Something big happened in Texas today. The Speaker of the House, Joe Straus, announced he is stepping down after this term.
Why is this so important? Well, let’s start at the beginning.
In 2009, Joe Straus and the infamous Gang of 11 partnered with the 65 Texas state House Democrats to oust Republican Speaker, Tom Craddick.
Over the years, here are some of the lowlights from Straus’ tenure as Speaker.
*In 2013, he and his handpicked Appropriations Committee spent the $8B dollar budget surplus and then raided another $4B from the rainy day fund.
*He and his lieutenants pushed repeatedly for Medicaid expansion under Obamacare in Texas.
*He stripped language from a bill that would prevent legislators and public employees from working as hired gun lobbyists.
*He attempted to regulate the speech of churches and civic groups.
*He and his lieutenants repeatedly killed school choice bills.
*He and his lieutenant, Byron Cook (who also retired today), killed a bill in Cook’s committee that banned sanctuary cities in Texas.
*Using procedural motions, Straus killed a bill to prevent late term abortions.
I could go on and on (trust me), but I think you get the point.
What is so incredible about today is that an 8+ year process has come to fruition. It started with ID’ing and training great candidates to run against Joe Straus’ lieutenants (I am looking at you, Matt Krause and Jonathan Stickland and Jeff Leach and Matt Schaefer and on and on the list goes). Each one of these candidates has become an incredible state representative. They have gone to Austin and fulfilled their campaign promises.
Around them the tea party launched great events like the Shark Tank to raise money for these candidates. They organized in practical ways politically. Young consultants like Luke Macias took on a lot of these long shot campaigns and turned them into winners. A lot of them used CampaignSidekick, a voter contact platform Raz and Kris Shafer and I have developed. Michael Quinn Sullivan and Empower Texans kept the pressure on Straus and his allies the entire time, exposing them time and time again. In short, it was an awesome team effort and shows the nation what change looks like when those that love liberty band together to affect change.
There’s still work to do here in Texas. We still have John Cornyn as a Senator. There are still a few Straus lieutenants like Charlie Geren left in the state House, but the winds of change are blowing in a big way in Texas. The best is yet to come.