This is the text of the release from the speaker’s office: AUSTIN—–Rep. Beverly Woolley today announced her support for Speaker Joe Straus. “After a frank and open meeting with Speaker Straus, I am convinced he is committed to governing as a strong conservative during the 82nd session. As lifelong Republicans, we share steadfast beliefs in limited government, fiscal responsibility and low taxes which are fundamental to the majority of my constituents,” said Rep.Beverly Woolley. “In the 82nd session, Speaker Straus will manage the House effectively, and with a supermajority behind him, we will pass conservative legislation.” “Rep. Woolley is a proven conservative leader for Texas,” said Speaker Joe Straus. “I’m honored to have Beverly’s support as we work together to address our state’s most important challenges during the upcoming legislative session.” Beverly Woolley, longtime Republican and community activist, is serving her eighth term in the Texas House of Representatives. Presently, Rep. Woolley serves as a member on the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence and the House Committee on Pensions, Investments and Financial Services. * * * * This is a major endorsement. Tom Craddick still has a lot of friends on the floor, and Woolley, as Craddick’s chair of Calendars, was part of his inner circle. Woolley is currently vice-chair of the Tea Party Caucus, and her endorsement of Straus should put to rest the furor over whether he is a “true” conservative. The tea parties groups that are coming to Austin on January 11 to rally against Straus are wasting their time. What happened in the speakers race is that David Barton, Richard Ford, Michael Quinn Sullivan, Kelly Shackelford, John Cook and the SREC, all the usual suspects, saw that they would lose their influence if Straus were elected speaker. They unleashed a blitzkrieg of disinformation and vituperation–Straus is not a conservative, Straus is not pro-life, Straus is anti-gun–that was directed not only against Straus but also against the members who supported him. The anti-Straus operatives and their backers supporters in the tea parties and other conservative organizations bombarded members’ offices and homes with rude phone calls. In so doing, the anti-Straus element opened a rift in the Republican party that threatened to last into the session, factionalizing the Republican caucus and potentially snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. All of this was done in the futile hope of reversing a speakers race that Straus had already won with votes to spare, a result that could only be reversed through persistent intimidation. Good for Beverly Woolley for sparing members another three weeks of this ugly episode.
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