End of 'chamber of commerce' era with Joe Straus' departure

- He's tied for the longest-serving Texas Speaker of the House, but he will not try to break that record. Joe Straus says enough is enough. He will not campaign again.

"I tried to lead in unconventional ways in today’s divided politics and I've taken some arrows for it because I try to bring people together and I make no apology for working across party lines," says Straus.

It was the working across political party lines that endeared Straus to moderate and so-called "chamber of commerce" Republicans and Democrats. He managed to scuttle legislation like the so-called "bathroom bill" during the last legislative session.

Texas Southern University professor of political science Jay Aiyer says Straus' departure will undoubtedly mean a political shift to the right for the Texas Republican party and the state of Texas. 

"It would be almost unimaginable that the next Speaker not be to his right and the next speaker will probably be more inclined to work with the Governor and the Lt. Governor or certainly not stand as strong as Joe Straus did," says Aiyer.

Both the Governor and the Lt. Governor have been strong critics of the Speaker. They aren't the only ones.

“This is a huge sea change,” says Republican Texas state Senator Paul Bettencourt. He explains that with Straus gone, Republicans can get things done..

“I’m actually optimistic," adds Sen. Bettencourt. "I'm announcing my reelection campaign today. It happens to be coincidental but more importantly, I have optimism that we can actually pass property tax relief because opposition from the Speaker makes it almost impossible to make a big public policy change.”

Straus will leave office in December.

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