A state representative has been replaced by his wife in the Texas House after being called up to active military service.
On June 28, Fanny Jetton was sworn in by Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) to serve as state representative while her husband, Rep. Jacey Jetton (R-Richmond), attends basic training as a part of his responsibilities in the national guard.
In a column earlier this month, Jacey Jetton explained the situation and why his wife would replace him if his military obligations overlapped with his legislative responsibilities.
“In September of last year, I re-enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard as a Field Artillery Cannon Crewmember (13b),” he wrote. “I will never ask of anyone else what I am not willing to do myself, and I believe there is a strong likelihood we will be asking our armed forces to defend our country in the future.”
“While the number of individuals willing to serve in our military declines, I believe there are many still willing to step up if they know they are not standing alone,” he suggested. “So I raised my right hand again to stand ready to defend this country I love, in hopes that others will join me.”
“I serve in the Texas Legislature because I believe we have a state worth fighting for. I serve in the Army National Guard because I believe we have a country worth fighting for,” he added.
Regarding his absence, Jetton said, “Part of my service in the Army National Guard will take me to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for four months where I will again attend Basic Combat Training and artillery school.”
“If a Special Session overlaps with this active duty order, the Texas Constitution specifically outlines in Article XVI, Section 72 that a designee may be approved by the Texas House of Representatives to fill my spot in my absence on active duty order,” the representative explained.
The state constitution stipulates, “the member of the legislature shall select a person to serve as the temporary acting representative or senator, subject to approval of the selection by a majority vote of the appropriate house of the legislature.”
The designee must be “a member of the same political party as the member being temporarily replaced.”
“I have presented the Speaker of the House with my choice for a temporary representative: Fanny Jetton,” he noted, referring to his wife. “We have the same conservative values and I have no doubt she will be a strong advocate and staunch conservative temporary representative.”
Spouses of legislators have served as temporary representatives several times in the Texas House over the past 20 years, including in 2005 and 2006.