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For the past two sessions, Joe Straus has employed a “hard Democrat” as his chief of staff. Straus hired Jesse Ancira, the liberal mayor of Taylor, to be his general counsel in 2009 and promoted him in 2012. Ancira is recorded as having voted consistently in Democratic primaries, yet he was Straus’ second-in-command for shaping House policy.

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Similarly, Joe Straus recently hired former representative Allan Ritter to serve as his “senior advisor.” This appointment doesn’t bode well for taxpayers. Ritter served for six terms as a Democrat before switching to the Republican Party in 2010. Despite his party switch, Ritter continued to vote with the Democrats, having promised his colleagues that his political decision to jump parties wouldn’t change his voting record.

Straus’ top political advisor is a former business partner in his family’s horse track business and part of an established family of Democrats.

Democratic representatives praised Straus for his hires. One representative wrote: “I want to thank Speaker Straus for his commitment to surrounding himself with some of the best people in our state, especially those great people serving as his Chief of Staff.”

Straus Facts is a project of Empower Texans, shining a light on the record of House Speaker Joe Straus.