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Texas GOP chairman calls Gov. Abbott's actions on coronavirus 'heavy-handed'

Texas Republican Party chairman Allen West says he thinks Gov. Greg Abbott should call a special legislative session to include lawmakers in decision making.
Credit: AP
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott listens during a discussion about the upcoming flu season in Dallas, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. UT Southwestern Medical Center hosted a round table discussion about preparations for the flu season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

DALLAS — On a day when more than 3,000 Texans tested positive for COVID-19, the new chairman of the Republican Party of Texas made clear on Y'all-itics he disagrees with Gov. Greg Abbott’s pandemic response, calling it heavy-handed.

“We're not a constitutional monarchy. We are not to be ruled. We're supposed to be governed,” Allen West said. “And so I am very concerned when we continue to see a litany of executive orders, mandates, decrees, and edicts that are handed down and they're not brought through the legislative process.”

West also told the Jasons he thinks Abbott should have called lawmakers back to Austin for a special session.

You can listen to this and every episode of Y'all-itics by subscribing wherever you get your podcasts: 

“That's why the people have elected representatives, their state House and their state Senate members," said Allen. "And we should not, they should not, want to see their power within the legislative branch usurped by the executive branch.”

The chairman remains bullish on Republican success in the election this fall, even though many polls indicate a close race in Texas, at least closer than it’s been for years. 

He says GOP energy is palpable in the state and he pointed to a parade in honor of Pres. Donald Trump that drew thousands recently in Laredo.

“Texas has the 10th largest economy in the world, so I know that a lot of the polls are calling it close," said West. "Those are a lot of registered voter polls. But I think that when you get out and about in this state and you see the energy, you see the concerns on people's faces and their thoughts, I don't think it's going to be as close as some people are saying. “

West says he’s honored to be not the first, not the second, but the third black chairman of the Republican Party of Texas. He points to his own story as a reason why the GOP will do a better job with black voters than polls indicate.

“If we get back to talking about those things that I was raised on, strength of family, our faith, heritage, quality of education and small business entrepreneurship and service to the nation, we’ll see a change that is happening,” West said. “I'm telling you that it's going to be a big difference. Right now, they're saying that President Trump is about 13 to 14% in the black community. I believe he's going to hit 20%.”

Many Republicans have also talked on Inside Texas Politics about the importance of attracting suburban women voters. 

West pointed to a litany of issues that might keep that key voting block in the GOP fold, including safety and security, education and human trafficking along the border.

And West has a message for voters who point out that if those are problem areas, they are issues that have grown in a state that’s been under Republican control for at least two decades.

“If you can imagine that you have this situation with Republican control, imagine how exacerbated it would be under Democrat control,” he told the Jasons.

Back in May, the retired Army Lieutenant Colonel was involved in a serious motorcycle crash near Waco.  West told the Jasons he is nearly recovered outside of a couple more months of therapy on his shoulder. 

While he’s back to running every day, getting back on another motorcycle is out of the question.

“I'm not gonna ride anymore. I rode for 35 years, but I tell you,I can't put my wife, my daughters and so many of my friends through that again," he said. "Because my wife had to drive from here in Garland where we live down to Waco and all she knew was that I was in a motorcycle accident. And that was tough on her.”