Speaker Straus enjoys support from a majority of Republicans and Democrats in the House, and rather than campaigning for the position, he is focused on leading the House as we prepare for session.
Update, 8:58 a.m.: State Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, is dropping his bid for speaker of the House and endorsing state Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, for that leadership post. Simpson announced Monday morning that he planned to challenge incumbent Speaker Joe Straus:, R-San Antonio. Hughes released this statement shortly after:
“I wholeheartedly endorse my friend David Simpson for Speaker of the House. David is uniquely qualified to lead the House at this pivotal time in our history. David Simpson has earned his reputation as an eminently fair, highly principled, and hardworking legislator.
He has demonstrated that he has both the courage to stand alone and the wisdom and humility to build broad coalitions. These are sorely lacking in politics today, and necessary to accomplish the great work of the Texas House.
For some months now I have been traveling the state and visiting with my fellow State Representatives, with candidates, and with our employers: the people of Texas. After countless meetings and conversations, I am more convinced than ever that we need new leadership in the Texas House. I am also convinced that the strongest candidate to bring in that new leadership is David Simpson.
So I urge all of my colleagues and soon-to-be colleagues in the Texas House to give David their full support. I know that a growing number of us are already behind David, and I am confident that the House is well on its way to having a new Speaker.
I owe a tremendous debt to hundreds of Texans who have helped me in this campaign. So many have prayed for us, have volunteered, have contributed financially, and helped us in a host of other ways. I am very thankful for this overwhelming backing, and I humbly ask for all of my friends to give David Simpson their full support.”
Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, filed papers to run for speaker of the House, he said in a letter to colleagues Monday morning. He joins Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, in challenging Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio. The election will take place on the first day of the legislative session in January.
Here's the text of Simpson's letter:
An Open Letter and Invitation
December 10, 2012
My fellow Representatives and Representatives-Elect,
For some time, I have been prompted and encouraged to run for Speaker. After much prayer, consideration, and counsel, I made the decision to enter the race and filed the requisite paperwork.
This is an invitation to transform the way the House is led and the spirit of its operations. I respect Speaker Straus as a fellow legislator who loves Texas and her people; however, we differ on the way the House should be led. And I am not alone in that opinion.
The culture of ‘go along to get along’ politics, where members face intimidation and retribution should they disagree with a leadership decision, stifles representative government.
This race centers on the principles by which we govern and serve the House. If given the responsibilities of this office, I will preside according to the first principles of integrity and I will honor the process.
The rules must be applied without disparity and not give way to the convenience of an individual political agenda. For some, the outcome justifies any means by which it is accomplished — even trampling the rights of others.
But, I believe that it is not enough to just do the right thing. We must do the right thing in the right way.We should enforce the rules for everyone without regard to party, personality, or seniority. Texas is blessed with a legislative process designed to help ensure limited government and minority rights. We should honor that tradition.
Furthermore, public trust in our government depends upon a transparent, accountable system. We should not require of others what we are unwilling to do ourselves. We should lead by example in things great and small and put substance over mere symbolism. Government of, by, and for the people should not seek to concentrate power but provide checks and balances that protect all.
This is a better way. I invite you to join me in transforming the operations of the House, honoring our oaths to our Constitutions and representing our constituents.
As Speaker this means I will treat all members with respect, and, through honoring the process of the House, give all opportunity to promote the ideas and legislation important to their districts and the state. I will endeavor to maintain good communication with members and their staff and assist in the legislative process. I will appoint members to committees and leadership positions based on knowledge, experience, skill, and desire — not partisanship or payback. I also will expect commitment to the golden rule, liberty, and the process.
My own policy views are no secret to you; I believe in and will always work for limited government and the protection of civil liberties. But, this does not necessitate a strong-arm approach to leadership. In fact, it requires the opposite.
We seek the “free government” espoused in the Preamble of our Texas Constitution. So as I earnestly advocate for fiscal responsibility, limited government, and liberty, understand that I do so by employing reason, leading by example, and maintaining a fair administration of the rules.
Iron sharpens iron; we forge the best policy through vigorous debate. Therefore, I will listen to and learn from those with whom I disagree or who stand in opposition to my leadership. At the same time, I will insist upon the House’s constitutional role, rights, and privileges.
We must seek solutions that make everyone better off and make tough choices to protect Texans and seek the higher ground of liberty and opportunity, which unites us.
I invite you to join me in transforming the way the House operates. Now is the time to put the principles of liberty and open government above the politics of intimidation. This is the decision that we as Representatives can make.
With these thoughts in mind, I respectfully request your consideration and prayers, and I ask for your support in the race for Speaker.
For Texas and Liberty,