News Roundup: Houston Council Member Amanda Edwards Is The Latest Democrat Running For Senate

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJuly 18, 2019 2:22 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Another Democrat has entered the race to unseat U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. Houston City Council Member Amanda Edwards announced Thursday that she’s running to replace the incumbent Republican.

Edwards says on her campaign website that, if elected, one of her top priorities will be “to expand access to quality, affordable healthcare coverage for all Texans.” 

Edwards joins a crowded Democratic primary field. 

Brandon Rottinghaus, a University of Houston political science professor and host of Houston Public Media’s Party Politics podcast, says when it comes to the Democratic primary — it’s  a case of the more, the merrier. 

“A growing primary field for Democrats is a good problem of their own making. 2018 showed that Texas is winnable, it’s flippable, or purple or it’s a toss-up, depending on how you want to characterize it but the numbers from Texas for Democrats in 2018, show that Democrats can win,” Rottinghaus says. 

While U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, held onto his Senate seat in 2018, he only beat then-Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke of all Paso by 2.6%. 

Other Democrats hoping to challenge Cornyn in 2020 include former Congressional candidate MJ Hegar and former Houston Congressman Chris Bell. Democratic State Sen. Royce West of Dallas is also expected to announce his candidacy next week.

Hays County has joined a new legal battle against a natural gas pipeline that would run through the Texas Hill Country. As Mose Buchele with KUT News in Austin reports, the lawsuit will argue that company Kinder Morgan didn’t do enough to protect the endangered Golden Cheeked Warbler when it planned the pipeline route.  

When big infrastructure projects go through endangered species habitat they need to get a permit from U.S. Fish and Wildlife. That often requires a federal environmental impact study. Plaintiffs, including Hays County, the Travis Audubon Society and private property owners say Kinder Morgan did not do that. They allege that the company used a work-around agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers in violation of the law. So they’re planning to sue in Federal Court. David P. Smith is the lawyer representing the plaintiffs.

“I think everyone agrees that golden-cheeked warblers will be adversely impacted by the pipeline,” Smith says. “The question is if you’re going to adversely impact.. you need to get a permit for it.” 

Kinder Morgan has long maintained that it planned the project with sensitivity to the local environment. This is the second lawsuit filed against the company. The first one, filed in state court, is under appeal after the judge found in favor of Kinder Morgan.

A Texas Congressman’s push to impeach President Donald rump failed Wednesday night. 

It was the third time Houston Democrat Al Green made such an attempt. 

The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to table Green’s Articles of Impeachment. Hours before the vote, Green made the case for impeachment. 

“And for those who might say, ‘well if you do this, there may be some people who won’t like you’ – well, there are times where you have to do that which is neither safe, nor politic, or popular, you have to do it because it’s right,” Green said.

Green’s ongoing attempts to impeach Trump is not supported by the House’s Democratic leadership.