Straus Decision Shakes Texas Politics

By Bill O’Neil

A move that has shaken–and will help re-shape the political landscape in and around Texas.

House Speaker and San Antonio State Representative Joe Straus will not seek re-election in 2018.

“I’ve come here to try to work on things that we can do–that are good for Texas” Straus said in detailing his decision for reporters after posting it online.

“I think there is a hunger for a Republican voice out there that stresses issues that maybe haven’t got enough attention around the (Texas) Capitol the last few years” Straus said.

At least one political expert said the back and forth between Straus and other big name Texas Republicans during the last legislative session probably took its toll on the Speaker.

“Speaker Straus increasingly found himself on the defensive with both Governor Abbott as well as Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick on the offensive” said Political Scientist Mark Jones, a Fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, who told KTSA News Straus’ departure will mean a new direction in the State House.

Straus very publicly disagreed with Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick on a number of issues during the most recent legislative session–including the so-called “Bathroom Bill.”

“I would expect the next Republican that takes office as Speaker will be much more conservative, and probably isn’t going to be nearly as conciliatory towards Democrats as Speaker Straus was” Jones told KTSA News, adding “In many ways it’s (Straus’ decision) representing the death knell of the centrist conservative wing of the Republican Party for at leas the present time.”

As for Straus, don’t expect him to stay quiet even if he’s out of office.

“I will be looking forward to speaking out more and more on issues that I think are important to most people” Straus said.

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