Freshman state Rep. John Kuempel of Seguin obviously was glad to get home after long, difficult regular and special legislative sessions in Austin, but his assessment of what he and his colleagues accomplished during the past six months missed the basic point of representative government.
Kuempel told his hometown newspaper that he looked forward to visiting with his constituents in District 35 and “filling them in on one of the most successful sessions we’ve ever had. As a body, we did everything the governor asked, everything the leadership asked of us.”
The problem with Kuempel’s statement, of course, is that the voters of District 35 didn’t elect him to play puppy dog to the governor and the legislative leadership. They elected him to represent them – the residents of District 35 – and in that regard he represented most of them poorly, particularly school kids, their parents and their teachers.
He voted to cut funding from the public schools by more than $5 billion and pass a budget that, for the first time in more than 60 years, doesn’t fully pay for school finance formulas and enrollment growth. And, he voted for Senate Bill 8, which does nothing to address the budgetary crisis but instead attacks school teachers, the backbone of the public education system.
About as successful as the Titanic’s maiden voyage.