Texas House Speaker Joe Straus Steps Down

AUSTIN - After five terms as Speaker of the Texas House, State Representative Joe Straus is stepping down.

Now there is a question as to who will replace him. 

Speaker Straus was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2005 as the result of a special election.

While in office, Rep. Straus helped the state pass balanced budgets and in 2015, he was able to help pass a budget that provided Texans with more than $4 billion in tax relief.

There are a couple representatives here on the High Plains who could have a chance of replacing Speaker Straus.

First, there is Rep. Four Price. He is seen as a rising star in Texas politics.

Rep. Price was active in this past legislative session, being a major part in passing many bills, most dealing with mental health.

For Rep. Straus, he is just happy to be able to leave office on his own terms.

"There comes a time when someone ought to come to the conclusion that it's enough in one place," said Speaker Straus. "Five terms is a long time, and I'm really proud that I'm able to walk out of this job. First time in decades that speaker has been able to leave this office on his own terms."

Another representative who could also put his hat in the ring is Rep. John Smithee.

Rep. Smithee has been in the House of Representatives since 1984. He even ran a brief campaign for the speakership in 2009, before bowing out. Rep. Straus eventually became Speaker.

In this latest legislative session, Rep. Smithee authored a bill that limits insurance coverage for abortion procedures.

Speaker Straus is a San Antonio native and a fifth-generation Texan.

His term will officially end when the 2019 Texas legislative session begins.


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