With State Sen. John Whitmire winning his election to become the next mayor of Houston, the Texas Senate will soon be without a single Democrat committee chairman.
Ending the practice of placing Democrats in control of committees in the Texas legislature is a priority of the Republican Party of Texas.
When Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced committee assignments in January, he kept Whitmire as the chair of the Committee on Criminal Justice. However, he also indicated that the chamber would have zero Democrat chairs if Whitmire were to win his bid for Houston mayor.
Nearly one year later, Whitmire’s victory has come to fruition as he defeated U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee in the mayoral runoff this past weekend.
Whitmire will be sworn in to the new position on January 2, and is expected to resign his Senate seat before then.
House Speaker Dade Phelan, meanwhile, has embraced placing Democrats in leadership positions, appointing 8 Democrats as chairs of the chamber’s 34 standing committees during this session.
Before becoming speaker in 2021, Phelan praised the bipartisan nature of politics inside the Texas Capitol, saying it’s a model that works “pretty darn well” and is not always about “Republican versus Democrat” or “left versus right.”