Texas lawmaker brought his sons’ Astros cutouts instead of family to Capitol

Texas Politics
Rep. Armando Walle tweeted that he brought Houston Astros cutouts of his two sons to accompany him on the first day of the session.

Rep. Armando Walle tweeted that he brought Houston Astros cutouts of his two sons to accompany him on the first day of the session.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Texas state lawmaker made sure his family could still accompany him on the first day of the legislative session by bringing their Houston Astros cutouts onto the House floor.

Rep. Armando Walle posted a tweet Tuesday afternoon of himself wearing a mask and holding cutouts of his two young sons sporting their Astros gear.

The Democratic legislator, who represents Texas House District 140, wrote in his social media post, “My boys and family were not happy about missing swearing-in day. It’s always a special occasion. Alternative was to bring our @astros cut-outs.”

In a statement sent to KXAN, Walle wrote, “Due to the pandemic and the potential threats on our state Capitol related to the Trump insurrection, my family stayed home in Houston and watched the swearing-in on their computers. Instead, I brought to Austin the three fan cut-outs of me and my two boys in our Astros gear that my wife Debbie purchased for us during the Astros pandemic season, so they could be here with me in spirit.”

In an abbreviated kickoff, Texas lawmakers convened at the State Capitol on Tuesday for the 87th Legislative Session. Concerns about COVID-19 changed the usual pomp and circumstance of the opening ceremonies, which involve swearing in members, speeches from state leaders and celebrating with invited guests.

Walle held a live stream on Facebook so his followers could watch him take the oath of office Tuesday since the Capitol limited visitors due to the pandemic. He’s served in the Texas House of Representatives since 2008.

The events Tuesday were limited in size and length to comply with social distancing requirements and to avoid keeping large groups of people in an enclosed space for an extended period of time.

Outside the Capitol, visitors encountered a heavy presence from the Texas Department of Public Safety. At least 20 armed demonstrators dispersed after gathering for a time on the south area of the grounds, while about 10 people protested the COVID-19 vaccine on the north side.

“A muted swearing-in experience is obviously trivial in comparison to the loss of lives and livelihoods suffered by millions of Americans during this pandemic,” Walle told KXAN. “The violent and disturbing attack on our nation’s Capitol less than a week ago is hopefully merely a bizarre coda to what has been the most challenging year in our country’s recent history. But this current moment in our history coloring the beginning of the 87th Texas Legislature is why the next 139 days will be most significant of my career. So while I was not able to share in this joyous and prideful occasion with my family and friends who have lifted me up, the pictures of me with the cut-outs of my boys at my desk in the House chamber is a reminder of the historical imperative we have to bring Texas back from this dark chapter.”

Full statement

Rep. Walle’s complete statement to KXAN:

As anyone who visits my ground floor office in the Texas Capitol can tell you, I eat, sleep, and breathe all things Houston. In addition to various prints and pictures of landmarks in my north Houston legislative district, on my wall hangs a framed autographed game photo of Astros 2nd baseman Jose Altuve. The historic Preservation Board bookshelves are decorated with football helmets of my Houston Texans (signed by JJ Watt), Houston Cougars, MacArthur High, as well as my personal favorite: a classic Houston Oilers helmet signed by Earl Campbell. It probably would come as no surprise to my colleagues in Austin, as well as my family and friends, that my staff has to often warn me that “[my] Houston is showing.”

My family and I have been religious fans of the Astros for years. Some of my fondest memories growing up were of my late abuela screaming at Kevin Bass or Jose Cruz to hustle for that ball. My son Mandito and I experienced in-person the euphoria of watching Altuve crack his pennant-clinching home run off of Yankees reliver Aroldis Chapman in 2019.

For me and my family, getting sworn-in to our elected on the first day of the 140-day biennial Texas Legislative session feels just as exciting. It is an honor and privilege that I am getting to experience thanks to the voters of House District 140. Serving in elected office comes with the serious obligation and responsibility to work hard and do all you can for your constituents. Like many in my district, I come from a hard-working blue-collar family: my abuelo was a welder, my abuela cleaned houses, and my mother, who had me as a teenager, worked multiple jobs to keep us fed. I was the first in my family to graduate from high school, college, and later, from law school. My family block-walked and made phone calls for me in my first election in 2008. So each time I am sworn-in to office, it feels like I cracked a walk-off homer to win a pennant—even now, my 7th time to participate.

Sharing this experience with my family and loved ones is not unlike when Altuve is mobbed by his teammates at home plate who share that joy and pride that comes with making the journey together. Due to the pandemic and the potential threats on our state Capitol related to the Trump insurrection, my family stayed home in Houston and watched the swearing-in on their computers. Instead, I brought to Austin the three fan cut-outs of me and my two boys in our Astros gear that my wife Debbie purchased for us during the Astros pandemic season, so they could be here with me in spirit.

A muted swearing-in experience is obviously trivial in comparison to the loss of lives and livelihoods suffered by millions of Americans during this pandemic. The violent and disturbing attack on our nation’s Capitol less than a week ago is hopefully merely a bizarre coda to what has been the most challenging year in our country’s recent history. But this current moment in our history coloring the beginning of the 87th Texas Legislature is why the next 139 days will be most significant of my career. So while I was not able to share in this joyous and prideful occasion with my family and friends who have lifted me up, the pictures of me with the cut-outs of my boys at my desk in the House chamber is a reminder of the historical imperative we have to bring Texas back from this dark chapter.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Austin-Travis County

More Austin-Travis County News

Tracking the Coronavirus

Coronavirus Cases Tracker

Latest Central Texas COVID-19 Cases

More Coronavirus Live Blogs

Trending Stories

Don't Miss