texas

Kitchen Fire Closes Texas Roadhouse In Danvers

DANVERS, MA — A kitchen fire forced the Texas Roadhouse on Newbury Street to close for a second day on Tuesday.

The fire occurred Monday morning while the restaurant was closed. The Texas Roadhouse remained closed as of early Tuesday afternoon.

Danvers Fire Captain Jim Brooks told Patch that while the department is still investigating the cause of the fire it appears to have started in one of the fryolators.

“There was a substantial amount of damage to the fryolater and the hood system,” Brooks said. “They are trying their best to get it back up and running.”

Brooks said Danvers fire responded to the fire about 4 a.m.

“Thank you for all your concern!” the restaurant posted on its Facebook page. “The small fire was not extensive. We are so thankful no one was injured or present. We are working hard to make sure we are up and running safely as soon as possible.

“We will keep you posted!”

Meyer says he’s centrist, Cattanach says he’s out of touch in Texas House rematch for key Dallas seat

One in a series about elections for the Texas House of Representatives.

State Rep. Morgan Meyer says the district he represents is centrist.

Because of that, the Republican lawmaker said he’s focused his five years in Austin on middle-of-the-road issues where he can work across the aisle with Democrats.

“We are not far to the left, we are not far to the right,” he said. “We are right in the middle.”

But his Democratic opponent Joanna Cattanach says that old line won’t work. House District 108 — which spans the Park Cities, Uptown, parts of downtown and Old East Dallas — has moved politically to the left and Meyer is “out of touch” with its needs on issues like access to abortion and preventing gun violence.

After coming within 220 votes of ousting Meyer two years ago, Cattanach said she’s back to finish the job in November.

“The issues that I fought for in 2018, did not change,” she said. “The district has become, frankly, even more socially liberal on many of these issues and they do want change.”

The political rematch is one of the most closely watched races in the November elections, partially because the district is one of the Democrats’ top targets this year.

The outcome could also have deeper implications for the battle for the Texas House, as Democrats try to take the chamber for the first time since 2001. Such a victory could dramatically alter the political landscape in Texas.

What’s the right fit for the district?

Meyer, a 46-year-old attorney, said the district’s politics remain the same as when he was elected. If voters need proof, just look at the last election.

In 2018, the district voted against Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Pete Sessions by more than 10 percentage points in their

House Democrats file legal brief opposing Texas’ limits on absentee ballots

The Democratic chairs of two key House committees on Monday filed a legal brief opposing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order limiting counties to only one drop-off location for absentee ballots.

Reps. Jerrold Nadler of New York, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, and Zoe Lofgren of California, who chairs the Committee on House Administration, said the Republican governor’s plan restricts Texas residents’ ability to vote in the upcoming election.

“Governor Abbott’s unreasonable order to limit ballot drop off locations to one per-county will disproportionally suppress voting options and access to the ballot for millions of Texans,” Ms. Lofgren said in a statement. “This last-minute mandate in the midst of a deadly pandemic is not only ill-considered, but it poses a danger to the health and well-being of Americans seeking to safely exercise their right to vote.”

Earlier this month, Mr. Abbott issued an executive order limiting mail ballot drop-off locations to one per county. Several civil rights and voting rights groups hit back with a lawsuit opposing the plan.

A federal judge had ruled against Mr. Abbott’s plan, but a temporary order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit halted that decision.

In its order, the federal appeals court said the lower court’s injunction usurped the state’s power to govern itself. That ruling is currently being appealed.

The federal appeals court’s ruling sets up a last-minute legal battle over absentee voting in Texas as early voting is scheduled to begin Tuesday.

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Editorial: We recommend Valoree Swanson for Texas House District 150

It still boggles the mind that Rep. Valoree Swanson won her seat in Texas House District 150 in 2016 by running to the right of its long-time occupant, fellow Republican Debbie Riddle, who had burnished her conservative credentials by warning about “terror babies” on national TV and argued free education was straight from the “pit of hell.”

Swanson, a longtime political activist and darling of the unscrupulous right-wing lobby group Empower Texas, didn’t pass a single bill her first session despite a long list filed, including efforts to outlaw abortion, which has been legal since 1973, shorten the early voting period, require fetal death certificates after abortions, make English the official language of Texas and our personal favorite: tax people who buy newspapers.

Her second session was better, though. She authored some bills seemingly outside Empower founder Michael Quinn Sullivan’s bucket list. They included legislation on disaster preparation, school safety and one that seems far-fetched but has become law in well over a dozen other states: declaring pornography a public health hazard, which even drew Democratic support. More than a dozen bills she sponsored and co-sponsored became law.

Swanson, 63, also worked across the aisle to help fend off right-wing opposition to a bill that helped the City of Houston expand affordable housing in multifamily units within city limits.

Swanson didn’t meet with the editorial board. We’re hopeful about signs that she may be maturing and branching out as a lawmaker. Still, her extreme views fueled by her activist focus hamper her effectiveness in the House as a whole. And in June she made headlines for pushing back on Gov. Greg Abbott’s COVID-19 contact tracing program, arguing in part “the threat was wildly exaggerated.”

So, we were eager to hear from her challenger.

Michael Robert Walsh is earnest, informed and

Editorial: We recommend Penny Morales Shaw for Texas House District 148

Texans often struggle to name their representatives, but House District 148 voters have an excuse. Counting primaries and runoffs, this is their fifth election in a year to replace longtime state Rep. Jessica Farrar.

Penny Morales Shaw finally emerged from a crowded field of Democrats after Farrar endorsed her over Anna Eastman, who was elected briefly in January in a special election runoff to finish out Farrar’s term.

Republican Luis LaRotta ran unopposed in the primary.

One thing voters can be clear about is whoever wins has worked long and hard to represent them.

We believe Morales Shaw’s work as a private practice attorney, life experience, deep ties to the area and history of advocacy make her the best fit for this diverse north and northwest Houston district that could sure use a champion in Austin.

The kind of multi-tasking involved in legislative service, from responding to constituent needs to shepherding legislation through the process, is something Shaw came by honestly, and tragically.

She went to law school intending to go into international human rights law and public policy. But her husband died the year she took the bar exam in 2000, leaving her a single mom raising four kids. She built a bread-and-butter practice that allowed her to balance career and family.

She says she still made time for advocacy, volunteering in the NAACP’s free legal clinics and working with the international not-for-profit organization CARE to improve maternal health, access to microloans and necessities such as clean water in countries across South America and Africa. She also advocated for the International Violence Against Women Act.

“People can say anything about what they will do and what they care about,” says Morales Shaw, “but I think it’s important to see what someone’s life story is, what they’ve endured, what their