Labor Unions and Indictments Loom Large in Texas House Race - Texas Scorecard

As races for elected positions move into the homestretch ahead of the statewide March 1 primary election, one candidate’s allegations are raising eyebrows.

Justin Berry, a candidate for Central Texas-area state representative and an Austin Police Department officer who was recently indicted on brutality charges related to 2020 protests, has accused fellow candidate Ellen Troxclair of colluding with the left-wing district attorney who brought the indictment. Berry claims Travis County DA Jose Garza is pursuing him for political purposes.

Berry is using a claim Troxclair made attacking teachers unions to try to say she doesn’t support police associations. Specifically, he claimed, “[M]y opponent has called for the elimination of police associations which help fund our defense against Garza and other Soros DA witch hunts.”

As seen below, Troxclair never mentions law enforcement in the original comment:

“We think that we don’t live in a world with unions here in Texas,” explains Troxclair. “But they’re called—code word—‘association.’ So, every time somebody says ‘endorsed by an association,’ that’s actually a union. Dues paying, mandatory dues paid, they have incredible control over our state Legislature. Our teachers unions, our labor unions, they are holding back freedom.”

No mention of law enforcement.

Berry’s conflation of teachers unions with law enforcement is especially interesting, considering he recently came out against school choice at a forum sponsored by a taxpayer-funded lobbyist organization.

“This is ridiculous,” Kara Chasteen of Burnet County told Texas Scorecard. “Everyone, including Ellen Troxclair, supports our police against the DA’s recent indictment. To use that indictment, however, as a pretext to attack Ellen Troxclair over unrelated comments about teachers unions is a smear worthy of Berry’s campaign handlers at Murphy-Nasica. Justin Berry needs to stop milking this indictment for political purposes.”

Texas Scorecard recently sent questionnaires to candidates in races across Texas—including Berry and Troxclair’s House District 19—to provide Texans with more information on their local candidates. In the HD19 contest, only Troxclair replied, and her full and unedited responses can be viewed here.

Berry and Troxclair are considered the frontrunners in the four-way race, and will face off in the March 1 election.