State Rep. Steve Allison, one of 10 moderate Republicans on a target list discussed during a meeting between House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Empower Texans CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan, released a statement Monday blasting Bonnen, saying he will no longer support him as House Speaker.
“We must demand honesty, integrity, and respect from our members. Speaker Bonnen and Representative Burrows have lost the confidence and trust required of a member in such a position,” Allison wrote. “Consequently, I am no longer able to support Dennis Bonnen as Speaker of the Texas House and implore both Bonnen and Burrows to take the necessary actions to do what is right in this disturbing situation.”
Allison, whose district includes parts of North and Northeast San Antonio, was one of 10 Texas House representatives singled out in a secret recording of a June conversation involving Bonnen, State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), and Sullivan.
In the 64-minute recording released Oct. 15, Burrows indicated to conservative group leader Sullivan that he could target Allison, and nine others, in primary campaigns. The list seemingly came from a group of Republicans who did not support taxpayer-funded lobbying.
“If you need some primaries to fight in – I will leave and Dustin will tell you some we’d love if you fought in,” Bonnen said. “Not that you need our permission.”
Last Friday, the House Republican Caucus met and issued a statement condemning the actions of Bonnen and Burrows.
“We, the members of the Texas House Republican Caucus, condemn in the strongest possible terms the offensive language used and the statements made by Speaker Bonnen and Representative Burrows during the secretly recorded meeting which occurred on June 12th,” the statement said. “Both members violated the high standards of conduct we expect of our members. Their conduct does not reflect the views of our Caucus membership.”
While stopping short of calling on Bonnen to resign, Allison wrote Monday that he voted against the statement because it was not enough to address the statements made by Bonnen and Burrows.
“After several hours of discussion this past Friday, the House Republican Caucus finally issued a statement condemning the actions and comments of Speaker Bonnen and Representative Burrows,” Allison wrote. “I joined a number of my fellow members in voting against such statement as I did not believe such action sufficient to address the serious division, distrust, and harm caused by both men.
“Even that statement, though, provides indication that Speaker Bonnen and Representative Burrows have been rendered ineffective to continue serving in leadership positions.”
Later on Monday, State Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) was among five senior House members who issued a joint statement withdrawing support for Bonnen.
In August, after listening to the recording before it was publicly released, Allison called for further investigation and possible action by the Republican Caucus and House, but did not officially withdraw his support of Bonnen.
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With the recording released publicly, Allison wrote Monday that “subsequent statements and conduct has not changed, but rather reinforced, the inescapable facts and concerns set forth in my earlier statement … .”
Serving his first term, Allison represents House District 121, previously held by Joe Straus, who preceded Bonnen as House Speaker. The district covers the area near Alamo Heights and stretches north past Loop 1604.
Allison announced in August that he would seek re-election to the Texas House. Democrat Celina Montoya will again challenge Allison for the House District 121 seat. She lost in the November 2018 election with 45 percent of the vote.
Democrat Becca DeFelice has also announced she plans to run for the seat.