Obstructionist

Looking at the new statewide issues polling from Texas Tribune, I am struck again by just how out of touch Joe Straus and his “leadership” team really are from the mainstream of Texas.

Let’s step back. The closest thing to “Joe Straus on the Texas Ballot” was in the May run-off of Ken Paxton versus Dan Branch. You cannot get any closer to Joe Straus than Dan Branch, and Branch was the most marketable “Straus guy” they had available. (Remember, Harvey Hilderbran didn’t make the run-off for Comptroller; Straus’ lawyer, Eric Opiela, came in third for Agriculture Commissioner after out-spending the field.)

And Paxton won with almost 64 percent of the voteStraus, in the form of Dan Branch, couldn’t break 40 percent.

So now let’s look at the Texas Tribune issue poll.

According to the poll, Texans — Republicans and Democrats and whoever — favor Voter ID by a “3-to-1 margin.” You will recall it was Joe Straus and his team that killed Voter ID for two years as a part of their power-grab deal with the Democrats. And you’ll note that the Democrats, Straus’ base, are still trying (unsuccessfully) to kill it in court.

By a similar two-to-one margin, voters support having the National Guard on the border… and even support the actual deportation of illegal immigrants. Straus dragged his heels for months this year before finally relenting on a deployment effort. He didn’t want it.

So while voters are expecting swift, decisive action curtailing illegal immigration, Joe Straus’ point man on state issues (that would be Corsicana’s Byron Cook) pushing to give drivers’ licenses to those who are in the country illegally. There was even a vote on that last session, you might recall.

Then there is the lingering issue of the state senate… Straus’ team has made it abundantly clear that if they remain in power they will spend the session fighting against the conservative Senate. I wonder just how willing Republican House members — who will face re-election in just a short 19 months — are to serve as pawns in Straus’ obstructionist House. Yet pawns they will be in that fight if they re-elect Straus to lead the House.

House GOPers enabling Straus will spend the session fighting not only a reform-minded, conservative Senate, but a new crop of statewide officials looking for Texas to lead from the right. Worse for those members, they must be prepared to go home facing primary challengers, senators and statewide officials all running against House obstructionism.

Fortunately, there is no need for House members to subject themselves to such a miserable legislative session!

State Rep. Scott Turner is actively campaigning across the state for the speakership. He has staked his reputation on the premise that there will be a public, record vote on January 13, 2015, for Speaker of the Texas House. In that vote, every member of the House will have the opportunity to take responsibility for the session’s outcomes. House members will declare themselves to be aligned with Straus’ record of obstructionism, or on the side of Texans seeking right-thinking reforms.

Every citizen in Texas will know if their state representative sides with the anti-reform establishment or with the commonsense majority. Every citizen will get to see who is in politics for their personal enrichment or aggrandizement, and who is seeking to strengthen the Lone Star State.

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Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael is president and CEO of Empower Texans. A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Sullivan is married with three children. He divides his time between the Metroplex, the rest of Texas, and Austin.

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