IssuesThe Back MicThe Back Mic: Lawmakers Respond to Governor Abbott’s Latest Reopening Plans

This week — a look at what lawmakers are saying about Governor Greg Abbott ushering in Phase 2 of his plan to reopen Texas.
May 22, 2020
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This week, Governor Abbott announced he would be moving forward with “Phase 2” of his plan to reopen the state, allowing child care centers, youth clubs, and bars to reopen in some capacity and professional sports to resume at the end of the month.

The announcement spurred a variety of responses from state lawmakers.

Here’s a look at some of those who voiced support for or opposition to Abbott’s latest move:

Opposition

Texas House Democratic Chairman Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie) took to Twitter to with a series of tweets on how Abbott’s “haphazard approach has left Texas unprepared to safely reopen.”

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The representative raised concerns regarding reported numbers, and stated that “Gov. Abbott’s frenzied and reckless approach to mitigating the spread of COVID-19 has led to statewide confusion for city and counties, as well as law enforcement who don’t know which orders to follow and which to ignore.”

“Texas GOP leadership has made it impossible for us to re-open in a safe and smart way,” Rep. Gene Wu tweeted in a thread (D-Houston). “Governor Abbott needs to stop handcuffing cities and counties, so they can actually enforce HIS orders.”

“While Democratic controlled major-metro areas are trying to re-open in the safest way… Texas Republican leadership is treating #COVID19 crisis like it’s a joke,” Wu continued. He went on to say that Abbott “ignores his own advisors” and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick “encourages old people to die.”

Support

Turner’s sentiments, in particular, were met by critiques from Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), who tweeted, “You know, I’ve always preferred action over words.  As [Abbott] continues to rely on healthcare experts, Texas is set to once again lead the nation in job creation and economic success. Haphazard? Not sure this is anything other than political language from consultants.”

Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) responded to Turner as well, saying, “[Abbott] is surrounded and advised by some of the smartest Doctors, medical experts and health professionals in the world. His plan – which they have helped formulate – is smart & sensible.”

“I think we’re seeing the ‘oh crap’ moment when many Texas Democrats realize they had the wrong message,” Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) posted on social media. “Demanding businesses stay closed wasn’t selling. Risks and uncertainty ahead, but Texans want to decide. And they should. Voters will remember.”

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McKenzie Taylor

McKenzie Taylor

McKenzie Taylor serves as Operations Manager and resident plate-spinner for The Texan. Previously, she worked as State Representative Kyle Biedermann’s Capitol Director during the 85th legislative session before moving to Fort Worth to manage Senator Konni Burton’s campaign. In her free time, you might find her enjoying dog memes, staring at mountains, or proctoring personality tests.