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If election was legit, why make changes?

To the editor:

The editorial in the Friday, July 23 Sentinel, concerning Texas Democrats’ leaving the state, hit all the right-wing notes that our local newspaper is known for. Phraseology like “flee-baggers,” “impetuous behavior,” and “perhaps Democrats will secede” is strewn freely. I would like to counter with some much-needed sense.

The editorial posits that the Texas Democratic caucus is being “impertinent” in denying their legislature the quorum needed to enact the voting laws that Republicans say the voters want. In 2020, more than 46% of Texas voters were Democrats: perhaps these voters’ concerns should also be considered? The Texas House passed the voting bill on July 11, 2021, after an overnight hearing in which nearly 300 people signed up to testify on the legislation, the majority of them in opposition to the bill. Many were not able to be heard. Civil rights groups and voting rights advocates echoed each another in their concerns that the legislation would harm access to voting, particularly for marginalized voters. The Texas Democratic caucus can be forgiven for thinking that bold action needed to be taken.

Here are the facts about the costs of the Democrats’ trip to Washington D.C., and their housing, food, etc., according to Houston television station KHOU-11. Representative Ann Johnson (D), who is in Washington D.C., said in response to the station’s questioning: “This is not a taxpayer-funded event. This is a Democratic campaign-funded event.” She said much of the trip is being funded through the Texas House Democratic Caucus, which has a donation link on its website. She says that this is in addition to individual campaign funds. “The House Democratic Caucus is paying for this trip. And we are funded by our campaigns,” Rep. Johnson said. Representatives of the caucus also tell us the planes were donated, and the hotels are paid for by campaign and caucus accounts. 

Station KHOU-11 goes on to say, “We can verify the claim is false. House Democrats are not using taxpayer money to fund their trip to Washington.”

The Sentinel editorial writer goes on to enumerate the number of times Democratic legislators have fled their states to avoid votes. I am glad to see that the writer mentioned, although in passing, Oregon Republicans leaving the state in June of 2019 to avoid a cap-and-trade vote connected with lowering greenhouse emissions. On Feb. 24, 2020, 11 of the 12 Republican members of the Oregon State Senate did not attend the regularly-scheduled morning Senate floor session for the same reason. On Feb. 25, 2021, all 11 members of the Republican caucus in Oregon were absent from the legislative session and sent a letter to Gov. Kate Brown (D) saying the governor had ignored their proposals related to COVID-19. “Our previous efforts to bring these issues to your attention have gone unacknowledged. Thus, we are protesting today’s floor session.”

Finally, I would like the editorial writer to explain exactly which “shenanigans and insecurity” he is referring to in connection with supposed voter fraud. If, as the writer says, there is minimal fraud in national elections and Pres. Biden did win, why does he need to double down on the Big Lie that the 2020 election was not lawful? I agree that many (Republican) voters in this country believe that changes are needed to ensure legitimacy. Could the reason they believe this be that newspapers like the Sentinel, in concert with Republican legislators and conservative columnists and pundits, are lying to them?

Joan D. Loewen

Lewistown

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