News Roundup: Ted Cruz Condemns Former National Campaign Co-Chair For White Supremacy Remark

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJanuary 14, 2019 1:17 pm

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

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has condemned recent remarks fellow Republican Steve King made about white supremacy.

The Iowa congressman said in an interview with The New York Times, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization – how did that language become offensive?” 

Cruz was asked about his reaction to King’s comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.

“It was stupid, it was hurtful, it was wrong and he needs to stop it. I think all of us ought to be united regardless of party, and saying white supremacism, white nationalism is hatred, it is bigotry, it is evil, it is wrong, and I think we need that clarity and I’m going to urge everyone to provide that clarity,” Cruz said.

Still, Cruz stopped short of saying he won’t support King in the future.

King previously served as national co-chair during Cruz’s 2016 campaign for president. King is expected to meet with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy later Monday, who said action will be taken.

Roughly 2,000 people turned out in Austin Saturday to say goodbye to America’s oldest known man and veteran. Richard Overton fought in World War II and served in Pearl Harbor. He died last month at the age of 112.

As KUT News reports, one of the people to speak at Overton’s funeral was Gov. Greg Abbott who described him as a “Texas legend.” Abbott shared an anecdote about celebrating Overton’s 109th birthday at the governor’s mansion.

He challenged me to a wheelchair race, and I got to thinking, man, how embarrassing would it be for me to lose a wheelchair race to a man 109 years old,” Abbott said with a laugh.

Overton was buried with full military honors in the Texas State Cemetery.

A historically inaccurate confederate plaque that denied slavery’s role in causing the Civil War was removed from the Texas Capitol last weekend. State Rep. Eric Johnson of Dallas had pushed for its removal since 2017.

The move comes after the State Preservation Board voted unanimously on Jan. 11  to take it down. A meeting has been set for Jan. 25 to determine what will be done with the plaque now that it’s been removed.

Ranching and agricultural groups in Texas hope to reform the state’s “eminent domain” laws this legislative session. Houston Public Media’s Travis Bubenik says the push comes after failed attempts in 2017.

Last session, a few different bills tried to give landowners more power in negotiations when companies or governments try to seize private property for things like pipelines or power lines. But those efforts fell short. Expect a new fight this session. James Mann’s a pipeline company attorney.

 “The disagreements over eminent domain seem to get bigger and tougher every session,” [Mann says.] 

That’s because Texas is booming: growing populations mean more cities stretching into rural areas, followed by new power lines. More pipelines are needed to move record amounts of oil and gas across the state. Reform advocates say landowners deserve a fairer, more transparent process when companies seize land. Those who defend eminent domain say it’s a “seldom-used” tactic, and that disputes can be settled privately.