A coalition of over 90 local elected officials and activists is urging State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione to oppose any Speaker candidate who supports appointing Democrats to leadership positions in the Texas House.

The letter includes signatures from the mayors of Keller, Colleyville, and Southlake, and many city council members from the three cities. Additionally, members of the Keller ISD, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, and Carroll ISD have signed on, along with a slate of Republican precinct chairs inside the district.

The letter was sent by Southlake Families, led by Leigh Wambsganss. “As Tarrant County Republicans, we know firsthand how important it is to elect strong Republican leaders who will fight for our values and stop Democrats from wielding influence over our state,” the letter reads. “We are asking you to make it clear to your constituents that you will oppose any candidate for Speaker of the Texas House who supports appointing Democrat committee chairs.”

Additionally, the group asks Capriglione to commit to supporting a Speaker first nominated by the Republican caucus and oppose any candidate who first courts the support of Democrats. “We believe these commitments are necessary to ensure that any future Speaker of the Texas House represents, and is accountable to, the Republican majority and its principles.”

The move is a rebuke of current Speaker Dade Phelan, who has repeatedly defended the practice of placing Democrats as chairs of committees and has stated he will “not waver” from the practice if elected as Speaker again. A ban on Democrat chairs is a legislative priority for the Republican Party of Texas. Phelan also courted Democrats before the caucus nomination process when first taking the speakership.

Last month, 46 current and incoming Republican House members signed a similar statement saying they would only support a Speaker in the Republican caucus who opposes Democrat chairs. Capriglione is currently not among those members.

Though Phelan narrowly won re-election in a heated primary runoff, two members have announced plans to challenge him for the speakership: State Reps. Tom Oliverson and Shelby Slawson. Both have said they will not appoint Democrat chairs.

The full letter is below:

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens

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