A Democrat walkout in the state House of Representatives members isn’t a good move politically, when it comes to representing constituents, said state Rep. Jay Dean, R-Longview.
The Texas Tribune on Monday reported that at least 51 of the 67 Democratic representatives boarded chartered flights in Austin that afternoon to head to Washington, D.C. The move was designed to block the quorum needed to consider a bill affecting voting laws in Texas during the special legislature session that started this past week.
“We have a job to do as representatives of the constituents of our districts, and irregardless of what side of the aisle we’re on, we owe it to the citizens to represent them,” Dean said Monday. “In legislation, you win some of those battles and you lose some, but you continue to move forward and you continue to represent the people who sent you to Austin. Everything I’ve heard in Austin since we started the special session is the Democratic areas of the state expect their representatives to represent them.”
Dean said he listened to a portion of the select committee hearings on the voting bills on Saturday morning.
“There was a lot of robust debate between Democrat and Republican members of that commission,” but he said he heard numerous times from the author of the “election integrity” bill that’s under consideration that he was willing to discuss the bill.
“The only way you can do that is by being in Austin,” Dean said.
He also said Democrats are spreading “disinformation” about the bill.
“Everybody knows there’s a lot of potential fraud involved with mail-in ballots. Look at what we have right here in Gregg County,” Dean said. Charges related to alleged vote harvesting are pending against four people, including Gregg County Pct. 4 Commissioner Shannon Brown, in relation to mail-in ballots in the 2018 Democratic primary that saw Brown defeat Kasha Williams.
The election integrity bill is designed to “clean up some of the areas like the mail-in ballots that we’ve seen a number of fraudulent activities over the years in Gregg County,” Dean said.
He also pointed to the 2020 presidential election, when Harris County allowed such thing as drive-through and 24-hour voting, Dean said. Those actions aren’t allowed under the state’s Constitution, he said.
“What we’re trying to do is make sure that, constitutionally, every county is consistent as far as following the Constitution,” Dean said.
State Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, who authored the Senate version of the election integrity bill for this special session, and State Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, weren’t immediately available for comment.