This week, Texas Tribune Multimedia Reporter Alana Rocha sat down with the very powerful, soon-to-be former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus after he announced he would not seek reelection in 2018.
If Straus’ departure feels like a surprise, that’s because it is. It was only last month that the Republican Speaker announced he would run for reelection in 2018. In their interview, Straus told Rocha that the next three years seemed like they would be “repetitive” to him, and that he figured his strength could be better used elsewhere.
Many are wondering what Straus would do with his $10 million or so in campaign funds. Rocha said Straus will use it to support “responsible Republicans in the House,” as he described them, and that he will be campaigning aggressively throughout 2018.
“The center of Texas politics dropped out as we know it.” That’s how some political analysts have described Straus’ announcement. Rocha said Straus is proud of his work as a moderate—a descriptor that is often considered a bad word in Texas politics.
“The fact that you have somebody who does work across the aisle and ran a very different dynamic in the House and in the Senate than the governor runs is definitely very significant,” Rocha said.
Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.