Texas has officially declared open season on RINOs and more specifically Joe Straus. During a Tea Party leadership conference this weekend in San Antonio, Texas hosted by American Majority and the Lone Star Tea Party, various Tea Party organizers and leaders of conservative groups met to discuss the future of the conservative movement in Texas. There were numerous speakers and presentations given throughout the day, but the name that was continually repeated was Joe Straus III. The evidence of Joe Straus’s liberalism was overwhelming and alarming for this group of conservatives. As a result of this meeting, the number one priority of the Tea Party in Texas is to oust RINO Joe Straus as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) rated the Committee Chair Appointments during the last legislative session of the Texas House and the results were far from conservative. The average conservative score of the Committee Chair appointments by Straus was an abysmal 42 out of a possible 100, a drop of 25 points from the previous legislative session. Straus appointed Brian McCall to the second most powerful legislative position in the Texas House, the Chair of Calendars. YCT’s legislative rating of McCall was a pitiful 27 which paints McCall as one of the most liberal Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives. McCall used his position to block many conservative legislators completely out of the legislative process. Straus also appointed Democrat Rene Oliveira to chair the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. YCT’s score of Oliveira was a 15. Oliveira blocked conservative legislation aimed at reforming Texas’s property tax system and also legislation aimed at cutting taxes. Oliveira also blocked any bill from exiting his committee that was not authored or co-authored by a Democrat. The list of Straus committee chair appointments goes on and on with a similar pattern throughout. It is no wonder that Straus has the support of the Democrats for his re-election to the position of Speaker.
In 2007, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas gave Straus a 100 percent rating; however Straus only voted in one of the nine votes that NARAL considered crucial. Apparently, Mr. Straus is only willing to take a stand on the tough issues and actually vote only 11% of the time. NARAL Pro-Choice Texas rates Straus as a 73 based on 2005-2009 averages. Also based on 2005-2009 averages, Texas Right to Life rates Straus a 50, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility a 71, the Heritage Alliance a 52, and TNFIB a 73. The ratings for Straus’s challenger for Speaker, Ken Paxton, suggest a completely different story. NARAL Pro-Choice Texas rates Paxton a 3, Texas Right to Life a 100, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility a 100, the Heritage Alliance a 91, and TNFIB a 100. Based on the analysis of these groups, Ken Paxton is clearly the true conservative running for Texas Speaker of the House.
During the Leadership Summit in San Antonio, it was also brought up that the family of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus III stands to earn millions of dollars if lawmakers and voters agree to allow racetracks to install slot machines. The Texas Observer reported that Straus’s office announced that he will transfer his decade-old Austin Jockey Club stock to his father. According to Texas Racing Commission records, Straus and his father, Joe Straus Junior, each own 3.5 percent of the Austin Jockey Club and stand to rake in more than $11 million each if slots are legalized in Texas. Coincidentally, during the last Texas Legislative Session, Speaker Straus formally recused himself from “matters related to the expansion of gambling at pari-mutuel racetracks,” but made quite certain that the framework was in place to advance the interests of the gaming industry through his committee appointments. According to the Texas Tribune, Joe Straus III received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the gaming industry including contributors such as the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Personally, I prefer to remain neutral on the issue of gambling, however I do have a problem with politicians profiting from legislation passed under their watch.
As if all this were not enough, Mineola Representative, Bryan Hughes, added fuel to the fire by issuing a press release detailing a conversation with a member of the Straus leadership team in which the Straus lieutenant told Hughes that redistricting maps were already being drawn “to punish members not on Straus’ list of supporters.” Allegations such as this go far beyond the typical strong arm tactics used by politicians; this extends to the illegal and punishable by prison category. Straus calls the allegations “outrageous.”
Tea Party organizers and conservative group leaders are rallying the troops all across the state of Texas and are united in one purpose – the defeat of RINO Joe Straus in his re-election bid as Speaker. Ken Emanuelson of the Dallas Tea Party stated at the Leadership Summit in San Antonio, “If Straus is re-elected to the position of Speaker, say goodbye to a conservative agenda for the state of Texas.” Organizers around the state are calling on Tea Party members to contact Straus House supporters and urge them to reconsider their positions. Email campaigns, phone campaigns, protests, and petitions are now in the works and therefore lawmakers can expect a barrage of emails and phone calls from anti-Straus conservatives over the coming weeks and leading up to January 11thwhen the vote for Speaker will be held in Austin.
Hey Joe, maybe telling a bunch of Texans to “sit down and shut up” was probably not such a good idea. That pesky little free speech thing does tend to pop up at the most inconvenient times.
Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT)
The American Independent
The Texas Observer
The Texas Tribune
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