After ignoring repeated complaints from TX-21 Indivisible members about the unprofessional and disturbing online behavior of J. Wade Miller, Rep. Roy’s Chief of Staff, Congressman Roy finally acknowledged the problem. In response to a detailed report by Gilbert Garcia in the San Antonio Express-News, “Rep. Chip Roy’s staffer uses Twitter for profanity-laced rants,” Roy issued a press release stating that “I have put [Miller] on leave subject to completing appropriate counseling, and he has taken himself off of all forms of social media, effectively immediately”:
June 24, 2020 Press Release
Rep. Chip Roy released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
“It came to my attention in recent days that my Chief of Staff, Wade Miller, exercised poor judgment and used inappropriate language while engaging with individuals on social media. It was wrong, and in response, my first step was to reprimand him privately, request that he back away from social media, and relay to my entire staff that under no circumstances is this kind of profane language acceptable on social media or any other platform.
“Wade has apologized to me and our team, and through this statement apologizes to the entire community I represent. He also informed me today that he, a Marine combat veteran, took it upon himself to make appointments for PTSD counseling. He said, ‘I let my anger over attacks on my military brothers and sisters, as well as law enforcement, cloud my judgment and represent this office poorly.’
“I have put him on leave subject to completing appropriate counseling, and he has taken himself off of all forms of social media, effectively immediately.
“While he is on leave my Deputy Chief of Staff, Maggie Harrell, will be acting Chief, and we will all continue to strive to ensure my office reflects the values of the central Texans I am proud to represent.”
The evening before the press release was issued, TX-21 Indivisible members were told by Rep. Roy’s staff that “the powers that be have decided that TX21 Indivisible will no longer be allowed to join office visits, virtual or otherwise.”
While the members of TX-21 Indivisible wish Mr. Miller the best as he works through his issues, we deplore Congressman Roy’s cowardly decision to punish us for his staffer’s misbehavior by banning us, his constituents, from contacting him. From Rep. Roy’s first day in office, we have sought to establish a civil and productive dialogue with him, despite our considerable differences. As this most recent incident shows, it is not our conduct that has caused problems. Rather, it is the aggressive, disrespectful climate that Rep. Roy himself has cultivated among his staff that has made a mockery of representative governance in TX-21.
If Rep. Roy truly wants his office to reflect “the values of the central Texans” he so “proudly” represents, he should re-open that office, the same way he insists we “Open America.” He should listen to what the voters of TX-21 are saying. To do otherwise is to demonstrate once again his disdain for the people who pay his salary.
By degree, we’ve all had to make difficult, sometimes painful adjustments in the face of COVID-19 – which has claimed the lives of over 100,000 of our fellow Americans in just a few short months.
Nevertheless, that hasn’t prevented you from making a constitutional mountain out of a molehill by attacking the Democratic-led House for exercising social distancing through proxy voting.
So Representative Roy, why are you conspicuously absent when the Constitution REALLY counts?
Why do you remain silent as Donald Trump systematically tears at the very fabric of our constitutional democracy?
Where are your constitutional sensibilities when our precious right to vote is infringed upon by GOP led voter suppression?
Where is your outrage when Trump regularly berates the press as the “enemy of the people?” You have heard of the First Amendment, haven’t you?
And speaking of the First Amendment, why do you keep trying to blur the line separating church and state?
Furthermore, during the House impeachment vote, why did you give Trump a pass when he obviously betrayed our nation and our Constitution through self-dealing with a foreign nation?
Representative Roy, we plan to end your sanctimonious and dangerous constitutional theatrics on November 3!
For the Constitution over far-right ideology,
After George Floyd was murdered you made the obligatory condemnation of that – but then amid the riots you immediately launched into that nebulous mostly imaginary group called Antifa. However, contrary to that, our very own FBI Director Christopher Wray says that group is “more of an ideology than an organization.” Furthermore, I wouldn’t be surprised if those instigating the burning and looting are far-right groups in the guise of Antifa.
So sadly, you Republicans will quickly ignore and/or forget George Floyd and countless others like him, as well as four hundred years of racial oppression to concentrate on endless chants of “law and order” rather than fighting for racial justice. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as opposed to riots, violence, and destruction as anyone, but you Republicans just have to have a boogie man to rouse the base don’t you? And unfortunately, I have the strong feeling that GOP cries of “law and order” really serve a second purpose: to delegitimize even peaceful protests over racial injustice.
In short, you just don’t get it, do you? It’s not just the murder of Floyd and other blacks, it’s the insidious oppression that continues today with one form being the voter suppression of blacks, the disabled and other minorities who usually vote Democratic.
And rather than having a president who is a unifier-in-chief we have a provocateur-in-chief who continually incites violence.
As a Republican, you are part of the problem Representative Roy, as the modern GOP is the direct philosophical and political descendant of the racists who deserted the Democratic Party over the passage of the Civil and Voting Rights Acts of the mid-1960s. Richard Nixon actively recruited them and Ronald Reagan gave them the facade of respectability under the banner of “conservativism.”
You have much to think about Representative Roy, but whether you will or not is another matter.
For your defeat on November 3rd,
PS – And let’s not forget Representative Roy, that GOP racism doesn’t stop with African Americans, as it also extends to others such as Dreamers, who through no fault of their own, were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Nevertheless, they know no other country than America and have become contributing members to the economic, social, and cultural fabric of our nation. Sadly, you Republicans would rather follow the cold, hard text of the law than the spirit and humanity of the law.
You know me. We have met and exchanged views on several occasions over the last 2 years. I am an active member of TX21 Indivisible. I have never advocated violence in any form, nor have I advocated looting, or lawlessness. I take great exception to your unfounded assertion, on Twitter, that TX21 Indivisible is allied with Antifa, and “that we are promoting violence over peace, property and life; that we chose looting and destruction crushing small businesses”. I denounce the use of violence, especially when it is directed specifically against people of color by racists and bigots! I oppose fascism in all its forms. Do you not oppose fascism? From your recent remarks I am beginning to wonder if you are pro-fascism!
I will continue to exercise my First Amendment Right to protest peacefully as necessary. TX21 Indivisible have shown up numerous times at your campaign events, townhalls and we even had a private meeting with you last year. In any of those meetings have we ever become violent? Where is your evidence that we are associated with Antifa and promote violence? Some of your supporters claim we are all paid by George Soros! Where is the evidence for that? Are you so afraid of us that you have resorted to the Trump tactic of inventing falsehoods and spreading blatant lies?
I believe there is systemic racial discrimination in America. I support the Black Lives Matter movement. I support their right to protest. Black people want to be treated equally and fairly under the law. Not as persons that are less than! There will not be racial peace in America until there is justice and equality for all in America. Sadly, it seems that little has changed since the riots and protests of 1967. Instead of stoking more hatred and division with inflammatory tweets why don’t you get with your colleagues in the House and start to address the root cause of these systemic issues? But, somehow, I don’t think that is going to happen. So maybe you should just #packyourbagsMrRoy! November can’t come soon enough! #GoodbyeMrChip!
Dear Chip Roy:
I’m writing about your tweet from yesterday morning (Tuesday, 2 June), in which you appear to advocate using U. S. military force against U. S. citizens right here in the United States. You support “grant[ing] authorities to quell insurrection” and conclude: “Once order is restored, liberty demands we be vigilant in walking it back.” What are you even talking about? Authorities? Insurrection? Who is “we”? And walk back what, military force?
As muddled as that tweet is, you are clearly aware that granting such authorities would lead to autocratic control, especially under the current administration. Let’s be vigilant, yes–vigilant about not allowing military force to be used against us on our own streets in the first place.
I notice you haven’t been tweeting any similar trash talk from your House account, @RepChipRoy. You should dispense with the knee-jerk reactions of your campaign rhetoric: take a more thoughtful approach to the issues at hand and speak in a way that dignifies rather than debases your office. And what about the murder of George Floyd: Do you have nothing to say about that, Representative Roy?
Your constituent from TX-21 Indivisible,
Due to the incompetence of the Trump administration, the United States has more than 1.8 million cases of Coronavirus, over 108,000 people have died from the virus in the last 3 months and 40 million workers have filed for unemployment. Now, there is rioting in the streets stemming from the latest in a long line of police killings of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis. This is the State of our Union right now. The United States of America is falling apart at the seams. The wheels are coming off the train! Yet what does our President do? Does he call for calm? Does he offer words of reassurance? No, the President announces that he will mobilize the US Military to restore ‘dominance’ in the streets. He uses his authority to forcibly clear what was a peaceful demonstration in front of the White House, using tear gas and rubber bullets. And what for? Just so he could walk to St John’s Episcopal Church for a photo opportunity of him holding up a Bible! Did he take the opportunity to read a hopeful passage from the Bible? No! Did he go into the church to pray for peace? No!
Wake up America and look around! Ironically, Donald Trump ran on a platform of ‘Make America Great Again’! But just like he destroyed so many of his businesses, he is now destroying America! We are no longer a respected bastion of justice and civil democracy. We have abdicated our leadership role in the world. We are rapidly becoming no more than a third world joke. America, we are a country in Crisis! We are at a tipping point! Enough is Enough! We cannot afford 4 more years of this Presidency! Donald Trump has to go and along with him all the sycophants in the Republican Party who did not have the guts to stand up for justice and human decency against the tyranny of Donald Trump, and that includes you, Chip Roy.
You recently suggested that we’re guided by “self-interest” to reopen Texas – apparently by minimizing Centers for Disease Control guidelines. However, setting aside your argument, you’re on to something about “self-interest.”
Perhaps a majority of your constituents are “self-interested” in lowering prescription drug costs; preserving protections for pre-existing conditions; fighting global warming, restoring strong environmental protections; urging you to choose between your Kinder Morgan stock and your Hill Country constituents affected by its natural gas pipeline; re-establishing America’s leadership in the world and among it’s traditional democratic allies; and among many other important issues; restoring competence and integrity in the White House.
So thank you Representative Roy for helping us to focus on the things that really matter – especially when we cast our “self-interested” votes on November 3.
For community based self-interest,
Today was a historic day. We passed 100,000 dead from the Coronavirus and it is still rising. This, after Mike Pence said it would be all overall by Memorial Day and Donald Trump said he would do nothing different if he could do it again! I am appalled by the total failure of our Federal Government’s response to this pandemic. S. Korea learned of the first Coronavirus case at the same time as the United State, on January 20th, and they have less than 5 deaths per 1 million population. Similar results from New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan. Meanwhile the United States is currently at 60 times this at 300 dead per 1 million.
You claim to be taking COVID-19 seriously and you make statements about needing to protect the elderly and immunocompromised, but your actions do not support this! True, you wore a mask when you went to a senior living facility but not when you go to a local grocery store or restaurant or park! I don’t live in a senior living facility, but I am one of those over 65 who is at risk with pre-existing health conditions! I must go to the grocery store once a week and have some limited interaction with people. Why are you endangering my life by not wearing a mask in public? We will all be safer, if we all took the responsible approach to wearing masks, social distancing, and leading by example. This weekend bars could officially open in Austin. We saw some completely irresponsible behavior at places like Buford’s on 6th Street. Overcrowding, no social distancing, totally disregard for all the guidelines and definitely no masks! Do you support this irresponsible behavior? Will you speak up and support Major Adler’s condemnation of this in the Austin American Statesman? This type of behavior is a danger to everyone and an insult to the sacrifices made by our healthcare workers who risked their lives to help those infected with the COVID-19 virus.
Please show some moral and social responsibility! Show you take this seriously! Wear your mask in public! Lead by example! Stop being a jerk! At least until November when you can pack your bags Mr. Roy!
Dear Representative Roy,
I am writing to express my disagreement, as your constituent, to your recent social media messages surrounding a proposed change to House rules on member voting, proxy voting. On May 27, 2020, you posted on twitter that “Americans send their representatives to Washington to represent them,” and on May 26, 2020 that “Our Constitution simply does not permit Representatives to dilute their constituents’ representation.” In both messages, you continue by saying that this representation “means voting” in person and having a delegate record a vote for a representative who may at risk of infection/illness is the alleged dilution of our representative process. However, I want to highlight the first parts of these statements, as they can and should shed light on your representation of District 21.
You stated on Twitter that “Americans send their representatives to Washington to represent them.” Congressman Roy, you represent a diverse population in District 21, spanning dense urban areas and more rural, sparsely populated ones. You represent portions of two of the largest cities in the United States, Austin and San Antonio. Your last election results reveal that over 168,000 voters in District 21 voted against you; you won your election by less than 9,300 votes, out of over 353,617 votes cast. Since that election, you have taken your win as a mandate to pursue libertarian policies that do not represent the interests and positions of half of your constituents, and in 2020, possibly more. You do not regularly hold public meetings to engage with constituents who question your positions in the large cities you represent. You have even limited the time spent with smaller groups of concerned voters, who regularly implore you to exercise empathy and concern for District 21’s population.
Earlier this morning, May 27, 2020, you wrote on Twitter that it’s “Hard to believe it was 1 year ago this past Sunday I objected to $19.5 billion being passed on the floor of the House without a vote.” To put this into context, Representative Roy, please remember you voted against the expedient release of emergency funds to victims of natural disasters across several states and territories, funds that would have allowed many to move out of unsafe housing conditions and away from health risks. Real people were hurt by the delay your parliamentary point of order caused. You angered constituents in several states, of many political backgrounds, causing some to even invest money to take out ads in papers denouncing your representation.
I mention this, as it is an important framework for your social media argument today. A year ago, we saw that your position delayed needed relief for people who were afraid for their health and safety. The rule change in the House is being proposed, during the duration of the pandemic, to promote the health and safety of immunocompromised representatives, their families, and their staffs. Also, precendent stands in United States v. Ballin (1892) that the “Constitution empowers each house to determine its rules of proceedings,” and this proxy rule falls under that scope.
Please stop solely representing District 21 by railing against measures that can save lives. Instead, I ask as your constituent, please return to finding ways to ensure the safety of your colleagues and constituents to live productively.
As you continually call for us to make the false choice between our economy and our health, I ask you once again to tell us where the tests are and how vulnerable populations will have them made available to them without cost. How can we reopen the country when we do not have a good or consistent system for contact tracing? How can businesses safely reopen when we have no plan for isolating exposed and sick workers from their families, communities, coworkers, and customers? The lack of such policies is almost guaranteed to force us back into lockdown, a lockdown we can scarcely afford.
In the era of Covid19, my spouse and I are both members of the high risk category. Although we are both thoroughly sick and tired of our confinement, we know that are very lucky. We are both retired and have enough money to live on. Although we cannot travel ourselves even to the grocery store, we know that there are essential workers who must risk the possibility of disease or even death for themselves or their family members so that we do not have to. We are able to live in our own home instead of a congregate facility. But these privileges are simply not available to everyone.
Ultimately, none of us are really safe until we are all safe. So what are you doing to protect the vulnerable and those who work with them so that we can all get back to our lives as the people in South Korea, New Zealand, Denmark, and Taiwan have done?
Dear Rep. Roy,
Col. Kenneth Reed’s letter to you of May 22, in reply to your questions about the Permian Highway Pipeline, makes it quite clear that the Army Corps of Engineers has no grounds to demand any changes, or extract any penalty, from Kinder Morgan for their recent pollution of well water on the Blanco River.
Since the Army Corps of Engineers will not do your job for you, I am once again asking: What are you doing to protect your constituents from the damage caused by this company? And once again, I am asking you to address the conspicuous conflict of interest posed by your ownership of Kinder Morgan stock. Why should Texas-21 voters trust you to protect their interests when you so clearly profit from crossing them?
I am an inveterate power user of the U. S. Mail–a lifelong letter-writer, postcard-sender, and package-mailer. The United States Postal Service has been essential to my family and interpersonal relations since I was a toddler (my first piece of mail being a postcard from my father reminding me to behave while he was away). The post office and the mail are equally vital to businesses, patients who receive medicine via mail, homebound people, voters, and countless others.
Where do you stand, Representative Roy? I have not seen an opinion from you on the issue of the U. S. Postal Service as it stands threatened today by the Trump Administration’s aggressive lack of support. Do you support funding for the USPS?
If you have stated your opinion on this issue, please send me a copy. If not, please issue an official statement so your constituents in TX-21 know where you stand.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Dear Rep. Roy,
I am writing about two relatively recent letters you wrote regarding Kinder Morgan Inc.’s drilling operations at the Blanco River Site of the Permian Highway Pipeline project: your 3 April letter to Kinder Morgan itself and your 2 May letter to the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. Have you heard back from the USACE about the permitting issues you raised about Kinder Morgan’s activities? And what was the upshot of your meeting or communication with Kinder Morgan?
It’s time to update your constituents on these issues.
I look forward to hearing from you,
Dear Rep. Roy,
It’s disappointing to get a “response” from you because there never is an answer to any question I may have posed, only a screed framed by platitudes about how eager you are to hear the views and concerns of your constituents.
Your most recent communication, for example, from 19 May, ostensibly replied to a contact from me about reopening the economy. In the letter you might be responding to, however, a 6 May email, I asked for answers to specific questions that didn’t get answered in your Texas Tribune interview with Evan Smith: Was it okay with you if more people got sick if Texas opened up too soon? Did you support public demonstrations that didn’t follow local orders and public-health recommendations? And why didn’t you set an example of social responsibility for your constituents (and your children) by wearing a mask and practicing social distancing when necessary?
I still would like to have answers to those questions, even though you seem to think that your philosophy of self-interest explains everything.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
I truly sympathize with those who have lost their livelihoods during the COVID-19 pandemic as the psychological and financial hurt has to be tremendous. By contrast, my family and I are in relatively good shape. I’m retired so my income hasn’t been affected and my wife works in retail that’s considered essential, so while she’s fortunate enough to have kept her job, she’s also exposed to a large number of people who might be infected with the virus. As for our children, they are lucky enough to be able to work from home.
Nevertheless, I’m just as anxious for our economy to open back up as you are, but I’d like for that to be done responsibly rather than rushing to open, as you prefer, by ignoring, the Centers for Disease Control safety protocols.
And that points to something dark and disturbing among you Republicans. It’s not just the closings of workplaces that bother you, it’s a number of other things related to the current pandemic as well:
1) Early on there was Trump minimizing the dangers and spread of the coronavirus.
2) Then it was and continues to be the unproven and/or dangerous medications pushed by various conservative commentators and President Trump himself.
3) It’s conservatives saying that COVID-19 deaths have been overinflated by enemies of President Trump to try to make him look bad, when in actuality, the number of deaths have most likely been undercounted.
4) It’s conservatives calling the coronavirus a hoax.
5) It was and continues to be Republicans trying to shift the blame for Trump’s ineptness in handling the crisis to the Chinese, to the World Health Organization, to former President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joseph Biden and now to our very own Centers for Disease Control.
6) And even now, something as simple as social distancing and the wearing of masks is mocked by many Republicans. President Trump, who is supposed to set an example for Americans, has never worn a mask, you, your family and a staffer didn’t wear masks at a recent visit to a local restaurant and most conservative rally goers ignore both masks and social distancing.
Representative Roy, the modern Republican party is marked by systemic rot, with its response to the coronavirus being but one example. How you can stand the stench is beyond me.
For truth over willful ignorance,
You advocate opening up businesses as usual. “Let America Open.” Well then why is your office not open in Austin? You inferred in your townhall last night that it was open, but then corrected yourself saying your staff were accessible at hom eby phone! When can we have a face-to-face meeting with your staff or yourself?
TX-21 Indivisible is proud to announce that their members have voted unanimously to endorse Wendy Davis to represent Texas’s 21st District in the United States House of Representatives.
Just a few of the reasons for our endorsement:
- Davis will listen to all her constituents with a goal of seeking common ground.
- Davis will have equitable staffing and office hours at her San Antonio and Austin offices.
- Davis will put the interests of Hill Country property owners over those of pipeline company Kinder Morgan.
- In problem-solving, Davis will rely on common sense and pragmatism rather than rigid ideology.
- Davis will represent us with a steady hand and even demeanor, rather than through rants and histrionics.
- Davis will work to restore lawfulness in the conduct of governance.
- Davis will work to protect executive departments from undue political influence and interference from whoever might be president. That would include protections for whistleblowers and inspector generals.
- Davis will work to protect and improve the Affordable Care Act with the goal of creating a public option.
- Davis will work to reduce the cost of prescription medications and to ensure protections for pre-existing conditions.
- Davis will work to keep abortion safe and accessible.
- Davis will not mock people with disabilities.
- Davis will fight for sensible gun reforms.
- Davis will not dismiss or belittle science – whether it be climate, meteorological, medical or any other kind of science.
- To protect our climate, Davis will work to return the United States to the Paris Climate Accord and support the development of renewable energies.
- Davis will work to restore protections for our environment.
- Davis will support legal status for DREAMERs and will work for the creation of comprehensive immigration reform.
- Davis will work to restore America’s leadership in world affairs and mend relationships with our traditional allies.
- Davis will not support rash military decisions.
TX-21 Indivisible has always been about the power of people on the ground, in their communities. In that spirit we strongly encourage TX-21 residents to volunteer for and support Wendy Davis as we head toward the November the election.
In case you missed it, I’d like to share with you a letter to the editor from Tom Goodrum that appeared in the May 11th issue of the Austin American-Statesman.
You are the focus of the letter, but I have to warn you ahead of time that the writer does not hold you in a good light. But if you are just a little bit curious as to what nearly half of your constituents think of you, please read on.
Re: May 3 commentary, “Restaurants open, and Chip Roy takes his family for Tex-Mex.”
Rep. Chip Roy and his family’s callous disregard for the safety of Elia Montoya, their food server, and everyone else while dining at Juan in a Million was stunning to observe. We’re told that one can be contagious for COVID-19 for two weeks, and that there may be no symptoms. Rep. Roy admits that he has been on planes and in Washington in the last 14 days. The Texas Department of State Health Services’ latest guidance states that individuals should “maintain at least 6 feet separation from other individuals not within the same household. If such distancing is not feasible, other measures such as face covering, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, cleanliness, and sanitation should be rigorously practiced.”
Why on earth would the Roy family flaunt the state’s health protocols and endanger Juan in a Million’s staff, their families, and other customers and their families as well? Politics.
Tom Goodrum, Austin
Like I said Representative Roy, Goodrum’s letter was very tough on you, yet deservedly so.
For a Representative who doesn’t put the health of his constituents at risk,
S., Austin TX
Texas has the highest percentage of medically uninsured people in the United States! This is not a statistic you, as my Congressional House Representative for Texas District 21, should be proud of. Now, on top of that shameful statistic, in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump and the Republican Party are trying to strike down, in its entirety, the Affordable Care Act! Because of the Trump administration’s botched response to the Coronavirus, we now have 33 million people unemployed, many millions now without any medical insurance. This will leave millions more people without any healthcare. Yet still there is no Republican replacement plan for Obamacare! Chip Roy, the Freedom Saving Accounts you continue to promote, most recently in your interview with Evan Smith, is definitely not the solution. Could you, Chip Roy, have funded your cancer treatments from a glorified health savings account? One thing this pandemic has clearly shown us is that our current ‘for profit’ healthcare system is an abject failure. It is time to accept the need for a serious change. We need to move, like the rest of the civilized world, to a Universal Healthcare system, such as Medicare for all, where everyone is covered, regardless of job or personal wealth. Healthcare should be a right, not a privilege! When will you and the rest of the Republican Party come to realize this? Maybe after you are kicked out of office in November! I suggest you pack your bags Mr. Roy.
B., Austin TX
Here are questions I would like you to answer regarding how to help working people and the poor survive during the pandemic.
- What systems will be in place so that workers on Unemployment can, if they choose, accept the work that is offered to them, even if it pays less or offers fewer hours and benefits? How can they be assured that they will still be able to feed their families, pay their rent, keep their health care, and, perhaps most importantly, work in a safe environment?
- What is the Federal Government doing to protect the lives and health of workers deemed to be essential, such as janitors, sanitation workers, drivers and delivery workers, and those working in meat packing plants? What systems will be put in place to ensure the safety of these workers, even if it means that production lines or order fulfillment might be slowed down?
- What will be done to protect populations who are forced to live or work in close quarters, such as nursing or group home residents, prison inmates, and ICE detainees, as well as those who work with these populations? Because even if we openly admit that we do not value the lives of these people, if we consider them to be somehow less human than ourselves, or if we believe that they are to be blamed for their situation, it remains true that the virus cares nothing for such moral judgments and will not respect the class distinctions that are so near and dear to some of our hearts. In other words, the virus may indeed begin its spread among the people we think are inferior to ourselves, but it will not stay there.
So I ask you what is the Federal Government, Congress and the Trump Administration, doing to protect us all from this scourge?
M., Austin TX
I have a couple of simple questions having to do with the response by Congress and by the Trump Administration to the coronavirus. I hope you will answer at least one of them.
- Where are the tests, and what will the Federal Government do to coordinate testing efforts in the various states?
- What will the Trump Administration and Congress do to institute and maintain effective programs of contact tracing?
- Where are the detailed guidelines that states and local authorities can use to make crucial decisions about reopening and, when needed, shutting back down during localized outbreaks?
- What will the Federal Government do to support at-risk health care workers, including doctors, nurses, janitors, food service workers, and everyone else who is unable to work from home?
- How will the Federal Government protect the lives and ensure the safety of essential and nonessential workers so that they do not become the expendable workers?
I realize that the needs of various communities will always differ somewhat, and decisions about specific responses to outbreaks will always need to be made at the state and local levels. No one is denying this. But this in no way obviates the need for Federal guidance, coordination, and oversight.
M., Austin TX
I am appalled by the misrepresentations by you that imply that some Texans are somehow making more money on unemployment than they earned while working. This is absolutely not true, since, as you well know, benefits are calculated based on your recent income and will necessarily never exceed or even reach the highest amount of those earnings. When people turn down work because they will receive more money on unemployment than they will earn at the job, this by necessity means that they are being offered much less than they earned before, less, in reality than they can be expected to live on.
During my lifetime, I have received several forms of public benefits, including Supplemental Security Income, food stamps, Section 8 housing, Social Security Disability, and unemployment benefits. Of course, I also worked for decades before retiring. But I have a lifelong disability that made it difficult for me to get and maintain employment for many of my so-called working age years, from 18 to 65. I did not particularly enjoy being on these benefits, though I was extremely grateful that they were there.
But there were times that I was indeed afraid to take employment and get off them. This was not because I was lazy, that I believe I was some kind of privileged character who deserved not to work. On the contrary. I very much wanted to work. But I knew that once I got off the benefits, I would lose my safety net, including a steady income, health care, food, and shelter. Taking a job was risky because I was afraid that if I made even the smallest mistake, or if I was perceived to have done so, I would have nothing to fall back on.
Punishing people for receiving benefits, Making it degrading, erecting barriers does not somehow magically make people able to live on nothing but stone soup. Instead, people need some assurance that accepting work will not deprive them of their access to health care, shelter, and food. In other words, the benefits should not just be snatched away because the person is working. If you want people to work instead of being on benefits, then reward them for working by letting them keep some of their benefits instead of taking them away as soon as possible.
But as usual, you find ways to excoriate the poor and blame them for all manner of ills, all from the comfort of your office. It must be nice! You have never had to work for low pay in dangerous working conditions. You have never had to face the fear of employment discrimination. You have no right to say the things you are saying. Please stop and think before launching your thumbs into hurtful actions.
M., Austin TX
Dear Rep. Roy,
I hope you read the Washington Post’s May 9th article about Prestige Ameritech, a Texas company that makes medical equipment for America’s Strategic National Stockpile. The company’s owner, Michael Bowen, tried in vain last January to get the federal government to order N95 face masks from its supply lines. The Trump administration ignored this opportunity to buy millions of American-made PPE units when they were needed. As a result, America has had to buy masks at inflated prices, piecemeal, leaving healthcare workers exposed to the coronavirus.
Where were you when the last major American manufacturer of PPE, doing business in the state you claim to love so much, was trying to do the patriotic thing and provide equipment that would save American lives? According to your Twitter feed, you were obsessing about the national debt, “cartel terrorists,” and banning homeless people in Austin. You attended a fundraiser in Alamo Heights. You tweeted excerpts from your anti-impeachment screed in the National Review. You promoted your attendance at a Texas Public Policy Foundation event. You retweeted a laughable op-ed that claimed Donald Trump was “leading the fight against anti-Semitism.” And you were touting your “pro-life” beliefs at the Texas Rally for Life, which you tweeted about over a dozen times as Bowen was being ignored.
Because no one listened to warnings like Michael Bowen’s, 85,000 Americans are now dead. A Texas company that tried to save American lives instead sold its goods to China and other countries—the free market at work—and we are scrambling to source foreign-made protective gear. A Texas-owned business that could have benefitted from federal spending saw that money instead go to overseas manufacturers and middlemen. And even now, you are doing nothing to facilitate the supply of PPE or tests needed to safely reopen our economy.
Rep. Roy, you aren’t pro-life, pro-business, or pro-Texas. Either live your professed values, or shut up about them.
S., Austin TX
The following letters were sent to Rep. Roy’s staff in lieu of our long-standing weekly constituent meeting:
Perhaps you’re not that familiar with the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. In part, it guarantees “… the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Under that provision, a small group of five to six TX21 Indivisible members have been weekly visiting first Lamar Smith’s office, and since early last year, your office, to express our grievances – with most of these meetings lasting no more than thirty to forty minutes.
Also, we’re mostly retired folks who lead quiet ordinary lives, not revolutionary bomb-throwers. However, with that being said, we’re extremely alarmed by the GOP embrace of authoritarianism and its disdain for justice, equality, a free press, fair elections, healthcare as a right, immigrants, a clean environment and climate science. Consequently, while we have made many frank comments during our meetings; we have always been very professional and civil, and as such, we were never given any indication that we were wearing out our welcome. After all, we are your constituents.
Thus, it came as quite a shock last week when we were notified by Nathan McDaniel, your District Director/campaign manager, that we would henceforth be limited to one meeting a month for thirty minutes. The reasons seemed rather contrived, as only later did McDaniel mention that your staff needed more time for COVID-19, or as you prefer, Wuhan virus inquiries.
Even giving you the benefit of the doubt on that, one can’t help but wonder why your Austin office is only open twelve hours a week versus the forty hours that your San Antonio office is open – especially when both are located in heavily urbanized areas. Consequently, why should we south and central Austinites be shortchanged, especially, if as McDaniel stated, there’s a heavy workload of coronavirus (Wuhan virus) queries? In fact, we don’t even merit the fourteen hours that your Kerrville office is open each week.
In conclusion, if your Austin office is so challenged in meeting the needs of local constituents, the fault doesn’t lie with the five or six people who visit/Zoom with your constituent liaison each week, but with you and your staff in severely restricting the hours that your Austin office is open.
In any event, the ball is in your court Representative Roy. To channel the late President Ronald Reagan, “tear down these restrictive Austin office hours so that you can better hear what your Austin area constituents are saying.”
For elected officials who make every effort to accommodate their constituents’ rights to peacefully assemble and petition,
S., Austin TX
I listened to your short video clip, “Let America Open” which you proudly posted on your Chip Roy 2020 election Facebook page yesterday. While everyone agrees that we need to get the country working again the question is how best to do it? You appear to take the position that we must open the economy regardless of the impact. The right to work supersedes all the right of others to live. In your interview with Mark Levin a few weeks ago you both mocked the projected death rates as scare mongering. I remind you that just yesterday we passed 70,000 deaths and it shows no signs of slowing.
My first question to you is how many people are you willing to sacrifice in order to open the economy? At what point is the sacrifice in lives something that would get your attention? The latest estimate by the IHME increases their prediction to 135,000 deaths by August 4th. They state the 54,000 increase from their previous prediction on March 26th is a direct consequence of 31 States opening prematurely and the lack of social distancing? Do you find this acceptable? Are these additional 54,000 deaths just a necessary sacrifice you think we should pay to open our economy now?
We also heard yesterday that the Coronavirus Task Force is ramping down and will be disbanded by Memorial Day. What the heck is this administration doing? All the medical experts say it is too soon to be winding down! I am stunned! I am mortified! I am horrified! Clearly this administration has given up! It has thrown in the towel and is now just going to let the Coronavirus run rampant! We have not beaten the Coronavirus; we don’t even have it on the run! The Government’s own predictions are that the current death rate will increase to 3,000 per day by June yet this administration is declaring victory and moving on regardless! This is a shameful abdication of responsibility that history and the electorate in November 2020 will judge incredibly harshly. Pack your bags Mr. Roy.
B., Austin TX
Dear Rep. Roy,
We are still waiting for you to update us on your April 2nd letter to Kinder Morgan, regarding their recent pollution of your constituents’ well water, in which you asked the company to respond “at your earliest convenience.” Has Kinder Morgan responded? What have you done to protect TX-21 residents, their land, and their water from damage caused by the construction of the Permian Highway Pipeline?
We are also still waiting for you to address the conflict of interest posed by your ownership of Kinder Morgan stock, which is recorded in your required House financial filings. Why should TX-21 residents believe that you are willing to protect them from Kinder Morgan when you are currently benefitting financially from their actions?
S., Austin TX
Rep. Chip Roy recently canceled TX-21 Indivisible members’ longstanding weekly office meeting with staffers, saying they took up too much time. In response, we have created much-condensed word clouds that highlight the major themes reflected in our communications with Chip’s staff since January 2019. We have also created a word cloud of Chip’s official utterances, as reflected in the Congressional Record. We believe the contrast between the values reflected in our messages, and those fomented by Chip, speaks for itself. We hope Rep. Roy and his staff will reflect upon what they might stand to gain if they were to actually listen to what the voters are saying.