The Back MicThe Back Mic: Miller Softens Tone with Abbott, Roy Endorses in School Board Race, Democrat Caucus Chair Forgoes Another Term

This week — Sid Miller softens his tone with Gov. Greg Abbott after a recent tiff, Chip Roy wades into a school board race, and the House Democratic Caucus chair will not seek reelection.
April 22, 2022

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Miller Tempers Border Disagreement with Abbott

In an email to supporters with the subject line “The Governor and Me,” Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller attempted to mend divisions with Gov. Greg Abbott after their public disagreement over heightened inspection protocols for inbound traffic from Mexico.

The orders caused supply chain backlogs at Texas’ southern border entryways but resulted in agreements by the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas.

“As the Agriculture Commissioner, it is my job to defend Texans in the agriculture industry — from farmers and ranchers to retailers and consumers,” Miller wrote. “While I share Governor Abbott’s goals and intentions, we have different roles in government. His job is to protect the state. My job is to protect those working and benefitting from the agriculture sector, and to protect consumers.”

“[S]ometimes differ over policies and decisions made by government. That is what happens in healthy democracies.”

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He said that while the enhanced security objectives were obtained, it also came at a $4.3 billion cost to “Texas consumers and businesses.”

Miller then turned his sights on the media, saying, “Nothing makes them happier than a Republican on Republican war story.”

“Just don’t forget that the media is on one side of the ball while Governor Greg Abbott and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller are on the other. I’ll keep calling out Governor Abbott’s policies when we disagree, but I will never forget which team we both play for…yours.”

Congressman Roy Endorses in Dripping Springs School Board Race

A school board race within the 21st Congressional District has drawn the attention of its congressman. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) endorsed Tricia Quintero and Olivia Barnard in the four-way race for two spots on the Dripping Springs Independent School District (ISD) board.

“As a parent of school-age children in Dripping Springs,” Roy said in a release, “I recognize how important it is for our school board to fully reflect the values of our community, promote financial and curriculum transparency, and — most importantly — empower parents and protect students instead of radical special interests, corrupt unions, and rogue bureaucrats.”

The pair of candidates are running against incumbent Joanna Day and Thaddeus Fortenberry.

“The bottom line is that parents and other concerned citizens cannot afford to sit out these races. The stakes are simply too high and the duty to fight for our children’s well-being and futures is too great. I encourage all voters to get out the vote and support Tricia Quintero and Olivia Barnard for DSISD Board of Trustees.”

An official with the Roy campaign said the congressman does not plan to get involved in every race. He further said the congressman has stressed the importance of local races, putting those at least on par with higher-ticket elections.

“Across the country, the veil has lifted on an American education system corrupted and politicized at the expense of our children,” said Roy. “In response, parents and voters across the country have rightfully risen up to take back control.”

House Democratic Caucus Chair Will Not Seek Re-Election

Rep. Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie) announced he will not pursue another term as Texas House Democratic Caucus (THDC) chair.

“After six years, three [legislative] sessions and four special sessions and a variety of noteworthy events, I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Turner told the Texas Tribune in an interview. “I’m looking forward to spending some of my time on other endeavors and giving someone else the chance to build on what we’ve built to date.”

Turner led the House Democrats during their 2021 quorum breaks, during which most of the caucus flew to Washington, D.C., and stayed there for over a month. They succeeded in killing the GOP-led election reform bill during the regular session, but it eventually passed in a special session months later. He was first elected to the Texas House in 2008 and first assumed the caucus chair position in 2017.

THDC caucus members were informed of Turner’s decision on Thursday at the group’s annual retreat.

The 88th legislative session is nine months away, and Democrats are unlikely to ride into it with the gains they made during the last midterm election in 2018.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and 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 quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.