Waving flags of red, white, and blue, hundreds of Texas Republicans gathered in support of their legislative priorities intended to guide Republican legislators going into Texas’ 87th Legislative Session. 

The rally took place across from the Texas Capitol on Saturday, January 9, on the steps of the Texas State Library. Texans listened intently as speakers represented each of the priorities and relayed why legislators must do everything within their efforts to support GOP priorities.

The rally began with Republican Party of Texas Chairman Allen West, who discussed the importance of individual rights and law and order in a constitutional republic. 

Following West, former State Sen. Don Huffines spoke on the legislative priority of election integrity. In his speech, Huffines levied heavy criticism against Gov. Greg Abbott and Republican legislators, suggesting they have not done enough on the issue. 

Much of the crowd shared this view.

“I’m here to hear Allen West and the legislative priorities,” said Tjitse Miller of Round Rock. “Election integrity is very important. Right now, there isn’t a standard of security. We need voter ID.” 

Other priorities laid out included religious liberty, the end of child gender modification, monument protection, constitutional carry, ending taxpayer-funded lobbying, school choice, and the abuse of executive power, as has been demonstrated by unilateral executive orders issued in response to the coronavirus during the past year.

Most of the crowd was in enthusiastic agreement with all priorities, especially in light of the upcoming Biden presidency. 

Mike of Magnolia, Texas, attended the rally and shared his concerns with Texas Scorecard, saying, “There’s a whole agenda of things that are bad for America that are about to come down the pipe out of our federal government, so [we need to understand] what we can do locally and nationally to educate ourselves to be not only aware of what’s coming, but also to make our voices heard.” 

Another priority that was of concern for the crowd was the abolition of abortion. The featured speaker for this priority was former Planned Parenthood employee and current pro-life activist Abby Johnson. She urged both legislators and constituents to take an active role in ending abortion in Texas during this session.

“I’m here in support of the legislative priorities for the RPT, particularly for the abolition of abortion,” said J.R. Haas, GOP precinct chair 684 of Harris County and leading member of Abolish Abortion TX

“There will be competing ideas for what ‘abolition’ is, however. The priorities demand equal protection for preborn children, and we need to make sure this is actually achieved,” she added.

While citizens attended the rally for a variety of reasons, most shared a common goal: to make the Texas Legislature listen. 

“I want to show support for our president and to see what our legislators are planning to do to represent our priorities and the Republicans who voted for them,” said Kyle Madle of Austin. “There is a large portion of the population that doesn’t feel represented, so I came to see how they’ll represent us.” 

Republican State Reps. Tony Tinderholt (Arlington), Kyle Biedermann (Fredericksburg), Jeff Cason (Bedford) and Bryan Slaton (Royse City) were the only lawmakers in attendance.

The 87th Legislative Session is scheduled to begin at noon on Tuesday, January 12.

Joshua Pierce

Joshua Pierce is originally from the Dallas-Fort Worth Area, a graduate of University of Dallas, Honor Roll student, and an Eagle Scout. An activist from a young age with a history of backing Conservatives, he is a Spring 2021 Fellow for Texas Scorecard, and is glad to help hold the Texas political establishment accountable.

Ariana Silva

Ariana Silva is a 4th-year student at UT Austin where she is majoring in Radio, Television, and Film. She is Vice Chairman for UT’s Young Conservative’s of Texas Chapter and a Director at Texas Scorecard.

Michael Swirsky

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Michael Swirsky is a writing fellow for Texas Scorecard. Interests include speech and debate, chess, and of course Texas politics.