By JOHN KANELIS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Texas state Rep. Dade Phelan of Beaumont appears to be the next speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.
If he wins the vote among his colleagues, he’ll get to cross swords — maybe, possibly — with the guy who runs the other legislative body, the Senate down the hall. That would be Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
Patrick has a habit of picking fights on occasion with legislators. He got mad at my pal, state GOP Sen. Kel Seliger of Amarillo, during the 2019 Legislature and stripped Seliger of his committee leadership posts. Why? Because Seliger spoke unkindly about a key Patrick aide.
During the 2017 session, Patrick wanted the Legislature to enact the infamous Bathroom Bill, the legislation that would have made it a requirement that folks use public restrooms in accordance with their “birth gender”; the bill was a clear act of discrimination against transgender individuals. The House speaker at the time, fellow Republican Joe Straus of San Antonio, would have none of that. He made sure the bill died during a special legislative session. My sense is that Patrick is still steaming over it.
Straus retired from politics. The next speaker, Dennis Bonnen of Angleton, served a single term and then got caught conspiring against fellow Republican lawmakers in a conversation with a far right wing political activist, Michael Quinn Sullivan. Bonnen bailed and is gone.
Now comes Rep. Phelan … apparently. I don’t know the young man, even though I once worked and lived in Beaumont. I wish him well. I also hope he displays the kind of stones that Straus exhibited when Patrick tried to push him around over the Bathroom Bill.
Truth be told, I think Dan Patrick needs to be knocked a peg or three from his faux high horse. He offered to pay a reward to anyone who produced evidence of “massive voter fraud” in Texas during the 2020 presidential election; to date, he hasn’t handed out a nickel. Why? Because there was no fraud … the dipsh**.
Whatever happens during the Legislature that convenes Jan. 12, I look forward to watching it all unfold from my perch in Collin County. I just want the new House speaker — whoever emerges — to stand his ground against the bully who masquerades as the lieutenant governor.