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At Weekend Retreat, Republican Caucus Discusses Concerns About Speaker Straus

Ryan E. Poppe

Republican caucus chairs in Texas have concerns about allowing Speaker Joe Straus to continue leading the House of Representatives.  

Immediately following this summer’s special session, Republicans began meeting to discuss a new way of electing the Speaker of the House.  And while many praised Straus, others were critical about why some legislation – like the transgender bathroom bill and other social conservative issues – didn’t reach the House floor for a vote.

James Dickey is the chair of the Republican Party of Texas.  He says the House Republican Caucus will continue discussions at a weekend long retreat near Bastrop starting Friday.  But Dickey also says the state party already has a process for selecting a speaker.

“As far as the Republican Party of Texas is concerned, our platform does specifically ask that the process for electing Speaker be a secret ballot vote within the caucus itself," Dickey explains.

And that would be followed up by the actual vote that all House lawmakers take to elect a Speaker on the first day of the legislative session, which isn’t until 2019.

Prior to this weekend’s retreat, 50 county Republican organizations approved no-confidence measures of Straus’ performance and that number could grow as time goes on.  Robert Stovall, the chairman for the Bexar County Republican Party says there is an effort among some San Antonio Republicans to censure Straus.

“Well I think it’s a small group, the consensus that I have been getting whether its individual voters or  precinct chairs is they’re happy with Joe Straus, they think he’s good for Bexar County," Stovall says.

While Straus has had challengers within his San Antonio-area House district and at the state capitol, none have managed to unseat the five-term Speaker, who intends to seek a sixth term in 2019, which would make him the longest serving House Speaker in Texas history. 

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.