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The race for Speaker of the Texas House has officially begun, as Democrat State Rep. Senfronia Thompson has filed paperwork declaring her candidacy for the position.

First elected in 1972, Thompson has served in the Texas House for nearly 50 years.

Staunchly pro-abortion, Thompson is currently the chair of the Public Health Committee, where she killed legislation in 2019 to ban abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected by never holding a hearing for the bill. Thompson was appointed to the position by disgraced Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton), who is leaving office in January.

If elected, Thompson would be the first female to serve as Speaker of the Texas House.

If Democrats take a majority in the Texas House in the November elections, Thompson will be in a strong position to unite Democrats behind her leadership in the lower chamber.

Though other members are rumored to be entering the race in the coming weeks, Thompson is the first to make her candidacy official.

The Speaker of the House is a powerful position in Texas, where they are tasked with appointing committees and referring legislation to those committees. This often results in the speaker having effective control over what legislation passes and what legislation dies in the Texas House.

Members of the Texas House will cast their votes for the next Speaker of the House as one of the first orders of business when the Legislature reconvenes on January 12, 2021.