Galveston County politico asked to resign over text message

GALVESTON, Texas – The Galveston County Republican Party Chairwoman has been asked to resign by state party leaders after being accused of sending a racist text message.

The issue stems from a months-old text message exchange regarding another member of the party in Galveston County. The exchange appears to have taken place in March, but the contents did not come to light until November.

A screengrab of the text exchange was obtained by KPRC. The exchange includes Yolanda Waters discussing how J.T. Edwards, a member of the State Republican Executive Committee for District 11, asked for money to travel to a party meeting in Austin. Waters then writes, “I told him our personal money tree has dried up. And I said I am done, no more”

Waters then appears to refer to Edwards, who is African-American, with an abbreviated version of the n-word.


Edwards told KPRC he has seen the message and asked we use the following statement:

“I am dismayed and disheartened that someone I considered a dear friend would abandon our collective standards for civil discourse and respectful, dignified communication. What’s more, it is sad to see someone Galveston County entrusted to lead our party fall to irretrievable depths."

Chairman of the State Republican Party immediately condemned the comments.

“The Republican Party of Texas does not tolerate racist remarks and actions,” chairman James Dickey wrote. “Texas is a diverse state and Texans deserve leaders who stand strong for our Republican values - including respecting Texans of all backgrounds, ethnicities and creeds. We have asked Ms. Waters to resign and look forward to the new positive leadership Galveston County deserves.”

Judge Mark Henry also jumped in on the condemnation of Waters’ text. He is also asking that she steps down.

“This morning I reached out to Galveston County Republican Party Chair Dr. Yolanda Waters to encourage her to resign from her position due to the offensive comment she reportedly made via text earlier this year," Henry said. "As we often said in the military, “perception is reality” and this perception is detrimental to the Republican Party and efforts serving all citizens.”

A spokesperson for the state party also told KPRC that Dickey spoke with Waters asked her to resign after confirming the validity of the comments.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s office also asked Waters to resign her appointment to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments. A spokesperson for the Governor told KPRC that Waters was asked to step down on Nov. 25 and she resigned on Nov. 27.

“Her comments are completely abhorrent and have no place in the Republic Party or in the public discourse,” the Governor’s spokesperson, John Wittman said.

Waters did not respond to messages from KPRC. However, in a statement to the Galveston County Daily News, Waters wrote the word was a “typo.”

It is not clear whether Waters will step down.

On the Galveston County Republican Party’s website, there was entry showing a call for an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss the chair’s actions. The agenda did not specifically mention the text message but the entry on the website noted the chair canceled the meeting because it was “invalid.”