The outgoing speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a post on his Facebook page Sunday.
Bonnen said he tested positive this weekend and has mild symptoms. His wife, Kim Bonnen, tested positive last week and “continues to battle difficult but manageable symptoms,” he said. His two sons will continue to be tested as the family quarantines together.
“We are unable to pinpoint our initial exposure, as we – like so many other families – made the difficult decision to celebrate Christmas with just our own household this year and have diligently followed all health protocols since March, thanks to my wife’s adamant reminders,” Bonnen said on his Facebook page.
Bonnen, who did not seek reelection after a secret recording scandal damaged his political career, encouraged people to continue wearing masks, practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings.
Multiple state leaders have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began. The first statewide elected official to publicly confirm a positive coronavirus test was Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann in May. Other state lawmakers, including Rep. Tony Tinderholt and Sen. Kel Seliger, have tested positive. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller tested positive earlier this month.
The Texas Tribune also revealed that at least three Texas Board of Education members tested positive for the coronavirus after an in-person meeting last month, raising more questions about the state’s emphasis on safety just weeks before the new legislative session begins Jan. 12. Lawmakers are still awaiting more detailed pandemic protocols for the upcoming session, which Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has suggested could come this week.