AUSTIN, Texas -- Newly-elected Republican Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen said he didn’t plan to be in this new role, but he’s ready to lead the lower chamber.
“I saw the opportunity to bring the House together and be Speaker,” Bonnen said in an interview with Capital Tonight shortly after he was sworn into office Tuesday.
Bonnen succeeds Joe Straus who did not run for re-election. But Bonnen touted Straus’ leadership as a key for why lawmakers are committed to focusing on ‘real issues’ this session.
“I think part of why they feel positive about this session, to be honest, is the work Speaker Straus has done in the last few sessions,” Bonnen said. “He’s batted away issues that are a problem. When you want to achieve big goals like school finance reform and property tax reform, those issues have been batted away for this legislature and that’s a huge advantage that’s been left to us.”
Bonnen said the so-called ‘bathroom bill’ that dominated much of last session will not be a priority in the House.
“I do not believe the bathroom bill has that support and I am not interested in finding out whether it does,” Bonnen said.
The first big task for Speaker Bonnen will be assigning committees and committees chairs. He said he’ll appoint both Republicans and Democrats to lead committees but would not give a breakdown of how many from each party.
Click the video link above to watch the full interview with Speaker Bonnen.