It may be a futile effort on our part, but on Monday night the Executive Committee of the Harris County Republican Party overwhelmingly passed a resolution endorsing Scott Turner for the position of Speaker of the House over the current incumbent, Joe Straus.
The vote was taken at a standing room only HCRP committee meeting, according to a report by Charles Blain at Empower Texans. [Disclosure: Empower Texans President Michael Quinn Sullivan is a Breitbart Texas contributor.] The Executive Committee is made up of all the Republican Precinct Chairs in the county. Blain wrote that the support for Turner was "unwavering," and only a voice vote was needed to pass the resolution by a large margin. The resolution cites Turner's conservative record and states that "the Executive Committee of Harris County Republican Party wishes to recognize Scott Turner as being worthy of such an honor and capable of such a responsibility" of being Speaker of the Texas House. of Representatives. Blain also reported that there were concerns about retaliation during the debate before the vote:During the open debate portion one precinct chair said, “supporting Turner would cause Straus to retaliate against Harris County.” In response, someone shouted from across the room, “that proves why he should not be speaker and does not deserve our support.”
I was one of the speakers in favor of the resolution, although I had no part in drafting it -- that honor goes to David Wilson, who was the first of the three speakers in favor of the resolution.
"The previous speaker stated that we should trust the elected officials we worked for to do what is best. I say that we need to remind those elected officials that THEY work for US, and we need to make clear to them our views and our wishes on what will be the first vote of this legislative session. . . ."
"Joe Straus, a Speaker originally installed by Democrats, will be appointing as chair of a major committee a Democrat who on election night made it clear that she believes that we and our conservative beliefs are stupid and ignorant, which means that she will be in a position to single-handedly kill conservative legislation. Are we stupid? No! Are we ignorant? No! I therefore say to you that we must vote for this resolution urging our representatives to vote for Scott Turner."
And before you ask, that was me who said loudly to those seated near me that the threat of Joe Straus retaliating against Harris County if we opposed his reelection constitutes evidence of his unfitness for the post which he holds.
Over at Cahnman's Musings, there's a list of the Republican representatives who are from the nine counties that have passed anti-Straus resolutions. There are 29 of them, constituting roughly 30% of the GOP caucus. More counties may follow in passing such resolutions. Sadly, most of the 29 have indicated their support for Speaker Straus. Will they respond to the grassroots opposition to the moderate speaker and his allies and the call for the election of a conservative alternative? I fear not, given the Facebook exchange I had with Rep. Debbie Riddle a few hours after the resolution was adopted. She insists that she knows better than the Republican activists of Harris County. I'd argue that she is an example of how after a few terms even the most conservative of legislators begins to suffer from insider's disease and needs to be replaced by the voters.
Or maybe there is another reason, as Kelley Horsley (the third speaker in favor of the resolution) notes over at The Political Chicken. It seems that Speaker Straus has been a major donor to his fellow Republicans in the House, making it appear that these legislators are more beholden to Straus than they are to the voters. Some of the numbers are quite significant, as as noted over at Raging Elephants Radio. Has money talked in this race in a manner that drowns out the voices of the people? This can and should cause concern for conservative activists.
By the way, the version of the resolution that has been floating around is not the final version that was adopted. Scott Bowen offered an important amendment directing that the resolution be publicized. I have unfortunately not been able to find the text of the clause requiring that it be posted on the HCRP website and that it be communicated to all Republican Representatives whose districts include any portion of Harris County. This is, however, the original draft.
Whereas Scott Turner was born and raised in Texas, and is a 4th generation Texan;
Whereas Representative Scott Turner, since his election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2012 has fought for government transparency and efficiency, fought for tax relief for hard working Texans and small business owners, supports pro-life, and supports school choice;
Whereas Representative Scott Turner is recognized by GOPAC as one of Texas’ emerging leaders, is recognized as a top rated conservative by Texas Eagle Forum, has a 100% rating with Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, and has an 'A' rating by the NRA;
Whereas Representative Scott Turner has announced his intention to run for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives when it convenes in January, 2015, and
Whereas the Executive Committee of Harris County Republican Party wishes to recognize Scott Turner as being worthy of such an honor and capable of such a responsibility;
IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Executive Committee of Harris County Republican Party supports Representative Scott Turner for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.
To my fellow precinct chairs here in Harris County -- and those in other counties who have also acted on this matter -- I offer my hearty congratulations and praise. now let's make sure our elected representatives know that we expect them to represent us in this matter.