Plano City Councilman With Offensive Social Media History Faces Recall Election This Fall | KERA News

Plano City Councilman With Offensive Social Media History Faces Recall Election This Fall

Apr 10, 2018

Plano voters will have the chance to vote this November on whether a controversial elected official should keep his seat.

Plano City Council voted Monday to order a recall election for Tom Harrison, who represents Place 7, after a group of residents, called Our Plano One Plano, gathered enough valid signatures in a petition effort. According to the Dallas Morning News, 2,791 signatures from qualified Plano voters are required to trigger such an election, and the group submitted 4,425 last week.

The group seeks to remove Harrison in light of his inflammatory social media history.

In February, Harrison, 73, first came under fire after sharing an anti-Islam video on his personal Facebook page. The video from the group, called Joined Hands Across America For Trump, shows images of students wearing hijabs in classrooms and says: “Share if you think Trump should ban Islam in American schools.” 

In response, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere and several fellow council members called for his immediate resignation. Harrison deleted the post and apologized but ultimately, did not step down even though his colleagues censured him.  

"I want to assure the citizens of Plano I am not xenophobic, I am not a bigot, I am not a racist," Harrison said at the special council meeting held on Feb. 18. 

It was revealed that Harrison had published several offensive social media posts beyond the anti-Islam video that sparked the controversy.

“There is one that is so egregious, I can’t get over it,” said Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Ron Kelley at the meeting. 

Many in Plano say Harrison's actions were a blow to the city's Muslim community

Harrison will speak at his own defense at an April 23 council meeting, an opportunity given by the city charter to public officials subject to the recall process.

Allan Samara, a spokesman for Harrison during this process, tells the Morning News that Harrison still has plenty of supporters who believe in him. 

Harrison was elected in 2015 to a four-year term on the Council. The recall election is scheduled for Nov. 6, the same date as the general election.