Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus may have just had his chair at the table yanked away by Governor Abbott.
Reported this past week in Empower Texans, instead of making all his House-side preparations through Speaker Straus, the governor has been “working around” him, choosing not to seek his advice and instead selecting Representatives Cecil Bell, Drew Springer, and Craig Goldman as his emissaries. This last point being significant because two of these reps had been “on the outs with Straus.”
The article goes on to infer that this decision on the part of the governor may have been political retribution for Straus’ efforts to kill many conservative bills, specifically the agenda items of the governor, recently revived for this upcoming special session. If this is the case, it only seems logical that the governor would only work with legislators he trusts. Teaching the Speaker a lesson for his legislative sabotage, much as was taught to him during the Mother’s Day Massacre, is only icing on the cake.
The extent of what this move represents for the career of Straus as Speaker is unknown. Although, such dressing down will likely signal to the House the Governor’s lack of confidence in him, possibly costing him his leadership position in the future. Straus has been steadily making himself persona non grata to conservatives for a while, being a chief impediment to conservative reform. He certainly has been an obstacle to a fair vote for Texas independence. The governor’s abandonment of Straus may be the thing that galvanizes his opposition enough to take action. If this is the beginning of the end for Straus as a power in Texas, his curtain going down will be greeted by much applause.