House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, announced Wednesday that he would not run for re-election. As an Editorial Board -- along with an outpouring of statewide leaders — we recognize his many contributions and long hours as speaker since 2009.
This simple turn of events will make for a more complicated political year ahead than even what we saw in 2017.
With Straus and state Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, also leaving, it leaves Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, as one of the last members of a seemingly bygone group — the moderate faction of the GOP.
Geren has said he isn’t planning on running for speaker, which creates a significant open leadership role that could swing the House for better or worse.
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Several lawmakers, including Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, have indicated they intend to run. We’ve started a wish list of qualities the next House speaker should bring to the seat.
We would like someone who can reach across the aisle and get things done for Texas — not for a party or specific faction of a party. And when met with opposition, he or she should stand firm, much as Straus did with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
We want our next House leader to consider the interest of local business, which makes our economy hum, as much as the social issues that are important to Texans. These include complicated statewide issues such as opioid treatment reform and gender equity. Effectively managing the needs and costs associated with disaster recovery relief will be a critical component of the next session.
Decisions that affect our legislative session are made in March, during primary elections. Republican primary voters will have a significant hand in deciding the future of the Texas House, and the future for Texas.
And we all know how Texas can be a bellwether for the rest of the country.
We’ll be watching closely. Will you?