Welch Responds to Tuttle

(Tyson Tuttle is the CEO of Silicon Labs and both signed a letter with other corporate leaders opposing Privacy Protections such as SB 6 and HB 2899, and posted a blog about his role. TXPC president Dave Welch responded to Mr. Tuttle’s blog with the following challenge.)

Mr. Tuttle,

The abject ignorance you display of the factual reality both of what is in the punitive laws being passed by local municipalities and schools that allow any male at any time for any reason to declare his “gender identity” to be female and use all female private facilities such as restrooms, showers and locker rooms is appalling. Discrimination? Where is it? Identify it. Since you so willingly inserted your corporate opinion into a cultural/political discussion for which you are so poorly prepared, I personally challenge you to defend it.

I represent the voice of 750 pastors of churches from 50 to 50,000 across Texas who speak for many more times that and who understand very simple truths. Our individual sex is a biological reality not a state of mind. Public decency and personal privacy and safety of our girls and boys and women of all ages are not for sale. We who serve and minister to people from broken to blessed, rich and poor, both the hurting and the helpers, will not be intimidated by ignorant and bankrupt arguments of corporate power brokers being used as mouthpieces by a radical political extreme to destroy what is good and decent.

We used to assume that we protected the most vulnerable among us from predators, not protect the predators – who by the way are not part of the group who identify as “transgender”. If you have the integrity and courage to have a meaningful dialogue that includes real facts and data, I will gladly have that with you. We dedicate our lives daily to following and teaching the entire breadth and scope of the Bible, watching it and the love of God transform and heal broken lives, so don’t have the latitude of making up our own beliefs as you seem to have done.

I am Rev. Dave Welch, president of Texas Pastor Council, one of the “Houston Five” pastors whose sermons (and 16 other categories of personal information) were subpoenaed by the Houston mayor and my number is 832-688-9166, email dwelch@uspastorcouncil.org. If you are up for it, please contact me.

Discrimination has no place in Texas

Tyson Tuttle

Last weekend, I joined the CEOs of 13 leading technology companies including Dell, Facebook, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, Amazon, HPE and Google in writing to Gov. Greg Abbott to express our steadfast opposition to the introduction and passage of any discriminatory legislation in Texas. As large employers in the state, we signed this letter because we are gravely concerned that any such legislation would deeply tarnish Texas’ reputation as open and friendly to business and families. Our ability to attract, recruit and retain top talent, encourage new business relocations, expansions and investment, and maintain our economic competitiveness would all be negatively affected.

Since Senate Bill 6 was proposed at the beginning of the 2017 legislative session, Silicon Labs has worked with the Texas Association for Business and a coalition of 80 major Texas employers known as Keep Texas Open for Business to advocate against bathroom bill legislation. We met with the legislators serving on the Senate Committee on State Affairs, and testified against the bill in March. When the bill was taken up in the House, we delivered a letter of opposition to the House State Affairs Committee and House Speaker Joe Straus. Although the language on the bills has evolved, we believe the intent remains the same.

Silicon Labs is a Texas-headquartered public company with a 20-year history of growth and success and more than 1,200 employees worldwide — half of whom are based in Texas. Like many other tech companies, we have a highly diverse and skilled workforce, increasingly comprising millennials who value an open and inclusive environment. We often have to compete for the best and brightest talent with companies in other countries as well as states such as California, New York and Massachusetts. Over the years, Texas has been known as a hotbed for innovation, growth, and economic progress. This reputation has been key to our ability to attract and retain talent, but talented workers are expressing concern about moving to or staying in a state pursuing discriminatory policies.

Simply put, I believe bathroom legislation is bad for our employees and bad for business. It is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Rather than sending a message that Texas has a diverse and inclusive business environment, this type of legislation demonstrates that discrimination is welcome in our state. Texas should not follow the example of North Carolina, which has lost billions of dollars, thousands of jobs and devolved into political dysfunction as lawmakers pushed similar legislation.

I commend Speaker Straus for standing firm with the business community to reject discrimination, despite threats of a special session from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Our economy is stronger when Texas is open for business to everyone, and I urge Gov. Abbott and the Legislature to side with the business community and to not pursue legislation of this kind.