"In spite of his repeated assurances to members of the House and the public that there would be no retribution, it appears that the Speaker has chosen retaliation over reconciliation."
Minutes ago, losing speaker candidate Jim Pitts issued a harshly worded press statement criticizing his treatment by victor Tom Craddick.
Today, I received my committee assignments from Speaker Tom Craddick. In spite of his repeated assurances to members of the House and the public that there would be no retribution, it appears that the Speaker has chosen retaliation over reconciliation. Like many other members of the House, I am very disappointed in his choice.
The Speaker should consider every members skills and experience in making committee assignments. This Session, there will be a pressing need for members with experience on the budget and taxes. To that end, on my preference card I offered to serve Appropriations as Chair, as a Subcommittee Chair, or as a member of the committee. The Speaker and his staff flatly rejected each of these offers.
On my card, I used my seniority under the House Rules and offered to serve again on Ways and Means. The Speaker and his staff rejected this offer and instead suggested that I completely forfeit my seniority selection of Ways and Means. In fact, the Speaker's staff suggested I sign a new, blank, preference card, and allow them to insert their own seniority and preference selections. I rejected this offer, and chose to exercise my seniority option. In the end, serving on Ways and Means is the best opportunity for me to address the important tax issues facing many small businesses in my district.
Ironically, before I became a candidate for Speaker, it was Speaker Craddick who chose to put me on Ways and Means and Appropriations when he was elected Speaker in 2003.
Speaker Craddick had an opportunity to prove us wrong -- to prove to us that he had heard the concerns about his leadership style and his tactics of retaliation and intimidation. I believe that he missed that opportunity with his committee assignments.
The Legislature needs bipartisanship and cooperation if we are to meet the important challenges it faces this session. I know that the members, regardless of their parties, will want to meet the challenges head on, and I look forward to working with all of my colleagues and I encourage the Speaker to join in this important endeavor.
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