Is Joe Straus The Most Powerful Person In Texas?

Aug 20, 2017

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In the state of Texas, while the Governor is the most prominent statewide officeholder, the Lt. Governor is generally said to be the most powerful. But recently, House Speaker Joe Straus has proven himself to be the most dominant politician in the Lone Star State.

As WFAA reports, Straus, a moderate Republican, was the most authoritative force throughout the recent special legislative session.

For example, the Speaker managed to kill the so-called “bathroom bill” by never bringing it up for a vote. This defeat was particularly stinging for Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, both of whom had championed the legislation.

Now, far-right Republicans in the House of Representatives have signaled that they would like to change the way the House Speaker is elected, in hopes of removing Straus from power and getting someone a bit more conservative into the speakership.

The change would mean that the Speaker would be elected only by the Republican caucus in the House. As it stands now, the entire House is allowed to vote, including Democrats, which has resulted in a moderate lawmaker being given the gavel.