On January 10, the Texas House will place their votes for Speaker of the House, a role that wields far more power than merely overseeing that chamber’s function. The Speaker has tremendous influence over which bills reach the floor for a vote through his naming of committees and appointment of committee chairs, by which he virtually sets the agenda of the lower chamber.
Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) has served as Speaker since 2021 when he was supported by both Democrats and Republicans. He was, in fact, House Democrats’ choice for Speaker. So, rather than choosing to consolidate Republican power and cement Republican policy, Phelan chose to ensure his own continuing political power, appointing 13 Democrats to committee chairmanships in February 2021 at the beginning of last year’s regular session.
Leftists have embraced Phelan as a “moderating influence on the hardliners in his party.” He has been given the thumbs up by Equality Texas, a powerful lobby that aggressively promotes pro LGBTQ legislation, gender modification, and transgender participation in sports.
Texas Values’ president, Jonathan Saenz said, “Rep. Phelan used his power last session to advance the LGBT agenda and we have not forgotten.” The organization which supports social conservative values “strongly opposes” Phelan becoming Speaker again.
Texas GOP legislative priorities committee chair, Jill Glover, decried Phelan’s lack of support for the banning of gender modification of children, something that 95% of Republicans supported in the primary. “We are very disappointed in Speaker Phelan,” Glover said.
And this is really the root issue. While it has been a longstanding tradition in the House for the Speaker to appoint members of the minority party to head some committees, 80% of GOP Texans who voted in the primary were in favor of a legislative rule ending the practice.
Enter Tony Tinderholt ((R–Arlington), a staunchly conservative combat veteran and former Freedom Caucus member who is throwing his hat in the ring for the Speakership. In an indictment of Phelan’s bipartisan style of power politics, Tinderholt said, “Most house Republicans will tell you that they fully expect many important Republican policies to die at the hands of liberal committee chairs appointed by Speaker Phelan.”
The accuracy of this assessment has not escaped the scrutiny of former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West who plainly stated, “Texas will not allow the undermining of our Texas Republic… and will not support a potential Texas speaker of the House who would seek affirmation from progressive socialist Democrats to attain that position.”
The newly-elected Rep. Brian Harrison (R-Waxahachie) tweeted, “There is an inverse relationship between Democrat committee chairs and Republican priorities that pass,” and House Republican Nate Schatzline tweeted back, “I couldn’t agree more.”
No fan of West, former Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen observed that Phelan was elected Speaker by a Republican super majority and that voters will just have to suck it up. I think such a stance only encourages complacency on the part of the populist base (which is the future of the Party) and tacitly gives our consent to being ruled rather than governed, and to empowering a professional political class rather than constituents.
Phelan’s brand of across the aisle coalitions is not meant to further his party’s legislative priorities. It is, rather, a relic of old school power politics that has largely contributed to the creation of a Republican Party of ossified controlled opposition, the saddest archeological specimen of which is the dinosaur, Mitch McConnell, who has betrayed his Republican base at every turn.
There is no mistaking the America First agenda adopted by the Texas GOP at the June convention:
- Protect our Elections
- Secure the Border and Protect Texans
- Ban Gender Modification of Children
- Stop Sexualizing Texas Kids
- Ban Democrat Chairs
- Abolish Abortion in Texas
- Defend Our Gun Rights
- Parental Rights and Educational Freedom
But The Austin Powers that be might just as well tell us outright to pipe down. To which I say stuff and nonsense, and echo Tinderholt’s call to action: “It is clear that Texas Republicans need new leadership who will fight for our values.” He cites his motivation to run for Speaker as “a lack of movement on the Republican Party’s legislative priorities.”
Tinderholt would need to rally at least twenty people to put his name forward for a serious challenge for Speaker, and though this seems unlikely, I believe we are obligated to voice our support. Here’s why. The days of playing nice with a Democratic Party that has become overtly Marxist are over. This is not the political landscape of yore, and even Bonnen admits that if he’s learned one thing from the Dems, it’s the value of refusing to be cooperative.
Last week Bryan Slaton (R–Royse City) gave his enthusiastic endorsement to Tinderholt. We’ll see what happens. But either we recognize that we are in a battle to the death with the Marxist globalists for the soul of our country, or we continue to pretend that there are two polite parties and that politics is properly done behind closed doors or over cocktails, and allow the political class to sell that soul to the highest bidder.
In my opinion, after yet another stolen election, it’s gloves off—bare knuckle populism, not panty waist pandering to the left side of the aisle. We need to breathe fire. There is only one voice that matters, that of We the People. It’s our government, and it’s time to take it back, starting with control of the Republican Party right here in our home state.
CALL TO ACTION
Contact your House Representative and tell them you support Tinderholt’s bid for Speaker.
Clearly state that you voted for Republicans in order to advance the Republican legislative agenda, and that Phelan has a proven track record of derailing those priorities, specifically by continuing the tradition of appointing Democratic committee chairs.
“Tradition” is utterly meaningless in the current political landscape in which the Democratic Party has been hijacked by its most radical element. The Republican base demands leadership that is committed to the values and issues outlined in the GOP legislative priorities for the next session, and not to placating or currying favor with the opposition.
Then reach out to our allies, Allen West, Don Huffines, and Matt Rinaldi and let them know the Republican base is riled up and we want to apply pressure on Phelan.
Rep. Abel Herrero
101 East Main Avenue
Robstown, Texas 78380
Rep. Todd Hunter
15217 SPID, Ste. # 205
Corpus Christi, Texas
GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi
The Huffines Liberty Foundation
8222 Douglas Ave Ste 250
Dallas, TX 75225
Lt. Col. Allen West
3318 Hwy 365 Suite 243
Nederland, TX 77627