilliamZedlerNo Response
97CraigGoldmanNo Response
98GiovanniCapriglioneYes
99CharlieGerenNo Response
102StefaniCarterMaybe
105LindaHarper-BrownNo
106PatFallonYes
107KennethSheetsNo Response
108DanBranchNo Response
112AngieChen ButtonNo
113CindyBurkettYes
114JasonVillalbaYes
115BennettRatliffYes
122LyleLarsonNo Response
126PatriciaHarlessNo Response
127DanHubertyNo Response
128WayneSmithNo Response
129JohnDavisNo Response
130AllenFletcherMaybe
132BillCallegariNo Response
133JimMurphyYes
134SarahDavisNo Response
135GaryElkinsNo Response
136TonyDaleNo Response
138DwayneBohacYes
150DebbieRiddleNo

Updated Dec. 17th

N/A – Unable to get in touch

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dustin Matocha is the Executive Director of Empower Texans. Dustin graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Management, a BA in Government, and a minor in Marketing. He’s a self-described Corvette enthusiast, baseball purist, tech geek and growing connoisseur of local craft beer.

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