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'We've done nothing wrong': Texas Democrats brush off governor's arrest threat

"No, we won't be arrested," said state Rep. Rhetta Bowers. "We are here serving our constituents."

Published: July 13, 2021 2:59pm

Updated: July 13, 2021 6:15pm

Texas Democratic state representatives doubt they will be arrested upon their return to Texas after flying to Washington D.C. in protest of GOP voting legislation.

Just the News asked state Rep. Rhetta Bowers for her reaction to Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott saying the Democratic lawmakers "will be arrested" for leaving the state as a way to deny the GOP a two-thirds quorum to pass legislation.

"No, we won't be arrested," she said Tuesday following a news conference on Capitol Hill where the state lawmakers called on Congress to pass the Democrats' federal election reform bill.

"We are here serving our constituents," said Bowers, claiming the state legislators were "standing up for 29 million Texans' right to vote." 

State Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins also responded to the governor's threat.

"It would be a shame," she said. "You know, one of the things everybody has to remember, we were duly elected, just like the other party, we owe it to our citizens. Not only that, our forefathers, to stand up for what's right. I'm hoping that we can get some Republican allies. That's what I'm hoping. I'm hoping that people understand that our plight is huge. This is not an easy thing to do."

Gervin-Hawkins was asked if she thinks the governor's threat will come to fruition.

"I doubt it," she said. "We've done nothing wrong. Okay. So how do you arrest someone if they've done nothing wrong?"

State Rep. Donna Howard shared a similar opinion of the governor's statement about arresting the lawmakers. 

"I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding is that he doesn't have any grounds with which he can actually arrest us," she said. "I'm not concerned about that. We're here representing our constituencies continuing to work on behalf of all Texans, as well as all Americans, to ensure that we have access to fair elections, that we have access to the ballot box, that we're not making it harder for people to vote."

State Rep. Nicole Collier said the Democratic caucus knew civil arrest was a possibility before leaving for the nation's capital.

"When we went into this, we knew what we were getting into, we knew the consequences of what we could face with the civil arrest," she said. "But knowing that, we know that democracy is on the line, and so we have to take a stand. We drew a line. They drew a line. The governor drew a line in the sand when he defunded the legislature, and so we're going to respond accordingly."

Members of the Texas House present at the state Capitol voted 76-4 on Tuesday to send law enforcement officers after their colleagues who left the state and possibly arrest them.

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