The Ellis County Republican Party held a special called meeting Thursday, Dec. 13, in order to pass a resolution urging Republican representatives to vote Speaker of the House Joe Straus out. By a show of hands vote, the resolution passed 15-4.
Chairman Dan Davis apologized to everyone for the short notice, but said the resolution is time sensitive and must be dealt with immediately.
“Three individuals approached me and said we need to have a special meeting to discuss the matter,” Davis said. “I have decided to give those three people five minutes to make their point. Then I’m going to allow three individuals who are opposed to the idea an opportunity to make their point.”
Committee member Harlon Bounds was the first to take to the podium and give his statement. Bounds said he’s for passing the resolution, because he doesn’t believe Straus is good for the state of Texas.
“We need our state representative to stand up and represent us by seeing that Straus is taken out of the House,” Bounds said. “This resolution is not damaging in any way to our representative.”
Furthermore, Bounds said Straus does not adhere to the Republican platform, and therefore should not be Speaker of the House.
One of the statements in the proposal said, “Through his political stance on issues as important to us as the right to life and the definition of a marriage as being between a man and a woman, he (Straus) has strayed from our principles. Given the fact that he has in the past voted in favor of gay adoption and gay foster parenting, and is on the record saying, ‘I support existing laws as they relate to abortion’ he has apparently rejected our party’s principles as spelled out in our Republican platform.”
Alan Maples said he’s all for the resolution and is tired of Straus railroading things.
“Straus doesn’t represent the Republicans, he represents himself,” Maples said. “Rep. Jim Pitts should know our will and he must know that Straus is not good for us.”
It is the fact that Straus tends to vote very liberal that has caused Linda Dunn to doubt his ability to properly represent the Republicans as Speaker of the House.
“It’s pretty blatant to see someone declaring he’s a Republican taking a liberal stance when it comes to serious issues,” Dunn said. “If you don’t have a true Republican serving on committees, you are not going to have conservative ideas coming forth. That should be a true concern of ours.”
Once those who were for the resolution presented their comments, those who were against the idea spoke as to why they weren’t in favor of it.
First to take a stance was Maurice Osborne. Osborne said he wasn’t necessarily opposed to the resolution, but it was the wording that he had a problem with.
“I’ve been involved in the political arena for many years now,” Osborne said. “And one thing we must understand is that politics is all about power – sad but true. Rep. Pitts holds the third most powerful chair in the state. I suggest we get our point across without causing offense to anyone.”
Several along with Osborne had issues with this portion of the resolution, “That we, the Ellis County Republican Party, speaking through our executive committee, do hereby expect and urge Republican representatives from across the great state of Texas, including Rep. Jim Pitts, to caucus prior to the commencement for the vote for Speaker to elect a new Speaker who more accurately reflects the principles of our party, as stated in the 2012 Texas Republican Platform.”
Osborne added that having a voice is important and needed, but they must be careful how they go about making their point heard.
Don Wilson wasn’t necessarily opposed to the resolution, but how the party went about organizing the meeting and some of the language used in the document were two of his main concerns.
“My concern is not about the meat of the resolution,” Wilson expressed. “But I’m concerned about the short notice of such an important meeting. I didn’t see the need for an emergency meeting. I felt it was something that could have waited until after the holidays.”
Wilson also expressed that if the party had another candidate in mind, that their name should have been included in the resolution.
“I don’t support Straus, but I am questioning the process we are taking to make our point,” he said. “I’m concerned that some of the perceptions of the new people are incorrect and we need to do a better job exchanging information.”
Wilson said it’s important for everyone to have the facts clear in order to properly handle a situation such as this. He disagreed with Maples on the stance that Straus has a tendency to railroad people and issues.
“The feedback I’ve gotten from people in Austin is that he’s conducting business the way he is supposed to,” he said.
After several heated discussions, a strict critiquing of the document took place and the resolution was passed.
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