With South Texas Democrat Bobby Guerra at the helm of the Resolutions Committee in the Republican-controlled Texas House of Representatives, there’s a chance some members might withhold their rubber stamp from the measures that make it out of that committee.
Most House resolutions aim to commemorate or congratulate an individual or organization within a member’s district, and while the vast majority are fairly innocuous and pass without any debate, some are more controversial and have the potential to ruffle feathers if the entire House were asked to assent to their passage.
For example, during the last regular session, when Democrat-turned-Republican Ryan Guillen (Rio Grande City) chaired the Resolutions Committee, several resolutions that could have created controversy on the House floor were stopped in committee. Among these were resolutions congratulating Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo—both Democrats—for their leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and Winter Storm Uri, commemorating the death of George Floyd, and commending the toy company LEGO for “creating the LGBTQ-themed Everyone Is Awesome play set.”
In the current legislative session, lawmakers have filed a number of resolutions that would appeal primarily to either Republican or Democrat members. As chair of the 11-member Resolutions Committee, Guerra can squash resolutions he opposes and put his thumb on the scale for those he likes.
Guerra joined the majority of his Democrat colleagues in fleeing Austin to camp out in Washington, D.C., for several weeks in an effort to block election integrity legislation in the summer of 2021. He was one of the first to return to Austin, however, being one of nine Democrats present for the start of the second special session, and he was the only member to return the per diem stipend he received for the days he was absent—an accumulated amount of $4,416.93.
First elected in 2012, Guerra was the only candidate who filed to run for the seat vacated by former State Rep. Veronica Gonzalez, who resigned before the end of her term to take a position with the University of Texas-Pan American. Since then, he has been opposed in the Democrat primary twice, and he has never received less than 56.7 percent support in a general election. He was one of four Democrats to vote for the House redistricting plan passed in 2021.
Guerra is a lawyer, rancher, and former local television news anchor. He served two terms as the Hidalgo County Democratic Party chairman in the early 2000s. In 2013, he co-authored legislation that created the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and a new medical school by consolidating the University of Texas-Pan American and the University of Texas at Brownsville.
Texans concerned about Guerra’s appointment can find contact information for House Speaker Phelan in Texas Scorecard’s Elected Officials Directory.