After a faction of Republican lawmakers selected State Rep. Dade Phelan (R–Beaumont) as their choice for Speaker of the Texas House during a secret meeting this past weekend, the selection has received significant pushback from conservatives.

The latest group to join the opposition is nonprofit family values organization Texas Values.

In a statement, Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz cited Phelan’s work during the last session to gut legislation that would have protected small businesses from onerous local mandates, in which Phelan instead sought to side with LGBT activists. For his work, Phelan was one of only three Texas House Republicans to receive a positive grade from Equality Texas, a pro-LGBT advocacy organization. 

“Texas Values Action strongly opposes Rep. Dade Phelan as a Texas Speaker of the House candidate. Rep. Phelan used his power last session to advance the LGBT agenda, and we have not forgotten. Not only that, but he then bragged about this legislative move on an interview with Evan Smith of The Texas Tribune,” said Saenz.

While the official vote for speaker will not take place until January 12, 2021, work has begun behind the scenes to attempt to unify behind a single candidate before the legislative session.

“Is the majority of the Republican Caucus really ready to make a decision about its new speaker?” Saenz asked.

In addition to Phelan, Republican State Reps. Chris Paddie of Marshall, Trent Ashby of Lufkin, and Geanie Morrison of Victoria have also officially filed for the position.