Texas lawmaker explains why he headed to Florida during winter weather crisis

A state lawmaker from Fort Bend County is facing questions after leaving town this week while the region battled the effects of the winter weather.

State Rep. Gary Gates, a Republican from the Richmond area, said he spent two nights in Florida beginning on Wednesday and returned to Texas on Friday.

“I think I was more productive by being there,” Gates said.

The cold weather left many in southeast Texas without power or water.

Gates said he had good reasons for flying with his wife and three daughters to his cousin’s place in the Orlando area, where temperatures reached into the ’80s on Thursday.

“Because of my wife’s illness that she’s had for a couple of weeks and my handicapped daughter with her area of the house being flooded, I was just trying to find some easier accommodations for them and I was trying to find a place where I could continue to work and do the things I needed to do,” Gates said.

Approximately 30 percent of his home flooded because of broken pipes, Gates said, and he lost power on Tuesday night. However, he said he was still fielding concerns from his constituents and business.

“I felt that I needed to be able to be in the best position to try to be somewhere where I had dependable power, dependable internet and dependable phone service,” Gates said.