(CNSNews.com) – Texas state Rep. Rhetta Bowers said she and her Democratic state lawmakers were “forced” to flee the state to Washington, D.C., on private planes in an attempt to block a Republican-backed voting bill.
According to the Tyler Morning Telegraph, 67 Texas House Democrats flew on chartered planes, “taking selfies on a bus to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport with a case of Miller Lite beer in a seat next to them.”
“In widely circulated photos on social media, none of the Democrats on board were wearing masks, despite federal guidelines requiring masks on flights,” the paper reported.
“We are here in D.C., our nation’s capital, because we want to protect the civil right to vote for millions of Texans. We were quite literally forced to move and leave the state of Texas,” Bowers said outside the U.S. Capitol building alongside her state Democratic lawmakers and U.S. Democratic congressmen.
“We also know that we are living right now on borrowed time in Texas, and we can’t stay here indefinitely to run out the clock to stop Republican anti-voter bills. That’s why we need Congress to act now and pass the ‘For the People Act.’ Texas Democrats will use everything in our power to fight back, but we need Congress to act now,” she said.
Texas State Rep. Toni Rose accused Texas Republicans of not wanting “free and fair elections.”
“House Bill 3 puts deliberate barriers onto voting to make it harder for Texans to cast just a free, safe and equally vote. House Bill 3 is an attack on voters’ freedoms and democracy. Even with two ruthless provisions removed, the bill as written makes it harder for Texans to vote and easier for partisan poll watchers to harass and intimidate voters,” she said.
“Greg Abbott wants the spotlight anywhere but on his failures, rigging the system, attacking the very foundation of democracy and the rights of all Texans and the price of the GOP-led legislature is the price they’re willing to pay in order to pay for Trump’s prayer altar,” Rose said.
“So we have real issues to address in Texas that Greg Abbott won’t touch, because it exposes his weaknesses. He has done nothing to protect the electric grid even after 700 people died due to his negligence during the winter storms, but Democrats, we stand ready at all times to work on real issues,” she said.
Rep. Senfronia Thompson, dean of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, said she decided to flee to Washington, D.C., because she didn’t want to be a sitting duck in the legislature and be held hostage while her constituents’ rights are stripped from them.
“I’m going to tell you why I’m up here. I’m not up here to take a vacation in Washington, D.C. When I looked at the African-American Museum, I thought about the struggle of my people who fought in this country to get the right to vote, and that right is sacred to my constituents that I represent back in Houston, Texas, and I’m up here, because I don’t plan to be a sitting person in that legislature,” she said.
“I’m not going to be a hostage that my constituents’ right will be stripped from them. We have fought too long and too hard in this country, and that was a Texan called Johnson, President Lyndon B. Johnson, August the 6th of 1965, they made sure we had the right to vote, and those rights will not be infringed upon, but this legislature may have– these Republicans in this legislature may have changed the Messiah, Jesus, to Trump, but I haven’t,” Thompson said.
“And I’m going to make sure that everything that I can do that my constituents’ right will not be stripped from them because of what they believe in is a lie. Trump lost the election, and they need to tell the people of this country the truth, and if they don’t, I’m going to,” she added.
As CNSNews.com reports, Texas State Rep. Jasmine Crockett said the end game is to force the U.S. Senate to get rid of the filibuster.
Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he plans to keep calling special sessions through next year if necessary and could even arrest the Texas Democrats when they return home.
“As soon as they come back in the state of Texas, they will be arrested, they will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done,” Abbott said.