Delegates to the Republican Party of Texas convention in 2012 added this to the party platform:
Texas House Leadership Town Hall – We call for the Republican members of the Texas House of Representatives after the November election, leading up to the Legislative session, to hold public town hall meetings in which the voters can express their wishes and thoughts about the leadership for the 83rd Session.
Rep. John Davis (129) and Rep-elect Greg Bonnen (24) fulfilled their requirement Monday evening by holding a joint town hall meeting in the courtroom of Judge Louie Ditta in Clear Lake, hosted by the Clear Lake Area Republicans.
There was a decent turnout, probably below expectations for those pushing these meetings, but decent nonetheless. I’d make an educated guess (heck, even I can count) that roughly 60 people attended – several arrived late and a couple left early. Too bad all those delegates from HD24 and HD129 didn’t include a requirement that they show up. Ditto that for precinct chairs. There weren’t more than a hand full of precinct chairs. That’s a shame, no matter which side of this fight you are on. If you are going to get on the ballot or volunteer to be a precinct chair, the least you can do is show up to a town hall meeting for your own state representative. My precinct chair, Joan McMillan, was there – as always. Some precinct chairs are just better than others.
Rep. Davis gave a brief introduction of how the process of selecting a speaker works and then the two reps took questions from the audience. There were a total of 18 questions – 8 of them were about either the speaker vote or about Speaker Joe Straus in one form or another. The rest ranged from too many signs in Spanish to how do we prevent Sharia law to Agenda 21 to school vouchers to the Affordable Care Act to corporate welfare and beyond. But let’s focus on the topic at hand, the selection of House leadership.
The first question came from Tanya Robertson (@TanyaARobertson). She wanted to get each representative on record as to who they will support. Rep. Davis didn’t hesitate to declare his support for Speaker Straus, emphasizing his temperament, judgment, and experience – note that when she follows up by asking him if he would consider voting for Rep. David Simpson, he says that he is not impressed and reiterates this by saying that Simpson is someone he is not comfortable with.
Rep-elect Bonnen did not commit to anyone but said that he was leaning towards Speaker Straus. He noted that both Bryan Hughes and David Simpson had called him, asking for his vote. Later in the meeting (not in this clip), he stated that Speaker Straus had never called him asking for his vote. Of particular interest is Bonnen’s assertion that a he thinks that a super-majority of Republicans support Speaker Straus because he is so well regarded – that would be 63 reps, eight more than Robert Miller estimated.
Rep. Davis continued his “defense” or support of Speaker Straus throughout the night. Here is a question I liked because it is representative of the people that hate Speaker Straus – they think that those of us that support Speaker Straus are “uninformed” or not “plugged in” – I didn’t catch the guys name that asked it but if you look at the photos, he is labeled “plugged in” – because, you know, I’m not, and he wants to know what “everyone” is missing, because, you know, he talks to “everyone” and they all agree with him! Go figure.
That was a darned good response. Does anyone really think guys like Rep. Davis, that have been in the legislature through a Democrat speaker, then Tom Craddick, and now Joe Straus, do not know what it takes to run the place? And some folks would like to put it in the hands of a one term guy that has never passed a bill but knows how to get attention in the media? Give me a break. And by the way, “plugged in”, I guarantee you that I’m at least as “plugged in” and “informed” as you are – you might want to expand your circle.
Probably the best question of the night was the one that started, “What I want to know, since Joe Straus is a Democrat… (laughter and correction) …he’s not a Democrat? Oh well, that blows my entire question out of the water. I thought he was a Democrat.” Pretty funny.
Like I said from the beginning, there is no speaker’s “race” – there’s just a bunch of noise from a few noisemakers. Who knows why they don’t like Speaker Straus? One thing’s for sure, results don’t matter to them – if they did, they wouldn’t be making so much useless noise. The numbers are the numbers and Speaker Straus has ’em by a country boy mile. Even though he’s a city feller.
A few pictures from the “required” meeting: