Even as both Texas senators in Washington were joining a filibuster that raised questions this month about the Obama administration’s policy on drone strikes on U.S. soil, the prevalence of the small unmanned aircraft in their own state was growing — and similarly fraught with political and privacy implications.
Texas, like the rest of the country, is conflicted when it comes to drones: on the one hand, enthusiastically courting their potential uses and economic benefits, and, on the other, deeply apprehensive about their proliferation, even when unarmed.
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Texas members of the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus — the so-called “drone caucus” — and their campaign contributions from companies in the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, an industry group.
Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-El Paso) $310,000 (left Congress in January)
Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Austin) $100,000
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Midland) $83,000
Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land )$82,800
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) $76,900
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) $45,800 (left Congress in January)
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi) $22,883
Rep. Gene Green (D-Houston ) $25,000
(credit: Center for Responsive Politics)
Brenda Bell, a member of the Statesman’s investigative team, has reported on a wide range of Texas issues and public figures since 1977. Her recent work has included extensive coverage of contract irregularities and other concerns at the Department of Public Safety.