State Rep. Dennis Bonnen was unanimously voted in as House Speaker Tuesday during the first day of the 86th legislative session.
State Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Dist. 25), of Angleton, who announced in November he had the votes to win, was confirmed at about 1 p.m.
"It is a crazy honor. I am sitting in the office of the Speaker of the Texas House. I have had a lot of meetings in this office, but I have never been an occupant and it's kind of humbling," Bonnen told NBC 5 Tuesday. "It has not hit me at all, it really hasn’t."
Bonnen told NBC 5 Tuesday he was able to secure votes for the job after several members came together and said they wanted him in the role if he was willing.
"Really, I was not interested in the job because it is a really hard job. It is a tough job and I really knew the challenges that the Speaker's office holds and I enjoyed being a member. But no one seemed to be getting the traction to put a coalition together that could govern and so when a group came to me and said we are together, we want you, I saw the opportunity to win the race and keep the House together," Bonnen said. "With an opportunity to be Speaker with a House that is unified that is an impossibility to say no to."
Bonnen, who was the Speaker Pro Tem during the 2017 session, replaces retiring Republican Speaker Joe Straus, a moderate Republican, as the GOP-controlled chamber's helmsman.
Gov. Greg Abbott has said property tax reform and school finance are two areas of focus for this legislative session -- Bonnen told NBC 5 Tuesday that he would not bring the bathroom bill, which was the subject of much controversy during the last legislative session, to the floor.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who pushed for the bathroom bill and lead's the Senate, was summoned to Washington ahead of President Donald Trump's address Tuesday night and missed the day's opening ceremony.
In a statement, Patrick congratulated Bonnen and said he was looking forward to working with him during the session.
"I am happy to congratulate Speaker Dennis Bonnen on his election as Speaker of the Texas House. Dennis is a principled and skilled leader, and I know he is ready to take on the tough challenges we are facing this legislative session. I look forward to working with him and I am confident our collaboration will lead to positive and bold public policy for the people of Texas and the future of our state.”
Bonnen serves the 25th District in southern Brazoria County and all of Matagorda County. He was first elected to the Legislature in 1996 and began his 12th term in January 2019. He graduated cum laude from St. Edwards University in Austin with a B.A. in Political Science. He and his wife, Kim, live in Angleton with their two sons.