In the last few days, we’ve alerted you about the Texas Speaker of the House race and crucial action that was taking place in the Speaker race. For this week’s “Eye on ‘09” segment, we want to explain the role of the Speaker and why his job is important, and relate it to recent events in the Speaker race.
In Texas, the Speaker of the House is the most powerful person in the House of Representatives and is considered by most to be more powerful than the Governor. The Speaker appoints the committees through which every bill must pass before reaching the full House of Representatives for a vote. He also has the authority to choose which bills to bring to a vote in the House or to leave in committee, effectively killing bills without even being voted upon.
For six years, Tom Craddick, a conservative, has been Speaker of the State House, and thus many bills passed which preserved life and strengthened the family, including our marriage amendment keeping marriage between a man and a woman. However, 11 dissident Republicans met last week to form an alliance with the Democrats and eject Speaker Craddick. They picked Rep. Joe Straus (R- San Antonio) as their Speaker candidate and announced his pledges of more than a majority of House members to support his winning. Speaker Craddick withdrew from the race and threw his support to Rep. John Smithee (R-Amarillo) in hopes of retaining a conservative as Speaker. It was too late, as many Representatives were jumping to Straus so as to not be left out of powerful committee appointments. Straus is currently unopposed and will apparently be elected Speaker next Tuesday.
Many see this as a liberal takeover of the House. It is too early to say for sure, since no committees are yet appointed by Straus. While Rep. Joe Straus has the lowest conservative voting record rating of the House Republicans, has a 100% approval rating by NARAL Pro-Choice America and was given money by Planned Parenthood, he has promised to put his views aside and just act as a facilitator and make sure the views of Texans are free to win the day. We’ll see.
Just know we will not change in our commitment to protecting our freedoms and families and will be even more vigilant in this new situation and will be updating you in the coming days and weeks.
CLICK HERE to read Kelly’s quotes in the Dallas Morning News on the Speaker of the House.