Worst of 2017: Speaker Joe Straus
While he is a liberal Republican himself, House Speaker Joe Straus (R–San Antonio) is merely the puppet of the coalition of House Democrats and liberal Republican lawmakers who actually control the chamber, and of his political consultant, Democrat and former gambling lobbyist Gordon Johnson.
In 2009, eleven liberal Republicans met at the Austin home of State Rep. Byron Cook (R–Corsicana) to plan a coup against Republican House Speaker Tom Craddick of Midland. The “Gang of 11” selected Straus only after many rounds of balloting and then promised Democrats that they would kill conservative legislation in order to enlist their support. With less than two sessions in the legislature, the 10 others must have known they would be able to control and direct Straus as speaker. They were right.
Since then, Straus has helmed the Texas House in title only while lawmakers like Cook, Charlie Geren, and the Democratic Caucus actually run the show. For allowing liberal Republicans and Democrats to thwart the will of the people of Texas, they have voted Straus as one of the ten worst legislators.
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