Texas House Considers Next Speaker

An overwhelming number of state lawmakers are throwing their support behind representative Joe Straus to be the next Speaker of the House. The San Antonio Republican told supporters he would end partisanship and special interest favors. Pat Hernandez has the story.
Tom Craddick called off his bid for a fourth term as Texas House Speaker, one of the most powerful positions in state politics. The vast majority of those who supported Craddick, a 40-year long Midland legislator, indicated backing Representative John Smithee. But the Amarillo Republican appears to be no match to the favorite Joe Straus of San Antonio.

 (applause) "I'm humbled by the amount of interest in this effort, and I'm proud to stand here as a life long Republican with a long record of service to my party. I'm also honored to be supported by now 94 of my colleagues to serve as the next speaker of the Texas House of Representatives." (applause)

At a news conference in Austin, Straus said it's about doing what is right for our state at this critical time.

"We must continue to improve public and higher education for our children and future work force. We continue to have health care challenges as a state with over 24 million citizens. We have transportation and infrastructure issues that need to be addressed. And a long list of challenges that the members face in their districts and will be bringing forward and discussing with me."

Straus' support came from Houston lawmakers like Garnet Coleman and Jessica Farrar.

Farrar: "I think we are gonna see now, ideas and effort triumph over cronyism and ideology. I think each member is going to have an opportunity to represent their district and, this is something that has not been possible since Craddick has been speaker."

Coleman: "I do think that he has the ability to run a fair and good House and will do so that is indicative of the makeup of the House, and that's extremely important."

Straus had a few words for the man he is poised to replace.

"Speaker Tom Craddick for his more than 40-years of service to the Texas House of Representatives and to this great state. He should be honored for his historic public service."

In addition to playing a large role in state policy by appointing legislative committees and their chairs, the speaker also helps to shape state priorities and figures preeminently in making sure bills pass or die.

Pat Hernandez, KUHF...Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...