Since January 2017, House Speaker Joe Straus has refused to meet with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick individually to discuss legislation despite repeated requests to do so.
Patrick revealed the lack of personal meetings when he was asked by the media at a press conference Thursday whether he was willing to work with Straus during the special session. The lieutenant governor held the press conference in order to unveil a bold education reform plan that would significantly increase teacher salaries by directing education spending to the classroom.
“I have never had a one-on-one meeting with the speaker all session,” Patrick said. He went on to explain that he has repeatedly asked for such a meeting when the two have interacted in public settings only to be rebuffed in each instance.
Straus and the Austin media often seek to portray Patrick as a hard-liner who is unwilling to cooperate or compromise with the state’s other leaders. However, the lieutenant governor’s comments paint a very different picture.
“The governor and I talk regularly and we see each other regularly,” Patrick added, noting that he recently had a two-hour phone conversation with Gov. Greg Abbott about the upcoming legislative session.
Despite his refusal to meet privately with Patrick, Straus is not unwilling to take private meetings. Just recently Lawrence Wright, a liberal writer for The New Yorker, noted that he had met with Straus on at least four different occasions to discuss the speaker’s opposition to Abbott and Patrick’s agendas.