Last week, State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R–Royse City) sat down with Texas Scorecard to discuss the controversial practice of Republican lawmakers appointing Democrats to key committee chair positions in the Texas House.
In his interview, which aired during The Headline, Slaton—who began his freshman term last January—described his efforts to bring the issue to the attention of his fellow representatives and pointed out how the practice endangers Republican priorities.
“You know, this is not rocket science. I don’t have to pull out charts and graphs and statistics and explain why we don’t need Democratic chairman,” said Slaton. “I just simply tell them, ‘Do you know we have a Republican majority in the House and we give chairmanships away to Democrats?’ That one chairman can kill a bill.”
After becoming aware of the practice, Slaton submitted a series of amendments stating that only members of the majority party could chair key committees. Slaton explained how although his proposals received expected pushback from Democrats, Republican lawmakers were also quick to reject the amendments.
“They were all just going to vote no,” said Slaton. “And it was supposed to be humiliating that no one voted with me. And I just, you know, I figured that I knew it was going to happen. And it was just also odd to have Republicans be more upset about this than the Democrats. The Democrats didn’t say a word to me.”
The GOP representatives who opposed Slaton’s amendments claim that they support Democrats chairing key committees because they want to promote cooperation in the Texas House and avoid hostile conditions like those in D.C. However, Slaton argued that this stance gets in the way of Republican priorities.
“They fought us on everything. On constitutional carry, the heartbeat bill—everything they fought us on. The only difference, instead of fighting this as a minority in the chamber and having to use the rules and procedures of the House to fight as a minority party, they were able to fight with some ace in the hole. … They had a chairman that could kill somebody’s bill. They could use that as a threat. … And so it actually gave them more leverage to fight us by giving them chairmanships.”
Additionally, Slaton called out his fellow lawmakers for failing to prioritize conservative policy by putting Democrats in a position to shoot down Republican legislation.
“If you are concerned with the state of our nation and the direction we are going, how are we going to stop it?” asked Slaton. “How are we going to turn it around? How are we going to advance our agenda as long as we give Democrats more power than they earn on Election Day? And I just feel like we’re setting ourselves up to lose, almost like we’re tying one arm behind our backs and then wondering why we can’t beat [them] in the boxing match.”
To close out his interview, Slaton stressed the importance of removing Democrats from key committee chair positions and his commitment to ending the practice.
“If Republican voters around the state of Texas want this issue … you can pretty much guarantee I’m going to follow the amendment again,” said Slaton. “And I’m going to continue to push the issue, because it’s what Republican voters want. And so, that’s really all I can say. If I feel like it’s the will of the people, I’m going to help push for it.”