The Honorable Joe Straus is the Chairman of Texas Forever Forward. He served as Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives from 2009 until 2019. He was the first Speaker of the House from San Antonio in a century, and he’s the longest-serving Republican Speaker in Texas history.
Widely praised for his focus on the core responsibilities of government and his constructive governing style, Speaker Straus has always focused on priorities and issues that support private-sector growth: strong public schools, outstanding colleges and universities, a reliable water supply, a modern transportation system, and policies that embrace the diversity and respect the dignity of all who want to work and invest in Texas. Speaker Straus has also been a champion for improving the state’s behavioral health care system and investing more dollars in child protection.
In addition to his policy achievements, Speaker Straus has championed an inclusive and pragmatic approach to governing that brings Texans together to confront major challenges. In 2017, he led the successful fight against discriminatory legislation that threatened severe economic harm. As a result of his principled stand on that issue, the Dallas Morning News named Speaker Straus its 2017 Texan of the Year. The newspaper wrote that Speaker Straus “protected Texas from some of its worst political impulses, prevented serious damage to the economy and brought together enough bipartisans to check the far-right dominance in the Republican Party.”
A native of San Antonio and a fifth-generation Texan, Speaker Straus began attending Republican meetings as a child with his mother, Joci Straus, who played a key role in building the Texas Republican Party in the second half of the 20th Century. He was first elected to a San Antonio-based seat in the Texas House in 2005. Four years later, at the outset of his third term in the House, his House colleagues voted unanimously to elevate Representative Straus to the position of Speaker. In the years that followed, the members of the House overwhelmingly re-elected Speaker Straus four times.
Speaker Straus and his wife, Julie, live in San Antonio. They have two adult daughters.