WATCH: Incoming speaker of the Texas House discusses priorities
AUSTIN, Texas — Dade Phelan, presumptive speaker of the Texas House, answered questions Monday morning about his priorities for the 2021 legislative session, his leadership style and goals as speaker, and how he plans to work with members of both parties to pass legislation, including measures to address Texans’ economic and health needs.
Phelan announced Nov. 4 that he had secured enough votes to become speaker of the Texas House for the 2021 legislative session. Shortly after, he released a list of 83 members from the chamber’s wide ideological spectrum and from nearly every part of the state supporting his candidacy.
Despite bi-partisan support, Phelan hasn’t gotten a universally warm reception. Texas GOP Chair Allen West, who does not get to vote on the next speaker since he is not a House member, said in November that the state party “will not support, nor accept” Phelan as the next House speaker. Other Republicans have also been critical of Phelan’s speaker bid, arguing that it was not done with sufficient transparency.
House members will officially cast a vote for speaker on Tuesday, the first day of the legislative session, though Phelan has already started his ascent into the speaker’s office, tapping one of his former bosses, former state Sen. Tommy Williams, to lead his transition team and naming Capitol veteran Julia Rathgeber to serve as his chief of staff.
Phelan, R-Beaumont, has represented state House District 21 since 2015. Previously, he served as chair of the House State Affairs Committee and was selected as a U.S. foreign delegate to China and Taiwan by the American Council of Young Political Leaders.
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