WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Brian Babin has released a statement to KFDM/Fox 4's Angel San Juan expressing his support for tattoo shops and other businesses to reopen in Texas.
Angel has done multiple stories on Randall 'Flipper' Doolittle, the owner of a tattoo shop in Bridge City, and why he says it's time for tattoo shops to open their doors.
Statement from U.S. Rep. Brian Babin:
“I’m in constant communication with Governor Abbott and his staff, and know that he has the brightest and most capable minds working hard to reopen the Texas economy as quickly and safely as possible,” said Congressman Babin. “While safety remains the top priority, all jobs are essential to the overall success of our economy, whether it’s dental offices, tattoo shops, chemical plants, health clinics, movie theaters, etc. I’m certain the Governor’s office is doing all they can to guarantee these businesses reopen as soon as possible.”
Doolittle showed Angel his shop and why he says it's a clean and safe business.
Following Angel's story, State Representatives Dade Phelan and James White contacted Angel for more information. They coordinated a Monday news conference including Doolittle, a staff member with the Texas Department of State Health Services, Orange County Judge John Gothia, Commissioner Kirk Roccaforte, Angela Webb and Jeff Humphrey from TotalCare, Ryan Green, a Lumberton tattoo artist, and Tony Wayne, a Houston tattoo artist.
Late Monday afternoon, Rep. White phoned Angel and said the teleconference was “very, very constructive."
He says the tattoo artists articulated the high health and sanitation methods they routinely practice.
White says the DSHS officials were very open and they say the next step is for them to take the information to the Governor’s strike force on reopening.
White said, “If this decision was up to James White, we would have opened the tattoo shops last night.”
White sent the following letter to the state:
"Ms. Henderickson/Ms. Spahn, good afternoon:
I believe the Department of State Health Services enforces Ch. 146 of the Health and Safety Code that governs tattoo artists in Texas. On this email, I have included Chairman Phelan, Mr. Randy Doolittle (Orange County tattoo artist/business owner), and Ryan Green (Hardin County tattoo artist/small business owner). Randy and Ryan are constituents of Dade and I, respectively. Additionally, for transparency purposes, many other tattoo small business men and women are bcc'ed on this email.
Dade and I are extremely proud of these Texans. May be they have or may be they have not applied for unemployment insurance and/or SBA programs. May be they have or may be they have not received anything from these programs. Nevertheless, they are not necessarily asking for any of their fellow Texans money. They want the opportunity to re-start their businesses and grow their local prosperity.
Dade and I are not upset with the Governor or his team. The COVID-19 attack originated in China, not Austin. The body tattoo industry is an artistic community. They are under the impression that their closure is indefinite. Even before the COVID-19 attack, our state statutes require tattoo artists to adhere to health and safety standards. Many tattoo artists had implemented heightened measures due to the COVID-19 outbreak before their closure.
Could you please provide us a time tomorrow, by phone conference or other mediums, that we could bring stakeholders from our state government and the tattoo industry together and discuss how we can get this industry open and prosperous. Dade and I are confident that if you hear and what we have heard, we can come up with a path to have this industry open by Monday, May 11, 2020."
State Representative James White