The text of Merritt’s release: Rep. Tommy Merritt, R-Longview, is very disappointed with the State Republican Executive Committee’s decision today to adopt a resolution that condemns selection of a new Speaker of the Texas House by private ballot. “The private ballot is part of the foundation of this nation and should not be undermined by a few party activists more interested in seeing Speaker Tom Craddick re-elected than giving House members the same right when they vote,” Merritt said. Rep. Tommy Merritt, R-Longview, is very disappointed with the State Republican Executive Committee’s decision today to adopt a resolution that condemns selection of a new Speaker of the Texas House by private ballot. “The private ballot is part of the foundation of this nation and should not be undermined by a few party activists more interested in seeing Speaker Tom Craddick re-elected than giving House members the same right when they vote,” Merritt said. Merritt said the Republican Party of Texas is taking the same stance as liberal National Democrats, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to plot to destroy secret ballot rights for million Americans as reported by National Republican Leader John Boehner. “Certainly the SREC does not want to stand shoulder to shoulder with National Democrats and deny people the right to cast private ballots so they do not fear retribution,” Merritt said. Merritt said he agrees with Ohio Republican Representative John Boehner who recently decried the Democrat attempt to undermine a secret ballot. [Merritt is referring to the so-called “card-check” bill, the highest legislative priority of organized labor, which would eliminate the secret ballot in labor union elections.] He called on the organization to rescind its resolution and let the will of the House prevail in its decision on who the next Speaker should be and then stand firmly behind the new Republican speaker. “I know the next Speaker will be a Republican and I am pleased with the support my candidacy has garnered,” he said. “I think I will win this race, but until the members know that they will cast their votes privately – as has been done in almost every contested Speaker’s election – no candidate for the position should announce the list of their supporters.” Merritt is urging all Speaker candidates and Members to attend a “Speaker’s Summit” in Austin on Dec. 17 to discuss the race, the rules for running the House and the private ballot issue. At the same time, Merritt, joined by fellow speaker candidate Delwyn Jones, released a statement supporting speaker candidate Burt Solomons’ call for Terry Keel to resign as House parliamentarian. We are joining with Rep. Burt Solomons today and calling for House Parliamentarian Terry Keel to resign his position. Additionally, we believe Ron Wilson should also step down immediately. We need a Member’s Parliamentarian, not a Speaker’s Parliamentarian. It is clear that Mr. Keel and Mr. Wilson are more interested in serving Speaker Tom Craddick than serving the entire House. We need to begin the 81st Legislative Session with a clean slate. The replacement of Mr. Keel and Mr. Wilson will send a clear signal that this next Legislature is making a clean break from the last Legislature which led to embarrassing floor fights over power and put the people’s needs behind the needs of the Speaker. If we take a “business-as-usual” approach to the next session, we believe we will be ignoring the people’s desire for change and desire for a real representative government. The first step down this new path is the resignation and replacement of Mr. Keel and Mr. Wilson.
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