This spring, Bedford state Rep. Jonathan Stickland finally passed a bill. It took four terms in office and dozens of dramas big and small, but Stickland pushed through his long-desired ban on red-light cameras.
Turns out, finally getting on the legislative board took all that Stickland had to give. The Texas House of Representatives' large adult son isn't going to run for reelection.
"Eight years was enough for George Washington, and it certainly is for me. After much prayerful consideration and reflection, I have determined it is not the Lord’s will for me to seek reelection. Instead, I intend to dedicate more time to my family, my church, and my business," Stickland wrote, announcing his resignation Monday.
Stickland, a high school dropout who spent his pre-legislature days talking about smoking pot and how "(r)ape is non existent in marriage" on fantasy football message boards, will end his seven years in office much as he began it, as the frat boy-Libertarian bull in Austin's china shop.
In 2019, he was the only House member to vote against the chamber's school finance plan. Two years earlier, he and his compatriots in the Texas Freedom Caucus killed hundreds of bills at a key deadline with a procedural maneuver, because they were mad that the House wasn't considering several extreme anti-abortion bills. In 2015, Stickland replaced his office sign with one declaring himself a "former fetus" on Planned Parenthood's lobbying day at the capitol.
The list keeps going and going, some of its items more amusing — like the time his colleagues tried to lead him away from the House's back mic — than others — like the time Stickland implied that a Muslim man's run for city council in Euless was some kind of untoward plot. Stickland never met a committee hearing he wasn't willing to sabotage, an abortion-rights supporter he didn't want to vaguely threaten or an internet fight he didn't want to pick.
In May, he told vaccinologist and pediatrician Peter Hotez that vaccines were "sorcery" on Twitter.
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No matter the subject, Stickland, often literally, stuck to his guns, whether he was pushing for unfettered, "Constitutional" carry rights for gun owners or reforming Texas' drug laws, one of the few issues about which he was able to find common ground with Democrats.
Having a representative in the House who actually cares about passing legislation will probably be good for Stickland's Mid-Cities district, but it will be a lot more boring for the rest of us.
Texas Democrats said Monday that Stickland's decision not to run reflects a changing state.
"The simple facts are that Jonathan Stickland is too far to the right for Texas and represents an increasingly Democratic district," Abhi Rahman, the state party's communications director, said in a statement. "We wouldn’t be surprised if there were more retirements because Republicans know their 2020 prospects are doomed."