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Stuck in Texas, Democrat Garnet Coleman fears missing history more than arrest

The Texas Tribune
the Texas House’s
House Democratic Caucus
State Rep.
the House Democratic Caucus
the Texas Capitol

Garnet Coleman
Jolie McCullough July 19
Martin Luther King
Dade Phelan
Greg Abbott
Jim Dunnam
Chris Turner
Karen Brooks Harper


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Washington, D.C.
Fort Worth

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Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.For a week now, state Rep. Garnet Coleman has been hiding out in Texas, wondering if police are going to track him down.While dozens of other Texas House Democrats fled to Washington, D.C., to block a Republican voting bill, the longtime Houston legislator stayed behind, unable to travel while recovering from severe illness that led to the amputation of his lower right leg in May. His continued presence in the state makes him more vulnerable to arrest, as Republicans have voted to force back to the Texas Capitol any absent House Democrat within state police jurisdiction.That prospect doesn't trouble the 59-year-old lawmaker, who questions both the constitutionality and optics of such a move.“Let them come,” Coleman said in an interview Friday in an airy, art-filled house. In his decades in the Capitol, he has pushed for racial equity in health care, the criminal justice system and political representation.He doesn’t want to lose ground now.“People don’t believe that you can go backwards in time and rights can be retrenched, and they can be,” he said.In a similar moment, Coleman helped lead his colleagues to Oklahoma in 2003, when they fled the state to deter a redrawing of congressional district lines that would dilute Democratic power in Washington. Although the lines were eventually drawn, some Democrats — several of whom are now in Washington — still felt their political move had a nationwide effect that deterred other states from Republican-centered map-drawing.“We energized the nation,” Coleman said.Jim Dunnam, a former state representative from Waco, was House Democratic Caucus chair at the time.

As said here by Jolie McCullough