It took Texas state Rep. Donna Howard’s campaign a full 24 hours to respond to my inquiry regarding her April 3 tweet, which said:
Howard represents Texas House District 48, which is in Austin. Local politically-focused media including the Texas Tribune and Austin American-Statesman’s Postcards from the Lege blog have, so far, elected not to cover Howard’s growing PR problems, which has been going on for a week now. Going back to March 22, Postcards has covered a statue unveiling, a retirement from an advocacy group, an ethics complaint, the GOP presidential primary and a battle in Texas HD 47, but has not published a word about Rep. Howard’s intemperate tweet. Postcards is branded as a blog that focuses on the Texas legislature, but no story about one of its more prominent members?
Howard’s press spokeswoman emailed me the following statement regarding her tweet today:
Rep. Howard’s comment about bigotry and ignorance was in no way a comment characterizing her fellow Texans. If you view her April 3rd Facebook post where she shared the same video from the Daily Show that she shared in her Tweet, you can see that she was referring to some of the decisions made by the Texas State Board of Education in regard to curriculum standards. Her post reads as follows:
What a contrast! While Tucson schools are being guided by ignorance and bigotry, I was attending a community meeting of at least a couple hundred parents, teachers, students, & others (including the E3 Alliance) in Eanes ISD to engage in a dialogue about preparing our students for the future. Though some pretty crazy things have happened here in Texas–primarily via the SBOE–the vast majority of our school districts are working with their communities to make sure all children in this state get a quality public education–and that includes recognizing our multi-cultural heritage.
Thank you for the response, Eleanor. That facebook post, in fact, places policy differences in the realm of “ignorance and bigotry,” so it’s difficult to see how it exonerates Rep. Howard of the central charge. Regarding Texans, I’ll just refer you back to Rep. Howard’s tweet, which said:
That leaves 35 characters which Rep. Howard could have used to note that she isn’t accusing Texans of bigotry, ignorance and just plain craziness. But she chose not to use those 35 characters to do that, or anything else. The State Board of Education is routinely abbreviated “SBOE.” That’s just four characters.
The Texas Democratic Party, by the way, has yet to respond to Howard’s tweet scandal at all.
It’s past time that liberal Democrats such as Donna Howard learned that policy disagreements do not always result from ignorance, bigotry or just plain craziness. There is, or ought to be, room for serious policy disagreement and debate without resorting to such disparagement of Arizonans or the Texans who Howard says are “one-upped” by Arizonans in ignorance, bigotry and just plain craziness. In fact, Howard’s tweet may be evidence of at least two of the accusations she has tossed at her fellow Texans and the citizens of Arizona. I’ll leave it to the voters of Texas House District 48 to determine for themselves which two might apply.
Rep. Howard only won by four votes last time around, and is up for re-election in November.