Abbott, Phelan Speak at Dallas Event

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan and Gov. Greg Abbott
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan and Gov. Greg Abbott | Image by Office of the Governor Greg Abbott

Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan made a rare appearance together at the University of Texas at Dallas to announce the Texas Semiconductor Innovation Consortium Executive Committee members earlier this week.

This appearance was one of the first times that Abbott and Phelan (R-Beaumont) have been spotted together in public since the conclusion of the 88th legislative session, in which Phelan received backlash for pursuing Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment, allowing Democrats to serve as committee chairs, and failing to advance Republican priorities.

The two officials did not discuss any issues the Texas legislature dealt with during the most recent legislative session, opting not to take any questions after their prepared remarks, per The Texas Tribune.

Abbott appointed David Daniel Jr., Sameer Pendharkar, and Lawrence “Larry” Smith to the executive committee. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appointed Jeff Smith and Guy Schweppe, and Phelan appointed Eric Almgren and David Lee, according to a press release from Abbott’s office.

The terms of the seven appointees are currently set to expire at the discretion of the individual who appointed them.

Abbott applauded the semiconductor work being done in the state during the event, explaining that Texas was “the birthplace of the integrated circuit, and we now lead the nation as the No.1 state for semiconductor manufacturing,” per the press release.

“With these new appointments to the Texas Semiconductor Innovation Consortium Executive Committee, we will leverage the expertise of industry leaders and our world-class higher education institutions to ensure we not only remain the best state in America for semiconductors but we become a global leader for semiconductor innovation,” he added.

During the event, Phelan said that Lone Star State has “emerged as the nation’s leader in semiconductor manufacturing” and that the new committee will help the state “guide further statewide growth of this vital industry in the years to come.”

“Semiconductors are increasingly ubiquitous in our everyday lives, and it is important we work to ensure Texas remains at the forefront of advanced semiconductor research and design. Our state has always been America’s trailblazer, and the work done by this committee will help keep Texas a leader in innovation,” Phelan added.

Phelan faces a difficult challenge in his upcoming primary election runoff against challenger David Covey for the Texas House District 21 seat, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Covey obtained 46.3% of the votes cast during the election on March 5, compared to just 43.2% of votes received by Phelan.

Alicia Davis also received 10.4% of the votes and said she is endorsing Covey in the upcoming runoff. Davis stated that the race was “a fight about life, liberty, and property” and that Covey was the best person for the job, per her post on X.

Since none of the candidates in this race obtained at least 51% of the votes, the two are currently set to face off in the runoff election on May 28.

Phelan has been criticized for many of his stances during the most recent legislative session, including his opposition to implementing school choice in the state.

In October of 2023, the House Speaker told 12 News Now that he is “not focused on moving tax dollars around, propping up a certain type of educational system over another,” noting that he would rather focus on other issues regarding public education.

“You’ll have to talk about not just school choice, but school finance and if there’s a robust investment in public education as well as ESAs, and investment in teacher pay increase and an investment in school safety,” Phelan explained.

Conversely, Abbott, the Club for Growth, and the AFC Victory Fund have been vocal about their belief in school choice. In a press release, they said the groups have “collectively raised 8-figures to defeat the remaining anti-school freedom Republicans in the Texas State House runoff elections.”

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