McALLEN — State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. urged his fellow Texas lawmakers — including state Rep. Bobby Guerra and state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa — to accept a challenge from their Republican opponents to take drug tests.
Speaking Monday afternoon at the BBVA Compass bank building in McAllen, Lucio said lawmakers should lead by example and show voters they don’t use illegal drugs. Many jobs require applicants to pass drug tests and some legislators have suggested welfare recipients face similar requirements, Lucio said, so lawmakers should do the same.
“I would urge them to take this test and put this issue to rest,” Lucio said.
Both former TV journalist Miriam Martinez, who’s running against Guerra in House District 41, and state Rep. Raul Torres, who’s running against Hinojosa in Senate District 20, submitted urine samples Monday morning at NTC Drug and Alcohol Testing Services in McAllen. They expect results on Election Day.
Lucio submitted a urine sample Friday afternoon at Saint Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, which came back negative for marijuana, cocaine and other illegal drugs.
The Republican candidates and Lucio unsuccessfully invited the incumbent Democrats to join them.
“This is just a political stunt out of desperation,” Hinojosa said, adding that he’s focused on real issues, including education and the state budget, that affect Texas families.
Both Guerra and Hinojosa said they don’t use illegal drugs, and no evidence has surfaced to suggest otherwise.
“Sen. Lucio ought to just come out and endorse my opponent and endorse Bobby Guerra’s opponent,” Hinojosa said. “Why doesn’t he just come out in the open and endorse them?”
The drug test drama started Oct. 17, after Martinez accused Guerra of abusing illegal drugs and challenged him to prove otherwise at several public forums. The unsupported allegation wasn’t anything new for Martinez, who also mailed campaign literature stating Guerra “approved of his law firm’s parties with a woman ‘sex slave.’”
Torres jumped on the bandwagon Friday, challenging Hinojosa to join him for a drug test.
Both Democrats ignored the request, calling the challenge a stunt. Lucio, though, responded.
“I feel that if I didn’t answer that, then I would be derelict in my duty as a legislator in South Texas,” Lucio said.
Dave Hendricks covers McAllen and general assignments for The Monitor. He can be reached at email@example.com and (956) 683-4452.
Follow Dave Hendricks on Twitter: @dmhj