Republican Party of Texas Statement On House Republican Caucus Release

Monday, October 21, 2019

Sam Pohl,

Republican Party of Texas Statement On House Republican Caucus Release

On Friday the House Republican Caucus met and released a statement condemning the language and actions of Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and former Chair Dustin Burrows during a meeting with Empower Texans’ Michael Quinn Sullivan. In September the Republican Party of Texas’ (RPT) State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) passed a resolution regarding this meeting. The SREC resolution demanded truth and transparency, while encouraging “a higher standard of always doing what is ethical instead of a lower standard of what may be legal.” All in the face of “significant concerns about the possibility of unbecoming behavior,” which we now know to be the case. Last week, just ahead of the Caucus meeting, a majority of SREC Members co-signed a letter calling for Speaker Bonnen’s resignation.

Principle 5 of the RPT Platform calls for personal accountability and responsibility, and this includes taking responsibility when the members of our own party do not live up to the higher standards to which we hold ourselves. As such, we believe all affected parties are taking the appropriate steps to deal with both the legalities of the behavior and the ethical ramifications of the unacceptable behavior during and after that meeting. 

The RPT Platform insists that elected Republican State Representatives nominate a candidate for Speaker of the House from among their Caucus and vote for that candidate on the House floor. We are encouraged by the Caucus’ explicit affirmation of their commitment to do so in their statement released Friday. The RPT will once again include a form in the filing packet for each candidate for State Representative to facilitate their individual commitment to this plank. As always – but especially with redistricting at stake in 2021 – we must have no defections on this front. 

The RPT exists to enact the will of our convention delegates according to our Platform and to elect Republicans from the top of the ballot to the bottom. We will continue to strive to meet those purposes now and in November of 2020.

For reference from the RPT Platform:

Plank 83: Texas Speaker Issues: Republicans in the Texas House should select their Speaker nominee by secret ballot in a binding caucus without Democrat influence.

Plank 218: Texas Speaker of the House: We oppose the use of pledge cards and call for the Republican members to caucus after each November general election to determine, by secure secret ballot, their candidate for Speaker. We also call for the Republican members to vote as a unified body for their selected speaker candidate when the Legislature convenes in regular session.

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