Best of 2017: State Rep. Matt Schaefer

“The Captain”

The chairman of the Texas Freedom Caucus, State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R–Tyler) serves as the leader of a crew of conservative House members some have likened to a band of “swashbuckling pirates.”

The comparison isn’t exactly unwarranted. Boxed out of the committee process by House Speaker Joe Straus, Schaefer and the Freedom Caucus have become masters of debate on the floor and frequently commandeer other lawmakers’ bills as vehicles for their own policies.

As one Democrat lawmaker said in mid-May, “These guys couldn’t pass gas last session. And now they’re running the floor!”

That success is due in large part to Schaefer’s leadership.

Schaefer’s shining moment was during the sanctuary cities debate when he convinced Republicans to defy their own leadership and successfully add teeth to a watered-down bill. He was successful, and his robust bill has now been signed into law by the governor.

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