Tommy Merritt announces his candidacy for Speaker of the Texas House - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Tommy Merritt announces his candidacy for Speaker of the Texas House

Tuesday evening, he won re-election to the Texas House. Now, Longview's Tommy Merritt wants another job. Merritt announced today that he'll be a candidate for the Speaker of the Texas House. Merritt says he wants to give Texans a reason to have confidence in our government. The full text of his press release announcing his candidacy is below.

Good Afternoon. I am State Representative Tommy Merritt and I am here today to announce my candidacy for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.

My platform is simple. The Texas House will under my leadership be an open body that follows the rules. While we are in Session, the Texas House will work respecting each member's views regardless of Party or political leaning. Like all Americans who cast their votes privately in the ballot box, members of the House will cast their votes for Speaker privately so they do not have to face retaliation for voting against the winner. Any incumbent Speaker from this day forward will follow the rules and will not be permitted to solicit pledge cards preventing him or her from strong-arming members who want to follow their convictions of conscience rather than the fear of the fallout for being on the wrong side. And as a loyal Republican who has served in this body and this Party for a decade, I will work to support incumbent Republicans in their campaigns outside this Capitol building.

The last time this House met, quite frankly, it was an embarrassment. What was best for Texas took a back seat to what was best for one member. That member was Speaker Tom Craddick.

Arrogance and abuse of political power split this House and damaged life-long alliances forged in what was best for Texas.

I am concerned that without a change in leadership at the beginning of the next Session, those divides will only grow deeper, the rifts will further distance us from the well-being of this great State, and we will settle into an ugliness that ill-suits this House and the people we were sent here to represent.

The Texas House cannot devolve into a dictatorship where rules are not just bent, but broken to keep one ruler in charge.

The free will of the House must prevail.

I am a loyal Republican, a vocal Republican, but a loyal Republican who is not afraid to stand with my Party when we are in the right even if the right is sometimes unpopular. I also will clearly state my opposition to our Republican leaders when they are in the wrong.

I am proud of my conservative record in the Texas House. Last session, I authored a bill to waive concealed handgun license fees for military personnel and veterans who had served our country in the past year. I also ensured that all veterans honorably discharged from the military saw a 50% reduction in their concealed handgun license fees. We should trust those who have sacrificed to defend us, and we should reward their service.

I co-authored a measure that gave free tuition to the children of totally disabled veterans, and another measure to allow the Bible to be taught as an elective in our public schools.

That said, when the Governor tried to force every teenage girl in Texas to be injected with the HPV vaccine, I said "no" and co-authored a bill to make sure that parents-not the state-retain the right to make medical decisions for their own children.

Unfortunately, in this current administration there has been not a reward for free-flowing discourse, but punishment for speaking up.

As the next Speaker of the House, I will first serve this state with an even hand, and second help the constituents who sent me here with the work so desperately needed back home. Unlike the current regime, as Speaker I will not punish the hard-working Texans in a member's district just because that member does not see eye-to-eye with me.

Over the course of this most recent presidential election, we heard a lot about "right-track" and "wrong-track." In Texas, the truth is there is no right or wrong track; there is only an impending train wreck.

Our schools are failing our children; everything from insurance rates to electric bills to prison expenses to budget growth is quickly getting out of hand.

And what has our Speaker's answer been? Ignore the problems. Keep me in power at all costs. Forget the rules. I know best.

Well, no more.

I see this next Session as an historic opportunity for the Texas House to lead the way to a brighter future for the Lone Star State.

Under my leadership, we will replace pie-in-the-sky projects like the Trans-Texas Corridor with an aggressive plan to once again make Texas free-ways the envy of the nation.

The education of our children will no longer get mere lip service with ever lowering standards to improve passing rates and instead will be taught in way that will allow them to get the jobs they will need once they enter the work-force. If we can put a book in every child's hands, we can put a computer in their hands, too.

When state government shows even the slightest surplus we will return that money to its owners - taxpayers. The Rainy-Day fund is a great concept until the Leadership pulls it out like an umbrella when only one small cloud appears on the distant horizon.

And finally, we are going to start shooting straight with the people who sent us here. When we promise something we are going to deliver. No more fake insurance rate reductions. No more fake property tax cuts. No more.

What we can deliver we will and we must under my Speakership. What we can't we will explain to the people and let them be the judge.

I have great confidence in the people of this state. What we need to do is to give the people a reason to have great confidence in their government and in particular their House of Representatives.

That is why I am running for Speaker.

Thank you.

Cathryn Khalil /

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