Henderson County Republican Party votes to censure Gov. Abbott over face masks, closures

Committee joins 7 other Texas counties publicly rebuking Abbott's COVID-19 response

Henderson County Republican Party votes to censure Gov. Abbott over face masks, closures
The Henderson County Republican Party has voted to censure Gov. Greg Abbott for his order that requires Texans to wear face coverings while in public, as well previous orders in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Source: KSLA)

HENDERSON COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - The Henderson County Republican Party has voted to censure Gov. Greg Abbott for his order that requires Texans to wear face coverings while in public, as well previous orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Henderson County Republican Party Executive Committee called an emergency meeting Saturday in Athens to censure Gov. Abbott, or formally express strong disapproval, according to Daniel Hunt, chairman of the Henderson County Republican Party.

Of the 10 precinct chairpersons who were present, 7 voted to adopt the resolution, Hunt said.

“At the beginning of [COVID-19], nobody really knew what it was, so we weren’t really that upset about it; concerned, but not that upset,” he explained. “Then, as it kept going and kept going, the restrictions became more and more.

“Then we started closing things like bars and wearing the face masks. Now that we know more about the pandemic, we don’t think these things are really effective.”

Parishioners wear face masks as they attend an in-person Mass at Christ the King Catholic Church in San Antonio, Tuesday, May 19, 2020. San Antonio parishes that have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic have began opening their doors to in-person services.
Parishioners wear face masks as they attend an in-person Mass at Christ the King Catholic Church in San Antonio, Tuesday, May 19, 2020. San Antonio parishes that have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic have began opening their doors to in-person services. (Source: AP Photo/Eric Gay)

As numbers spiked for a second time across the state in June, Hunt said he would’ve expected the governor to call the Texas State Legislature into a special session to manage the spread rather than mandating masks be worn by all Texans.

“We’re concerned that one person is making all of these rules, and not the legislators who represent different parts of the state,” Hunt said.

One of the principles of the Republican Party that Hunt described was to avoid “blanket” decision-making by keeping control as local as possible, leaving it up to county judges and mayors to decide what’s best for their respective cities and counties.

The censure, Hunt said, would serve as a message to the governor that his party members were not pleased with how he was taking on the responsibility of managing the crisis by himself.

“You know, there may be a problem in Houston, but there may not be a problem in Athens. Maybe we don’t need strict closures or mask requirements or restaurant limitations like we’re having in some places like Houston.

“We want to send a message to the governor that he needs to slow down and assess this the right way. There is a right way and there is a wrong way, and we’re not convinced he’s doing this the right way.”

The resolution will now be sent to the state Republican Party for consideration at the state convention. Delegates could vote whether or not to adopt an overall resolution to censure Gov. Abbott, Hunt said.

The Houston Chronicle reports that since July 4, seven other Republican Party Executives Committees in Texas have approved censures against Abbott.

Montgomery County voted unanimously, 40-0, to censure Gov Greg Abbott tonight. While on the other side of the state...

Posted by Ector County Republican Party on Wednesday, July 8, 2020

In Montgomery County, committee members voted unanimously on the censure, stating that Abbott acted in “disregard to the Texas Constitution” when he required face coverings for residents in counties with at least 20 confirmed COVID-19 cases and ordered the closure of bars and limited gatherings.

“Don’t get me wrong, we don’t want the governor removed from office, we just want him to follow the principles that the Republican Party stands for, as espoused in our platform,” Hunt said.

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