On the morning after Election Day, Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith sat down with the outgoing speaker of the Texas House, Joe Straus, in his Capitol office to talk about the results of 2018’s hardest-fought contests and their impact on the Legislature, the state and the country. In their wide-ranging interview, Straus wades into his working relationship with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the “borderline racism” of some in public life these days, why a healthy economy doesn’t excuse Donald Trump’s tone and tweets, the issues he’d put at the top of the agenda next session and the advice he’d give the next speaker.
The conversation is the first episode of a new Texas Tribune podcast Evan is launching formally in January. It’s called “Point of Order,” and if you’ve spent meaningful time around our Lege or any similar body, you get the reference. A point of order is a procedural tool — a tactic employed, with sincere intent or with mischief or both, to slow the proceedings down long enough to determine whether things are being done properly. You call a point of order when you believe or want to believe someone or something is off. You’re asking, essentially, "Are we doing this right?" That will be the mission of the Point of Order podcast: to hold the Legislature, lawmakers and bureaucracy to account through a series of newsmaker interviews that take you inside, behind and underneath the politics and issues, the rules and traditions, the turning of gears and pulling of strings that power Texas government.
We’ll see you each week once the gavel comes down in a few months. For now, we hope you enjoy this preview of Point of Order — Evan's sit-down with Speaker Straus, recorded live on Nov. 7, 2018.