House Speaker Dade Phelan is doubling down on his support of placing Democrats in leadership positions.
During an interview with journalist Phil Prazan of NBC 5, Phelan (R–Beaumont) said he has no plans to stop appointing Democrats to key committee chairmanship positions as long as he believes they are “the most qualified.”
Speaker @DadePhelan defends his Republican-led but bipartisan coalition in the #txlege House. He tells me he will continue to appoint Dem chairs if they’re the most qualified-per a decades long tradition.
“What Republican priority has not passed because of a Dem chair?” pic.twitter.com/4l6NxeCYuQ
— Phil Prazan (@PhilPrazan) October 10, 2023
Despite Republican voters and the Texas GOP continuously showing their disapproval of Democrat chairs in Texas, Phelan has continued to appoint them.
Phelan even said during the interview that the appointment of Democrats to committee chairs is “what Texans want.”
During the 88th Legislative session, Phelan selected eight Democrats to chair important committees:
- Business & Industry – Oscar Longoria (D–Mission)
- Corrections – Abel Herrero (D–Robstown)
- County Affairs – Victoria Neave (D–Dallas)
- Criminal Jurisprudence – Joe Moody (D–El Paso)
- Juvenile Justice & Family Issues – Harold Dutton (D–Houston)
- Natural Resources – Tracy King (D–Uvalde)
- Resolutions Calendar – R.D. “Bobby” Guerra (D–Mission)
- Transportation – Terry Canales (D–Edinburg)
He also created the House Select Committee on Youth Health and Safety and selected State Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D–Houston) as chair.
Each Democrat chair this session has voted against conservative policies in the past and allowed certain conservative bills to die this session.
According to Phelan, “We still get conservative bills passed. We still have those fights Republican versus Democrat, but at the same time we get our business done in 140 days usually.”
Because of their failure to pass conservative priority legislation, the Texas legislature is now in its third special session of the 88th Legislature.
The third special session began on October 9 and seeks to pass legislation on school choice, border security, COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and Colony Ridge.