Jasmine Crockett zeroes in on Senate holdouts against voting rights legislation

by | Jul 15, 2021 | Politics, Texas Legislature

On Thursday, Texas Signal spoke with State Rep. Jasmine Crockett about what’s happening in Washington. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

How have your meetings with the senators been going? I know that you’ve met with several, including Cory Booker. Did he offer you any advice on approaching other Senators resistant to the filibuster or H.R.1?

We had our meeting with Senator Booker, everybody asks their questions and it’s time ago. And I still didn’t hear anyone ask the question that I needed an answer to. If somebody offers me help and I’m up here fighting with everything that I’ve got on voting rights, and I know you’re on my side, my issue is how do I gain access?

So, number one, I want to know who those holdouts are. There’s this rhetoric that the filibuster was an issue. I’m not going to try to pretend like it’s not, but it’s that combined with the fact that seemingly there aren’t 50 [senators onboard] with H.R.1 anyway. Right? Do you disturb the filibuster and go through all this and you don’t have the votes to pass the bill? So that’s a problem. I think that it’s been taken for granted that we have the votes. All the senators voted in favor of the debate, but that’s different than voting for the bill.

In the media you only hear about two people and filibuster, that’s all you hear. So we got the list of 5 that we need to work on, make sure that we can get some support for a voting rights bill. That was number one. Number two, since you said you would help us, can you set up these meetings? I think [Senator Booker] was like, ‘we absolutely can assist in getting meetings set up.’ Those are the two big things that I needed really from anyone. And we got them from him.

Does it look like those meetings will happen?

We’ve not had meetings with the people on that list. Likely by next week, I will go ahead and I will set up these meetings because I promised I didn’t come here to be quiet. Time is ticking.

Members of the Texas delegation did meet with Senator Manchin on Thursday

What do you think about your Republican colleagues back in Austin trying to paint Democrats as anti-teacher, after they passed a bonus pension check in the Senate during special session?

When [Republicans] talk to the media, they want to talk about a 13th check [for teachers]. They want to make it seem like there’s something else. We didn’t walk out on teachers. We didn’t come to D.C. to avoid teachers getting money. If anybody looks at the record, the facts are clear. The majority of my colleagues signed on as co-authors of a 13th check during the regular session. That bill died in calendars. Calendars has a majority Republican rule. We didn’t kill that bill. We didn’t do anything to hurt that bill. We would have happily voted for their bill, but they decided to not make that a priority.

Jamming through a massive voter suppression bill is a priority though?

My deal is: talk about why your bill is so good. Talk about it. What I would like somebody to ask one of them is why is it that you won’t even give a hearing on registering to vote online? If you agree that all elections should be fair, free and accessible, why are you not at least giving a hearing, let alone, considering amending that on to any version of these bills, right? What does registering to vote online have to do with fraud? It’s not a vote, it’s a registration, right? And 36 states plus D.C., let people register to vote online. So when we say that, it takes us like, like it’s a balancing act of sorts, right?

People are like, ‘oh Texas, you’re just crying. Nobody else has 24-hour voting.’ Okay. So we had a millennial who really thought out of the box and I appreciate that. Right? But you combine that with the history of suppression in this state, the fact that the state makes it harder than any other state to vote? I have a license to carry. And guess what? I was able to apply online. Why can’t I apply to register to vote online? I just need somebody to answer that question. Why are you so afraid?

I know that MALC (the Mexican American Legislative Caucus) is trying to coordinate meetings with Cruz and Cornyn. How do you even feel about that?

I think you should always go to your opposition. They’ve both been very public in their opinions about us and what we’re doing. Do I think that they will be big enough to talk to their constituency? Nope, I don’t. But that’s on them.

I mean, I represent people that aren’t Democrats, they can always call my office. A number of them have been to my office. They email my office. We work for the people. We don’t work for a party. To me it’s just really disrespectful and that [shows] they’re not really mature enough to be leaders of any Texans. Because once you’re elected, you have a responsibility to communicate with and be responsive to your constituency.

Are there any sort of misconceptions that you’d like to clear up for folks about this trip?

You mean lies, not misconceptions? Texas does have a boss known as the federal government. So long story short: we’re just trying to get the boss to come to work and get Texas back in line. That’s it? That’s all, that’s all we’re asking for. Right. And honestly, we’re not asking for something that is outside the box. We had these protections, they expired. We lost them through expiration and the court kind depleted the rest of it. So, all we’re doing is trying to put basics back in place. And at this point in time, as the girl who is never a fan of someone telling me about incremental change in the house, incremental change on the federal level would do us a world of good because Texas is just that far behind.

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A longtime writer and journalist, Jessica was thrilled to join the Texas Signal where she could utilize her unique perspective on politics and culture. As the Features and Opinion Editor, she is responsible for coordinating editorials and segments from diverse authors. She is also the host of the podcast the Tex Mix, as well as the co-host for the weekly SignalCast. Jessica attended Harvard College, is a onetime fitness blogger, and has now transitioned to recreational runner (for which her joints are thankful).

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