I’ve been derelict in my duty while going out to dinner with my kids and watching football, so I missed this statement e-mailed earlier today by Alexis DeLee, the speaker’s press secretary.

Public Statement
Released by State Representative Jim Keffer
On Speakers Election For Texas House of Representatives

— The spirited race for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives has raised some interesting questions by Republican and Democrat members and members-elect about the future of this fine institution.

It has also prompted some thoughtful reflections and some outrageous, mean-spirited accusations by members of the press. With this in mind, I would like to respectfully share with my colleagues and the public the following observations.

First, I strongly support the reelection of Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick. Why? Because in order to have a successful process, such as School Reform and Property Tax Relief, we need loyalty and leadership; and I firmly believe our legislative body has accomplished landmark legislation under the leadership of Speaker Craddick. Though I don’t always agree with Speaker Craddick on every decision (and we have respectfully disagreed many times), I do respect and agree with his commitment to the good of Texas.

Second, in reflection, having served under both Democrat and Republican Speakers in this body, I am humbled by the commitment that both Democrat Pete Laney and Republican Tom Craddick have shown this office. No doubt, their styles of leadership have been as different as the eras in which they served. No doubt too, some House colleagues were disgruntled under both.

But whereas change in the Speaker’s office was appropriate in 2003, when the Texas House obtained its first Republican majority in over 100 years; change in leadership is not appropriate at this time.

Today, the Republican majority in the Texas House of Representatives is slightly smaller, but still a majority. With this said, I don’t feel those who desire a change in approach should be confused with those who want a new Speaker.

Again, serving under two House Speakers, I have learned that frustrations and concerns can be justified without being justification for a new Speaker.

I have encouraged Speaker Craddick to adjust to the new session and our new Texas House membership with a new approach to achieve broader bipartisanship and regional inclusion which will enhance the representation of each legislator’s respective district.

Because of his past successes, I am confident in Speaker Craddick’s ability to meet this new challenge; therefore, I respectfully ask my colleagues to consider and support his reelection to a third term.

Jim Keffer (R-Eastland)
State Representative, District 60