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Straus Has Strong GOP Lineage Print E-mail
by Carolyn Barta    Tue, Jan 6, 2009, 08:23 AM

Speaker-in-waiting Joe Straus may be criticized as not conservative enough for super-conservatives, but his Republican lineage is solid. The apple did not fall far from the tree. Straus' mom, Jocelyn (Joci) Straus of San Antonio, was one of a handful of pioneering Republican women whose dedication to building the GOP in Texas dates to the 1960s, when Texas was a one-party state -- Democratic.

Joe Straus, a San Antonio representative, now claims enough pledges from Democrats and Republicans to be elected speaker when legislators convene on Jan. 13. He will rule over a House that has a razor-thin 76-74 Republican majority.  

When John Tower ran as a Republican unknown in a huge field for U.S. Senate in 1960, Joci Straus was a grass roots worker and walker in San Antonio. She was chairman of "Nixon Girls" in 1960 -- standing in mall parking lots and asking Texans to put Nixon stickers on their cars. In 1962, she walked door-to-door in office buildings raising money for a GOP candidate for no-chance lieutenant governor.  Back in the Sixties, women did the yeoman's work for the Texas GOP because there were few strong Republican men in those days willing to stick their necks out for the fledgling party.

Joci Straus has been a precinct chairman, a state committeewoman, a fundraiser, a campaign manager, a volunteer extraordinaire. Her credentials include: serving on the finance committees for Sen. Tower and President Gerald Ford, as Tower's state campaign co-chairman in 1978, state cochairman for George H.W. Bush for President and cochairman of the Reagan-Bush ticket. She's also said to be a close friend of Barbara Bush. (Much of this is detailed on the Web site of the San Antonio Junior League, which named Ms. Straus Volunteer Extraordinaire in 1982.)

Ms. Straus has numerous mentions in Meg Grier's important 2001 book, "Grassroots Women: A Memoir of the Texas Republican Party," in which Ms. Straus says: "We had an build from the bottom up a competitive system which is the root of our whole American philosophy."

Republican Speaker Tom Craddick's philosophy in recent years in the Texas House has been "my way or the highway" rather than working to guarantee competition.  The Craddick approach doesn't appear to be the modus operandi of Joe Straus, who has pledged to open up the House and allow members to proceed on issues when they have the votes.

His philsophy won over the anti-Craddick members. He now claims enough pledges from Democrats and Republicans to be elected speaker when legislators convene on Jan. 13, which will make him the leader of a House that has a razor-thin 76-74 Republican majority.  

Some Republicans deplore the Straus approach as a move to the middle, as giving the Democrats "their" speaker and throwing in the towel on social conservative issues.  Rather, Straus' election could return to the Texas House to previous days -- including under Gov. George W. Bush -- when a bipartisan atmosphere prevailed, allowing legislators to work together to solve problems.

Joci and her husband, Joe, raised three children, and she told author Meg Grier that having the third, a son, made her realize the world was bigger than she thought.  "I needed to get with it and start something that really made a difference," she said.

Joe Straus, if indeed he is elected speaker as it now appears, has a chance to also make a difference. 

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written by Dallas Citizen , January 06, 2009


This is interesting information, but I don't think it is relevant. This viewpoint is about Mrs. Joci Straus' credentials for Speaker of the House, not about her son's credentials. I am opposed to family political dynasties, and if Mr. Straus thinks he deserves to be Speaker because his mother was a Nixon Girl, he is badly mistaken. Mr. Straus may have "inherited" his mother's love for the GOP, but conservatives want a true conservative, regardless of party affiliation (only no Democrat comes to mind to fit the bill). Mr. Straus is strongly endorsed by Planned Parenthood, the state's biggest abortion provider. Ipso facto, he is disqualified. Tell us what Mr. Straus' conservative credentials for Speaker are and we'll consider him. Otherwise, Rep. John Smithee is the best choice to lead the House in 2009.

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