With the dubious distinction of being the “most liberal Republican” in the Texas House, State Rep. Kyle Kacal (R–College Station) has the legislative history to prove it.
Now Kacal faces Huntsville businessman Ben Bius in the May 24 runoff election.
On the Texans for Fiscal Responsibility Index, Kacal maintains a career rating of “F” and the lowest rating of any Republican. Young Conservatives of Texas also gave Kacal the lowest rating of any Republican (a 47), and Rice University’s Index ranked Kacal among the five most liberal Republicans.
In the 87th Legislative Session, Kacal signed onto a Democrat-sponsored bill to expand Medicaid, voted for the creation of an Office of Health Equity within the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, and voted against a proposal to end mask mandates.
Additionally, Kacal was one of several Republican holdouts on supporting Republican-sponsored bills relating to election integrity. He aired his hesitancy regarding the Republican omnibus bills but never provided any specific criticisms.
Then, when quorum-busting Democrats fled the state in July to avoid voting on election integrity legislation, Kacal called for “moderation,” saying the Democrats should be given “a victory or two” to draw them back to Austin during the special session.
Gov. Greg Abbott had named election integrity as an emergency legislative priority in his State of the State address, and the Republican Party of Texas named election integrity the No. 1 legislative priority.
The 86th Legislative Session in 2019 saw property tax reform in the spotlight, and Kacal came out against voter control over the ever-rising property taxes. If Kacal had it his way, only majorly populated areas under Democrat control would have seen some of the benefits of the proposed property tax reforms.
During the 85th Legislative Session in 2017, Kacal served on the prestigious Calendar Committee under former House Speaker Joe Straus. Following the session, Kacal explained to students at Texas A&M that he opposed transparency in the Calendar Committee because he used his position on the committee to pick and choose which bills should go to the House floor for debate.
Due to the lack of transparency in the Calendar Committee’s voting process, Kacal could have used his position to kill any bill he chose.
Texas Scorecard asked Kacal if he supported awarding powerful committee chairmanships to Democrats. Kacal did not respond to our inquiry.
According to Transparency USA, Kacal’s top donors this election cycle include the Texas Farm Bureau, the Texas Sands PAC, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, and House Speaker Dade Phelan.