Austin, December 2 – For the first time in history, the Republican Caucus of the Texas House of Representatives voted to back one of its own as Speaker of the House for the upcoming 86th Legislature. By an 83 to 0 vote, the entire Caucus voted to back Representative Dennis Bonnen, Republican of Angleton, as the next Speaker of the House.
Bonnen has displayed a center-right voting record in the House of Representatives. Certainly, his voting record is not as conservative as many rating groups such as Texas for Fiscal Responsibility might want. Nevertheless, Bonnen has made clear that he will work with conservatives, such as State Representative District 15-Elect Steve Toth, known as the “Taxpayers’ Champion,” to move the conservative agenda forward.
Most importantly, Bonnen is not Joe Straus, the liberal Republican from San Antonio who aligned himself with democrats rather than working with mainstream conservative Republicans. Straus, who served as Speaker since 2009, blocked the conservative agenda such as statewide property tax reform and Constitutional Carry legislation.
Therefore, the backing of the House Republican Caucus is crucial to set the course of the upcoming legislative session. Several Republicans, including Toth, made clear that they would only back a candidate for Speaker whom the House Republican Caucus first backed, so that Republican legislators could set their destiny rather than finding themselves in the minority, as under Straus, even though there were more Republicans than democrats in the Texas House.
Toth was one of the earliest backers of Bonnen, so The Woodlands legislator has placed himself in a strong position for the upcoming Legislature. Cecil Bell, Republican of Magnolia, and Will Metcalf, Republican of Conroe, have also supported Bonnen.
Bonnen made this statement after his endorsement by his fellow House Republicans, which assures his election as Speaker in early January when the Legislature convenes on January 8, 2019:
“Today I had the honor of receiving the endorsement of my Republican House colleagues to become the next Speaker of the Texas House. Texas’ greatness relies upon our readiness to unite the House and get things done this session, and today we moved one step closer. I thank the Caucus for selecting me today, and I look forward to working with the full House this session to conduct the peoples’ business with strength, unity and resolve.”