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Texas House Speakers Oral History Project -
Speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus. Courtesy of the Office of the Speaker of the Texas House.
The 81st Regular Legislative Session,
January 13 – June 1, 2009
The 81st First Called Session,
July 1 – July 2, 2009
The 82nd Regular Legislative Session,
January 11 – May 30, 2011
The 82st First Called Session,
May 31 – June 29, 2011
The 83rd Regular Legislative Session,
January 8 – May 27, 2013
The Honorable Joe Straus was re-elected Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives by a unanimous vote at the commencement of the 83rd Regular Legislative Session on January 8, 2013. 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.
In addition to serving as Speaker, he represents San Antonio's 121st District, 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 (79th Regular Session).
His first session as Speaker, in 2009, was widely viewed as a success as legislators reduced taxes, set aside billions in a rainy day fund, and invested more money in priorities including education, college scholarships, and health care. During his service as a member of the Legislature, Speaker Straus has been a leader on economic issues, common sense tax relief, and energy efficiency measures. In the 2007 Legislative Session, Speaker Straus served on the Committee on Economic Development as Vice Chairman, the Committee on Regulated Industries, and the Committee on Local and Consent Calendars. In 2007, he authored legislation eliminating the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund tax, saving consumers more than $200 million a year in taxes.
In addition to presiding over the Texas House, Speaker Straus serves as the co-chair of the Legislative Budget Board, the State Preservation Board, the Legislative Audit Committee, and the Texas Legislative Council. He is one of five members on the Legislative Redistricting Board. Speaker Straus also serves as a member of the Texas House Republican Caucus.
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.