Texas State Rep. Jonathan Stickland: a Field Guide

Jonathan Stickland must be bored. Despite having his own re-election campaign against Democrat Steve Riddell to worry about in the Mid-Cities' state House District 92, Stickland, the id of the Texas GOP, has waded into a nonpartisan City Council election in Euless.

Stickland's attack, in which he invokes candidate Salman Bhojani's Muslim faith before calling him sneaky and suggesting that "his ideas for our community would scare a majority of our residents," isn't the first time he's provoked local, statewide or national attention for something he's done or said, and it certainly won't be the last.

In case you're new to DFW or need to brush up on one of the area's most bewildering elected officials, here are his greatest hits.

1. Stickland warns Euless about Salman Bhojani because he's Muslim.
"Euless residents beware," Stickland opened a Facebook post last week. "Currently, the Mid-Cities Democrats are pushing a slate of progressive liberals in our non-partisan city council elections.

"Salman Bhojani should be familiar to many of you. He ran and narrowly lost last cycle. He is a Muslim, lawyer, and a lifelong Democrat who supports raising your taxes."

Here's the full post:

After being called out for bringing up Bhojani's religion, Stickland denied that he believes Euless residents should consider Bhojani's faith while they're in the ballot box. But he also mentioned that Bhojani is "responsible" for the Koran being read for the first time ever at a Euless City Council meeting.

“I have not said, ‘Don’t vote for him because he’s a Muslim,’ ” Stickland told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Friday. “I said Muslim in describing who he is. I’m opposed to the positions he takes.”

2. Stickland comes awfully close to saying he wants to shoot abortion-rights supporters.
On the morning of June 23, 2013, just before a major debate over House Bill 2, Texas' soon-to-be infamous package of abortion restrictions, Stickland took to Twitter to express gratitude for his Second Amendment rights.

After getting called out for the implied threat, Stickland said that his "reference this morning to being grateful for the ability to defend myself is coupled with the knowledge that there are those among us who cannot defend themselves.Through my vote today I will be defending the rights of those who cannot speak for their own rights."

Stickland's new statement, as the Observer's Eric Nicholson pointed out, raised an obvious question: Why wasn't Stickland doing everything he could to arm those vulnerable fetuses?

3. Stickland says rape ain't rape if you're married.
Responding to a fellow message board member's post about problems in the bedroom in 2008, Stickland said that marital rape doesn't exist.

"Rape is nonexistent in marriage, take what you want my friend!” Stickland said.

He apologized for the post eight years later, but only after researchers working for Scott Fischer, his GOP primary opponent, dug it up.

4, Stickland won't shut up. Not even for a cookie.
By the middle of his second term in 2015, moderates in the Texas House grew so tired of Stickland pontificating from their chamber's back mic that Fort Worth's Charlie Geren attempted to lure Stickland away from his post with a cookie tied to a string. It didn't work.

5. Stickland gets kicked out of a committee hearing when the witnesses he'd signed up to testify aren't there.
In 2015, Texas House Transportation Committee Chairman Joe Pickett threw Stickland out of a meeting after discovering that dozens of witnesses Stickland had signed up to testify on behalf of his red light camera-banning bill weren't even in Austin. Stickland refused to leave, claiming Pickett was disrespecting him, as House sergeants removed him from the hearing.

In a statement he issued shortly after, he said he and his staff didn't think the people he'd signed up to testify actually needed to be present.

6. Stickland reminds everyone where he came from.
On March 11, 2015, that year's Planned Parenthood lobby day at the state Capitol, Stickland engaged in meaningful debate with those he disagrees with by posting a sign near his office door declaring himself a former fetus and accusing the family planning group of murder.

"Today Planned Parenthood is visiting and lobbying the Capitol. In honor of their visit, I put this sign up on my office door. Organizations that murder children are not welcome in my office. #prolifeandproudofit"

Geren, the Republican chair of the House Administration Committee, tore Stickland's sign down.

7. Stickland reunites with his favorite House microphone.
Last May 11, at the end of the regular legislative session, Stickland and the Texas Freedom Caucus — a small, loud group of ultraconservative legislators he leads — killed more than 100 bills through procedural maneuvers at a key deadline. They did so out of spite because Texas House Speaker Joe Straus had refused to advance several extreme anti-abortion bills, as well as the so-called bathroom bill referendum that would have required anyone visiting state facilities to use the bathroom consistent with the gender on their birth certificate. When Stickland's fellow legislators tried to fight back and force a bill from the vote, Stickland took to his favorite back-of-the-House microphone and screamed.

"It’s disgusting. It’s disgusting. And one of these days, it’s going to happen to something that you care about,” he said.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young

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