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Difference between revisions of "Joe Straus"

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===University of Texas investigations===
 
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::''See also: [[Wallace Hall impeachment trial]], [[Forgivable loans program at the University of Texas Law School]] and [[Political favoritism in admissions to the University of Texas]]''
 
::''See also: [[Wallace Hall impeachment trial]], [[Forgivable loans program at the University of Texas Law School]] and [[Political favoritism in admissions to the University of Texas]]''
 
After he was appointed in 2011, [[University of Texas System Board of Regents|University of Texas Regent]] [[Wallace Hall]] began looking into what he believed to be clout scandals within the University of Texas system. Hall investigated the university's [[Forgivable loans program at the University of Texas Law School|forgivable-loans program]] and admissions policies and preferential treatment to politically-connected individuals.<ref>[http://spectator.org/archives/2013/10/25/transparency-for-thee ''American Spectator'' "Transparency for Thee," October 25, 2013]</ref> Hall, as an individual citizen, filed a large number of FOIA requests with the University system after his inquiries via his role as a Regent were rebuffed.<ref>[http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news/2013/09/28/regent-wallace-hall-sen-kirk-watson-debate-regents-role-impeachment ''Daily Texas Online'' "Facing impeachment, Regent Wallace Hall defends actions in debate with Sen. Kirk Watson," September 28, 2013]</ref> Hall filed requests of more than 800,000 pages, which some Texas administrators called an unnecessary burden.<ref>[http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news/2013/10/24/former-ut-system-vice-chancellor-alleges-regent-wallace-hall%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98clear-intent-to-get ''Daily Texas Online'' "Former UT System vice chancellor alleges Regent Wallace Hall’s ‘clear intent to get rid of Bill Powers’," October 24, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/headlines/20131022-ut-regent-sought-800000-documents-official-says-in-impeachment-hearing.ece ''Dallas Morning News'' "UT regent sought 800,000 documents, official says in impeachment hearing," October 22, 2013]</ref>
 
After he was appointed in 2011, [[University of Texas System Board of Regents|University of Texas Regent]] [[Wallace Hall]] began looking into what he believed to be clout scandals within the University of Texas system. Hall investigated the university's [[Forgivable loans program at the University of Texas Law School|forgivable-loans program]] and admissions policies and preferential treatment to politically-connected individuals.<ref>[http://spectator.org/archives/2013/10/25/transparency-for-thee ''American Spectator'' "Transparency for Thee," October 25, 2013]</ref> Hall, as an individual citizen, filed a large number of FOIA requests with the University system after his inquiries via his role as a Regent were rebuffed.<ref>[http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news/2013/09/28/regent-wallace-hall-sen-kirk-watson-debate-regents-role-impeachment ''Daily Texas Online'' "Facing impeachment, Regent Wallace Hall defends actions in debate with Sen. Kirk Watson," September 28, 2013]</ref> Hall filed requests of more than 800,000 pages, which some Texas administrators called an unnecessary burden.<ref>[http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news/2013/10/24/former-ut-system-vice-chancellor-alleges-regent-wallace-hall%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98clear-intent-to-get ''Daily Texas Online'' "Former UT System vice chancellor alleges Regent Wallace Hall’s ‘clear intent to get rid of Bill Powers’," October 24, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/headlines/20131022-ut-regent-sought-800000-documents-official-says-in-impeachment-hearing.ece ''Dallas Morning News'' "UT regent sought 800,000 documents, official says in impeachment hearing," October 22, 2013]</ref>
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Revision as of 10:17, 7 December 2013

Joe Straus
Joe Straus, TX Rep.jpg
Texas State House, District 121
Incumbent
In office
2005 - Present
Term ends
January 13, 2015
Years in position 9
PartyRepublican
Compensation
Base salary$7,200/year
Per diem$150/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First elected2004
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Websites
Office website
Campaign website
CandidateVerification
Joe Straus is a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing District 121. He was first elected to the chamber in a special election in February 2005. He is the current Speaker of the House.

Biography

Straus has worked as Deputy Director of Business Liaison and Assistant to the Commissioner of Customs for the United States Department of Commerce.

He is a member of the Cancer Therapy and Research Center Advisory Board, San Antonio Zoological Society Board of Directors, Southwest School of Art and Craft Advisory Board, South Texas Blood & Tissue Center Advisory Board, Texas Nature Conservancy Board of Directors, Winston School Board of Directors, and member of National Financial Partners.[1]

Committee assignments

2013-2014

At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Straus served on the following committees:

Texas Committee Assignments, 2013

Issues

2011 speaker race

Straus was elected Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives for a second term at the start of the 82nd legislative session on January 11, 2010 in a 132-15 vote. The lead up to the speaker vote was a hot and heavily covered political issue in Texas, but finished anticlimactically. Ken Paxton of District 70 and Warren Chisum of District 88 challenged Straus for the speaker seat by calling his conservative principles into question and promising leadership that more closely reflected the conservative Republican majority. While the rhetoric remained high amongst conservative activists and a handful of representatives right until the vote, both Chisum and Paxton dropped out of the race prior to the formal vote after it was overwhelmingly apparent Straus would keep his speaker seat.[2]

A showdown between Republican conservatives and moderates had been brewing since the day Joe Straus grabbed the gavel from Tom Craddick in 2009 in a move that soured conservatives across Texas. Straus had long been accused of being a RINO (Republican In Name Only). This perception amongst many Texas conservatives was at the heart of the tensions in the 2011 Speaker race. As evidence for their case Straus' opponents pointed to the fact the he became Speaker with just 11 moderate Republican votes and 65 Democrats.[3] Opponents also placed blame with Straus for the failure of pet conservative legislation during his first term as Speaker, such as voter identification and requiring women to view a sonogram before receiving an abortion.[4]

In response to these claims Straus pointed out that the makeup of the House was much different in 2009 when Republicans held only a slight 76-74 majority over Democrats. Straus, and his supporters contended that such across the aisle cooperation was required to effectively lead in the political environment of the time. Straus maintained that his commitment to conservative principles was unwavering. Supporters pointed to his work with conservative groups and donations to conservative causes in response to the repeated RINO allegations.[5]

Water infrastructure reform

Straus expressed strong support for the referendum issue Proposition 6. The measure was approved overwhelmingly, 73.4 to 26.6 percent. Proposition 6 will withdraw $2 billion out of the state's rainy day fund, which is growing by roughly $2 billion per year due to oil and gas industry growth, and invest those $2 billion in the state's water infrastructure. At a "State of Water" event rallying support for Proposition 6, Straus noted that, "Water is essential for life. Nothing’s as important as water, fundamentally."[6][7]

University of Texas investigations


Seal of Texas.svg.png

University of Texas Investigations

Background
Wallace Hall impeachment trialPolitical favoritism in admissions to the University of TexasForgivable loans program at the University of Texas Law School House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations (TSAO)Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Ed Governance, Excellence & Transparency

UT Regents
Wallace HallPaul FosterEugene PowellSteven HicksErnest AlisedaJeffery HildebrandBrenda PejovichAlex CranbergRobert Stillwell

Elected Officials
Rick PerryJoe StrausCharles PerryTrey FischerDan FlynnNaomi GonzalezEric JohnsonLyle LarsonCarol AlvaradoFour PriceJim PittsDan Branch

UT Individuals
Bill PowersLarry SagerBarry BurgdorfKevin HegartyFrancisco CigarroaCarol Longoria
See also: Wallace Hall impeachment trial, Forgivable loans program at the University of Texas Law School and Political favoritism in admissions to the University of Texas

After he was appointed in 2011, University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall began looking into what he believed to be clout scandals within the University of Texas system. Hall investigated the university's forgivable-loans program and admissions policies and preferential treatment to politically-connected individuals.[8] Hall, as an individual citizen, filed a large number of FOIA requests with the University system after his inquiries via his role as a Regent were rebuffed.[9] Hall filed requests of more than 800,000 pages, which some Texas administrators called an unnecessary burden.[10][11]

An effort was begun in June 2013 to try and impeach Hall from his position as Regent. On June 24, 2013, State House representative Jim Pitts (R) filed a resolution to advance along impeachment proceedings of Hall by the select committee.[12] However, Straus issued a proclamation that expanded the jurisdiction of the Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, allowing it to investigate a possible impeachment. Some legislators are justifying the impeachment under the grounds that Hall did not disclose several lawsuits that he was involved in when he originally completed his Regent background check. Hall updated Governor Rick Perry's office in April 2013 with the full list.[13][14] No unelected official has ever been successfully impeached or removed from office.[15] Governor of Texas Rick Perry's spokesperson said the investigations send a "chilling message" to gubernatorial appointees.[16] He added that the investigation was "extraordinary political theater."[17] Texas state legislators have never previously tried to remove an appointed official. Only two elected officials in the history of Texas have ever been successfully impeached.[18][19]

In November 2013, committee member Trey Martinez Fischer submitted a request indicating a desire to look at Hall's personal computers, iPads and smartphones as part of the investigation. "we must consider forensic examination of the personal or professional electronic communications of the regents in order to ensure compliance with the law," Fischer wrote in a letter to committee attorney Rusty Hardin.[20]

At a November 12, 2013 meeting, the committee issued a subpoena for Hall to appear on December 10. However, legislators quickly rescinded the subpoena, since no meeting was scheduled until December 18. Legislators also voted to issue subpoenas to University of Texas Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and University of Texas, Austin President Bill Powers to appear at the December 18, 2013 meeting.[21][22][23][24]

81st Legislature (2009-2010)

  • HB 122 - Relating to the use of certain court costs in a criminal case for municipal programs enhancing public safety and security.
  • HB 135 - Relating to the elimination of straight-party voting.
  • HB 346 - Relating to the refund of the sales taxes imposed on real property repair and remodeling services for certain energy efficient facilities.
  • HB 347 - Relating to the establishment of railroad quiet zones outside the boundaries of certain municipalities.
  • HCR 123 - Honoring the recipients of the 2009 Texas Medal of Arts Awards.
  • HR 4 - In memory of Dulcenea Maria "Nellie" Munoz of Georgetown.
  • HR 498 - Congratulating Alan W. Dreeben of San Antonio on his receipt of the Chairman's Award from the Texas State University System.
  • HR 1139 - Congratulating Dr. Lee E. Henderson on the occasion of his retirement from Prairie View A&M University.
  • HR 1279 - Commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille and recognizing the Braille Revival League of Texas.
  • HR 2261 - Congratulating Representative Norma Chavez on her graduation from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2009.
  • HR 2416 - Commemorating the baptism of Ella Rachel Drai of Houston. [25]

Campaign themes

2012

Straus' website highlighted the following campaign themes:[26]

Respectful Leadership

  • Excerpt:"At a time when the most divisive voices seem to dominate politics, Joe Straus sets a different, respectful tone. He works to bring people together and get things done. He’s a principled, effective leader who gets results, and we can all be proud to have him representing us."

Fiscal Conservative

  • Excerpt:"Joe Straus is a strong fiscal conservative who most recently led the Texas House of Representatives to balance the State budget by cutting more than $14 billion in spending instead of raising taxes. He’s one of the few Legislators ever to lead efforts to abolish a tax, saving taxpayers roughly $200 million a year thanks to his passage of legislation that abolished the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund tax once it had served its purpose."

Education First

  • Excerpt:"At a time when other areas of the budget were getting fewer dollars, Joe made public schools a top priority. Although legislators were not able to fully fund the existing formulas for enrollment growth, they did provide additional funds to our public schools at a time when many other areas lost dollars."

Jobs & Economy

  • Excerpt:"Joe Straus is a champion of policies that encourage job creation and economic growth. He knows that it’s the small business owners, entrepreneurs and private sector that create jobs – not government – so he works to keep the tax burden low and state laws and regulations fair and reasonable. He’s focused on improving statewide economic development efforts and attracting more high-paying manufacturing jobs to Texas."

Endorsements

Presidential preference

2012

See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Joe Straus endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [27]

Elections

2012

See also: Texas House of Representatives elections, 2012

Straus won re-election in the 2012 election for Texas House of Representatives, District 121. Straus defeated Matt Beebe in the May 29 primary election and defeated Arthur M. Thomas, IV (L) in the general election, which took place on November 6, 2012.[28][29]

Texas House of Representatives, District 121, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJoe Straus Incumbent 80.2% 50,530
     Libertarian Arthur Thomas IV 19.8% 12,444
Total Votes 62,974


Texas House of Representatives District 121 Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJoe Straus Incumbent 62.9% 10,366
Matt Beebe 37.1% 6,109
Total Votes 16,475

2010

See also: Texas House of Representatives elections, 2010

Straus won re-election in District 121. He was unopposed in the March 2 Republican primary and defeated Libertarian Barry Allison in the November 2 general election.[30]

Texas House of Representatives, District 121
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent


Green check mark transparent.png Joe Straus (R) 32,713 100%

2008

On November 4, 2008, Straus won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives from the 121st District, receiving 44,472 votes ahead of Libertarian Arthur Thomas IV (11,380).[31] He raised $378,593 for his campaign.[32]

Texas House of Representatives, District 121
Candidates Votes Percent


Green check mark transparent.png Joe Straus (R) 44,472 79.62%
Arthur M. Thomas, IV 11,380 20.37%

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Straus is available dating back to 2006. Based on available campaign finance records, Straus raised a total of $12,873,441 during that time period. This information was last updated on August 15, 2013.[33]

Joe Straus's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Texas State House, District 121 Won $6,551,013
2010 Texas State House, District 121 Won $5,265,357
2008 Texas State House, District 121 Won $378,593
2006 Texas State House, District 121 Won $678,478
Grand Total Raised $12,873,441

2012

Straus won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2012. During that election cycle, Straus raised a total of $6,551,013.

2010

Straus won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2010. During that election cycle, Straus raised a total of $5,265,357.

2008

Straus won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2008. During that election cycle, Straus raised a total of $378,593.

2006

Straus won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2006. During that election cycle, Straus raised a total of $678,478.

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External links

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References

  1. Project Vote Smart - Rep. Straus
  2. Texas Tribune, "Straus formally voted speaker", January 11, 2010
  3. 'Houston Chronicle, "2 Texas House members jump to GOP", December 14, 2010
  4. The Statesman, "Non-Texans take interest in House speaker's race" January 4th, 2011
  5. Texas Insider, "Speaker's race update", December 1, 2010
  6. YourHoustonNews.com, "Speaker Straus, GHP discuss ‘State of Water’ in Texas," September 30, 2013
  7. Texas Tribune "Texas Voters Approve Nine Constitutional Amendments," November 6, 2013
  8. American Spectator "Transparency for Thee," October 25, 2013
  9. Daily Texas Online "Facing impeachment, Regent Wallace Hall defends actions in debate with Sen. Kirk Watson," September 28, 2013
  10. Daily Texas Online "Former UT System vice chancellor alleges Regent Wallace Hall’s ‘clear intent to get rid of Bill Powers’," October 24, 2013
  11. Dallas Morning News "UT regent sought 800,000 documents, official says in impeachment hearing," October 22, 2013
  12. Alcalde "Pitts Files Resolution to Impeach UT Regent Wallace Hall," June 24, 2013
  13. Texas Tribune "UT Regent Wallace Hall Updates Lawsuit Disclosures," April 30, 2013
  14. Real Clear Policy "The Campaign Against Wallace Hall," August 15, 2013
  15. News-Journal "University of Texas regent not worried by impeachment inquiry," September 9, 2013
  16. Texas Tribune "Transparency Committee to Mull Impeachment of UT Regent," June 25, 2013
  17. Texas Tribune "Perry Blasts Impeachment Probe of Wallace Hall," October 30, 2013
  18. Texas Public Radio "UT Regent Wallace Hall Will Testify In Impeachment Hearing," November 13, 2013
  19. Texas State House Committees "Transparency in State Agency Operations Committee Members," Accessed October 31, 2013
  20. Texas Tribune "Lawmaker Eyes Access to UT Regents' Computers," November 4, 2013
  21. San Francisco Chronicle "Texas House subpoenas Hall, but then recalls it," November 12, 2013
  22. Texas Tribune "UT System Lawyer: Hall May Have Shared Private Info," November 12, 2013
  23. Austin American Statesman "UT Regent Wallace Hall might have broken privacy laws, panel members suggest," November 12, 2013
  24. Texas Tribune "Committee Recalls Subpoena for UT Regent Hall," November 12, 2013
  25. Texas Legislature - Bills Authored/Joint Authored by Rep. Straus
  26. joestraus.org - Issues
  27. KETK, "Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus endorses Romney," February 21, 2012
  28. Texas GOP list of candidates for 2012 Elections
  29. Office of the (Texas) Secretary of State, "Race Summary Report," accessed July 12, 2012
  30. Official Texas Election Results
  31. Texas House official election results for 2008
  32. District 121 Texas House candidate funds, 2008
  33. Follow the Money, "Straus, Joe," accessed August 15, 2013
Political offices
Preceded by
'
Texas House District 121
2005–present
Succeeded by
NA