By JOHN KANELIS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Straus describes himself as a “stay-and-fight Republican,” but it’s unclear to me how much fight he has left in his struggle with the party to which he has belonged for decades.
Straus is the former speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. He bowed out of office before the start of the 2019 Legislature, only to watch his successor as speaker, Dennis Bonnen, implode over a treacherous act against his former GOP lawmakers; Bonnen got caught promising to sacrifice 10 legislators who had drawn the ire of a far-right-wing political action committee.
Indeed, not long after Straus announced his intention to retire from the Legislature, I implored him to reconsider. He didn’t listen to me.
Now, though, he is telling the Texas Tribune that he might run for public office in 2022. Straus told the Tribune’s Evan Smith that the state GOP no longer is in the same place he occupies. It’s become a cult, he said.
Straus has me wanting to give him a high five, an atta boy, a shout out. I want him back in the arena.
Why do I admire this fellow? Well, during the 2017 Legislature, he had the guts to stand up to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s desire to enact a bathroom bill that sought to discriminate against transgender individuals. Patrick wanted the Legislature to enact a law that required people to use public restrooms in accordance to the gender with which they were born. Transgender individuals? Forget about it. Women had to use the men’s room, and vice versa.
Straus called a halt to it and it died in the House of Representatives.
Joe Straus is a reasonable man who deserves to hold a position of power in this state.
Let me think, what’s available to him. Oh, I know: The lieutenant governor’s office is up in 2022. My hunch is that Patrick will seek re-election, or he might decide to challenge Gov. Greg Abbott in the GOP primary.
I loathe Dan Patrick. I admire Joe Straus. He told Evan Smith: “I don’t have a plan right now. I do think that in the future, people in this state are going to be looking for a different type of leadership than we’ve had right now.”