Being a political novice, I didn’t know that assigning House committees would take this long, but then again, there are 37 freshmen in the Texas House. Things were already going well in Texas when Republicans achieved a supermajority in the House with 101 members out of 150, but things just got better with the announcement of committees. Best news is that our voices were heard inside the Capitol, as made evident by the fact that 27 of the 38 committees are now chaired by Republicans.
Now of course Texas Democrats are upset, but that is why they only have 49 members in the House – they don’t listen! Texans were not happy with a close 76–74 House as we had in the 81st Legislature, so they sent 22 Democrats packing in November. Two years ago Democrats had about 49 percent of the committee chairmanships, which was equivalent to their numbers in the House. Thankfully they only control 11 of the committee chairmanships, or 29 percent of the assignments which is slightly smaller than their composition in the House as a whole.
The biggest complaint from Democrats was the removal of Rep. Rene Oliveira as chairman of the tax–writing Ways and Means committee. Wait, what was that? A Democrat was chairman of a committee assigned with writing our tax policies? And they wonder why they got kicked out of power a few months ago? Thankfully we are getting a new chance with Rep. Harvey Hilderbran who has worked in real estate, ranching, advertising, and business management. Rep. Oliveira undoubtedly has accumulated much experience in his nearly three decades of service, but his stewardship of Ways and Means was not right for Texas or what Texans wanted.
Based on this week’s committee assignments, it seems as if things are significantly different in Austin. Republicans have earned their supermajority and have earned the vast majority of committee chairmanships; now it is up to them to deliver a better, more financially secure future for Texas. No excuses this time–it really is our House now.