For Some Conservative Areas, Abbott’s Reopening Isn’t Aggressive Enough

This week in Texas politics with The Texas Tribune.

By Rhonda FanningMay 1, 2020 12:28 pm,

It’s time for the week that was in Texas politics with Matthew Watkins, political editor for The Texas Tribune.

Texas starts to reopen businesses Friday. Watkins told Texas Standard host David Brown that people in some Republican-leaning suburban areas are pushing back, arguing that Abbott isn’t opening up the state enough. Some local officials have said they would allow businesses like hair salons, which aren’t part of this phase of the reopening, to resume business. Others have said they wouldn’t strictly enforce Abbott’s orders.

“Particularly from the hard right: you saw Montgomery County, Colleyville, Hood County – local officials basically testing Abbott’s order,” Watkins said.

In more urban, Democratic-leaning areas, the pushback has been less, even though there’s still concern that the reopening is too early given the continued increase in coronavirus cases and deaths.

“For the large part, they’re going along with it,” Watkins said – that includes Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner.

Abbott’s second in command, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, has spread a more forceful message for weeks about keeping the Texas economy open. He has said in interviews that older Texans like himself would be willing to sacrifice their health, possibly even their lives, to keep the state economy running. But despite their different takes, Watkins said Patrick is backing Abbott’s plan.

Meanwhile, a pub crawl is scheduled in Fort Worth this weekend. It was started by former Republican congressional candidate Chris Putnam. His “Honkytonk Crawl for Freedom” is a protest against the orders that forced businesses to close because of the pandemic. But Watkins said it’s unclear if the event will happen because there might not be any bars open to patronize.

Web story by Caroline Covington.


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