Rice expert available to discuss Texas House Speaker Joe Straus’ decision not to seek re-election

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Office of Public Affairs / News & Media Relations

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David Ruth
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Amy McCaig
713-348-6777
amym@rice.edu

Rice expert available to discuss Texas House Speaker Joe Straus’ decision not to seek re-election

HOUSTON – (Oct. 25, 2017) – Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, announced today he will not seek re-election in 2018. Rice University political scientist Mark Jones is available to discuss the potential impact on Texas politics.

“The political center collapsed today in the Lone Star State as Straus announced he would not seek re-election,” Jones said. “Over the past decade, the center of gravity within the Texas Republican Party has shifted to the right, with the movement conservative/tea party wing in ascendency, and the centrist conservative wing in decline. Today the transformation can be seen as complete, with the movement conservative wing now in complete control, and the centrist conservative wing a mere shell of its former self.”

During the past legislative session, Jones said, it was crystal clear that the centrist conservative wing’s only remaining source of political influence and power was the Texas House under the leadership of Straus. Using his power of agenda control, Straus and his allies (such as Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, who also announced today that he would not seek re-election) blocked many pieces of legislation near and dear to movement conservative hearts, ranging from the “bathroom bill” to school choice legislation to property tax reform, Jones said.

“With Speaker Straus’ departure, the next speaker of the Texas House who assumes office in January of 2019 will be much more conservative, and much more in line politically with Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick,” Jones said. “Today, centrist conservative Republicans lost their last lever with which to control the legislative process in Austin come January of 2019.”

Jones, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies and professor of political science in Rice’s School of Social Sciences, is also a fellow at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research. He is a leading expert on Texas politics and is a frequent contributor to Texas media outlets. His research on the Texas Legislature has been widely cited in the media as well as by numerous political campaigns.

To schedule an interview with Jones, contact him directly at 832-466-6535.

Rice University has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio. ReadyCam is capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world 24/7.

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Related materials:

Mark Jones bio: https://www.bakerinstitute.org/experts/mark-p-jones/

Photo link: https://news.rice.edu/files/2014/09/mark-jones.jpg

Photo credit: Jeff Fitlow

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About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.