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State Legislators Clam Up On Merger Fight

If ever there were a time for Dallas-Fort Worth politicians to rally in defense of local jobs, it’s now, in the wake of the Eric Holder/Greg Abbott effort to squelch the American Airlines/US Airways merger. So far, though, few have done so, with a couple of notable exceptions: GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Pauken of Dallas, and U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth. Both moved quickly to criticize the Abbott/Holder move, Pauken saying it would jeopardize “tens of thousands of jobs,” Veasey contending the airline merger would be good for the DFW economy.

But what about state Rep. Dan Branch, the University Park Republican who’s running for Abbott’s job? Golly, Branch told the Dallas Morning News, he really can’t offer an opinion right now, because he simply doesn’t have “all the facts” in hand. (No word whether Branch was laughing as he said this.) Also weaseling out, apparently: possible gubernatorial hopeful state Sen. Wendy Davis, Democrat of Fort Worth—home to, guess what, the American Airlines headquarters! After multiple phone calls and email exchanges with Davis’ office—and many, many hours since the story broke—we have to conclude the senator is not that eager to take a stand.


UPDATE: Saturday morning Sen. Davis sent us the following statement, which discloses her opposition to the Holder/Abbott move: “I urge the Department of Justice to reconsider its opposition to American Airlines’ merger with US Airways. This is about protecting Texas jobs and ensuring competition through the viability of a major player in the industry. The merger is the last, critical piece to returning American Airlines as a strong competitor in the commercial airline marketplace. Allowing the merger plan to proceed would help preserve nearly 60,000 jobs worldwide, including those of thousands of hardworking Texans.”

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  • Dubious Brother

    Local pols have been very comfortable with the competition strangling Wright Amendment which has been costly to local consumers since its inception. Opening their mouths now would seem hypocritical regardless of which side they take since the supposed issue is competition in the market place. Keep an eye on the legal fees this move generates.

    As a side note, it was disclosed this week that good friend of the Obama administration George Soros liquidated his nearly 8 million shares of US Airways in the quarter leading up to the Holder lawsuit. Probably just a lucky coincidence.

  • tested

    They should grow a pair and say what they think.
    I don’t agree with Abbott, but he at least did what he felt was right and (finally) backed it up in the DMN.

  • Wylie H Dallas

    I’m not sure how excited the 250,000 travelers per year who currently fly in and out of DFW by taking advantage of US Airways “Advantage fares” feel about the merger. Many of them will simply cut back on travel or be unable to afford air travel entirely if the merger goes through.

  • Jackson

    Texas legislators clam up, but Wendy Davis finally doesn’t. As I noted in the FrontBurner comments when Glenn first posted about the Holder/Abbott opposition to this merger on August 13, I can argue the merits of the merger either way, but Wendy Davis is wise to support it for three reasons: 1/ it pits her against AG Abbott, 2/ it aligns her with a major DFW business interest, which will have the ancillary effect of generating campaign contributions, and 3/ it shows Texas voters that she doesn’t instinctively genuflect toward the alter of those supposed big, bad Washington dems.

  • Chris

    very doubtful. EVERY single flight (about 150) I have been on for the past year out of DFW has been full, and the standby list 10 deep. This will not affect flight occupancy, even if prices go up 5-10%.

  • Wylie H Dallas

    Of course it could earn her the wrath of those 250,000 area customers who will have to start coughing up $100’s more each time they fly (or forgo trips completely).

  • Neal K

    I’m glad to see that Wendy Davis, the state senator for Fort Worth, exerted herself to produce a public statement on the lawsuit six days after it was filed — a lawsuit arguably threatening the survival of the largest employer in her district.

  • Neal K

    “Finally” being the key word in your comment.