DADE PHELAN — The importance of working together in the Texas House

Published 12:28 am Saturday, February 25, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

As the weather across Texas continues to heat up, so does business at the state Capitol in Austin.

Just last week, Gov. Greg Abbott delivered his biennial State of the State address, laying out his set of emergency items for the 88th Texas Legislature to tackle and setting the broader stage of his priorities for lawmakers during this 140-day stretch.

The governor’s priorities, which range from property tax relief to continued border security efforts, are largely aligned with items myself and other members of the Texas House have prioritized for the legislative session. Our chamber looks forward to working with Gov. Abbott and the Texas Senate on these issues and more.

With the legislative table officially set, Texas House committees have already started convening hearings, and soon, bills will begin to be referred to those committees for potential consideration.

A few weeks ago, I announced those committee assignments, and I think it is important for our community in Texas House District 21 to hear more about that process, which was lengthy and deliberate — and for good reason.

One of my most critical jobs as Speaker is to ensure that every member of the Texas House is placed on committees that benefit their communities and this chamber to the best extent possible.

Balancing the expressed preferences of my 149 colleagues — all of whom have diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise — along with other factors, such as member seniority, demographics and the regional make-up of the chamber, is no small task.

It helped immensely to meet with many members individually to better understand their desires for committee assignments and priorities for this legislative session.

I also reflected on what transpired during the 2021 legislative sessions and examined which members expressed a desire to work with me and the rest of the Texas House, even amid policy disagreements among colleagues.

There will always be tough conversations inside of our chamber — it is an essential part of the legislative process that drives the best results for Texans. But it is important to me and to the Texas House that lawmakers keep their seat at the table and work with their colleagues to find common ground so that we can achieve the goal that unites us as lawmakers: ensuring that Texas remains the best place to work, run a business and raise a family.

Overall, I could not be more proud or confident of our membership and the work that we stand to accomplish this year.

Our chamber elevated new members to committee chair positions and structured each individual committee to reflect the partisan make-up of the 150-member Texas House, ensuring that we balanced expertise, member interest and geographic diversity throughout the committee process.

Though the month of March is fast approaching, the real nitty gritty of our robust legislative process is just now picking up, and thanks to the talented and driven body that is the Texas House, I look forward to reporting back to you all in House District 21 the great progress we make in the coming weeks.

Dade Phelan is the state representative to Texas House District 21 and Texas Speaker of the House. He can be contacted at 409-745-2777 or 512-463-1000.