The Texas Freedom Caucus lost another member this week, as State Rep. Kyle Bidermann (R–Fredericksburg) announced he was leaving the group over disagreements on the upcoming vote for Speaker of the Texas House.
“My goal for the past six months has been to bring the Caucus together and heal the damage caused by Speaker Bonnen and build back the trust that was lost. I believe we need to unite the Caucus in order to choose a Speaker committed to changing the culture of the House,” said Biedermann in a statement first reported by The Texan.
“We have a unique opportunity in the Republican Caucus to choose a new speaker, and it should not be done with backroom deals or secret meetings. We need to build trust before we go into the 87th Session, which promises to be very volatile. With so much on the line next session, I believe we need someone who is committed to reform,” he added.
Biedermann also described the behind-the-scenes factions that have formed as Republican members attempt to select a nominee to lead the House in 2021:
Currently, there are two main factions in the caucus, ‘Team Texas’ and ‘Team Bonnen’, that are vying to have the next Speaker come out of their group. It is unlikely that either group would vote for a candidate from the other group. This is why I believe the next Speaker needs to be someone independent from the two groups in order to unite the caucus.
These observations were confirmed in a meeting with 40+ members last weekend when we talked about the need to heal the divisions and the importance of reforms for the House. There was consensus that the next meeting needed to focus on healing the wounds and vetting potential speaker candidates in an open setting.
I feel so strongly about the need for open communication and unity that I decided to leave the Freedom Caucus and not have ties to any group.
Founded in 2017 with 12 members, the Texas Freedom Caucus existed to give conservative lawmakers a stronger voice in the state capitol.
In 2018, the group lost one member to electoral defeat and another to resignation. In 2019, the caucus supported Bonnen’s ascension to speaker and lost State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R–Bedford) as a member during the legislative session.