Lubbock lawmakers on Speaker Straus's exit and future succession

Lubbock lawmakers on Speaker Straus's exit and future succession

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

It's no secret the "big three" -- Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Speaker Joe Straus -- didn't get along during the last legislative session, leading to a special session and several bills failing.

The Texas Tribune hosted all three Lubbock lawmakers Friday, first looking back on the controversial regular and special 85th Legislative sessions.

Senator Charles Perry and representatives Dustin Burrows and John Frullo, say they're proud of the laws they each put forward and passed, but lament the ones that fell short of the governor's desk.

The legislators tackle the more contentious issue of the 2019 House Speaker race. Last month, House Speaker Joe Straus announced he's resigning at the end of his term, sending shockwaves through the Texas government. 

The stage is set to be an exciting and contentious time to find a replacement for the San Antonio district representative who's served as the Speaker since 2009.

"I want someone who is willing to listen to conservative ideas," Burrows said.

"It's going to be a conservative speaker, we want a conservative speaker," Frullo said.

"The next speaker will be a little more right, I'm guessing, or at least a little more open," Perry said.

The three lawmakers agree on the type they want to see in the future, but looking back, they have mixed opinions on how Straus performed in office.

Moderator and Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith asked the representatives if they would've re-elected Straus.

"I don't know who else was running, I mean that's also the thing," Burrows said. "I actually told a lot of people I didn't think he was coming back, there was a lot of signals of it."

Frullo had a different reflection on if he would've voted for Straus.

"Most likely, I think that he was leading the charge and we were going to change this process, go through that and we would see what that comes up with."

That change of process is a Texas House Republican Caucus working group. The party's considering a move to unite GOP members on one candidate before the floor vote. 

Burrows, who serves on that working group, said it would empower Republican choice.

"I want to see more party unity. I truly do. I want to see Republicans from all spectrums within the party trying to work together and unite."

That unification, Perry said, was not there for state leadership during the legislative sessions.

"I want our big three to work together and that was the loss of the last session. Our big three did not connect and work together. There was a suppression of the Republican party inside of that chamber to the point where it boiled over."

The next legislative session begins in January 2019. That's when lawmakers will vote on the succession. There is an election between now and then, so there will be at least a few freshmen entering the chamber.

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