Speaker of the House
House of Representatives
The Honorable Joe Straus was re-elected Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority of House members at the commencement of the 82nd Regular Legislative Session on January 11, 2011. 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.
A fiscal conservative, Speaker Straus believes in limited government, low taxes, and spending restraint. His priorities for the state include promoting economic development, attracting new business and talent to Texas, and ensuring that our children are educated and equipped to meet the demands of the 21st century.
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, Windcrest, 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.