A post on Instagram by @allenbwest in April 2021

Allen West, the GOP gubernatorial hopeful who lived in Lake Highlands for a few years and remains in the Dallas area — and who still ostensibly enjoys hanging around the Lake Highlands Shooting Range — today is in a Plano hospital with COVID-19 and pneumonia. His wife Angela West also has tested positive for the virus. In a Facebook post, West says he has “no pain, no coughing, and no fatigue,” adding, “I just wish I could shave, but they have me on blood thinner to prevent any clots.”

West posted that, if elected governor, he would “vehemently crush anyone forcing vaccine mandates” in Texas. He announced his run last July.

While he’s an extremely polarizing figure today, a few years ago I just knew him as a Republican politician who I encountered while we both were out jogging around the Woodbridge area of Lake Highlands (we have both since relocated). He also was identifiable around the neighborhood by his flashy 2005 Honda VTX-1800N motorcycle. He told U.S. News he chose the bike over a Harley-Davidson, in part, because he’s fiscally conservative and liked the price. He was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident last year while returning from a rally in Austin.

Side note: the late James White, local politician, liberal, culture commissioner, also was our neighbor. You can imagine how well they got along (yeah, not very).

The retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel was pretty quiet back then and up until announcing his run for chairman of the state GOP party last year. Now he is what reporters repeatedly refer to as a “firebrand conservative” who frequently appears on Fox and other conservative media outlets. He hasn’t limited his criticism to progressives or Democrats but also participated in a protest outside Gov. Greg Abbott’s home in opposition of executive orders including a statewide mask mandate and COVID-related lockdowns (no longer in place).

In addition to being a good shot and supporter of unrestricted firearm carry, West recently spoke at an event put on by the Tea Party-associated Dallas-based True Texas Project, an outfit calling for a forensic audit of Texas’ election results. West missed his appointment to appear over the weekend at a “COVID Medical Symposium” at a Frisco church (because, COVID). Invites to the $70 event were floating around various Dallas and Richardson/Lake Highlands-related groups Friday and Saturday, before West was admitted to Medical City Plano.

On a Facebook post Saturday, West said that his wife is vaccinated and he is not, that “Angela was released to go home [from the medical facility] but [for him] there were concerns of COVID-related pneumonia.” In relation to he and his wife’s inoculation status, West also posted, “West has publicly stated he supports individual choice and this is reflected in his own family.”

West added, “I now have natural immunity and double the antibodies, and that’s science.” And here is hoping my old neighbor recovers to reap said science.