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Bandera Republican Party votes to censure Phelan, Murr

August 30, 2023 - 00:00
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The Bandera County Republican Party is seeking the removal of two Texas Representatives: Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, and Andrew Murr, R-Junction.

The local GOP members are seeking a censure of District 53 Rep. Murr by the State Republican Executive Committee, sending formal documents to state party leaders outlining accusations of violating the party’s platform agenda.

“Dear Mr. Murr, the purpose of this letter is to inform you that the Bandera County Executive Committee voted to investigate the possibility of censuring you,” Bandera GOP Chair Conrad Striegl wrote to the state rep in a certified letter. “Consequently, the BCEC have directed me to forward you the draft attached censure document and request your presence at a meeting that is scheduled Aug. 23…”

Among the complaints against Murr are his vote for District 21 Rep. Phelan as speaker of the house, something Striegl and the censure document say are bought for votes from Phelan’s involvement with casinos.

“Texas House Rep. Andrew Murr voted with the democrats in favor of electing Rep. Dade Phelan as Speaker of The House knowing Rep. Phelan would appoint Democratic chairs in a Texas House Republican majority,” the censure document reads. “The vote goes against the Republican Party Legislative Priorities which bans the appointment of Democratic chairs to ensure all legislative Republican priorities are given a fair opportunity to become law.”

The document goes on to list nine state Democrats who were appointed as committee chairs.

The local party is also accusing Murr of voting in favor of a house bill which would’ve funded school vouchers for students seeking attendance at a non-public education facility, including private and charter schools across the state.

This topic has been of heated debate across the political aisle as public school districts seek additional funding, but a major Republican stance as centered on the right of both students and their parents to choose their path to education.

Further, the local GOP accuses Murr of supporting another House Bill 1635 which would’ve prevented political parties from denying eligible political candidates from affiliating with any given party. In addition, the proposed bill further dictated how runoff elections were to be handled.

“HB 1635 seeks to have the state interfere with private political party processes ultimately preventing a political party from controlling who affiliates with them,” the GOP censure letter reads. “HB 1635 represents a complete overreach by the government seeking to protect individuals that wish to not be disciplined by the party and the will of the delegates that make up their party.”

Finally, local Republicans are seeking the censure of Murr due to his involvement with the impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The censure document accuses state Republicans of acting against core party principals, accusing the Texas House of failing to follow precedents set in previous impeachment hearings where due process and defendant representation were offered and accusing Murr failing to have witnesses who testify in the impeachment sworn in under oath.

This isn’t the local GOP’s first foray into censuring party leaders as they once censured former Bandera County Republican Chair Lynn Haueter, which resulted in a judge forcing Streigl to allow her to finish out her term.

Beyond the document condemning Murr and calling for his censure, local party leaders collected signatures from Bandera Republicans earlier this month to support a resolution calling for Phelan’s resignation.

Striegl has been vocal of his disapproval for the Republican Speaker of the House over the past year, echoing many of the complaints outlined in the document of censure for Murr.

“We’re trying to make Phelan go away,” Striegl said during the party’s Aug. 11 meeting before handing out instructions on how attendees could support the resignation resolution.

The resolution, along with any supporting signatures, was hand-delivered to the capitol Aug. 12.

The Bulletin reached out to both Phelan and Murr for comment but did not hear back before press deadline.