Many Texans had hoped the pandemic and a near meltdown of the state’s electric grid would bring lawmakers together this session.
But, as Texas Monthly reports in its annual list of best and worst lawmakers, this legislative session was one of the most polarizing, ideologically speaking. Still, the team at Texas Monthly took a harder look at effectiveness rather than party affiliation.
“Obviously, there are some people on the Best list that push policies or voted for policies that we may not have liked, personally,” explained Chris Hooks, a senior editor at Texas Monthly. “But we try to reward lawmakers that added to the Legislature that, you know, conducted themselves in a positive way or helped to try to bring people together.”
Since 1973, Texas Monthly has ranked the best and worst lawmakers after each legislative session.
Standouts this session included state Rep. Senfronia Thompson of Houston, the longest-serving Democrat in the Texas House. Others on that best list were Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, chair of the Texas House Transportation Committee, state Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall and state Rep. Angie Chen Button, R-Richardson.
As for the worst, the magazine team’s list included: state Reps. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, Harold Dutton, D-Houston, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and state Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood.
Texas Monthly gave its “Cockroach” award to freshman state Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City.
“Cockroach is an old legislative term for a member of the House that shows up when he’s least wanted,” Hooks explained.
The “Bull of the Brazos” award, given to the lawmaker whose influence, for good and bad, is most evident, went to state Rep. Jessica González, D-Dallas.