Republican Representative, Todd Smith (HD-92), Chair of the Elections Committee, which will soon hear Voter Suppession legislation, has probably now found himself under an intense spotlight that he may not want, or is ready for.
This past Friday Smith tried to orchestrate a Town Hall meeting at 7:30AM that was special invitation only–at least until word spread to the public that a Town Hall was to occur. Resident voters like my parents, who have lived in HD-92 for over 30 years, my grandmother, who has lived in HD-92 for over 50 years, and many more constituents received no notice they could meet and greet with their state representative. As you already know, though, Mid-Cities folks aren't strangers to Smith Town Halls.
The Mid-Cities Democrats, coupled with the Tarrant County Democratic Party, passed the word to not only constituents, but concerned Texans in whole, to talk with State Representative Todd Smith about problems over Voter Suppression legislation.
Minutes into the Town Hall some of the first comments and questions were on Voter Suppression legislation, which set the tone for the entire hour. Early speakers raised concern over voter fraud, but quickly the packed Old Bedford Schoolhouse spoke in one voice against Voter Suppression legislation.
Smith commented that constituents in his district “were concerned about voter fraud,” but the vast majority of the audience felt that their were “far more important issues,” such as escalating utility costs, high insurance rates, uninsured children, and just growing economic concerns that are of more importance than Todd's perceived “issue.”To Smith's credit he took a number of questions from the audience. He stayed till the end and didn't scatter when the audience began to trickle out. He was heard. But what was heard from Smith was not shared by the audience. Smith did remark that he would “not vote for anything that would cost people money on ID's.” A comment that matched what Smith indicated on Thursday after the Texas Senate approved, by party-line vote, to send Voter Suppression legislation to the Smith chaired, House Elections Committee. Smith's comments draw a line in the sand between moderate and hard line Republicans in the Texas GOP on their pet issue. Get ready to rumble?
The facts are that there are no widespread voter fraud issues in Texas. Abbott has spent our tax dollars investigating this issue only to come up empty of evidence, and. without a doubt the main reason he refused to testify in the senate last week. Representative Rafael Anchia noted that Smith is “trying to come up with something with broad support.” But, that Democrats will not rest on Smith's “good faith.” Powerful stuff.
Republicans are going to have a hard time keeping their caucus together on this issue. Not when constituents want escalating utility costs, insurance rates, tuition, and the growing economic downturn are what dominate concerns of mainstream Texans. It's the Straus mainstreams versus the Perry/Dewhurst extremes, doesn't that make for a popcorn watching? I'd buy that on pay-per view.
Good work on the part of concerned Democrats, and citizens of HD-92, to get the word out about Smith's cloaked Town Hall. Voter fraud is not an issue in Texas. Republicans holding up the legislature on issues not of concern to mainstream Texans shows they are as out of touch as Washington D.C. Republicans are.