Outnumbered Houston Democrats vow to fight for kids in Austin

- Fighting words from Houston State Senator John Whitmire as Texas Democrats enter yet another legislative session deeply outnumbered.

"We may not win all the battles, but they are damn sure going to know we are there on the Senate floor!" said Whitmire.

Likely included on the pitched battle list are Republican proposals establishing school vouchers, discouraging abortion, sanctioning sanctuary cities and regulating bathroom access for transgender Texans.

"When they take up the transgender legislation, get there early because I am going to light them up!" said Whitmire to a group of democratic office holders.

Democrats Gene Wu and Armando Walle represent Houston in the Texas House. While both say they're committed to finding common ground with conservative colleagues, the chronic under-funding of public education, shortchanging of special needs kids and crisis within Child Protective Services, have each eager to fight.

"I think it's a travesty that some folks have to be shamed into doing what they have to do on behalf of children," said Walle.

"If you actually believe that our children are our future, if you believe that education is important to our society, put your money where your mouth is," said Wu.

As for the daunting slate of socially conservative legislation, both believe consideration of those measures belong deep on the back burner.

"It's morally reprehensible not to take care of children," said Walle.

"Let's fix the budget. Let's pay for education. Let's take care of CPS. Let’s take care of all the things we need to take care of and then we can go play," said Wu adding, "It's not about conservative or liberal. The 'firewall' is about business, taking care of business."

On an issue of critical local importance, both Walle and Wu predict Republicans and Democrats in the Houston delegation will combine their clout to gain legislative approval for Mayor Sylvester Turner's pension reform deal.

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