January 16, 2007
Craddick's leadership shuffle

Two points of interest in this Clay Robison column on the impending committee chair shakeup in the Lege:

Rep. Robert Talton, R-Pasadena, who openly campaigned for Pitts in the speaker's race, likely will be replaced as chairman of the Urban Affairs Committee, which will handle a mountain of local legislation important to Houston, San Antonio and other cities.

Rep. Kevin Bailey, D-Houston, a Craddick loyalist who has served on the panel since 1991, may ask for the chairman's post and may get it.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Talton did most of his anti-gay demagoguing on Urban Affairs. If so, moving him to another committee would be at least one salutary effect of Craddick winning. (On the other hand, had Craddick lost, Talton might have moved to another committee anyway, perhaps one more in line with his profession as a trial lawyer, with whose lobby he has a generally good relationship. So maybe it's at best a wash.)

As for Bailey, maybe this will give him a chance to create an actual legislative record in time for next March's primary. He'll need one, that's all I know.

Only 27 Democrats and no Republicans voted against Speaker Craddick's re-election. But the key procedural vote on whether to conduct the election by secret ballot was much closer. It was tabled, or killed, 80-68, per Craddick's demand.

Had there been a secret ballot, with legislators free from potential retaliation for voting against Craddick, the speaker's election may have turned out differently. Or so the theory goes.

Harris County representatives who voted for the secret ballot were Republicans Gary Elkins and Talton and Democrats Alma Allen, Ellen Cohen, Garnet Coleman, Jessica Farrar, Ana Hernandez, Scott Hochberg, Borris Miles, Rick Noriega, Senfronia Thompson and Hubert Vo.

Am I the only one here who's curious as to why Gary Elkins stepped out of line? His name never came up someone with a beef against Craddick during the race. What was his motivation? I wish Robison had taken a moment to discuss that.

Sure, I could call Elkins' office and ask him myself. I may do that once I'm back in Houston - who knows, he may even give me an answer. I'm just a little surprised that his actions haven't raised more of an eyebrow among the journalists.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 16, 2007 to That's our Lege

wilcowise has a list of House committee chairs up

Posted by: texxasredd on January 16, 2007 5:15 PM