- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 18, 2021

A Texas House Democrat who came down with the coronavirus after fleeing to the nation’s capital said Sunday that her diagnosis shows the “sacrifices we are willing to make for the cause of democracy.”

State Rep. Celia Israel confirmed in a statement that she was one of the five Texas Democrats who have tested positive since for COVID-19 since flying Monday to Washington, D.C., to prevent the Republican-controlled House from voting on an elections bill.

She thanked her Republican friends in Texas for their well wishes and her Democratic colleagues “for taking very good care of me during my quarantine.”

“More importantly, I hope this instance highlights the sacrifice we are willing to make for the cause of democracy,” said Ms. Israel. “I would not change anything to protect the right to vote.”

Democrats have lauded the state legislators for their “great sacrifice,” as Vice President Kamala Harris put it, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday it “doesn’t sound like much of a sacrifice to me.”

“They’ve been on a joy ride on private planes with plenty of beer on board and they’re getting paid presumably, even though they’re not showing up for work,” Mr. McConnell said on Fox News’ “The Faulkner Focus.” “Sounds more like a joy ride than a sacrifice to me.”

The Democrats were dinged for selfies showing them without masks on their chartered jets, even though the Transportation Security Administration requires masks on commercial flights, and for toting a case of Miller Lite on a chartered bus ride, during which they were also shown without masks.

Ms. Israel, who said she has only mild symptoms, issued a warning about COVID-19.

“Let this be a reminder that COVID-19 is still very much among us, with infection rates on the rise and more contagious variants spreading nationwide,” she said. “While I am fully vaccinated, this will not 100% prevent infection.”

The nearly 60 House Democrats reportedly staying at the Washington Plaza Hotel said they plan to stay until the special session ends Aug. 6, although Gov. Greg Abbott has vowed to keep calling special sessions until the elections bill is passed.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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