As Texas House Republicans contemplate plans to amend the process by which the Republican nominee for Speaker is selected, Democrat members are gushing with praise for incumbent Joe Straus.
Since 2009, House Speaker Joe Straus has held on to his post largely thanks to the support of Texas House Democrats who have pledged to vote for him as a bloc. In exchange, Straus works to prevent much of conservatives’ agenda from passing.
And Democrats admit it publicly.
In a recent interview in Austin, Democrat State Rep. Nicole Collier (Fort Worth) was asked if Democrats would continue to support Straus should he seek another term as Speaker.
“A lot of them have. I have. He’s been very strong about his conviction about the bathroom bill. He’s been strong about his conviction on vouchers, and these are issues that are important in my party,” said Collier. “And he was able to regulate the floor and keep everybody’s tempers in line, and I feel like he’s been a strong leader in terms of those issues.”
“I haven’t seen anyone come forward that I would change my mind for,” she added.
Meanwhile one of Collier’s colleagues, State Rep. Donna Howard (D–Austin) has even had a wristband printed with “TGFJS” inscribed on the side, an acronym for “Thank God for Joe Straus.”
— Donna Howard (@DonnaHowardTX) August 20, 2017
Such stances aren’t surprising. Indeed, conservatives have made the same observation about Straus’ tenure as speaker. And the same reasons Democrats support Straus are why conservatives oppose him, that’s why conservatives have been looking to de-throne him.
It’s no secret that he and his allies have killed bills to protect privacy, expand educational opportunity, and shrink the size of government, and that he gaveled out the special session a day early to kill property tax reform and poke Gov. Greg Abbott in the eye.
Every member of the Texas House knows they can expect similar tactics again if he is re-elected Speaker.
The question each Texan must ask their representative is what they are going to do differently to ensure that he isn’t re-elected. Republican lawmakers have a number of options with which to avail themselves if they’re willing to use them.
As Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said on Lubbock’s KFYO radio station this morning, citizens should ask their legislator “Who are your more loyal to? Straus or voters?”