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.
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:
District First Name Last Name Planning a Town Hall? 1 George Lavender Yes 2 Dan Flynn No Response 3 Cecil Bell, Jr. Maybe 4 Lance Gooden No Response 6 Matt Schaefer No Response 7 David Simpson Yes 8 Byron Cook No Response 9 Chris Paddie No Response 10 Jim Pitts No Response 11 Travis Clardy Yes 12 Kyle J. Kacal Yes 13 Lois Kolkhorst Yes 14 John Raney No Response 15 Steve Toth Yes 16 Brandon Creighton No Response 17 Tim Kleinschmidt Maybe 18 John Otto No Response 19 James White Yes 20 Marsha Farney No Response 21 Allan Ritter No Response 24 Greg Bonnen No Response 25 Dennis Bonnen No Response 26 Rick Miller Yes 28 John Zerwas No Response 29 Ed Thompson Yes 30 Geanie Morrison No Response 32 Todd Hunter No Response 33 Scott Turner Yes 43 J.M. Lozano No Response 44 John Kuempel No 45 Jason Isaac Yes 47 Paul Workman No Response 52 Larry Gonzales No Response 53 Harvey Hilderbran No Response 54 Jimmie Aycock No Response 55 Ralph Sheffield No 56 Charles "Doc" Anderson No Response 57 Trent Ashby No Response 58 Rob Orr Yes 59 J.D. Sheffield No Response 60 Jim Keffer No Response 61 Phil King No Response 62 Larry Phillips No Response 63 Tan Parker No Response 64 Myra Crownover No 65 Ron Simmons Yes 66 Van Taylor Yes 67 Jeff Leach Yes 68 Drew Springer Yes 69 James Frank No Response 70 Scott Sanford Yes 71 Susan King No 72 Drew Darby No 73 Doug Miller No Response 81 Tryon Lewis No Response 82 Tom Craddick No 83 Charles Perry No Response 84 John Frullo No Response 85 Phil Stephenson N/A 86 John Smithee No 87 Four Price No Response 88 Ken King No Response 89 Jodie Laubenberg Yes 91 Stephanie Klick Yes 92 Jonathan Stickland No Response 93 Matt Krause Yes 94 Diane Patrick No Response 96 William Zedler No Response 97 Craig Goldman No Response 98 Giovanni Capriglione Yes 99 Charlie Geren No Response 102 Stefani Carter Maybe 105 Linda Harper-Brown No 106 Pat Fallon Yes 107 Kenneth Sheets No Response 108 Dan Branch No Response 112 Angie Chen Button No 113 Cindy Burkett Yes 114 Jason Villalba Yes 115 Bennett Ratliff Yes 122 Lyle Larson No Response 126 Patricia Harless No Response 127 Dan Huberty No Response 128 Wayne Smith No Response 129 John Davis No Response 130 Allen Fletcher Maybe 132 Bill Callegari No Response 133 Jim Murphy Yes 134 Sarah Davis No Response 135 Gary Elkins No Response 136 Tony Dale No Response 138 Dwayne Bohac Yes 150 Debbie Riddle No
Updated Dec. 17th
N/A – Unable to get in touch