AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Senator Kel Seliger has been removed as Chairman for the Texas Senate’s Agriculture Committee.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick released a statement on Tuesday stating that Senator Seliger has been removed as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee and will not be serving on the committee at all.
Before being appointed as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Seliger lost his longtime position as Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee and his membership on the committee.
“I know what motivated the change. It was a couple of ‘no’ votes for the lieutenant governor’s priorities in 2017,” said Seliger to the Texas Tribune.
Sherry Sylvester, an advisor for Patrick, said in response, "If Senator Seliger believes serving as Chair of the Agriculture Committee — a critical committee for West Texas and all of rural Texas — is beneath him, he should let us know and the Lt. Governor will appoint someone else.”
Patrick said his decision comes after Seliger made a lewd comment about a female staffer on the radio. Patrick gave Seliger 48 hours to apologize for the comment, but he failed to do so.
“He has refused to take responsibility and outrageously blamed the staffer and said she should be fired,” said Patrick. “To not be willing to apologize and suggest, somehow, that she had it coming is unimaginable.”
Seliger responded in a statement saying he was disappointed about the decision but apologized for his response to Patrick’s staffer.
He goes on to say, “But let’s be clear. The conflict between Lt. Governor and me has nothing to do with recent statements I made on a radio talk show. It has to do with the fact that I have consistently stood up for rural Texas, local control and public education rather than trumpeting the Lt. Governor’s pet projects of bathroom regulation and private school vouchers."
According the the Texas Tribune, Patrick and Seliger have had issues in the past. Patrick stayed quiet on Seliger’s re-election bid and Seliger was the only Republican senator who didn’t endorse Patrick’s re-election campaign, saying he was focused on his own race.
Seliger said he will spend the rest of this session representing the people of West Texas and the Panhandle.