A leading conservative in the Texas House is no longer a member of the Texas Freedom Caucus.
On Monday, news broke that State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R–Bedford) would no longer serve as a member of the caucus that was founded two years ago to fight for conservative reform and act as citizens’ voice inside the Texas Legislature but has since appeared to stray from that mission.
“I have a lot of love for my former Freedom Caucus colleagues, but the time is now for me to focus on my constituents, the conservative agenda, and being a voice for the grassroots,” said Stickland.
In that first session, the Freedom Caucus was ever-present in fighting against tyrannical actions of former House Speaker Joe Straus, pushing for conservative reform, and winning large scale victories such as the strengthening of the legislature’s ban on sanctuary cities.
But this session, they haven’t exhibited that same fire.
Indeed, while they once distinguished themselves as the more conservative members in the Republican Caucus, the Freedom Caucus members largely began acting as simply rank-and-file members of the Republican Caucus.
In comparison to their performance two years ago, Freedom Caucus lawmakers haven’t been driving the process this session, they’ve been taken for a ride by House leadership—often voting for bills and proposals they previously fought against.
On many of those votes, Stickland was the lone or one of only a few ‘no’ votes, something activists across Texas began to notice. Once news of Stickland’s departure broke, the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party’s Julie McCarty panned the news as a positive development.
“I’m glad he did. They were holding him back,” she said on Facebook. “We can and will still work with our friends on the caucus.”
“Oh they’re still a thing? What exactly did they do this session?” commented David Shuck.
Conservative activist Naomi Narvaiz said that without Stickland, the Freedom Caucus should just be called the “caucus.”
With Stickland gone, the caucus’ membership has now dropped to 10, after the departure of State Rep. Jeff Leach (R–Plano) last December.
It might just be the 'caucus' now. #Freedom has left the 'Freedom Caucus'. #txlege https://t.co/DEcdF3KpBI
— Naomi Narvaiz (@nytxnn) May 6, 2019