Whether it’s Washington or Austin, the political system is a rigged game in favor of the moneyed and powerful special interests at the expense of everyday Texans. State Senator Don Huffines (R-Dallas) has become an expert at playing both sides of this game – he gave money before he got into office, and he took it once he got elected.

As Texans know all too well, money influences decision making by elected officials.  It’s exactly what special interest groups and political action committees (PACs) count on when they contribute to political campaigns. These groups further the careers of politicians like Don Huffines, and in return they expect them to vote their way on the issues only they care about.

Huffines has played both ways on this crooked playing field.  Well before the start of his own political career, Huffines used his financial resources to get politicians to help his family business, sticking Collin County taxpayers with the bill.  Then, once he joined the Legislature, Huffines began raking in campaign cash from special interest donors, including lawyers and corporate lobbyists, all who have their own agenda in Austin.

When most people hear about how a politician is bad for women, they immediately think it means the politician is anti-choice.  It’s a broken argument, which distracts from how there are many politicians in both parties (and of both genders) whose votes hurt women time and again.  In most instances, these votes have nothing to do with reproductive health, and usually have something to do with some particular special interest group wanting a favor.

Huffines has repeatedly voted in favor of his numerous donors at the expense of Texas women.  Specifically, while getting thousands of dollars from medical and insurance PACs, Huffines voted against potentially life-saving cancer screenings for Texas women.

Huffines opposed HB 2813 in the 84th Session of the Legislature, which required insurance companies operating in Texas to cover screenings for ovarian cancer, one of the deadliest cancers a woman can develop.  The bill received wide bipartisan support, and was signed into law by Governor Abbott in 2015. Huffines was one of nine Senators to vote against HB 2813.  

Two years later, Huffines again voted with insurance companies when he opposed HB 1036 in the 85th Session of the Legislature, which required coverage for a new procedure for detecting breast cancer.  This bill also received wide bipartisan support and was signed into law by Governor Abbott in 2017. Huffines was one of six senators to vote against HB 1036, and one of only three to vote against both laws (the others being Senators Konni Burton and Bob Hall.

There’s not a good reason to oppose these bills – after all, who would vote against detecting cancer and saving lives?  Apparently, Don Huffines; and others who care more for getting credit from their special interest friends – even when the bills they oppose are guaranteed to pass – than in protecting women’s health and lives.

State Senator Don Huffines is a master player in the rigged political system in Austin – he’s paid the piper and played the piper – taking special interest money, voting to relax the rules on himself, and sticking it to everyday Texans.  We need to Reform Austin.