I'm taking a little break from all things Speaker's race to get myself coherent again and to post some other stuff that's built up. I'll have things to say later, and if you just can't wait then click on some of my colleague's links, as they're already going at it. For now, I've got this letter from Rep. Jim Dunnam (PDF) to his fellow Dems as a decent approximation of my own feelings. It's copied beneath the fold as well. As I said, more from me on this later.
Letter from Rep. Jim Dunnam to his Democratic colleagues:
When Tom Craddick stepped onto the House floor today, he honestly did not know if he would be elected Speaker. That alone is something that would have been deemed unbelievable four years ago, and indeed even four months ago. If only six members had voted differently, we would have different leadership in the House. Unfortunately, that 45-minute delay on Rep. King's Point of Order probably resulted in at least that many votes being flipped.
I am proud that House Democrats stood together today, committed to changing the direction of Texas - something voters in 2006 stated quite loudly that they wanted. House Democrats said enough to the four years of dictatorial rule and policy that threw hundreds of thousands of children off CHIP, increased tuition for all Texans, cut funding for public schools and put the special interests of the wealthiest Texans above Texas families.
The decision of whether or not the House would have a new Speaker has always been a Republican decision. There are 81 Republicans in the Texas House and, not surprisingly, a Republican Speaker. House Republicans had an opportunity to choose a new direction for the State of Texas, but they chose the status quo.
Tom Craddick obtained the Speaker's gavel in 2002 through illegal corporate money from TRMPAC and a redistricting map that was designed to elect 100 Republicans. Since that time, House Democrats have gained seven net seats, and we are poised to play a strong constructive role in the shaping of good policy this session.
My goal is for House Democrats play a positive role in shaping policy this session. I hope Mr. Craddick does become more inclusive and allow members to just vote their conscience and district. But that decision is solely in his hands.
Today was just the first round this session in our fight for our constituents and the people of the State of Texas. Once again we proved that we will stand up for our convictions and principles, regardless of threats or promised rewards.
Thank you for your courage, your trust and your friendship. We will never win every vote on the floor, but when House Democrats stand up and fight together, Texas can never lose.