May 13, 2003
Dems still hiding and enjoying life in Oklahoma

Although three Democrats returned to Austin today, at least one of whom was brought in by DPS, 51 of them remain in Oklahoma, where the locals and some visiting constituents are treating them well.

"You guys are my heroes," Sharon Copeland, who drove to Ardmore from her home about 60 miles away in Denton, Texas, said today as she threw her arms around Rep. Lon Burnam of Fort Worth. "I sure am proud to be a Democrat today. I didn't even know this could be done."


"The issue is: Is democracy going to win over excessive political greed? The only way that we can make sure that it does is to stand up," Coleman said.

About a dozen people, some holding homemade signs reading "Save Texas," cheered with lawmakers during the news conference.

"For somebody to stand up like this is a wonderful affirmation of American values," said Gene Lantz, who drove to Ardmore from his Dallas home Tuesday.


Today, local law enforcement agents greeted the Democrats with big smiles and warm handshakes.

"We're here to let them know we support them," Harvey Burkhart, sheriff of Carter County, Okla., said Tuesday. "Nothing's going to happen to them here. I can tell you we're certainly not going to put them in jail."

I must say, my opinion of Oklahoma just went up several notches.

How long the Dems will stay put is in doubt, though it sounds like they'll be back by the weekend. In the meantime, they're holding firm:

"There is absolutely no dishonor in using the rules," said Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, who said blocking a House quorum is a legitimate tactic.

"The reality is we hope the legislative leadership will take note of our position and will work with us in resolving what brought us to today," Gallego said. "It is not an easy thing to get over 50 members of the Legislature to agree on much, much less to agree on a trip to our neighboring state of Oklahoma."

This is the biggest gun they have to fire, so it better hit something. Stay tuned.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 13, 2003 to Killer D's | TrackBack

I've been on the fence on this issue for a while. I don't like the US House Majority Leader and believed the redistricting idea to be "trying too hard too late."

That said, I've now lost all sympathy for the Texas Democrats on this issue. I hope that they lose not only this battle, but 13 state reps so that they can't pull a stunt like this again.

Posted by: R. Alex on May 13, 2003 11:07 PM

How many of the Democratic legislators have toss-up seats?

Posted by: Steve Smith on May 14, 2003 12:50 AM

I doubt that number is as high as 13, so I don't think those particular reps have much to fear. Who will pay the price are the statewide Dems, who will be running with a party that will be weaker because of "protest" moves such as this, which brings me to one of my biggest problems with this: They're acting with an arrogance unbefitting a party that has gotten demolished in the last three election cycles.

Posted by: R. Alex on May 14, 2003 1:51 AM

I wasn't aware that statewide Democrats stood a chance of winning anyways. They might as well throw the Hail Mary.

Posted by: Steve Smith on May 14, 2003 11:18 AM


The budget is a mess. Several services are going to have to be cut or taxes raised. Republicans will take all the heat for it. Right now the Dems are not competitive in statewide races. In three years, though, they might be.

Or, apparently, maybe not.

Posted by: R. Alex on May 14, 2003 11:52 AM