Patrick defends Abbott, discusses Straus relationship

DALLAS – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick defended Governor Greg Abbott and said he would not get involved in whether Joe Straus should return as House Speaker next session.

The lieutenant governor made the comments during an appearance on WFAA-TV’s Inside Texas Politics Sunday morning.

The Senate passed Patrick top 30 legislative priorities, but a third of them died in the House.

Patrick outlined what he plans to pursue during the 2019 legislative session.

“Let’s hope we address some of these issues before two years but if not property taxes. People elected me to fight for that issue and get it done. We did it in the Senate with meaningful property tax reform. The House never gave it a vote on the floor. And by the way, when we talk about our issues, Governor Abbott and I are in sync on all these issues. He wants a rollback rate to roll back property taxes, he wants an automatic vote that was in our bill. He stands for Texas privacy. So we’re in sync,” said Patrick on WFAA.

The Senate passed legislation that would have required an automatic election if local governments raised property taxes over a certain percentage. The bill died in the House.

But Gov. Abbott is accused of being slow to stake out a firm position on controversial issues like the bathroom bill.

“I think he gets a bad rap on that and here’s why. When San Antonio passed a law like that back when he was running for governor, he was very clear he was against it. When we fought back in House he joined me in fighting back,” explained Patrick. “I’ve never had any doubt. He’s been very clear the last six to eight weeks. I’m not critical of that at all.”

Patrick and Straus, both Republicans, disagreed during the session on issues like the bathroom bill, property taxes and school finance reform.

Patrick was asked whether he would like to see someone else lead the House next session.

“That’s not up to me. That’s up to members in the House. Here’s what a lot of folks don’t understand. They say ‘well how can leadership be out of touch?’ Greg Abbott and I run statewide. We lay out our policy issues and people either supported us or they don’t. They overwhelmingly supported us on issues like property taxes, sanctuary cities, privacy – all of those issues. The speaker is elected by 150 members,” explained Patrick.

When asked whether he would work to recruit someone to challenge Straus in the 2019 session, Patrick said: “No. Of course not. I stay out of that. But here’s the bottom line. That’s up to the House but I’m not going to come back to the people and tell them we tried hard and we failed and not tell them why. And the why is leadership in the House blocked all of these key issues.”

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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