My old buddy Kel Seliger’s departure from the Texas Senate is now becoming even more clear than it was when he announced his intention to forgo another term in the legislative body.
Seliger, an Amarillo Republican, had crossed swords with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick many times since 2015 when Patrick took over as the Senate’s presiding officer.
Now we see that Patrick has tossed aside a longstanding Texas Senate tradition by appointing just one Democrat to a committee chairmanship. That would be John Whitmire, a moderate from Houston who now serves as the Senate’s most senior member; Whitmire will chair the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.
Seliger has returned to private life in the Texas Panhandle, no longer having to tolerate Patrick’s petulance and his hyper-partisan approach to governance, neither of which is Seliger’s style.
Compare the Patrick method to that being practiced down hall the Texas Capitol hall in the House, where Speaker Dade Phelan — yes, another Republican — has resisted far-right-wing pressure to appoint only GOP House members to committee chairs. One of those right-wingers, state Rep. Bryan Slaton of Royse City, told me that Phelan is rewarding House Democrats unjustly because they do not hold a majority in the Texas House.
Phelan’s response. That’s just too damn bad … just live with it.
Patrick has tossed aside bipartisanship in running the Senate. As the Dallas Morning News stated in an editorial: Texas has serious business to get done to keep us moving forward as a state. Chances are the Senate will be hog-tied with business it shouldn’t be worrying about. That’s bad for Texans.
So it goes in the Texas Senate, which will be run by a lieutenant governor more interested in sticking it to Democrats than in welcoming them to cooperate in legislating matters that will benefit the whole state.
What a shame.