Congressman John Culberson’s staff bars constituents from delivering a message on the impacts of the GOP tax plan

Educators are met by Houston Police and a warning that they would not be allowed to enter Houston office

More than a dozen Houston-area educators and union leaders arrived at U.S. Rep. John Culberson’s office this afternoon prepared to hold a rally outside protesting the GOP “tax scam” and to deliver a flier outlining their objections to the legislation. But they were met by Houston police officers and private security guards who told them they were not welcome. Culberson represents the swath of west and northwest Houston where the educators live.

“We had a flier prepared that highlighted one particularly egregious part of the House tax plan—the loss of the $250 deduction available to teachers who use their own money to buy supplies for their classroom,” said Nikki Cowart, president of Cy-Fair AFT, which represents teachers in Cy-Fair ISD. “But we were told we couldn’t send anyone in to talk to the congressman’s staff, and we were told by security to get off the premises.”

Cowart said she had heard this wasn’t the first time that Culberson or his staff was unwilling to meet with constituents, but that she was shocked to find a police car waiting when they arrived. “Culberson is sending a clear signal that he doesn’t care what his constituents have to say and that he’d rather have uniformed officers greet them instead of a staff person willing to listen,” she said. “I guess when you’re a chief proponent of a tax plan that will hurt educators, students and a good two-thirds of the middle class, you decide to ignore everyone except the folks who are contributing the most to your campaigns and who will benefit the most from this scam—the wealthy and corporations.”

In addition to attending the rally, area educators also sent letters to Culberson and other lawmakers, including their two senators—John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. The effort was part of a “National Day of Action” spearheaded by the American Federation of Teachers to point out the injurious parts of the GOP “tax scam.”