AUSTIN, Texas – Local politicians are reacting after a secret recording of Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, was released. Bonnen announced Tuesday he will not be seeking reelection in 2020.
- Bonnen announced Tuesday he will not seek reelection
- Announcement came after secret recordings released
- Lawmakers have been reacting since recordings were released
Speaker Bonnen and one of his top lieutenants can be heard on a recently released secret recording going after cities and counties which would have been affected had legislation seeking to ban taxpayer-funded lobbying passed.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler takes the remarks personally and says it's the cities that make Texas great.
"We're the economic engines for the state," said Adler, who said he's disappointed Bonnen doesn't fell the same way. "It's a real failure of leadership that there's such a division."
In the recently released secret recording by conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan, Bonnen can be heard politically targeting cities and counties. And he didn't mince words.
"Let me tell you something. In this office and in the conference room on that end, any mayor or county judge who’s dumb enough to come meet with me, I told them with great clarity, my goal is for this to be the worst session in the history of the legislature for cities and counties," said Bonnen in the recording.
Republican Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, chimed in too, saying: "I hope the next session is going to be worse," to which Bonnen replied, "And, and I'm all for that."
Adler says, unfortunately, he wasn't too surprised by what's on the recording after last session.
"I felt considerable animosity directed toward cities and policies, and legislation that was being considered and being approved that hurt cities and counties, which is where most people in Texas live," said Adler.
Bonnen took to Twitter Monday night to express regret about what he said but also tweeted urban governments have “run amok.”
He then said local governments actively opposed a bill to ban taxpayer-funded lobbying.
The measure did not pass and appears to be the reason Bonnen was trying to politically target 10 of his own who voted against it.
"The idea that I would be on some sort of targeted list simply for supporting the folks back home, I found to be certainly unsettling," said one of the targeted lawmakers, Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo.
As for Mayor Adler, he says he'll continue to work for his city, hopefully with the help of a new House speaker come 2021.
Adler says he doesn't plan on meeting with Bonnen during the remainder of his time as speaker.