Former District 14 State Rep. Fred Brown discusses last time Democrats fled special session

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 9:47 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Former District 14 House Representative Fred Brown says what is happening between Republicans and Democrats in Austin is something he’s experienced before.

Monday, Texas Democrats fled to Washington D.C. on a private jet to avoid discussion and voting on a controversial Republican backed voting bill.

Since then, Democrats are working with federal lawmakers, urging them to pass H.R 1, otherwise known as the For the People Act of 2019.

Brown, who served as a Republican for 13 years, recalls a similar situation in 2003.

“In 2003, the Republicans took the majority of the House for the first time in over 100 years, and the governor called a special session just for redistricting,” said Brown. “So everybody came back in to do their thing, the Democrats said, ‘We don’t want to do any of this.’ They got on the bus and went to Oklahoma, so that first special session was ruined.”

Brown says this went on for two more sessions before Democrats came back and business was handled.

Looking at what continues to happen in both Austin and D.C., Brown says something will eventually give.

“I think the same thing will happen here. They said they’re going to go to Washington D.C. to get help, but states’ rights come before federal government when it comes to elections. Every state gets to do their elections the way they want to, so they can go up there and spend all the time they want, but they’re not gonna get any help from Washington, D.C.,” said Brown.

Thursday, Republican Speaker of the House Dade Phelan’s team said they would pay with campaign money to send a private jet to D.C. Saturday to bring the Democrats home.

Democrats responded in a tweet saying, “The Speaker should save his money. We won’t be needing a plane anytime soon, as our work to save democracy from the Trump Republicans is just getting started.”

With no end in sight, Brown says he believes it will end the same way it did in 2003, with constituents getting frustrated about the work in Austin not getting done.

“There’s nothing worse than pressure from your constituents, and when they start making phone calls and start demanding that you go back to work, that changes the whole picture,” said Brown. “They haven’t had to live through this yet, so I think that will take care of this problem pretty quickly.”

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