During a panel with all four Republican candidates in the lieutenant governor's race at the Ronald Reagan Republican Women's Conference this week, current Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst defended his record of appointing Democrats to chair Senate committees.
"I’ve been reducing the number of Democrat chairs since I came in," Dewhurst said. "You know how many committees we have? 17. You know how many Democrat chairs we have? five. Okay? So, I’ve been reducing them and not one of them is one of the critical committees."
That statement about Democrats not having any "critical committees" stirred up several of those Democrats who chair those committees, including Sen. Leticia Van De Putte of San Antonio, who is herself considering a run for lieutenant governor.
In a statement, Van De Putte said:
"You can imagine my great shock when I learned that the lieutenant governor dismissed the work of the Veteran Affairs Committee. I can assure you that the work of the committee I chair is important."
State Sen. Royce West of Dallas is the chair of the Senate Jurisprudence Committee and echoed that sentiment:
"He appointed me to chair jurisprudence, hopefully not because it’s a do-nothing committee," West said. "The fact of the matter is major legislation went through that committee."
West's committee passed legislation that stopped schools from ticketing students for disrupting class. West said he is very disappointed with the Dewhurst comments.