Speaker of the House

Rep. Straus, Joe

District 121

Email

Capitol Address:

Room 2W.13

P.O. Box 2910

Austin, TX 78768

(512) 463-1000

(512) 463-0675 Fax

District Address:

7373 Broadway Suite 402

San Antonio, Texas 78209

(210) 828-4411

(210) 832-9994 Fax

Bills Authored/Sponsored 85th Legislature:

Committees:

    No committees

Counties Represented:

Bexar (part)

District:

Biography

The Honorable Joe Straus has been Speaker of the Texas House since January 2009, elected to that post by his colleagues at the start of the last five legislative sessions. He was most recently re-elected Speaker with a vote of 150-0 in January 2017. As Speaker, Joe Straus has set a tone of respectful leadership, empowering the members of the Texas House to do what is right for their constituents and for the people of Texas.

Speaker Straus believes in a limited, efficient government that is accountable to taxpayers. He wants to expand opportunity for all Texans by promoting economic development, improving education, increasing budget transparency, and securing the resources and infrastructure needed for private-sector growth. He regularly encourages his colleagues to work together, across partisan and geographic divides, to provide thoughtful solutions to the most serious challenges facing the state.

In addition to serving as Speaker, he represents Texas House District 121, which includes the Bexar County communities of Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, Terrell Hills, and northeast San Antonio. Speaker Straus was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in a special election in February 2005.

In December 2017, the Dallas Morning News named Speaker Straus the “Texan of the Year,” an honor whose past recipients include President George W. Bush, Admiral Bill McRaven and the heroes of Fort Hood. The Morning News praised Speaker Straus’ focus on economic competitiveness and the stand he took against “bathroom bill” policies that would have caused significant harm to the Texas economy. The newspaper wrote that Speaker Straus “protected Texas from some of its worst political impulses, prevented serious damage to the economy, and brought together enough bipartisans to check the far-right dominance in the Republican Party. . .For his uncommon impact, Joe Straus is the 15th Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year.”

In the 2017 legislative session, Speaker Straus led the House in making significant reforms to the state’s mental health system. Those reforms provided additional resources for early intervention, jail-diversion programs, and effective local initiatives. The House also overhauled the state’s Child Protective Services system and provided funding for more than 1,000 new caseworkers in order to more quickly respond to children in need. Speaker Straus and the members of the House also took the lead in successfully closing a $1 billion shortfall in TRS-Care, which is the health insurance program for retired Texas educators.

Speaker Straus has also led the push for school finance reforms that put more dollars into the classroom, reduce the state’s dependence on high property taxes, and keep more local dollars in local schools. Under his leadership, the House repeatedly supported significant school-finance reform legislation. He has also led the successful effort to reduce excessive standardized testing, strengthen career readiness in public schools, and elevate more Texas universities to Tier One status.

Speaker Straus has also put a focus on keeping the Texas private-sector economy competitive. In late 2017, he created the House Committee on Economic Competitiveness in order to assess the steps that Texas needs to take to maintain its economic strength in the future. He led the successful push in 2013 to make a significant investment in addressing the state’s water shortage, and under his leadership in 2015, the House invested billions of new dollars in transportation.

The House has passed balanced and responsible budgets in each of the five legislative sessions that Speaker Straus has been presiding officer. The House has also cut billions of dollars in taxes under Speaker Straus’ leadership.

Thanks to his leadership on water and other critical issues, Texas Monthly named Speaker Straus one of the state's "Ten Best Legislators" in 2013. Calling him "one of the more genteel and thoughtful Speakers in recent memory," the magazine also wrote, "Straus's greatest assets are his intelligence and his temperament. Time after time, when a crisis arose, he remained unflappable."

In February 2014, the San Antonio Express-News wrote in an editorial, "Under Straus's leadership, the House has produced conservative budgets and a broad conservative agenda. Straus has done an admirable job managing the House since 2009, and he provides crucial leadership on important San Antonio issues. His constituents benefit significantly by having the Speaker represent their district."

As a lifelong Republican, Speaker Straus has served on numerous campaign committees for federal, state, and local candidates, as a precinct chairman, and on the Management Committee of the Bexar County Republican Party. In 1986, he was U.S. Representative Lamar Smith's campaign manager in Smith's first race for Congress. Early in his career, he worked in public service in the administrations of President Ronald Reagan and President George H. W. Bush.

Speaker Straus is a San Antonio native and a fifth-generation Texan. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, he has an insurance, investments, and executive benefits practice. He and his wife Julie have two daughters.

El Honorable Joe Straus ha sido presidente de la Cámara de Texas desde enero de 2009, elegido para ese puesto por sus colegas al inicio de las últimas cuatro sesiones legislativas. Como presidente, Joe Straus ha establecido un tono de liderazgo respetuoso, facultando a los miembros de la Cámara de Texas para hacer lo correcto a favor de sus electores y del pueblo de Texas.

El presidente Straus cree en un gobierno limitado y eficiente, y responsable ante los contribuyentes. Desea incrementar las oportunidades para todos los texanos promoviendo el desarrollo económico, mejorando la educación, aumentando la transparencia presupuestaria, y asegurando los recursos y la infraestructura necesarios para el crecimiento del sector privado. Motiva regularmente a sus colegas a trabajar de manera conjunta, más allá de las divisiones partidistas y geográficas, para proporcionar soluciones pensadas a los desafíos más serios que enfrenta el estado.

Además de fungir como Presidente, representa al Distrito 121 de la Cámara de Texas, que incluye las comunidades de Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, Terrell Hills del condado de Bexar y el noreste de San Antonio. El presidente Straus fue elegido, por primera vez, a la Cámara de Representantes de Texas en una elección especial en febrero de 2005.

Ha encaminado, en repetidas ocasiones, a la Cámara de Representantes a aprobar presupuestos equilibrados y promover el crecimiento del sector privado. Bajo su liderazgo en la sesión legislativa de 2015, la Cámara garantizó $4 mil millones en recortes tributarios al aprobar un presupuesto equilibrado que prioriza la educación, el transporte, la seguridad pública y la atención de salud mental.

El presidente Straus y sus colegas de la Cámara también han liderado, con éxito, diversos esfuerzos para reducir el exceso de exámenes en las escuelas públicas y para lograr que el presupuesto estatal sea más transparente y responsable ante los contribuyentes.

Durante la sesión legislativa de 2013, el presidente Straus lideró el esfuerzo para hacer frente a la escasez de agua, cada vez más grave del estado. Reconociendo la importancia de un suministro de agua confiable para el crecimiento económico, el presidente Straus consiguió el respaldo de un plan para asegurar el suministro de agua a largo plazo, sin aumentar los impuestos. Más tarde, ese mismo año, dirigió la campaña pública para adjudicar fondos para el agua en la Constitución de Texas. En noviembre de 2013, los votantes de Texas aprobaron ese plan por un margen de casi 3 a 1, lo que representa un paso adelante para la economía de Texas.

Gracias a su liderazgo en asuntos de agua y otros asuntos críticos, Texas Monthly nombró al presidente Straus uno de los Diez Mejores Legisladores del estado en el 2013. Llamándolo "uno de los oradores más gentiles y reflexivos de los últimos tiempos", la revista también escribió, "los mayores activos de Straus son su inteligencia y su temperamento. Una y otra vez, en los momentos de crisis, se mantuvo sereno".

En febrero de 2014, el periódico San Antonio Express-News, escribió en un editorial, "Bajo el liderazgo de Straus, la Cámara ha elaborado presupuestos conservadores y ha gozado de una amplia agenda conservadora. Straus ha desempeñado una labor admirable de manejo de la Cámara desde 2009, y su liderazgo es crucial en asuntos importantes para San Antonio. Sus electores se benefician de manera significativa de que el Presidente represente a su distrito".

Como republicano de toda la vida, el presidente Straus ha sido miembro de numerosos comités de candidatos de campañas federales, estatales y locales, ya sea como presidente de distrito electoral o en el Comité Directivo del Partido Republicano del condado de Bexar. En 1986, administró la campaña del congresista Lamar Smith en la primera postulación de Smith para el Congreso. Al principio de su carrera, trabajó en el servicio público en las administraciones del presidente Ronald Reagan y del presidente George H. W. Bush.

El presidente Straus es nativo de San Antonio y texano de quinta generación. Graduado de la Universidad de Vanderbilt, es propietario de una empresa de seguros, inversiones y beneficios ejecutivos. Él y su esposa, Julie, tienen dos hijas.

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