Since the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, protests have sprung up across the country. From them, a new call to “Defund the Police” has emerged.
While not one unified set of demands for reform exists, some common themes can be found at the forefront of the discussion.
The Texan asked every member of the Texas congressional delegation whether they supported or opposed the following proposals:
- The complete abolition of police departments
- Using funding to leverage policy changes in the police departments
- Shifting large portions of funding to community resources
Lawmakers were given the option to respond in the following ways:
- Yes, I support all of the stated proposals.
- No, I support none of the stated proposals.
- Or, respond with a brief statement further specifying or clarifying your position.
Their responses are listed below. If a member replied after the deadline, an asterisk will appear next to their name.
To see how Texas Senators responded, click here.
To see how Texas House members responded, click here.
|John Cornyn (R)||Sen||Statement||“We know some of the most important reforms that need to be made are in our criminal justice system. There are important conversations taking place in Texas and across the country about how we can effectively promote and improve police practices and begin to repair the damaged relationship between our minority communities and our police.”
“And to strengthen that work, there are steps we can take here in Washington, D.C., and I know many of us are engaged in active discussions about what's the best way to create real change, and I know it's a priority for members on both sides of the aisle.”
|Ted Cruz (R)||Sen||Statement||“We know that violent crime disproportionally affects low-income communities, and that law enforcement plays a critical role in protecting life and preserving a free and functioning society. Defunding and abolishing police departments will hurt the most vulnerable Americans. Sen. Cruz is focused on supporting the vast majority of police officers who follow the law and keep our communities safe, and will continue fighting to defend the rights of all Americans.” -- Cruz spokesperson|
|Louie Gohmert (R)||1||Statement||"Congressman Gohmert does not support defunding the police." — Gohmert spokesperson.
Gohmert stated in a committee hearing: “I know it is difficult for those who have lost loved ones – you have our deepest sympathy as do all of those families who have lost loved ones in the aftermath.” He described George Floyd's death as "atrocious."
Regarding potential solutions to police practices he noted, “Hopefully, the majority will allow more input than the zero input we’ve [Republicans] had on the bills so far.”
|Dan Crenshaw (R)||2||Statement||"Everyone - including cops - wants to thoughtfully address police brutality. 'Bad apples' can’t be tolerated in an institution as important as law enforcement.
But defunding the police is a dangerous policy that will harm the communities who are hurting the most right now."
|Van Taylor (R)||3||Statement||"Congressman Taylor does not support defunding the police." — Taylor spokesperson|
|Lance Gooden (R)||5||Statement||“The radical calls to defund law enforcement show just how disconnected the leftist extremists behind the protests are. Stripping down police forces will bring death and destruction to communities they supposedly want to help. I stand behind the thousands of honest police officers, who have had their reputations wrongfully tarnished in recent weeks.”|
|Ron Wright (R)||6||Statement||“Completely dismantling and abolishing our law enforcement is not the answer. Minneapolis is putting their citizens at risk by promoting this reckless idea. We as a nation need to promote good policing and community engagement through reforms. Not through lawlessness.”|
|Lizzie Fletcher (D)||7||Statement||"As we examine the failures in our justice system, many are asking us to reimagine the role that police play in communities across the country, including ours in Houston and Harris County. The call to simply ‘defund the police’ or ‘abolish the police,’ however, is not the right approach, and it is inconsistent with the objectives to create safe communities for all Americans and to ensure equal protection under the law."|
|*Kevin Brady (R)||8||Statement||“Rather than defund the police – which is so dangerous – we have to invest more. If you're in a suburban area, or even worse a rural area, as soon as you get law enforcement trained up they're gone to a bigger city and a bigger salary. Then you have to start over again. So to prevent the bad apples from getting in, we have to invest in attracting the right people. It’s not enough to terminate the bad officers after – let’s prevent them from being on the force in the first place.”|
|Al Green (D)||9||Did not reply.|
|Michael McCaul (R)||10||Did not reply.|
|Michael Conaway (R)||11||Did not reply.|
|Kay Granger (R)||12||Did not reply.|
|Mac Thornberry (R)||13||Did not reply.|
|Randy Weber (R)||14||Did not reply.|
|Vicente Gonzalez (D)||15||Statement||“We are seeing, now more than ever, the critical need to reform our policing system and its officers. It’s not about defunding, but about making substantial changes to training methods that impact the way policing happens in America.
We need to promote a system that encourages and rewards good officers for taking a stand against bad officers who hurt the reputation of all police in America. We need to raise accountability and provide additional racial and bias training for police. Independent review boards, body cameras, and using violence as a last resort to de-escalate situations are just a few places we can start to make change.
To make America safe, we also need to put more resources into public education, affordable housing, homeownership, access to capital for small businesses, and health care. Taking care of our citizens and providing for them is what makes Americans and their communities safe.”
|Veronica Escobar (D)||16||Did not reply.|
|Bill Flores (R)||17||Did not reply.|
|Sheila Jackson Lee (D)||18||Did not reply.|
|*Jodey Arrington (R)||19||Statement||“Local law enforcement leaders risk their lives every day to protect our families and neighborhoods. Efforts to defund the police are foolish and counterproductive. Citizens in broken and corrupt cities need to hold their local leaders accountable and stop looking to Washington to solve their problems. The laws are sufficient, the local leaders are not.”|
|Joaquin Castro (D)||20||Did not reply.|
|Chip Roy (R)||21||Statement||“No, I do not support so-called de-funding of police. If we want to have a real conversation about ensuring justice for every American and reducing overall government spending - sign me up. But I will not countenance the radical undermining of our community safety.”|
|Pete Olson (R)||22||Did not reply.|
|Will Hurd (R)||23||Did not reply.|
|Kenny Marchant (R)||24||Did not reply.|
|Roger Williams (R)||25||Statement||The Congressman does not support defunding the police.
|Michael Burgess (R)||26||Statement||This is a significant moment in our national history. We need to listen to our community leaders and law enforcement to put forward solutions that will last. There is not a quick fix to the problem. We need to be deliberate, decisive and united. This is not a time to weaken the agencies who have dedicated their lives to the protection of their citizens. Improve salaries, benefits and working conditions to attract and retain the highest caliber of individuals.|
|Michael Cloud (R)||27||Did not reply.|
|Henry Cuellar (D)||28||Statement||“I share our nation’s shock and outrage over the death of George Floyd. However, calls to defund our country’s police are impractical and dangerous. Our families, friends, and neighbors are safe because of our nation’s law enforcement.
Improving our policing system, not defunding or disassembling it, is the best way to prevent further tragedies from reoccurring. That is why I joined many of my colleagues in the House to co-sponsor the Justice in Policing Act of 2020. This critical legislation addresses the root of the problems we see today, and includes much-needed reforms that will enhance our law enforcement’s ability to serve communities across the United States.
Furthermore, misconduct, racism, and abuses of power should not and will not be tolerated in the police force. Through increased law enforcement oversight and justice against those who violate the authority entrusted to them, our nation will move forward and rise from these recent events stronger than before.”
|Sylvia Garcia (D)||29||Did not reply.|
|Eddie Johnson (D)||30||Did not reply.|
|*John Carter (R)||31||Statement||“I spent decades as judge of the 277th District Court of Williamson County, and I worked with law enforcement officers daily. Through these interactions, I strongly believe that most police officers are selfless public servants devoted to keeping our communities safe. These are the heroes that are crucial to protecting our communities against crime. However, one of the greatest dangers to good police officers are bad ones. We have to reform the system to empower honorable officers to speak out against those they know do not rise to the standards of the badge. Defunding and dismantling the police is absolutely not a solution. In fact, it ensures that we lose the opportunity to implement positive changes that could improve our police forces. It’s important we use this time to have open dialogue on how we root out the bad officers, and further equip and invest in good officers that protect and serve.”|
|Colin Allred (D)||32||Did not reply.|
|Marc Veasey (D)||33||Did not reply.|
|Filemon Vela (D)||34||Did not reply.|
|Lloyd Doggett (D)||35||Did not reply.|
|Brian Babin (R)||36||Did not reply.|
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.