Local State Senator Kel Seliger and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick are squaring off.
Tuesday Patrick removed Seliger from the Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee due to “lewd comments” made during a radio interview that aired Monday.
This just days after the Lt. Gov. announced that Seliger would not chair the Senate Higher Education Committee, nor the finance committee.
The comments in question stemmed from an article written by the Texas Tribune in which one of Lt. Gov. Patrick’s female staffers was quoted as saying, “If Senator Seliger believes serving as Chair of the Agriculture Committee — a critical committee for West Texas and all of rural Texas — is beneath him, he should let us know and the Lt. Governor will appoint someone else.”
Senator Seliger responded, “It was extremely snide and really unbecoming for a member of the staff, the lieutenant governor’s or my staff. I didn’t say anything of the sort, and that assertion is disingenuous and I have a recommendation for Miss Sylvester and her lips and my back end. That’s cleaned up, isn’t it?”
Seliger said in a statement saying he was disappointed about the decision but apologized for his response to Patrick’s staffer.
He goes on to say, “But let’s be clear. The conflict between Lt. Governor and me has nothing to do with recent statements I made on a radio talk show. It has to do with the fact that I have consistently stood up for rural Texas, local control and public education rather than trumpeting the Lt. Governor’s pet projects of bathroom regulation and private school vouchers.”
Lt. Gov. Patrick’s full statement
“Senator Seliger has been removed as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee and will not be serving on that Committee. I met with Sen. Seliger earlier today and gave him an opportunity to apologize for a lewd comment he made on radio about a female staffer that has shocked everyone. He had 48 hours to apologize, but failed to do so. He has refused to take responsibility and outrageously, blamed the staffer and said she should be fired. To not be willing to apologize and suggest, somehow, that she had it coming is unimaginable.
“I will appoint a new Agriculture Committee chairman shortly.”
Senator Seliger’s full statement
“Today, I was disappointed to learn that I am no longer the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
When, in her comment to the press, Sherry Sylvester threatened to remove me as Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, she was acting as a spokesperson for the Lt. Governor. In hindsight, I should have directed my response to the Lt. Governor and not to his messenger. And for that, I apologize.
But let’s be clear. The conflict between the Lt. Governor and me has nothing to do with recent statements I made on a radio talk show. It has to do with the fact that I have consistently stood up for rural Texas, local control, and public education rather than trumpeting the Lt. Governor’s pet projects of bathroom regulation and private school vouchers.
I look forward to spending the rest of this session doing what I have always done—representing the people of West Texas and the Panhandle.”