AUSTIN (KXAN) — Lieutenant Governor of Texas Dan Patrick says he wants the state’s Democrat lawmakers to take responsibility for the party’s role in Texas’ racist history.
This is after a group of Democratic Senators called for the removal of seven Confederate memorials from Texas State Capitol grounds in late July.
The letter from the Senators was addressed to Governor Greg Abbot and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. In it, the group also requested to start the process to rename the John H. Reagan State Office Building, which serves as an office for House personnel and human resources.
Patrick responded to lawmakers in his own letter Monday, saying removing the monuments only erases history.
“We know the issue of slavery is painful to everyone. It was a sad chapter in our history. But we also know that most Texans do not support erasing our history by the removal of
monuments and symbols,” Patrick wrote.
Patrick says Senate Republicans tried to address the issue in 2019 with Senate Bill 1663.
The bill “would have given the state a pathway for a thorough and thoughtful review of monuments and symbols,” but according to him, Democrats did not vote for it.
Patrick says the solutions the Democratic lawmakers outlined in their letter were not sincere and did not allow for proper discussion.
He says Texas history isn’t perfect, but states it was Democrats who perpetuated discriminatory practices. He says it was Democrats who were in power when the monuments and symbols were placed on the grounds.
Republicans didn’t have control until the early 2000s, according to Patrick, and that Democrats had many opportunities to discuss the removal of the monuments.
“Where was the outrage or concern about these monuments and paintings when Democrats controlled virtually everything in the Capitol, on the Capitol grounds, and in the Senate Chamber?” Patrick wrote. “They could have been taken down at any point. They were not.”
Even further, Patrick writes that since Republicans were elected majorities in Texas legislature, an African-American History Memorial and the Tejano Monument were added to the Capitol grounds.
“Republicans joined with the Democrats who began the process for these monuments, and it was Republicans who made sure both projects were completed,” he said.
Patrick ended his letter asking Democrats to own up to their mistakes and role in the state’s discriminatory practices. He says he believes they can find a solution to the monument issue, without having to do what he says is erasing history.
You can read the full response from Patrick below.