Pacheco hits back at Dem’s criticism


In the mid-1990s, Leo Pacheco was chairman of the Bexar County Democratic Party.

Last week, the organization formerly led by Pacheco officially censored him for a vote he cast on the floor of Texas House.

The South Side State Representative was one of seven House Democrats to vote in favor of HB 1927, a highly controversial Republican-led bill that would allow Texas residents to carry handguns without allowed.

The Bexar County Democratic Party’s censorship decree of May 11 pointed out that “thousands of Texans (are) killed each year by gun violence” and denounced the 1927 HB as a bill “that would legalize the wearing of ‘practically unrestricted firearms’.

In an interview on Thursday, Pacheco couldn’t hide his resentment on both the substance and the style of the party’s decision against him.

“When I was president, we would never have done something like this, especially not in the middle of a session,” Pacheco said of censorship.

“And if we thought we were doing something like that, we would have given the individual the opportunity to address the executive committee, which he didn’t. It was clearly something that had an ulterior motive against me.

He said members of the party’s county executive committee misunderstood his legislative strategy.

“It’s not a tic-tac-toe on the floor of the House,” he said. “It’s chess. And we are not the majority party.

Pacheco said that during his first three years in the legislature, he worked to build relationships with House Republicans; be seen by GOP lawmakers as someone they can work with.

He added that he used that goodwill during the voting process for HB 1927 to improve a bill that was going to be passed in the House, with or without the backing of the Democrats.

“We have members like me who work totally behind the scenes,” he said. “We’re trying to make amendments to it, trying to work with them to make a horrible and ugly bill less horrible and ugly.

“If they think you are a no (vote) to begin with, then they don’t negotiate with you. Why would they do it? “

Pacheco pointed out that when his fellow Democrats introduced amendments to the bill, he voted in favor of those amendments.

“Even then, that raised eyebrows among Republican leaders: they say, ‘Hey, why are you voting for all these Democratic amendments?

Pacheco said he was trying to negotiate the inclusion of an amendment that would at least require people to take an online safety course to legally carry a handgun.

“But they (Republicans) wouldn’t even go for that,” he said.

The state representative insists that when HB 1927 came to the House for a final vote, he turned around and voted against. The House Journal, however, lists it as a yes vote (the only yes vote of the Bexar County Democratic delegation) when the unlicensed postponement won House approval on April 16 by a margin of 87-58.

Monica Alcántara, chairwoman of the Bexar County Democratic Party, said the party’s constituency presidents paid special attention to the legislature’s deliberations this year, as lawmakers in San Antonio encouraged them to make their voices heard on a legislation that divides.

“It was on the day of the vote for unlicensed porterage that we had our steering committee meeting,” Alcántara said. “Many CEC members were a little disappointed with the way Representative Pacheco voted.”

Pacheco also parted ways with the overwhelming majority of House Democrats on HB 19, a bill championed by both the trucking industry and the conservative tort reform organization Texans for Lawsuit Reform. . HB 19, co-authored by Pacheco, would restrict prosecutions targeting commercial vehicles in Texas.

Only seven House Democrats voted for HB 19.

As for the Bexar County delegation, however, the bill enjoyed significant democratic support. Pacheco was one of four San Antonio House Democrats to vote for the commercial vehicle bill, while the other four local Democrats were absent for the vote.

He defended his HB 19 vote as an expression of support for business and a statement against the interests of wealthy trial lawyers.

Pacheco worked as a Human Resources Specialist at Palo Alto College and Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio and San Antonio College. He sees higher education as his main goal in the Legislative Assembly.

He said “there is not a lot of communication” between him and the rest of the Bexar County delegation.

“I don’t interfere in their business, in the way they negotiate, and vice versa,” he said.

Rumors have circulated in Democratic circles that Pacheco may not run for another term next year. He refused to confirm or deny these rumors. But he said he was not sweating it.

“If people don’t want to re-elect me,” he said, “that’s fine with me. “

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