The Republican Speaker of the Texas House had flattering things to say about the Democrat he hired as his speaker pro tempore during the 86th Legislature.

At the conclusion of the legislative session, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen praised bipartisan cooperation with Democrats, attributing much of it to his right-hand man, Speaker Pro Tempore Joe Moody (D-El Paso). He went on to speak positively of Democrats taking a majority in the House under Moody’s leadership.

“I think Texas would be very blessed if there was a Democrat majority and Joe Moody wanted to lead the House,” Bonnen told an Austin newspaper in late May.

“Joe Moody is an exceptional leader, and he has had an extraordinary session leading this session,” Bonnen continued. “I’m very lucky to have had him as [my] speaker pro tem, and he worked day and night to make the House work.”

This is the same Democrat who still hangs a banner in his office accusing the speaker and other Republicans of racism.

One of the efforts Moody is most infamous for leading is the baseless attack accusing Republicans, and Bonnen, of supporting racist immigration laws. According to recent tweets, Moody still hangs a banner in his office accusing Republicans of racist intent for passing Senate Bill 4—the ban on sanctuary cities that passed during the 2017 regular session. 

Among other reforms, SB 4 created criminal penalties for local officials who instruct law enforcement officers to refuse to cooperate with federal investigators or undermine federal immigration laws in the hopes of harboring illegal aliens, including violent criminals. Democrats labeled the reform as racist, along with Republicans who supported it, which included Bonnen.

Moody has never backed down from the offensive accusations, which makes him an odd ally for the speaker, and a strange lawmaker to receive Bonnen’s praise. Democrats routinely accuse their Republican opponents of racism and bigotry in general election contests and fundraising efforts, a tactic that’s expected to continue in 2020 and beyond.

Aside from his vocal opposition to enforcing federal immigration laws, Moody is also a longtime proponent of gun control. In spite of all this, Bonnen tapped the Democrat as his speaker pro tempore and chairman of House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, a committee to which Second Amendment-related legislation is largely referred. With Moody as chairman, pro-Second Amendment legislation is sure to be killed.

Indeed, no meaningful advancements on the topic were made by the 86th Texas Legislature despite strong Republican majorities in both chambers.

But Moody isn’t just a far-left Democrat on immigration and Second Amendment rights; he’s also one of the biggest spenders. On the Fiscal Responsibility Index, Moody earned an abysmal 24 out of 100, a grade behind that of many Democrats.

Ross Kecseg

Ross Kecseg was the president of Texas Scorecard. He passed away in 2020. A native North Texan, he was raised in Denton County. Ross studied Economics at Arizona State University with an emphasis on Public Policy and U.S. Constitutional history. Ross was an avid golfer, automotive enthusiast, and movie/music junkie. He was a loving husband and father.