Representative Bryan Hughes of Mineola was elected to his sixth term in the Texas House during last May's primary. Now he's turning his sights on a new seat - Speaker of the Texas House.
He's already proposing changes to how things are done in Austin, and whether he becomes Speaker or not, Hughes wants to see big changes come to the legislature next session.
"We're not trying to build an empire. We're trying to give power back to the members, which means back to the people," said Hughes.
The Speaker's seat has been held for the last two terms by San Antonio Representative Joe Straus, but Hughes says it's time for a change.
As part of his campaign for Speaker, Representative Hughes sent a letter to the House members and members-elect this week - saying that certain House rules and procedures need to be changed to take away power from the speaker and give it back to the members.
"Why am I running for speaker and trying to give away power? It's not about me, it's not about me running the show, or cramming through my agenda," Hughes said. "It's about running the House in a way that the reps can represent their districts and that the will of the people of Texas is effectuated."
As part of his reforms, Hughes proposes allowing members to choose more committee appointments and requiring the Speaker to choose committees earlier, saying a lot of time is wasted at the beginning of a session. Also, he wants bills with broad support to be brought to the floor for a vote without having to go through the committee process, where a lot of bills die.
"Whether I like a bill or I dislike a bill, if it's got broad support among the members, it ought to move, it ought to have its day," he said.
Hughes says no matter who is Speaker, they'll be dealing with difficult situations - the budget, transportation, and education, to name a few - and that he'll be working with Representative Straus no matter who is Speaker come January.
"We have different ideas about the best way to solve these problems, but we really do believe in the democratic process," Hughes said. "We believe in the ballot box. And who the voters send to Austin to do this work out to be doing the work."
The election for Speaker of the House will happen January 8.
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