The Texas Democrats who fled the state to block a Republican voting bill left behind dying relatives. One even postponed her wedding.
These stories came to light this week when Texas state Democratic Representative James Talarico said that there was “lots of crying” among the roughly 58 legislators who left the state on Monday for Washington D.C.. Talarico said that he and his fellow representatives only fled the state as a “last resort” against the Republican bill.
Several legislators left behind family members who were near death, Talarico’s Communications Director, Mason Reid, confirmed to Newsweek. Reid withheld further details, however, out of respect for the legislators’ and their families’ personal privacy.
The legislators’ sudden trip to the nation’s Capitol forced one of them, Representative Celia Israel, to postpone her wedding to her partner of 26 years.
Some of the Texas state Democrats who fled the state to block a GOP voting bill left behind dying family members. One, Celia Israel, even had to cancel her wedding. In this photo, Texas State Democrats (L-R) Democratic Chair Rep. Chris Turner (TX-101), Rep. Rafael Anchia (TX-103), Rep. Senfronia Thompson (TX-141), and Rep. Rhetta Bowers (TX-113) speak during a news conference on voting rights outside the U.S. Capitol on July 13
Israel had planned on marrying Celinda Garza on the Texas House floor this last Thursday. She said her wedding’s location would hold special significance, not only because of her dedication to serving the state, but also because of the state legislature’s long history of passing anti-LGBTQ legislation.
However, while Garza was in a fitting for her wedding outfit, Israel’s colleague called and told her about the Democrats’ plans to leave the state, KVUE reported. Israel said she had trouble telling her partner what was happening. Her partner wasn’t happy, Israel said.
After the wedding, the two had planned on celebrating at a country music festival in Marathon, Texas. But that too had to be put on hold.
“We got in the car heading back home from South Texas, and I said, ‘I’m really sorry honey. I’m really sorry.’ And I said, ‘Politics is dumb.’ And she said, ‘Yeah, politics is dumb,'” Israel said.
“I didn’t think I could love her more, but I do,” Israel added. “She was just a champ through all of this.”
Talarico has said that his fellow Democratic state legislators don’t necessarily have an “endgame” for stopping the bill in the state legislature. “There’s no endgame in Texas,” he said. “Our only play is here in DC.”
“We know that permanently blocking [the GOP voting bill in this congressional session]––or any subsequent special sessions––will be very difficult, which is why the caucus is here lobbying federal lawmakers to pass voter protection legislation,” Talarico’s communications director Mason Reid told Newsweek.
Republican state Governor Greg Abbott has said that he will simply reconvene special legislative sessions and even lock Democratic legislators in the House chamber until Republicans pass the bill. In order to stop the bill from going into effect, the Democratic lawmakers would need to stay out of the state until the next election.