Special session ‘a failure of leadership,' Rep. Turner says

DALLAS – State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, said Governor Greg Abbott’s call for a special session next month is a failure of leadership and shows he needs to be more involved in the legislative process.

“The reality is this special session announcement is really representative of a failure of leadership on the governor’s part. He wasn’t engaged at all during the regular session. That was the time to talk about issues and push the legislature if he wants to get things done. He’s just simply trying to seize the spotlight here and trying to get some of the attention back on him,” said Turner during an appearance on WFAA’s Inside Texas Politics Sunday morning.

Last week, Abbott summoned lawmakers back to Austin on July 18 to consider 20 items in 30 days from renewing the Texas Medical Board that licenses doctors to the bathroom bill, property tax reform, and a $1,000 pay raise for teachers.

Turner said Abbott’s predecessor, Governor Rick Perry, a former lieutenant governor and lawmaker, was more engaged in the process.

“While I disagree with him a lot, he was always there on the House floor. He’d slap your back. He’d cajole you, he’d say I want this done and cut this out. He had that kind of dialogue. Gov. Abbott doesn’t seem to have interest in the legislative process,” explained Turner.

Still, Gov. Abbott remains popular among Republicans and has a massive amount of money in his campaign account. In January, Abbott told WFAA’s Inside Texas Politics he would run for re-election and make an official announcement this summer.

But Democrats have yet to suggest any names to challenge Abbott in a mid-term election that will be a referendum on President Trump.

“There’s not a candidate yet. I anticipate there will be,” said Turner.

When asked whether the Democratic candidate will bring their own money or get financing from donors, Turner added: “I think Democratic donors will be ready to engage in this election cycle.”

State Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, who also appeared on Inside Texas Politics, was asked whether he agrees with his colleagues in the House Freedom Caucus who want someone to challenge Speaker Joe Straus next session.

“I think every session brings a dynamic of its own. I think we always need to look at who the best person to the lead the chamber is,” said Krause.

When asked whether the Freedom Caucus might challenge Straus, Krause said: “That’s a long way off. We’re trying to get through 20 items in 30 days. We’ll see about that. All those discussions will happen later. I’m sure discussions will take place.”

Watch the entire interview below:

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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