"Straus agrees with Patrick on their different audiences" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus agreed Thursday with the idea that his disagreements with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick over this session's priorities relate to the different audiences they serve.
Patrick, a former talk show host, had weighed in Monday on House-Senate tensions by noting that Straus is elected state representative by the voters in his House district and then speaker by House members. Speaking with West Texas radio host Robert Pratt, Patrick had also noted that the coalition that elects Straus speaker always includes Democrats, including when he initially captured the gavel in 2009.
"The lieutenant governor is absolutely correct," Straus told Lubbock radio host Chad Hasty on Thursday. "He has a different audience. I mean, literally an audience. He was in your business. He’s an entertainer, a talk show guy. And a statewide elected official. I’m not."
"My audience is the constituents back home and the House members," Straus added. "I think that my audience, my constituents, have been generally pleased with [my] job performance, and his audience has been generally pleased with his."
Straus did take issue with Patrick noting the speaker's Democratic support. Straus said Patrick "might have been a little frustrated or something" when he made the comment about Democrats factoring into Straus' coalition.
“Well, yeah, the Democrats have voted for me, but so have the Republicans," Straus told Hasty. "And that’s not something in this era of polarized politics that I run away from or that I’m embarrassed by. I will work with everybody, and I’m happy about that, and I think it leads to better results. And I encourage others to try it."
Straus and Patrick have not seen eye to eye about the urgency of some issues this session, including two of Patrick's top priorities: the "bathroom bill" and school choice. In recent days, there has also been tension surrounding the Senate's pace of work on the budget.
In an interview later Thursday on Hasty's show, Patrick clarified that he does not begrudge Straus for serving a different constituency but noted "that does not stop me from doing what the people elected me to do." Asked about Straus' comments on his media background, Patrick said he is "very proud of everything I've done in my life, in my career, and I'm very proud of this great blessing of being lieutenant governor."
"My career ... prepared me for this job," Patrick told Hasty. "Because for years, like you, I got a chance to listen. I got a chance to listen to the voice of the people for years. I got a chance to hear what they cared. I understood the issue. I understood where the voters were."
Read more of our related coverage:
- As local control battles rage at the Texas Capitol, Gov. Greg Abbott is voicing support for a much more sweeping approach to the issues that have captured headlines.
- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said that House Speaker Joe Straus is "out of touch with the voters" for opposing the so-called bathroom bill that passed the Texas Senate a day earlier.