Texas state Rep. Gary Gates, is the latest Republican under fire for fleeing the state during the deadly winter storm this week.
When Gates lost power at his home in Fort Bend County on Tuesday, he escaped to Orlando, Florida the next day via his private jet.
Gates told the Houston Chronicle that he made the decision to leave the state after his pipes burst and 30 percent of his home was flooded and mold had started to set in, putting his sick wife and special needs daughter at risk.
“My wife is still recovering from an illness she has been battling for two weeks, and the room of my adult daughter, who is mentally handicapped and still lives with us, flooded,” Gates said.
But, Fort Bend Star reporter, Stefan Modrich tweeted that Gates’ chief of staff told him that Gates flew to Orlando for a business meeting.
Pressed on the inconsistencies in his story Gates admitted the meeting only happened because he was already in Florida. And the person that Modrich spoke to was not his chief of staff.
His constituents are enraged by the news of Gates leaving when they were all in a similar situation.
“It really would have been nice to have a state representative helping on the ground, working at a warming center, packing food, etc. rather than immediately (flying) off on a private plane when the going got tough,” Brian Walz, one of Gates’ constituents told the Houston Chronicle. “My neighbors didn’t get to do that when her pipe burst.”
Others compared Gates’ action to that of Sen. Ted Cruz who also fled the state on Wednesday to avoid the cold weather.
“I guess Gates took Senator Cruz’s lead,” the Houston Chronicle reported that one person wrote on Facebook.
Gates returned to Texas on Friday.