Piece of Mind: Is This A Bipartisan Choice?

Feb 9, 2021

Hang on a second, Mr. Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.

Speaker Dade Phelan talked a good game about working across the aisle when he took the gavel at the start of the current Texas Legislature. Then he makes what I consider to be a peculiar committee chair appointment that seems to run counter to his hopeful bipartisan talk.

Briscoe Cain, a Deer Park Republican, is the new chair of the House Elections Committee. Why is that a head-scratcher? Well, Cain spent some time in Pennsylvania seeking ways to overturn the results of that state’s presidential vote total, which awarded its electoral votes to Joe Biden, the Democrat who defeated Donald Trump.

He was looking for evidence of vote fraud that Trump kept insisting occurred in that state and others that voted for Biden.

Briscoe Cain, who helped Trump campaign challenge results, will lead election work in Texas House | The Texas Tribune

Cain said Texans deserve to know their elections are being run fairly, legally and without bias. I believe they are run that way. What I am having trouble understanding is how someone with a known history of pursuing what I call The Big Lie about the 2020 election should be given a committee chairmanship in Texas. I am left to wonder whether Chairman Cain is going to lead his committee on similar wild goose chases looking for vote fraud that no one can prove exists in Texas.

This appointment by the shiny new speaker of the House also makes me cringe just a bit that Speaker Phelan isn’t quite the seeker of bipartisanship that he told us he would be as the Man of the House.

I want Speaker Phelan to disprove my fear.

John Kanelis, former editorial page editor for the Amarillo Globe-News and the Beaumont Enterprise, is also a former blogger for Panhandle PBS in Amarillo. He is now retired, but still writing. Kanelis can be contacted via Twitter @jkanelis, on Facebook, or his blog, Kanelis' blog for KETR, "Piece of Mind," presents his views, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of KETR, its staff, or its members.

Kanelis lives in Princeton with his wife, Kathy.