On the 225th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution, 13 future freshmen in the Texas House of Representatives gathered in Longview, Texas as “special guests” for a fundraiser for Rep. David Simpson. A crowd of 200 heard Rep. Bryan Hughes open the program with the invocation.
Rep. Simpson then took the podium and noted that many Republican fundraisers have a statewide elected official as the special guest. In lieu of the statewide official, Rep. Simpson asked future representatives Capriglione, Clardy, Fallon, Frank, Klick, Krause, Leach (unable to attend), Paddie, Simmons, Sanford, Schaefer, Stickland, Toth and Turner to serve as his special guests. Simpson challenged the freshmen to hold fast to their principles of limited government, and urged them not to go along to get along in the legislative session.
He then called on each of the future members, and asked them to take a few minutes to say something about themselves and about the Constitution. All are excellent orators, and three are pastors: Sanford; Toth; and Turner. They mentioned primarily the First, Second and Tenth Amendments to the U. S. Constitution. The audience listened with rapt attention for one and a half hours, and the atmosphere throughout the program was respectful and uplifting.
Obviously, the freshmen admired Rep. Simpson. Several noted how he had counseled them on their candidacy. Others complimented Simpson on his unwavering support for his principles. They noted that oftentimes Rep. Simpson stood alone last session. It is evident that Simpson will now have allies. There was no mention of Speaker Straus or a speaker’s race, although Rep. Hughes is a declared candidate for Speaker.
By my count there are likely to be +/- 28 Republican freshman members in the Texas House. Thirteen of them were in Longview last night, and clearly they have bonded. The Tarrant County freshmen are holding a joint fundraiser in Grapevine tonight, and then another joint fundraiser in Austin on Monday. I have never seen this degree of cohesiveness by a freshman group prior to a session. As one them said, “something is different about this session.”