Endorsement watch: No Briscoe

The Chron follows the basic principle that bad acts should not be rewarded, and bad actors do not belong in positions of trust and power.

Mary Williams

In his two terms representing House District 128, Rep. Briscoe Cain has quickly acquired a reputation well beyond being the most conservative lawmaker in the House. He’s an elected official whose offensive posts earned him a suspension on Twitter. He was Texas Monthly’s Worst Legislator of 2017.

As a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, Cain has tweeted a threat to former El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke with the warning “My AR is ready for you Robert Francis.” He trolled Stephen Hawking shortly after news of the acclaimed physicist’s death.

He introduced legislation to defund a state council that promotes palliative care for the terminally ill, conflating the specialized end-of-life services for dying patients with so-called “death panels.” He wastes his colleagues’ time on the House floor pushing severe abortion restrictions he knows won’t pass constitutional muster. He posed for the cameras while getting an illegal haircut as a stunt to pressure Gov. Greg Abbott to reopen hair salons and barbershops.

That kind of grandstanding in the chamber or social media chatter does nothing to benefit the people of House District 128, which straddles the Houston Ship Channel and includes Pasadena, Deer Park, Baytown and Crosby.

They deserve better. They deserve a state representative who cares about the issues important to the district — air quality, chemical plant safety, education.

That is why we are recommending his challenger, Democrat Mary Williams, in the House District 128 race.

I mean, look, HD128 is the most Republican House district in Harris County, and the people of HD128 are represented by Briscoe Cain because they voted for Briscoe Cain. It’s free and fair to call him out on his bullshit – he has a level of entitlement that would put any trust fund boarding school scion to shame – but he’s not in office because of some anti-democratic shenanigans. The world is always a better place when the likes of Briscoe Cain are sitting on the sidelines, but let’s not fool ourselves about why he’s not.

The Chron also takes a stance against bad ethics.

Sandra Moore

Voters in state House District 133 returned Rep. Jim Murphy for a sixth term in the Legislature in 2018, even after news broke about a business arrangement that raised serious questions about possible conflicts of interest.

Murphy was paid a yearly salary for more than $312,000 as the general manager of the Westchase Management District, which is also within the boundaries of HD 133. He also served as chairman of the House Committee on Special Purpose Districts.

The situation got even murkier when reporters revealed that Murphy’s contracts included incentive payments for delivering state funds from the Legislature. For example, Murphy would receive a $6,000 bonus if he secured “$1 million or more in new TxDOT funding for highway projects” for Westchase.

Murphy has not been accused of a crime or cited for an ethics violation, but this is a violation of public trust in an issue involving taxpayers’ money.

Still, Murphy won re-election with 58 percent of the vote in 2018 and can expect a similar margin this fall in the solidly Republican district.

But if you believe Murphy’s arrangement to be disqualifying, and we do, there are two other candidates on the ballot for consideration: Democrat Sandra Moore and Libertarian James Harren.

The Chron endorsed Moore, who ran for HD133 in 2018 but lost in the primary runoff. I find Briscoe Cain to be by far the more egregious of the two – Murphy has redeeming qualities as a legislator who can do productive work – but oddly enough this sort of sin seems like the more probable cause for a voter to turn on him. Briscoe Cain can do what he does because enough people in his district like him for what he does. Murphy may find that his actions may cost him friends, or at least the support of some voters. That has something to do with the district in question as well, but self-dealing drawing a stink eye is more universal. (Unless your name is Donald Trump, of course.) Also, this district is like a more Republican version of HD134, and as such I’d bet the under on that 58% mark for Murphy. He had no opponent in 2016, but HD133 performed as a 62-63% Republican district that year. It won’t surprise me to see a couple more points shaved off of that this year.

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5 Responses to Endorsement watch: No Briscoe

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    With respect to Briscoe Cain, he sounds like my kind of legislator, and Pasadena/Deer Park/Baytown/Crosby are repping H-Town well. Those are salt of the Earth, blue collar folks who know what it is to work hard for a living, many of them plant and pipeline workers. I don’t see them being excited to vote for a purple haired freak show.

    Regarding Murphy, and the Chronicle’s comment:

    “But if you believe Murphy’s arrangement to be disqualifying, and we do….”

    Cry me a river, Houston Chronicle. You didn’t find Joe Biden’s brother’s arrangement to build houses in Iraq with US tax dollars disqualifying (even though brother Biden had zero experience in construction, Iraq, or anything else slightly related). You didn’t find Hunter and Devon’s $ 1.5B investment deal with the Chinese commies, right after the trip on AF2 with Daddy Biden disqualifying (even though THEY had zero experience with China, investments, or anything else). You certainly didn’t find Hunter’s million dollar a year no show job with Burisma in Ukraine, or Daddy Biden’s quid pro quo threatening to get the prosecutor general looking into that corruption fired to be disqualifying.

    But now the Chronicle has got the vapors over a possible, but hasn’t even happened yet $ 6,000 payoff for Jim Murphy? C’mon, man!

  2. C.L. says:

    I didn’t know Biden’s brother ran for an elected position in the Houston area.


  3. V.B. says:

    Let’s be clear: Cain is in office now because Republicans voted for him. Before this year, the last time a Democrat ran for HD128 was 2004.

  4. brad says:

    When I read Bill Daniel’s words I hear Trump’s whinny voice.

  5. Pingback: Endorsement watch: Carol and Borris – Off the Kuff

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