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East Texas state senator on special Uvalde committee: ‘We have to get this right’

State Sen. Bryan Hughes talks about special committee formed to respond to school shooting
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Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 6:39 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A special Senate committee requested by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in response to the school shooting in Uvalde includes two East Texas lawmakers.

The Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans will be chaired by State Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville), with State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) being one the committee’s 11 members.

While Nichols was unavailable for comment until next week, Hughes spoke with KLTV on Monday morning.

“A lot of questions, a lot of questions have to be answered. We have to get this right,” Hughes said.

Hughes said the committee’s first step will be finding out exactly what happened in Uvalde by way of testimony and questioning.

“It seems like in this case in Uvalde, everything that could go wrong, went wrong. And so we’ve got to figure out how it happened. And how we prevent that from happening.”

Hughes said he believes something all lawmakers could agree on is hardening schools and arming staff members.

“The way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun. So in the cases of schools, let’s make sure we have armed security officers there. Let’s make sure that for those teachers and school personnel who want to be trained and armed, they’re allowed to be,” Hughes said.

And while the committee will not meet for the first time until late June, Lt. Gov Dan Patrick’s appointments are already drawing criticism from State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democratic lawmaker who represents Uvalde. Gutierrez called his exclusion a “slap in the face” for people living in Uvalde.

“We need a special session so that we can start enacting common-sense solutions right now that are going to keep our kids safe,” Gutierrez said on Twitter.

When asked about Gutierrez’s comments, Hughes said, “The committee is made up of members from all across the state, from different backgrounds, different parties, and it’s a good cross section of the members of the Senate. And so it’s going to be a good committee.”

Lt. Gov. Patrick reportedly said he was concerned that Gutierrez might be politicizing the issue. Gutierrez responded saying it was, while Hughes said it is not

“The temptation for politicians to grandstand about this and to take advantage of this. We’re not going to do that. This isn’t about politics. We’re going to grieve with those people who are grieving, and we’re going to find real solutions.,” Hughes said.

Two similar committees have been formed in the Texas House: one to investigate the shooting and another to look into things like school safety, mental health, and police training. No East Texas house reps were appointed to those committees, but the Democratic house representative whose district includes Uvalde was named to the Committee on Youth Health and Safety.

RELATED:

+ East Texas state senators appointed to Special Committee to Protect All Texans

+ Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan announces legislative committee to investigate Uvalde shooting

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