Bud Kennedy

After 10 terms, Keffer tweets his way toward Texas House farewell

Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, in a 2005 committee meeting.
Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, in a 2005 committee meeting. AP

The first clue that state Rep. Jim Keffer was leaving the Texas House after 10 terms was that he actually seemed to be using Twitter.

For days, the Eastland Republican has been posting cryptic comments about a “rich fringe” in Texas with “no answers — no vision,” and how the Texas House has led the state’s business success.

When Keffer announced an “affectionate farewell” to the Legislature in an ad this week in small-town newspapers, District 60 challenger Mike Lang of Granbury almost couldn’t believe it.

“Jim had a good run,” said Lang, a former Fort Worth SWAT officer and constable. “My vision is more conservative. But Jim has definitely stepped up and done his part.”

Keffer, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has led six committees in his career serving the far-flung district that stretches from Mineral Wells south to Brownwood.

In his farewell ad, he writes that he “strove at all times to put rural Texas families first.”

His Twitter comments are more pointed: “Pray [for lawmakers] who will represent everyday Texans and not just the few, rich who want power.”

Keffer has been at political odds with campaigners funded by Midland oil millionaire and Christian private school co-founder Tim Dunn, a sugar daddy for movement conservatives and libertarian-minded challengers.

Lang faulted Keffer and Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, for a “lot of things the House just didn’t get done,” such as Senate Bill 575, a measure banning insurers from including abortion benefits in health plans. The bill provoked a near-fistfight before time ran out.

Keffer leaves one memorable sound bite: During a floor comment by Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, Keffer mumbled something close to calling it “dumb sass.”

Now he can tweet it.

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