Greg Abbott Threatens State Intervention In Austin Homelessness ‘Crisis’

This week in Texas politics with The Texas Tribune.

By Rhonda FanningOctober 4, 2019 1:53 pm,

Time for the week that was in Texas politics with Alex Samuels, political reporter for The Texas Tribune.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler received a letter from Gov. Greg Abbott Oct. 3, telling Adler the state would intervene if Austin did not “demonstrate consequential improvement in the Austin homelessness crisis” by  Nov. 1. Samuels says Abbott listed the state agencies that could become involved with Austin in November, but did not outline specific actions for Austin to take.

“He did mention things like violence in the street, used needles, feces, littering the streets of Austin and endangering Texas residents, and that was a direct quote from Abbott there,” Samuels says. “So I assume he wants to see changes in those types of things.”

Pete Sessions is running for Congress again, after losing his seat to Democrat Colin Allred in 2018, But this time, his eye is on retiring U.S. Rep. Bill Flores’ seat, instead. Samuels says Flores’ seat is safer for a Republican than Sessions’ previous seat.

“If he were to run for his old seat against the incumbent Colin Allred, again a Dallas Democrat, that likely would have been a much harder challenge at least in the general election sense,” Samuels says. “This really might be a ripe opportunity for Sessions if he wants to return to Congress.”

Meanwhile on the state level, three House seats are up for grabs in special elections this November. Republican John Zerwas and Democrats Jessica Farrar and Eric Johnson are all vacating their seats. Samuels says Democrats are working to take over the House majority, and are trying to flip Zerwas’ seat in Richmond. It’s a district they have been planning to target in 2020.

“The fact that there’s only one Democrat and a number of Republicans – Democrats are trying to show they have unity when going in to flip the seat, so it will be interesting to see the results,” Samuels says.