Is the passage of Republican priorities the best measure of success for the Republican-controlled state Legislature?
On Thursday, Republican Party of Texas Vice Chair Cat Parks released a statement taking aim at the party’s focus on the eight legislative priorities, which were voted on by delegates to the 2020 Texas GOP convention.
Those priorities include election integrity, constitutional carry, abolishing abortion, and ending taxpayer-funded lobbying.
In her statement, Parks suggests focusing on those priorities as the only metric of success for the Legislature would be shortsighted.
“This is a year unlike any other. Passage of Texas GOP Legislative Priorities should not be the sole indicator of a successful legislative session. If Texas legislators pass fifty bills related to Republican Party of Texas Platform planks, and only pass one bill from the Texas GOP Legislative Priorities, did we fail as a Party? While current Texas GOP messaging says yes, Texas Republican voters indicate otherwise,” said Parks.
She then pointed to issues not among the eight priorities—such as protecting law and order, free speech, and lower property taxes—to back up her statement.
“Not one of those issues is a Texas GOP Legislative Priority. However, be certain that those are things being discussed around kitchen tables nightly and are of significant concern to Texas Republicans,” said Parks. “By narrowly focusing on Texas GOP Legislative Priorities as the singular indicator of legislative success, we lose the opportunity to address the real-time concerns of Texans.”
Her comments were dissonant to actions from the party since Chairman Allen West was elected to lead the Texas GOP in July of last year. Since then, West has placed a heavy focus on the priorities, as well as the failure of the Republican-dominated Legislature to address them in past years.
Earlier this month, the party hosted a rally promoting the priorities ahead of the start of the legislative session. Parks was not in attendance.
In response to Parks’ statement, West told Texas Scorecard he would not stop fighting for the Legislature to achieve all eight priorities.
“The legislative priorities of the Republican Party of Texas are generated from the grassroots membership of the Republican Party of Texas through the delegates at our state convention, and our delegates are representative of the voices of Republicans in Texas. So when we look at these eight legislative priorities, the definition of success is related to those delegates and those voters out there believing that their priorities that they see as important are passing,” said West.
“It is my responsibility as the chairman of the Republican Party of Texas to be that gladiator that goes into the arena for them … to really fight hard and to advocate for those legislative priorities to be passed,” he added.
West also noted that, while there are many issues that should be addressed by the Legislature, “when you look at the principles and values of who we are as Republicans in the state of Texas, these are the things they want to ensure are passed.”