During Travis Clardy’s three terms in the Texas House, there’s been one speaker: Joe Straus, though, is ready to turn the reins over to another lawmaker – as of this week, Clardy’s the fifth representative to put his hand out and throw his hat in the ring.
“I’ve served with a bunch of great members and there’s a number that could do a good job,” he said Tuesday, “but I think I’m the best person for the job.”
Clardy’s finishing up his third term and eyeing a fourth: the Nacogdoches Republican locked up the GOP nomination for the District 11 House seat in March. He’ll face Democrat Alec Johnson in the general election in November to represent Rusk, Cherokee and Nacogdoches counties.
“I fully anticipate the governor and lieutenant governor will be reelected, I fully anticipate we’ll have a Republican majority in the House,” Clardy said, gaze fixed on Jan. 8, the beginning of the 86th Legislative Session and the body’s election of a speaker: “That is our first order of business.”
With Straus’ decision not to seek re-election, three other Republicans have put their names in contention – Phil King, Tan Parker and John Zerwas – alongside Democrat Eric Johnson.
Clardy was first elected in 2012 and currently serves as vice chair of the House Committee on Local and Consent Calendars. He is also a member of the House Higher Education and Energy Resources committees.
After his announcement Monday, “I’m getting great feedback and a lot of momentum. I’m really encouraged in just 24 hours,” Clardy said. “We’re off and running, and I’m looking forward to the process.”
As the Nacogdoches attorney puts it, unlike a traditional, popular election, the selection of a speaker is an intimate, personal decision.
“I serve along with another 149 people. We each represent about 200,000 people, scattered throughout the state of Texas. We get to know each other really well,” Clardy said. “Rather than a traditional political contest, this is like a student body election in a 2A school. Only 150 people are entitled and eligible to vote
“Who is selected is a person who is entrusted by the body, the members, to be fair, to be open and accessible, courageous in leadership style, confident you’ll voice their concerns. All those things I’ve named are things I can do and do very well.”