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I’ve been silent on the beating we took last week on the House budget. I’ve not talked to a single representative about it. Many of you are livid, and I certainly understand that. Our Freedom Caucus rolled over and played dead. Then they got up, wagged their tail, and acted like it was a victory. For those of us in the trenches daily, it was horrifying and disheartening. Today I will speak.

Here is my open letter to the Freedom Caucus:

Dear Team,

Yes, “team.” We worked as a team to get you to Austin, we believe in you, we pray for you. The team part does not go away just because we’ve disagreed. The intent of my message is to be an encouragement. I have no desire to belittle you or scold you. You’ve had enough of that, and I don’t see how it’s all that productive. You aren’t children. You are team members. I don’t presume to know more than you or to be better than you; nor do I presume that you know more than me or are better than me. Again, we are teammates.

The thing about a team is that everyone has different strengths to offer. Some of you are steady-eddy. Some are flame throwers. Some are strategists. Some are great at keeping the peace. Some of you are new and are good at just doing as led for now. We need each one of these types of people.

Where we go wrong is when certain gifts are stifled. Perhaps this is something of a kumbaya session due to having a new speaker, but that doesn’t mean we all suddenly have nothing to say and no opinions. It certainly does not mean we have no fight. If all of us become vanilla, what is the point of being there? What is the point of even having a Freedom Caucus?

My observation is that rather than the Freedom Caucus being a force to reckon with, it has become a force to silence us. The “team speak” mentality meant that nobody spoke. That hurt us.

The grassroots EXPECT Briscoe and Jonathan and Tinderholt to throw some fireballs and push the limits. We know that will cause tension and that Krause and Zedler will smooth things over. We’re excited to watch the freshmen and sophomores get louder and braver and develop their own niche. But none of that is happening. You are all being silent. I’m sure that makes some of you more comfortable and some of you extremely frustrated. But the bottom line is that it is hurting Texas.

You be you. If that does not fit within the Freedom Caucus, still be you. Fight among each other and work it out, but be you! Or heck, let the FC kick you out if need be. But for crying out loud, DO SOMETHING.

With much love and respect,

Julie

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