Last week Texas Republicans did exceptionally well and defeated 22 liberal state legislators, bringing about a new way of running things in Austin. Election results on November 2nd were a clear mandate from the people of Texas for conservative leadership in the the state House, and I hope Speaker Joe Straus was listening.
During the 2009 legislative session, 11 moderate Republicans joined with 74 Democrats in electing Joe Straus, a moderate, to replace conservative West Texan Tom Craddick. At the time it may have ruffled some feathers, but the Texas House was very closely divided and it was necessary to have a leader who could work with both sides to avoid gridlock during the short legislative session. Though many issues important to conservatives were never addressed during 81st legislature, we got a balanced budget and added to our Rainy Day Fund. For this I thank Speaker Straus, but today is a new day and the election results from last week have changed the dynamics of Texas politics not just for this next session, but for the next decade.
Speaker Straus served Texas well, but his time has come and gone. It is time a more conservative member steps up and decides to run for the speakership on behalf of all of those conservative activists who worked so hard to get our party those 22 new seats in the Texas House! The voters of Texas have spoken and clearly we are yearning for conservative leadership that will fight on behalf of Texans against a government that has only grown larger and more intrusive.
To be honest, I am not that happy with the options before us right now. Joe Straus is too moderate for this new legislature, and Warren Chisum doesn’t seem to spark any enthusiasm. Just look at where his candidacy has gone—nowhere, unfortunately. We need a pragmatic and conservative leader to step up soon, and I’m sure that members like Ken Paxton, Dan Flynn and Phil King might be just what we are looking for. All three have received A’s on the Empower Texans’ Fiscal Responsibility Index.
So aside from being good stewards of Texans’ taxpayers’ dollars, any one of these three men would be a leader willing to make sure conservatives have a real voice in the legislature by way of actually allowing floor debate on more issues. In addition, I’m sure these men would be willing to redistrict in a way that accurately reflects the mood of Texas voters as they did not campaign for Democrats who had serious challengers during the 2010 elections unlike a certain Speaker who will not be named—but I’m sure you can all guess who I’m talking about.
While I’m not sure how Representatives Flynn and King feel about running for the speakership, I definitely would encourage them to consider it. On the other hand, Representative Ken Paxton is rumored to announce his candidacy for the speakership today. While I have never met Representative Paxton, two conservative women, whose opinions I value, have spoken very highly of Representative Paxton and of his solid record. For this reason, I would gladly support Representative Ken Paxton should he decide to work on behalf of Texans for the speakership. I hope this will change the dynamic of the race and one of these men will gain more traction than either Chisum or Berman did—the direction of the 82nd legislature surely depends on it.