JULY 20, 2021
Texas Democrats have left the building, and they have my full support. Breaking quorum is an extreme but legitimate action that lawmakers can take in order to stop egregious legislation. Republicans have tried to spin this many different ways, but let’s be clear – Texas Democrats are taking a righteous stand for our democracy.
This week’s action by the Democrats in the Texas Legislature follows a long history of lawmakers across both sides of the aisle breaking quorum to stop items from moving through the legislature. As far back as 1840, then State Representative Abraham Lincoln went as far as jumping out of a second-story window in order to break quorum and stop the Illinois Legislature from taking a vote. Back in 2003, I was part of the “The Killer D’s” who fled to Oklahoma to stop a gerrymandered redistricting plan that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Breaking quorum isn’t an easy choice. I left my family, including my newborn daughter, for weeks. Many Democrats today have also left behind their homes and family to stand up for what is right. Breaking quorum is not an easy choice, but it is one that lawmakers can and have used for over 180 years.
Voting is not a partisan issue. By doing this, Democrats are fighting for all of us. Access to the ballot is a sacred cornerstone of our democracy, and we must protect it at all costs.
Last week marked one year since we lost a great fighter for voting rights, Congressman John Lewis. In his final words, he reminded us that, “the vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent [we] have in a democratic society.” We may no longer have John Lewis with us, but in his absence, the Texas Democrats are following his example, and stirring up good trouble, necessary trouble, for our right to vote.