Austin, Texas – The Texas House voted unanimously to eject Rep. Bryan Slaton after an investigation showed he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 19-year-old staffer.
The investigation claims that he supplied her with enough alcohol before their meeting to make her dizzy and have double vision.
Ed Espinoza, a Democratic analyst, and Matt Mackowiak, co-chairman of the Travis County GOP, joined FOX 7 Austin’s Mike Warren to discuss.
MIKE WARREN: Ed, the House Journal investigative panel, in addition to alcohol and sex, found that Rep. Slaton tried to cover it up. Is he satisfied with how the Chamber handled it?
AND ESPINOZA: This was a quick conclusion to this investigation with quick action. I am satisfied with it. I think it was necessary. It was a rare act of bipartisanship by the Texas Legislature, which is important here. But we should also look into the acts that led to this, in addition to the things you just mentioned, Mike. There were also three employees, three staff members who had complained, and four elected officials. There was much that confirmed what happened here. In fact, former rep Slaton himself hasn’t denied any of these things. Kind of makes you wonder, what was the environment Slaton lived in that he thought this was all right? Fortunately, it came to a quick conclusion.
MIKE WARREN: Matt Mackowiak, the questionable dealings between lawmakers and staffers and interns have already happened. Is there a need for a cultural change at the Capitol?
MATT MACKOWIAK: Well, I think if you asked most current or former female staff in the Legislature, they would emphatically say yes. I was reading a message from a longtime Capitol staffer who is now a lobbyist who is female last night or excuse me, just today, I guess. She and she was really heartened that it happened so fast. She shows that things have changed. And I think that’s a good thing. Look, you can’t have an elderly person, the person who, you know, the office principal taking advantage of the staff. There is an imbalance of power there. Make trouble. That intern must have wondered, well, if I don’t go to his house or have a drink with him, will it affect my professional career? Slaton has bigger problems, I think. Can I hope that just be expelled from the house? Now he may have criminal problems. I’m not just dosing alcohol on a minor, but I may be witnessing intimidation or tampering with this investigation. So it’s a good thing he’s gone. His interns and office staff are much safer than that precinct than House. When I have a special election, and we can move forward. Again, I’m glad to see this being done in a bipartisan way.
MIKE WARREN: And Espinoza, returning to culture at the Capitol. What do you think it is and what needs to change?
AND ESPINOZA: Well, it shows that there are some institutional cultures in the Texas Legislature that are vastly lacking in the real world. What the rest of us are dealing with in the private sector and public workspace that is outside the Capitol. And these are the people who are making the laws. Bryan Slaton, Former Representative, Now Former Representative Bryan Slaton was the person who had introduced the drag bills saying people would heal others. Well, look, look at the situation he found himself in, where he was essentially taking advantage of a young member of staff. Look, the House has to deal with a reality check when it comes to these things because it’s a problem. Attorney General Ken Paxton was in the news with a similar problem, according to the Associated Press just a few years ago. Yes, I’m glad the House acted quickly. I would actually be much happier if they changed their ways altogether.
MIKE WARREN: All right. Well, this chapter is over for now and your time is up. And Espinosa, Matt Mackowiak, thank you both so much.