The 82nd Legislative Session of the Texas House of Representatives began in 2011 with high hopes. By electing a 2-to-1 majority of Republicans, Texans were sending a clear message to Austin of their desire for strong, conservative leadership. Beyond that the hope was that with majority rule, the heavy-handed power wielded by Speaker of the House Joe Straus could be controlled.
Yet, in obvious disregard to the desires of Texas’ voters, Straus stacked important committees with his closest allies creating an environment in which conservative bills like the TSA anti-groping bill and ALAC were either watered-down to the point of being meaningless or had no chance of passing. Using the pledge card system as a means of punishment and reward, Straus’ grip on the Texas House of Representatives remained firm. According to Texas Eagle Forum 2011 scorecard, the 82nd Legislative Session of the Texas House of Representatives was one of “lost opportunities.”
Straus, first elected Speaker on January 13, 2009, was elected to a second two-year term on January 11, 2011. The situation in the House under Straus has been decidedly liberal. Although espousing to be a conservative Republican, with a Lib-Con score of 84, it’s evident that this is just not the case. According to James Baker, out of the 71 Republican representatives who returned to the House in the 82nd session, 62 had voting records more conservative than Straus. Only 8 had records more liberal.
The latest abuse of Straus’ power comes in the form of the Texas Redistricting Map. Carefully planned and orchestrated by Straus and his allies and designed to punish conservative Republicans unwilling to sign pledge cards in support of Straus, the map was challenged and sent to The Supreme Court which unanimously ruled that there are “grounds for concern” with how the Texas-based judges drew the redistricting maps.
This is a critical point in the history of the great state of Texas. The state government no longer has its finger on the pulse of “we the people.” The federal government has encroached itself into all aspect of our lives as most recently high-lighted by the passage of amendments to NDAA in December, 2011. The inalienable rights our forefathers spoke of and which are guaranteed by The Constitution of the United States are continually being eroded through poor legislation by power-hungry legislators and lobbyist. So what can we do?
First of all, we can make sure that Straus is not re-elected in 2012. Period. If he is re-elected to the House, Texas runs the risk of having another session of “lost opportunity” like the one of 2011, an option we can ill afford. Choosing representatives who will champion the issues that most concern our liberty has never in our history been more important. My pick for District 121 is Matt Beebe. Running against Straus, Beebe promises to stand strong on the issues of fiscal responsibility, respect for life and to champion limited government and I believe him.
In addition, we can educate ourselves on the issues and the candidates statewide. By becoming that involved, we can get others involved as well. I’ll be doing my part by researching candidates and posting picks in the”Best Bets” and “Got to Go” categories of my blog. I will also be speaking with my friends all over Texas and letting them know who’s running in their districts. I will be hitting the campaign trail as much as possible standing behind the candidates I believe in. I urge you to participate proactively by choosing your candidates wisely and spreading the word to family and friends about the importance of the outcome of the 2012 elections. “We the people” are the key to the process of taking back Texas. And listen up, Joe… you have really, really got to go!