Opinion: It’s Time for Republicans to Lead the Texas House

AUSTIN, TX - JULY 13: U.S. Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R-TX) (C) moves to strip absent Democrats of their committee leadership posts if they do not return by Wednesday at noon during a call of the House to try to regain a quorum on July 13, 2021 in Austin, Texas. The Texas House voted to arrest Democrats who fled the state to deny a quorum in protest of Republicans' controversial voting bill. | Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

It’s time for Republican voters to get full Republican leadership in the Texas House. Republicans have voted for it, fought for it, and Republican lawmakers should deliver it next session.

During the primary, not a single Republican candidate for office campaigned on continuing the Texas House’s tradition of appointing members of the minority party to chair committees.

Time and again we hear from well-meaning lawmakers that ending the appointment of Democrats to committee chairmanships will make Texas “more like D.C.” But what could be more like D.C. than having contempt for our Republican voters (over 81% of whom voted against appointing Democrat chairs in a 2022 ballot proposition) and empowering the Democrats working to defeat them?

In virtually every state capitol in America, the majority party does not give the minority party committee chairmanships. Why? Because they know it’s bad policy!

The truth is, whenever Republicans give Democrats power, we give them leverage to defeat conservative policy and raise money from the lobby they can use to help elect Democrats to public office.

While Donald Trump, Gov. Greg Abbott, and Texas GOP activists are working overtime to make gains in South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley, Texas House leadership appointed Democrats to a powerful committee chairmanships. This position helps them raise money from lobbyists and industry groups in Austin, gain support, and work to defeat Republicans.

One of the arguments we hear from supporters of Democrat chairs is that the chairmanships go to good Democrats who will vote with us on constitutional amendments and other issues. It’s true Democrats did vote for property tax relief. But when a constitutional amendment requiring voters must be United States citizens came to the floor, almost all the Democrats voted “Present, Not Voting” to kill it.

That includes Democrat lawmakers who are current committee chairs!

The practice of appointing Democrats to chair committees also didn’t stop them from fleeing to D.C. and calling Republican lawmakers racists to delay or stop the passage of election integrity legislation. These efforts failed, but none of the Democrats who engaged in them were ever punished through the loss of their chairmanships.

And last but certainly not least, giving Democrats committee chairmanships gives them power over our Republican colleagues. Sometimes members want to vote a certain way on the floor, but a seemingly small bill they are carrying that is very important for their community is being held up in a Democrat chaired committee. They know that if they vote for a conservative amendment or vote against Democrat efforts to water down a particular bill, then all their work for their bill could count for nothing.

These are the kind of decisions that members need to stop being positioned to make. It’s only due to the leverage that is freely handed away to the Democrats; leverage that they have abused repeatedly.

Continuing the practice of appointing Democrats to committee chairmanships only gives power to Democrats, empowers them to stop conservative policy, and makes legislating more difficult for Republican members.

In 2023, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made clear the time of Democrat committee chairs in the Texas Senate was over. The Texas House should make the same commitment.

The voters made clear on March 5th that Speaker Dade Phelan will not return as Speaker of the House. As we work toward defeating Democrats in November, all Texas House Republicans should make clear to our voters the practice of appointing Democrats to chair committees will come to an end as well.

Republican State Representative Tony Tinderholt was elected to represent District 94 in 2014. State Representative J.M. Lozano was elected as a Democrat before changing parties and joining the GOP in 2012. He represents District 43 in the Texas House.

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  1. Dade is DONE! - True Texas Project - […] conservative champion Tony Tinderholt and moderate Republican J.M. Lozano wrote a piece on how Phelan will not be the…
  2. Dade is DONE! - Texas Wire - […] conservative champion Tony Tinderholt and moderate Republican J.M. Lozano wrote a piece on how Phelan will not be the…

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