State Representative John Bryant, D-Dallas, said it’s time to actively oppose Republicans after the left was “unwilling to work together” during the 2023 legislative session, which was disappointing for Texas Democrats.
In a Saturday panel discussion at The Texas Tribune Festival, Bryant, Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, and Victoria Neave Criado, D-Dallas, explored the lack of agreement within their own party. The discussion was chaired by managing editor Matthew Watkins.
During the session, the GOP lost on a number of crucial topics, which Bryant attributed to “go-along-get-along” Democrats.
Bryant pointed to the property tax bill as a significant setback for Democrats, who declined to use their veto power to alter the legislation in favor of renters.
We have 25 members who are either chairman or vice chairman, or who have had additional perks from the Speaker of the House, according to Bryant. They constantly debate in our caucus against doing anything that might anger the Republican majority.
The County Affairs Committee’s Mexican American Legislative Caucus is led by Criado, and the Texas House Democratic Caucus is led by Martinez Fischer.
Despite differences of view, Criado asserted that the caucus benefits from having a variety of leadership philosophies. Doing the right thing for the people we represent is important, she said.
The school voucher initiative, which if passed would let parents to remove their children from public schools and enroll them in private ones using government funds, will be fought by the party during the special legislative session next month. To do this, Bryant added, Democrats must be solidly behind one another with no opportunity for compromise.
I believe the evidence is so compelling in our favor, it will really come down to whether we can defeat the billionaire caucus that is currently in place, he said. “Putting pressure on these Republicans and maintaining control over our erratic Democrats. We three Democrats are not speaking for all Democrats.
To raise teacher compensation and care for public schools, Criado said the party must concentrate on their shared values.
“I want to see us come together. The fact that we are all working together to defend the causes we care about and the interests of our home constituencies is what ultimately matters, Criado remarked.
Bryant stated that it is the people’s job to hold their officials accountable in order to get things done.
I have absolutely no faith that functioning as a caucus alone would accomplish this, he declared. “To ensure that we don’t lose too many Democrats that we can lose hope,” the public will need to “come down on your individual member with phone calls, letters, and your personal presence.”