AUSTIN, Texas – Following much speculation about the confirmation of Don McLeroy to the State Board of Education (SBOE) Chair, the Texas Senate voted today by a vote of 19-11 to deny him a second term as Chairman. McLeroy needed 21 votes, 2/3 of the 31 Senate members, to be confirmed.
All 19 Republicans voted FOR McLeroy, 11 Democrats voted AGAINST McLeroy, and Democratic Senator, Eddie Lucio, Jr., did not cast a vote.
Gov. Perry reappointed McLeroy in February, and was passed by the Senate Nominations Committee on May 20. Critics of McLeroy have for months focused on his religious beliefs, even highlighting statements he made at his church. Some Senators pointed to national stories that were critical of him as reason for opposition. The vote fell along party lines.
After the vote, Free Market Foundation (FMF) Director of Legislative Affairs and Attorney Jonathan Saenz released the following statement:
“Some Senators have made it clear that the N.Y. Times, religious beliefs, and party affiliation are in control of deciding who serves as SBOE chairman. The message has been sent — if you have sincere religious beliefs, you need not apply to be chair of the State Board of Education.”
FMF President Kelly Shackelford said this:
“I find the comments about McLeroy’s religion and the Senate vote to be very disturbing. This is an embarrassment and a black mark on the Senate. We expect the Governor to nominate an SBOE Chair who is just as conservative as McLeroy, and therefore, representative of the people of Texas.”