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Two Texas Democratic Lawmakers Face New Sexual Harassment Allegations: Your Texas Roundup

Plus: Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez announces run for governor, U.S. Representative Al Green’s attempt to impeach Trump fails, and the University Interscholastic League shakes up high school sports.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY


“Seguin PD needs your help. We are in a pinch. Identify this What-A-Burger GRINCH!”

—The Seguin Police Department in a Facebook post. Surveillance footage captured someone hopping the counter at a Whataburger in Seguin and stealing an employee Christmas tree.


BIG NEWS


Texas State Capitol building in Austin.

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Disturbing Allegations
Two Texas state lawmakers face new sexual harassment allegations. Democratic state Representatives Borris Miles and Carlos Uresti were both named in detailed claims of sexual harassment by several people, including former staffers and interns, in a story published by the Daily Beast late Wednesday night. One woman said that when she was a Texas legislative intern, Miles approached her and offered her cash, saying, “Bitch, you want to fuck with me tonight?” In a separate alleged incident, a Democratic state representative said that he witnessed Miles leaning out of a bus and loudly cat-calling women on the streets of downtown Austin. A former legislative staffer said he saw Miles forcibly kiss a woman at the W Hotel in Austin. “He offered to buy her a drink, kept trying to kiss her, and she kept trying to push him away,” the staffer told the Daily Beast. “He kept laughing about it. It was so creepy, and he had this big smile . . . He also has a tendency to call women out of their name when they turn him down. ‘Bitch,’ ‘ho,’ ‘whore.’ He doesn’t like being told ‘no.’” Uresti, meanwhile, apparently had gained a reputation for harassing women. “[Uresti] was one of the worst,” former Texas political reporter Karen Brooks told the Daily Beast. “He would check me out all the time . . . He gave me inappropriate hugs. He put his hands on me, he ogled me. I would not get in an elevator with him. If members were having dinner and he was going to be there, I stopped going.” Another former reporter said Uresti “put his tongue down my throat” without her consent after they went out for happy hour drinks. Uresti denied the allegations to the Daily Beast; Miles’s office did not return requests for comment.


MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS


Blue Rush
Lupe Valdez resigned as Dallas County sheriff on Wednesday and officially filed paperwork to become a candidate for Texas governor. “If we listen to each other—we listen to the worker, the farmer, rancher, the business owner, the doctor, the police officer, and everybody else in Texas that is involved, we can make changes,” the Democrat said during her announcement speech in Austin, according to the Dallas Morning News. “So I’m stepping up. Estoy obligada. [I am obligated.] For Texas, for everyone’s fair share to get ahead. I’m in.” When Valdez was elected in 2004, she became the only female Hispanic sheriff in the country. She’s also openly gay, and has been a champion for LGBT rights and immigrants’ rights, frequently clashing with Governor Greg Abbott over the state’s anti-sanctuary city stances. The 70-year-old is, so far, the only candidate believed to have a legitimate shot against Abbott. Five other Democrats are running or intend to run, and the only one likely to pose a threat to Valdez’s bid is Andrew White, the son of former Texas governor Mark White, who is set to announce his candidacy on Thursday. As the Morning News notes, Valdez would give Democrats a real shot to compete for Latino voters, a group that Abbott’s campaign has made a top priority after earning 44 percent of the Latino vote in his first gubernatorial campaign. Still, Valdez is a long shot against Abbott, who demolished Democrat Wendy Davis by twenty percentage points in 2014 and has a campaign war chest of over $41 million to play with. Republicans aren’t exactly shaking in their boots at the news of Valdez’s announcement. “Congratulations to Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa on finally finding a candidate willing to enter the gubernatorial race,” Texas Republican Party Chairman James Dickey said Wednesday in a written statement, per the Morning News. “The illustrious candidate, Lupe Valdez, is his party’s 12th choice after a number of other potential candidates all passed on the opportunity. It’s clear even to Texas Democrats that there is no chance of Texas turning blue.”

Floor Flop
U.S. Representative Al Green’s desperate attempt to impeach President Donald Trump fell flat on Wednesday, dying in the House by a lopsided 364-58 vote. The Houston Democrat introduced articles of impeachment, then watched as the House voted on a “motion to table” the resolution, basically shooting down the bipartisan effort. According to the Texas Tribune, of the 36 Texans in the House, only Democrats Lloyd Doggett of Austin, Filemon Vela of Brownsville, and Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston joined Green in voting against the measure to table the impeachment attempt. U.S. Representatives Marc Veasey, a Democrat from Fort Worth, and Joaquin Castro, a Democrat from San Antonio, were among four House members who voted present. Green’s articles of impeachment accused Trump of committing “high misdemeanors” while in office and claimed he is “unfit to be President.” His resolution didn’t mention the Trump campaign’s ties to Russian meddling in the 2016 election, an issue that some Democrats have argued could actually warrant an impeachment vote, pending the ongoing investigation by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

High School Shakeup
The University Interscholastic League, Texas’s governing body for public high school athletics, released conference cut-off numbers on Wednesday, ahead of its biennial realignment in February, according to the Houston Chronicle. The class 6A conference will consist of schools with enrollments of 2,190 and higher. The lowest class, 1A D2, will be made up of schools with 55 students or less. Five of the six classes will now be split into two divisions before the postseason. The Chronicle has a list of schools that submitted their enrollments in October.


WHAT WE’RE READING


Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.

An HIV-positive asylum seeker detained in Texas is protesting poor treatment with a hunger strike El Paso Times

A former Mesquite cop was indicted for shooting a suspected carjacker who was actually just unlocking his own car Associated Press

An Israeli diplomat is wondering why Texas prisons ban 10,000 books including Where’s Waldo, but allow Mein Kampf Texas Tribune

Former Texas Ranger and suspected steroid user Rafael Palmiero is attempting a MLB comeback at 52 The Athletic

Former Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon is being sued for sexual harassment Washington Post

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  • Jed

    Joaquin Castro just lost my vote for president.