The insult heard 'round the state capitol

By Layron Livingston - bio | email

Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Last week, Representative Leo Berman of Tyler had an argument with a Dallas attorney in the halls of the state capitol after a discussion about illegal immigration.

The attorney called Representative Berman "evil." Berman told the Chinese-American attorney to "go home." The bloggers and activists are calling Berman's behavior "unbecoming of a member of the Texas legislature." They are calling for members of the Texas State House to formally condemn his behavior.

The story is gaining some steam, and some East Texans are really steaming.

"We've had at least 7,000 hits on it in the first 24 hours," said Vince Leibowitz.

Vince Leibowitz is a political blogger. He launched the site, on Monday.

"This type of website has been used to drive change," said Leibowitz.

They are rallying the troops and urging visitors to contact their representatives. It all stems from the "insult heard 'round the state capitol." Respresentative Leo Berman later told an attorney to "kiss his [expletive]."

"It makes us all look petty, and I certainly think the people of East Texas are not that way," said Leibowitz.

In an editorial, Tyler resident Michael Patterson wrote, "All Leo Berman did was show his [expletive]." Patterson called the representative's actions "unprofessional...[making] us all look like a bunch of bumpkins." He went on to write, "Maybe Berman ought to go home...and we can replace him with someone who knows how to behave."

"It's a badge of honor if they're calling for censure because I'm doing my job and obeying my oath of office," said Berman.

Representative Berman was in Austin and spoke with us by phone outside the house floor.

"My constituents are saying that it's about time that someone have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to these liberals who will call you a racist and who will try to do anything to stop you from dealing with illegal aliens," said Berman.

He said he's not too concerned.

"If I punched that man in the mouth or shot him in the stomach, I'd be censured and criminally prosecuted," said Berman.

Nothing's gone that far, but some say it has already gone far enough.

"Our public officials must be held to a higher standard," said Leibowitz.

According to the rules of the Texas House of Representatives, a member of the House would have to author a censure resolution. That motion would then have to be passed by majority vote before a formal reprimand is issued.