Last month, I created a couple of new House committees to focus on issues that warrant extra attention and study before the next legislative session begins in January 2019. One of those new committees will look at substance abuse in Texas and the opioid epidemic.
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus announced Wednesday that he will not run for re-election to the Texas House in 2018. Speaker Straus’ time as a State Representative and as Speaker will end at the conclusion of his current term.
Speaker Straus was first elected a Member of the Texas House in a 2005 special election. In early 2009, less than four years later, his colleagues unanimous elected him Speaker. He has since been re-elected Speaker four times, and in every Speaker’s race he has won the support of an overwhelming majority of Republicans and an overwhelming majority of Democrats.
Texas has a great record when it comes to private-sector job creation. But we cannot allow our past success to make us complacent in the future. It's important that we continue to approach public policy in a way that will encourage job creation and economic opportunity.
The state's role in Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts will be a priority issue in the next legislative session. And in order to get it right, the work has already begun. Last week, several House committees held hearings to look at how the Legislature can best help our fellow Texans affected by this tragic storm.
The immediate response to Hurricane Harvey has been remarkable across the state. From the brave men and women who rescued neighbors and strangers, to the millions of Texans who donated money and food, we have seen the very best of our fellow Texans.
The immediate response will continue to be critical, including the relief dollars from Washington that the Texas congressional delegation is working hard to secure. But a longer-term response to this storm, and a close look at how to prevent such severe flooding in the future, will also be needed. And it's time for that work to begin.