Joe Straus

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Joe Straus
Joe Straus, TX Rep.jpg
Texas State House, District 121
In office
2005 - Present
Term ends
January 13, 2015
Years in position 10
Base salary$7,200
Per diem$150 per day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First elected2004
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Office website
Campaign website
Joe Straus is a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing District 121 since winning a special election in February 2005. He is the current Speaker of the House.

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]


Campaign themes

Straus' website highlights the following campaign themes:[2]

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."

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. [3]

Presidential preference


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

Joe Straus endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [4]



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.[5][6]

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


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.[7]

Texas House of Representatives, District 121
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Joe Straus (R) 32,713 100%


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).[8] He raised $378,593 for his campaign.[9]

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


In 2010, Straus received $5,265,357 in campaign donations. The top contributors are listed below.[10]


Straus raised $378,593 in 2008. His top 5 campaign contributors are listed below.[11]

Contributor 2008 total
Charles C Butt $15,000
AIM Investment Services $13,896
AT&T $12,000
Frost National Bank $9,915
Valero Energy $7,500

Legislative sessions

82nd (2011-2012)

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.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15]

External links

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Political offices
Preceded by
Texas House District 121
Succeeded by