Representative Dominguez shed some light on the Texas Legislative Session and the so-called border crisis Republicans have been making a fuss about.
A few days ago, I had a chance to talk to Representative Alex Dominguez from District 37. Because I live in North Texas, it’s hard for me to say what’s actually going on at the border. Still, when listening to Republicans on TV or social media, they repeatedly call the border situation a crisis. Representative Dominguez’s district is a border district, which is why I was so excited to talk to him. If anyone can tell us the truth about the border situation, it’s someone that lives and works at the border.
We caught up on the legislative session, so far, and then dove into the details about our southern border.
The Republicans in the 87th Legislature are further right than in previous sessions.
“For a lot of us, it was overwhelming to be hit on the head with a bunch of issues that were inflammatory, just to poke us because they could.” – Representative Dominguez.
Over this last week, we’ve published several articles about how Republicans voted against helping cancer patients, voted against bills that would save victims of sex trafficking, and Bryan Slaton’s obsession with transgender children. We’ve barely even scratched the surface of how awful Republicans have been this session.
The Texas legislatures history of bipartisanship.
Even though Republicans have held the majority in the Texas House for the last two decades, the Lone Star Legislatures have always prided themselves on bipartisanship. I asked Representative Dominguez if there was less of that this year.
“We still have a lot of good friendships,” he told me, “the funny thing is despite those friendships, we can still have a meeting of the minds on a number of issues. Most bills coming out of the House are going to pass with 90% unanimity. We’re in lock-step together. This is good legislation. This is good for Texas. It’s those few issues that they really push that will be the highlight of somebody’s reelection campaign. These issues are really being driven from the right by some of the more extreme parts of their party.”
What he said after that was both telling and interesting.
“I’ve had a number of my Republican collogues come up to me, pull me to the side, and say ‘Alex, you know, I don’t like this. I don’t want to take a vote on it. And if this would have been stopped in committee, or stopped on the calendar, maybe we wouldn’t have to vote on it. But if I don’t vote on this, I’m going to get primaried.’ That’s always something that’s on everyone’s mind up here. Are you going to be able to survive a primary and then the general election, as well? Of course, the Republicans are very focused on the scorecards that exist.”
It’s unsurprising that Republicans don’t vote on their conscience or what’s best for their constituents. Instead, they vote on their scorecards.
For example, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility rates each legislature on how they vote on “pro-taxpayer policy reforms.” For example, under the Texans for Fiscal Responsibility score, Briscoe Caine is an A+ politician, while every Democrat is sitting at an F rating. Representative Cain likely votes to keep his A+ rating, while Democrats vote on what’s best for their constituents.
This is problematic for a multitude of reasons. For example, they counted the expansion of Medicaid a bad vote and not fiscally responsible.
But they were wrong. With over 20% of Texans being uninsured and millions of dollars of medical bills going unpaid each year, multiple studies have shown that expanding Medicaid would actually save Texas money. Considering hundreds of Texans who die every year because they don’t have adequate access to healthcare, expanding Medicaid isn’t only fiscally responsible. It’s also the humane thing to do. Since Texans for Fiscal Responsibility said it was a bad thing, Republicans will vote against being humane in favor of a better score.
Representative Dominguez’s champion bill this session.
HB1802 is a bill Alex Dominguez is excited about. This bill creates a study on the safety and efficacy of psychedelic drugs with veterans with PTSD. This bill was endorsed by the former governor, Rick Perry.
For years, many of us have heard about the psychological benefits of psychedelic drugs.
There are multiple studies done in other states that tout the benefits of using psychedelics to treat PTSD. If we can find a way to help our veterans and drastically cut the suicide rate of veterans, we absolutely should. This bill has bipartisan support. It’s made it out of the House and Senate now and will likely head to the governor’s desk soon.
Representative Dominguez is a former educator, so I had to ask his thoughts on the Lost Cause 2.0 bill.
He agrees with the rest of us, it’s absolutely ridiculous. Here is the New York Times article I referenced.
Then he made an important point. If you ever thought about running for the state school board, this next year is the year to do it. The Representative is 100% right about this. Our school board has 15 members. Only six of them are Democrats. If we really want to stop this garbage from making its way into our schools, we need to replace every Conservative on that board. Expect Living Blue in Texas to write more about those races over the next year.
Representative Dominguez also referenced James Talarico’s exchange with Steve Toth during the reading of HB 3979. If you haven’t seen the video already, it’s a must-see.
It’s an OVERTLY racist exchange, where Toth refuses to admit that white supremacy played a role in the founding of this nation.
If there was any confusion on where the Republican Party stood on white supremacy, the exchange between Talarico and Toth really clears it up.
What’s going on at the border?
Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, multiple Congressman, and State Elected Officials have gone on TV or social media in recent months talking about the “crisis at the border.”
Republicans are liars and sensationalists, so most of us take what they say with a grain of salt. However, far-right wingnuts are going on podcasts telling people to take up arms and shoot people at the border because of the things these elected officials have said. Baby boomers on Facebook have been in a panic over the things these elected officials have said.
Representative Dominguez echoed what each one of those major media outlets said. There is no crisis at the border. Biden hasn’t opened the border. Biden hasn’t torn the wall down. Republicans are essentially making this up, for whatever reasons, likely to stir up their base.
When in doubt, always ask a direct source.
Representative Dominguez lives in works in Brownsville. You can’t get much closer to the border situation than that. Chip Roy, who has been making a fuss about the border, lives in Austin. Brian Babin, who can’t shut up about immigration, lives in East Texas. They have no relevance to South Texas and probably should shut up about it.
There are too many things going on in this world for us to worry about invisible boogey men.
The conversation with Representative Dominguez was enlightening. We don’t have any scorecards, but if we did, we’d give the Representative an A+.
You can now read an ad-free version of Living Blue in Texas and help support our mission to turn Texas blue. Sign up now.
Sign up for our weekly blog roundup: