AUSTIN, Texas – Despite overwhelming objections from grassroots leaders across Texas, House Speaker Joe Straus was re-elected by a vote of 127-19. Straus’ challenger, State Representative Scott Turner, fulfilled his campaign promise to have a record vote on the Speaker’s race with a challenger on the ballot. Four Representatives were absent. No Representatives voted “Present.”
State Reps. Supporting Straus told Breitbart Texas they support having the record vote. “We want people to know we voted for Straus because we believe he is the right person to run the House at this point in time,” one State Rep. said. Turner supporters also wanted the record vote.
Speaker Straus was nominated by Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo). “We have to consider leadership as paramount,” Price said. “Straus gets results.” He then went through a long list of legislative accomplishments which took place under Straus’ leadership of the House.
Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria) seconded the nomination for Straus. “You have to have a leader that can understand the needs of the individual Rep. while still seeing what is in the best interest of the State of Texas,” Morrison said.
Rep. Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville) continued the seconding and said, “Joe Straus is clearly the choice to hold the gavel.” He said he has served under five different Speakers.
“We need a speaker that will serve as a uniting force,” said Rep. Kenneth Sheets (R-Dallas).
Turner was nominated by State Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano). “I am proud to nominate my friend Scott Turner. I believe strongly that under his leadership there will be a new fire in the legislature.”
“The voice of the people has to be heard,” State Rep. Bryan Hughes R-Mineola) said in the first seconding speech for Turner. He reminded members that no Speaker in Texas has served more than six years. “Three terms is enough,” Hughes stated. He explained there are more new Reps in the House now than there were six years ago when the last change was made. “The people are calling again for a new Speaker. Scott Turner is exceptional.”
State Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) attacked the notion that Turner is said to not be qualified to be Speaker. He compared Turner to Abraham Lincoln and said that qualifications are not measured in years, but by leadership.
“Scott Turner is a man of character,” said State Rep. Scott Sanford (R-McKinney). Sanford made an additional seconding speech during the nomination process. “He is the people’s choice and this is the people’s house,” Sanford stated.
Scott Turner spent a great deal of time traveling across the state of Texas building support from the grassroots for his challenge to the Speaker. Terri DuBose, a member to the State Republican Executive Committee for Senate District 19 told Breitbart Texas it was right to force the floor vote “to shed light on the real Republicans and those pretending to be Republicans.” She said we need to remove the roadblocks to a conservative legislature.
Conservative activist Kelly Canon told Breitbart Texas, “There may not have been enough votes to get Scott Turner elected, but the movement was about getting a record vote on the floor. There has not been a vote on the floor for four decades so we won. So, accountability matters.”
The opening of the Legislature began with the honoring of Texas veterans and Maj. Gen. John Nichols. Nichols serves as the Adjutant General of the Texas Military Forces. This was followed by the singing of the National Anthem, the Pledge of Allegience to the American flag and the pledge to the Texas flag.
The session was presided over by Texas Secretary of State Nandida Berry. Berry spoke about the history of the House and the responsibility of representing 26 million people. She said, “Some of these people’s families were in Texas before it was a state while others have only recently come to Texas.” She cited her family as an example. Her husband, radio talk show host Michael Berry, was born in Orange, Texas, while she was born in India. Her two children are also immigrants to the United States.
The oath of office was administered to all representatives present at 12:50 p.m. CST.
Following the oath of office, the process of electing the Speaker of the House began.
Lana Shadwick contributed to this article. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.
Bob Price is a senior political writer for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.