Dennis Bonnen’s First Moves as Presumptive Speaker

Nearly ALL of it great stuff for conservatives and a reason to hope

  1. Press Conferences announcing 109 supporters – He kept it VERY brief; only took 2 questions; Scott Braddock was first, asking if there would be Democrat chairs. “I’m glad you actually asked me that here since you already wrote that there wouldn’t be; yes, we will have Democrat chairs.” A headslap to a reporter first thing out the gate; Great stuff.  Answered that education finance would be the top priority And that was it. Less than 10 minutes.
    How he got to 109 is very important; he SPECIFICALLY did it by going through the GOP caucus FIRST to assure the super-majority needed for the GOP caucus meeting; only then started call some Democrats. He did it the RIGHT way, not as Straus did and Rep. Clardy was planning to.
  2. Picked Bryan McCall to head transition team – Bryan was a Collin County state rep with a VERY weak voting record and was being targeted by conservatives when he took a chancellor job in the UT system. Probably why he was chosen is, beyond knowing Austins ins & outs, he’s done a dissertation on Texas Speakers and knows historically the approaches they took. As transition leader, acceptable & may give some guidance on past examples.
  3. Called his #1 conservative adversary Jonathan Stickland – they apparently had a constructive conversation and Jonathan is less concerned about him as speaker. All other Freedom Caucus member were already on board.
  4. Signalling that lobbyists are not part of his actual ‘team’; Gordon Johnson is out. – This is a new and critical dynamic.
  5. Picked a pretty solid conservative as Chief of Staff – Gavin Massingill
  6. Put together a 10 member, 5R/5D to select a new Parliamentarian – this addresses complaints from BOTH sides that Straus’s parliamentarian was strictly ruling based on what Straus wanted; it had gotten ludicrous.
  7. Talked & released a joint statement with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick – about a new era of cooperative work with the conservative Senate. That will be refreshing.
  8. Named Gardner Pate as Director of Policy & General Counsel – A great choice; a long history on ethics reform and runs the conservative coalition Research Institute

So is everything just perfect?  By NO means! Anyone who has dealt with Dennis in his committees knows he is a hard case and there is some concern hi temper will get the better of him in this job (it is a MADDENING undertaking of herding feral cats). He’s been very much a ‘My way or the highway’ type in many instances. That can work FOR the conservative cause- or against it.
The jury is still out, but an exceptionally promising set of opening moves. FAR better that was expected after the election.

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