AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus abruptly announced today that he will not seek re-election.
Straus has served five terms as House speaker — holding the position since 2009.
On social media the San Antonio Republican said, “I believe that in a representative democracy, those who serve in public office should do so for a time, not for a lifetime.”
Straus’ current term expires in December 2018.
He made the following, lengthy, post of Facebook just minutes ago —
Straus opposed many of the top conservative priorities championed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who oversees the Texas Senate. This session, his chamber was instrumental in blocking the “bathroom bill” targeting transgender students.
The House speaker decides committee assignments and Straus used top lieutenants to block top legislation such as the bathroom bill. Conservative groups have for years decried Straus as a closet Democrat, but he crushed primary challenges backed by the tea party movement in recent electoral cycles.
In January, his colleagues elected Straus to a record-tying fifth term unanimously — signifying that he was at the height of his power.
“It’s been decades since someone has left the Speaker’s office on his own terms,” Straus said. “But we have accomplished what I had hoped the House would accomplish when I first entered this office, and I am increasingly eager to contribute to our state in new and different ways.”