Representative Joe Straus New Texas House Speaker - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/5/09

Representative Joe Straus New Texas House Speaker

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Representatives John Smithee and Dan Gattis have withdrawn from the Speaker of the House race, making Joe Straus of San Antonio the new speaker. Smithee and Gattis both acknowledged that Straus had more than enough votes to win.

Straus announced earlier today that 94 representatives pledged their vote to him. This comes after current speaker Tom Craddick withdrew from the race. He is the longest serving republican in a state elective office.

But house members opposed to Craddick's leadership started a group called the ABC coalition - or "Anybody but Craddick," and pushed for Straus to be the new leader.

Lubbock Representative Delwin Jones did not support Craddick, and is excited about the new leader. "I anticipate that we'll move to a truly representative functioning legislative body," said Jones.  But what does a new speaker mean for West Texas?  We asked Jones if he was bothered by the fact that Straus was not familiar with Lubbock.

"No not at all. I've visited with him and he is willing to listen and that's all I want a speaker to do, I want him to listen to our cause and support what's right and I don't think it's going to make a bit of difference," said Jones.

The official speaker election will take place on the first day of the 2009 Legislative Session - January 13th.

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