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Straus Exit: San Antonio Leaders Call Speaker A 'Champion of Local Government'

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
File Photo

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus is not running for re-election. It’s a decision that sent shock through the state especially San Antonio. 

The Republican speaker represents parts of San Antonio and civic leaders in the Alamo City wonder how this will change the landscape of Texas politics and the rights of cities.

Joe Straus is known for being a moderate and often draws the praise of San Antonio officials like Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff. He’s been a fan of Straus since he entered the legislature in 2005.

“He’s been such a champion of local government. He’s protected us from a number of things that could have really hurt local government,” Wolff says.

For example, Straus can be credited for stopping the controversial Bathroom Bill earlier this year - a bill the City of San Antonio vehemently opposed. Rey Saldana is the councilman for San Antonio’s District 4 and chair of the city’s intergovernmental relations committee. That group keeps the city’s best interest in mind and closely monitors bills as they move through the legislature. Saldana calls Straus a force for constructivism.  

“In his absence what I fear is we get into a brand of politics that is as destructive as possible. Destructive to programs that have worked, whether it’s around healthcare or education; or destructive around things like what has created the Texas miracle around our economic development,” Saldana adds.

Saldana says, last session, several bills could have hurt San Antonio’s military installations or the tourism industry. But he believes having a House Speaker from San Antonio helped keep those bills from becoming law.

In a statement, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg credits Straus with being a voice of reason in the chaotic world of Texas politics. Nirenberg says his “calm, steady hand at the helm of the Texas House will be greatly missed.”

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules