At the fourth quarter meeting of the Harris County Republican Executive Committee, the assembled Precinct Chairs unanimously adopted the following resolution regarding the process for selecting the Speaker for the next session of the Texas House of Representatives.
WHEREAS the 2010 elections resulted in a historic number of Republicans swept into office across the nation; and that the Texas House of Representatives constitutes a shining example of that Republican electoral tsunami; and
WHEREAS this unprecedented success was based upon the people of the United States, and the state of Texas in particular, embracing a conservative approach to governance; and
WHEREAS there exists among the people of Texas a profound discontent over the traditional “pledge” method of selecting the Texas Speaker of the House; and
WHEREAS this year’s election of a historic majority has resulted in multiple Republican candidates for the position of Speaker coming forward for consideration; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED that the Harris County Republican Party calls for the release of all members of the Texas House of Representatives from any pledges, promises, or commitments made to support any candidate for the office of Speaker so that a special caucus for the purpose of selecting ONE Republican candidate for the office of Speaker of the House may be held, at which time a secret ballot of all Republican members of the House elected or reelected in 2010 shall be conducted; and be it further
RESOLVED that the Harris County Republican Party calls for each member of the Republican Caucus pledge to support the winner of this vote when the full assembly votes for Speaker at the beginning of the new session so that the majority party, rather than the minority party, shall determine the Speaker for the upcoming legislative session; and be it also
RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be delivered by electronic and US mail to each Republican member and member-elect of the Texas House of Representatives.
This is a big deal, coming as it does from the largest, and one of the most conservative, counties in the state of Texas. Of special importance are the calls for a secret ballot and for all members to be released from earlier pledges to support one candidate or another, so that they can vote based upon principle and the urgings of their constituents. Every member of the Texas House of Representatives -- especially those whose districts are partially or completely within Harris County -- would do well to heed this call from the grassroots.
As an aside, it was my privilege to be the primary author of this resolution -- but it was certainly not my work alone. At its heart, it is the distillation of the content of a letter signed by nearly 150 precinct chairs, in which we called for such a caucus. Particular assistance in molding, tightening, and editing it came from Dale Huls, Paul Simpson, Dennis Hayes, Helena Brown, John Randall, Robert Westover, Larry Lane and several others (my apologies to anyone I left out), as well as the kind support of Josh Flynn, who embraced our resolution over one he had written and gotten passed by the Harris County Republican Party Advisory Board. I'd therefore like to thank all involved for their encouragement and support -- their part in organizing this effort and rounding up support was more important to passing this resolution than my contribution of its text.