AUSTIN, Texas -- On Wednesday, James T. Hodgkinson opened fire on members of the Republican congressional baseball team as they were practicing on a field in Alexandria, Virginia.
Hodgkinson, a Democrat, was allegedly angry at President Trump’s election. Before he opened fire, he asked a senator if they were “Republican or Democrat.”
KVUE spoke to two Texas representatives after the shooting who both agree the divisiveness between the parties has never been this extreme before, on both the national and state level.
"You have to ask yourself how did we get here?” said Republican Representative Larry Gonzales.
Gonzales has been walking the halls of the Capitol for 26 years, as both a staffer and a member of the House. He says this is the worst he’s ever seen tensions between Republicans and Democrats.
Democrat Representative Celia Israel agrees. "Perhaps we've devolved even further since the year that Congresswoman Giffords was shot, in my opinion,” said Isreal in regards to the shooting Wednesday.
When it comes to Texas political divisiveness, Israel says "I don't think that the voters want us to be fighting over God, gays and guns.”
She said she is more focused on problems like transportation. An issue Gonzales agrees they must address before digging into social issues like the so-called “bathroom bill.”
"When we're divided by social issues, it means we're not working together on transportation issues. That's how simple it is,” said Isreal.
"You have to be able to get past some of those hyper-partisanship ideas and just do what's right for Texas," he said.
He also says he believes social media plays a big role in the increasing tensions between parties. Gonzales says the problems lie in how people treat each other online as well as the false information and news that is spread quickly on the internet.
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