Exclusive: One on One with Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Exclusive: One on One with Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen

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    Exclusive: One on One with Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen

    Political reporter Julie Fine sat down with Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen for a wide-ranging interview. (Published Thursday, May 2, 2019)

    It has been a busy session for House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, and at times, very frustrating.

    The house speaker has received death threats at his office, and on Facebook.

    "I wanted to lead the Texas house and I think we are doing it, but it's an extraordinary distraction," said Speaker Bonnen.

    The threats stem from legislation calling for allowing carrying guns without a license. The bill, which was eventually pulled because of the threats, didn't get a hearing.

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    "It's been tough. I never envisioned the level of insane, continuous, vicious attacks from these people that live out in the woods in a cave somewhere on an issue that simply is about letting a felon carry a gun," said Bonnen.

    Also frustrating for the house speaker in the situation is the fact he has a very pro-gun voting record.

    But Bonnen says he is focusing on getting key priorities passed. The house just passed the senate's property tax bill, and the house sent a school finance bill to the Senate.

    "We are doing a good job on public education, but we all believe we can do better than we are already doing, so that bill is in the Senate. We are working with our friends in the Senate," he added.

    Lawmakers have just a few weeks to get this done, and Bonnen is hopeful they will achieve those goals.

    While the session has at times been personally difficult, he continues to look forward, saying the best part of the experience has been working with members.

    "That is one of the things I am most proud of is how respectfully the Texas House has operated. And I want to be clear. We've argued. We've disagreed. We've debated big issues But we have done it with class and respect towards each other which is what I think Texans expect. Make your argument, plead your case, stand your ground, but do it respectfully and then come back and fight again the next day," said Speaker Bonnen.

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