The only thing holding Sen.-elect Sylvia Garcia back at this point is the bureaucracy.
“Sylvia’s well poised to have an impact in the senate. For one thing, Senate districts are too big to ignore,” [Democratic political consultant Harold] Cook said. “When you come to Austin and you make a good case for yourself and your district, you have a pretty good shot of taking care of your folks back home. If you’re not too picky about who gets the credit around there, you can get a lot done.”
Though the formal March 8 deadline for filing bills will have passed when Garcia is sworn in, Cook said, professional courtesy would allow her to introduce legislation.
“Her challenge is going to be that she didn’t have the additional month that every other senator had in laying the groundwork to pass some of that legislation,” he said. “Even if you’re a new senator, you knew you were elected last November and you started talking to your fellow legislators and to constituents and to stakeholders about what you planned to do. There’s been no opportunity to do that for Sylvia.”
That said, Garcia’s experience, Cook said, will help her overcome the obstacle of having to parachute into the Senate mid-session.
Commissioners Court will meet March 9 to canvass the election results, after which Gov. Rick Perry will have until March 16 to follow suit; Garcia then would be sworn in.
As I said before, it’s ridiculous that the clear winner of a special election should have to wait that long to be sworn in when a session is already in progress. If the special election and runoff had proceeded at more urgent pace, with the runoff taking place at the end of January, I’d be slightly less miffed. But this is stupid and unnecessary. The election result is not in question. The people of SD06 should not be forced to wait up to two weeks for these formalities. Trail Blazers suggests that Garcia could be sworn in next week, which would be a shorter wait, but it’s still longer than it needs to be. Someone should file a bill to amend the election code to allow for an expedited swearing-in under these conditions. That person better hurry, because by the time Sen.-elect Garcia gets to drop the “-elect” from her name, it’ll be too late.