Texas Republican Executive Committee Censures House Speaker Joe Straus

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Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus announces he won't seek re-election in 2018 at a press conference at the state Capitol on Oct. 25, 2017.

The State Republican Executive Committee voted to censure Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) on Saturday, dinging the outgoing state leader for standing in the way of the party leadership group's priorities.

The vote was 44-19, with Texas GOP Chairman James Dickey and vice chair Amy Clark helping put it over the top. Two-thirds support was required from the 64-member committee, which includes the party leaders plus two members from each of the 31 state Senate districts.

The censure resolution, brought by the Bexar County GOP in Straus’ hometown of San Antonio, stems at least in part from the special session of the Texas Legislature last year. Half of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s 20-item agenda got jammed in the House – including a proposal to regulate which bathrooms transgender Texans can use. Straus had made clear that he opposed what became known as the “bathroom bill,” arguing it would hurt the state’s economy.

His role in blocking that bill was the most recent addition to a long list of grievances that many in the conservative wing of the Texas GOP have compiled against Straus, who is generally considered a more moderate Republican. As he announced his decision to support the censure effort Saturday, Dickey said it was important for the party to unite and move on from its frustrations with Straus, who announced in October that he will not seek re-election after five terms as speaker.

“We must win in 2018," Dickey said. "We’ve got to put this thing behind us."

After the censure vote Saturday, a Straus spokesman said the speaker "expected these antics from some people when he opposed their bathroom bill and helped prevent the harm it would have brought our state.”

“He is proud to have represented the views of mainstream Texas Republicans, who have voiced overwhelming support for the speaker’s principled leadership on many issues,” the spokesman, Jason Embry, said in a statement "Speaker Straus will continue working to support traditional Republican principles and re-elect Republicans who put their constituents first."

Among those who opposed the censure vote was Michael McCloskey, a committee member from Cedar Park.

"I always thought our party was the one of dignity and class and to so disrespectfully kick someone of that prominence on his way out was disgraceful," McCloskey wrote in an email after the vote. "The Republican Party of Texas has changed into something most mainstream Republicans would not recognize."


10 thoughts on “Texas Republican Executive Committee Censures House Speaker Joe Straus

  1. The TX Republican Executive Committee should be ashamed of themselves. Joe Straus has done many great things for the people of TX and I’m proud to call him my representative.

    • I’d be curious to find out how many Straus voters also voted from Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick in 2014. Those Republicans disappointed by this action need to take a long, hard look at how their choices and (in)action have allowed right wing extremists to take over Texas Republican Party.

  2. If this bill is ever passed, I hope that transgendered people in Texas will be brave enough to carry their birth certificates on them and use the bathroom of their declared sex at birth. These mostly male Republican lawmakers will have a fit when female-to-male transgenders start “legally” using the restrooms where Republican wives and daughters are going! Every Republican lawmaker needs to do a simple image search of female-to-male transgender persons to see who their proposed law would legalize to go ONLY to the restroom labeled as a female one.

  3. Shame on The State Republican Executive Committee. Joe Straus has done a great job as Speaker of the House and as a representative to his constituents. I am going to miss his ability to work across the aisle, putting issues ahead of politics. I believe the entire country is being brought down by the fighting across the aisles and it’s disconcerting. With few exceptions, it seems no one remembers how to be a statesman. Thank you, Joe Straus for your service to Texas!

  4. Comments are running 6-1 against the censure and in favor of Joe Straus’s actions as Speaker of the Texas House. I will miss his steadying influence, and I hope the voters will elect another person of his caliber this year.

  5. So petty and vindictive. The extremist social agenda is so illogical that I can’t make enough sense of it to argue with it. Is it pure religious zealotism? The bathroom bill was ridiculous. It must have spawned from the head of a pervert. Every police chief, school superintendent and chamber of commerce in the state was against it. It was unnecessary, didn’t solve any problems and created problems for individuals, schools and the economic health of Texas. Voters should reject Abbott and Patrick, and beg Straus not to leave us!

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