More than carpetbagging: Texas House member still representing former constituents after moving

Rep(?) James Talarico saw the writing on the wall.
Rather than running for re-election to Texas House District 52 in Williamson County, where Republicans are expected to take back some turf, he moved south a bit to presumably bluer and safer Travis County in HD 50.
The problem with that, according to the Travis County Republican Party and challenger Victor Johnson, is that Democrat Talarico continued to represent HD 52 while a newly minted resident of HD 50. The problem is, if so, that’s not legal and a vacancy should have been declared. According to a press release from the Travis GOP, Johnson is set to file a legal challenge. See more on that below in a press release from this morning. If the powers-that-be determine this complaint has legs, then it’s worse than carpetbagging.
PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — James Talarico has committed a clear violation of the Texas Constitution and abandoned his responsibilities to the citizens of Williamson County.
Following redistricting in 2021, James Talarico, who was the Texas House District 52 Representative in Williamson County, abandoned his constituents and moved to his parent’s home in Travis County. On Dec. 5, 2021, he registered to vote in Travis County, completing his permanent change of residence to that location.
But according to Article 3, Section 23, of the Texas Constitution:
23. VACANCY FOLLOWING REMOVAL FROM DISTRICT OR COUNTY FROM WHICH ELECTED. If any Senator or Representative remove his residence from the district or county for which he was elected, his office shall thereby become vacant, and the vacancy shall be filled as provided in section 13 of this article.
Under the Texas Constitution, Talarico abandoned his seat in Williamson County. Under the provisions of Article 3, Section 23, Talarico’s attendance at, participation in, and votes on those committee meetings were unconstitutional.
Since then, Talarico has continued to participate in numerous committee meetings as a representative of Williamson County, District 52, in clear violation of the state Constitution. His most recent and highly publicized Education committee action took place on July 26, 2022, in the Capitol, where he appeared to read the science-fiction novel “Fahrenheit 451” during a sit-down protest during committee business about alleged pornography in Texas schools —  subject he had previously called “kooky.”
The citizens of Texas House District 52 and Williamson County should, by law, have had the opportunity to elect a House Representative that was present and who will diligently represent their interests in the Capitol. Instead, their representative abandoned them to further his political career in a jurisdiction he believed more favorable to his ambition. denying them their legal representation in the House. The citizens of District 52 should have have the right to fill that vacancy with someone who will represent their interests.
This article originally appeared in The Travis Tracker.
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