Texas Republicans need a pro-life Speaker now

Pro-abortion Republican Joe Straus

Did you know that for the last two years a Republican, with a 100% rating from the Texas chapter of NARAL, has served as Speaker of the House in Texas?

When a CatholicVote supporter from Texas brought this to my attention, I will be honest: I couldn’t believe it! But I looked it up and sure enough, Joe Straus has a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. I wouldn’t be too surprised if I discovered this in Vermont, but Texas?? How did this happen?

Straus was able to get elected Speaker in January 2009 by getting 10 fellow Republicans to vote with a majority of the 74 Democrats in the House to vote him into the Speaker’s chair. And how did Strauss get so many votes from the minority party? Mark Jones blogging at the Baker Institute explains:

“The price he paid for this Democratic support was the distribution of key committee and leadership posts to Democrats, as well as the delegation of substantial control over the legislative agenda to the Democratic House leaders.”

Not surprisingly, Republicans were furious.

But now they have a chance to rectify this. Texas Republicans have expanded their majority to 99 seats to the Democrats 51. And in January, the election for Speaker comes up again. And some Republicans have already announced a challenge to Straus.

Republicans in Texas face a major test here. After all, the GOP made major gains in the Latino vote in Texas. Rick Perry was re-elected governor with 40% of the Latino vote. In addition, five Republican Latinos were elected to the State House and two Republican Latinos were elected to Congress.

It is precisely because of the Republican Party’s pro-life and pro-marriage platform that Latinos have begun to reconsider their allegiance to the Democratic Party. But re-electing a pro-abortion Republican to the top position in the Texas House would undermine that effort. The Texas GOP should jettison Straus from their leadership immediately.

If you live in Texas, you should call your state representative. The people of Texas elected a majority of pro-life state representatives. They deserve a pro-life Speaker.



  • Johnny Marshall

    I believe that most of the conservative Texas voters want to see this 2011 session pass PRO-LIFE SONOGRAM LEGISLATION and VOTER ID CARD LEGISLATION…..Now some of the representatives will tell you that this legislation would be illegal, Well that is not their job, that would be up to the Texas and Federal courts to decide. This legislation was not voted on by an up and down vote in the 2009 session because these issues died in committee and never saw the light of day for an up and down vote by the representatives. The reason given by the speaker and his assigned committee chairmen was the democrats chubbed that legislation and time ran out in the session. Well I don’t buy that and believe if Speaker Straus is re-elected in 2011 that same legislation will be dead on arrival in the 2011 session assigned committee. We conservative voters sent 99 conservative republicans (at lease they said they were conservative) representatives to Austin to represent conservative legislation and to end the good old boy attitude that has corrupted our legislation process in Austin forever and it must come to an end. I hope our republican representatives elect a new conservative speaker for the 2011 session.

  • Mary Ann

    Thanks for this blog. I shall be calling my state representative.

    God bless,
    Mary Ann

    • G. Arambula

      While your at it, please let your state representative know that we Catholics are serious about this issue and they better do something about abortion laws this term. I for one am tired of voting for pro-life candidates on this single issue because of my Catholic duty. I have a deep sense of betrayl by these do nothing pro-life politicians who get my vote year after year and quite frankly I feel used. The country has other issues that need to be addressed but we have voted in these pro-lifers who are part of “the party of no”. The democrats do have good ideas and I want both parties to work together for the common good of all our citizens. I feel they are using the Catholic vote to stall and stall and stall. Meanwhile, they get their other non-Catholic agendas pushed forward while we wait.

      • Fred Barry

        G. Arambula,
        At least someone else feels the same way that I do. I am holding them accountable this election cycle. If things don’t start getting done this time around, I think I’m going to change my vote for them. I have a duty to the church, but these politicians have a duty to us. If they are just using us to get elected, then it serves no point to vote for them on this one issue, if they do nothing about it. I would like to say something else. Tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent while the middle class can be srangled is the wrong approach. I am not like what the Republicans are putting forth right out of the gate.

  • Patrick

    Doug’s comments are very much misplaced. Nobody in Texas politics ‘missed’ anything regarding Speaker Straus, and those outside Texas only missed it because it’s one of those ‘inside baseball’ things that happens in politics that wouldn’t directly impact them. The current Texas Speaker, Straus, was elected to replace a conservative speaker by a group of 11 moderate Republicans (aka RINOs) and Democrats, in a body that at the time was split 76-74, very narrow majority for Republicans. Straus replaced a more conservative speaker who had made those moderates chafe under his rule. The narrow GOP majority made Straus’ elevation possible. The new speaker put Democrats and his other friends in charge of committees, which impacted not just pro-life issues that were put on ice by committee chairs, but other issues as well.

    What Doug fails to state however is that the pro-abortion groups in Texas are all adamantly Democrat-supporting, and have been active in funding Democrats for statehouse races. The Texas Republican party overall is very pro-life, and the Texas Democratic Party and special interests that fund and run them are emphatically not. Of course, you’ll find exceptions to the rule on either side, but I know of no Republican, including Straus, who is as pro-abort as, say, Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama.

    Many of those pro-abortion Democrats lost in the past election, and the larger Republican majority in the Texas statehouse is assuredly a pro-life majority. It will be the right thing to have a pro-life speaker that fits that majority.

  • Doug Jackson

    Unbelievable that this was missed for all of this time. To think for almost 2 years now, a Pro Abort was the Speaker of the House in Texas. I can see how you missed it though. You are so busy trying to take down democrats for this very thing, that you don’t even think to look for Republicans. That is what happens when you become a shill for the Republican Party. Well I am glad someone took the opportunity to point it out to you. It only took them two years to get to it and find this out, but I guess late is better than never. Well the test is on. You better do your work to make sure that Texas and the Catholic Texas vote gets this right. This is a heavily leaning Republican state, so this is something that should never have happened!

    • Joshua Mercer

      Doug, I’m not sure why you’re so surprised that I am unfamiliar with Texas state politics. I’m not an expert on the political scene in all 50 state capitals. Haven’t claimed to be. And of course, the reason he was elected Speaker is not because a majority of Republicans voted for him. He was elected Speaker by winning over a majority of Democrats along with a minority of Republicans. So I’m not sure this is an indictment on the Texas Republican Party as a whole. But, yes, it’s embarrassing.

      You couldn’t legitimately call me a shrill if you were at all familiar with our organization. What other pro-life group went further to bat for Bart Stupak (before he ultimately betrayed the cause) than CatholicVote.org? Despite getting burned by Stupak, we nonetheless endorsed Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski.

      Oh, and just this week I criticized President Bush for defending waterboarding. And don’t say I’m late to the game on that. Our organization called on President Bush to sign a bill outlawing waterboarding when he was still in office.

      That said, I’m not willing to consider the two political parties as equally deserving of scorn. The Democratic Party at the national level is firmly dedicating to promoting the notorious practice of abortion — an unspeakable evil that must be stopped. On marriage, President Obama has called for a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. Since our organization is considered with defending life and marriage, yes, I’m going to criticize politicians who seek to undermine that. I wish more Democrats were like Dan Lipinski.



Receive our updates via email.