San Antonio's business and political leadership thanked retiring House Speaker Joe Straus for his record tying five terms as Speaker in an upbeat celebration sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Straus received a standing ovation more than two minutes in length after a video was played featuring local leaders from Mayor Nirenberg to former Councilman Joe Krier and former State Senator Cyndi Krier, thanking Straus for his efforts to improve San Antonio in areas ranging from transportation to health care to quality of life.
Straus announced one year ago he would not be running again for the Texas Legislature in 2018.
Even though his term ends at the end of this year, Straus said these is one more thing he wants to accomplish. He said he hopes to rally all Legislative leaders to remove what is called the 'Children of the Confederacy Creed,' a plaque placed in the Rotunda of the State Capitol in the late 1950s, which defends the Confederacy and claims that slavery was not the cause of the Civil War.
"The Texas Capitol, with thousands of school children visiting and touring each month, is no place to give a false and inaccurate account of our past," Straus said to cheers from the crowd.
Straus also said he will remain active in the battle to increase state funding for public schools, which he says is the number one reason why local property taxes are rising.
"Its past time for the state of Texas to do what is right for our students," he said. "Put more state dollars into the classroom, fix our broken school finance system, and stop pushing the burden only local property tax payers."
Straus said he as led the House in the last two sessions to increase state aid to education by $2 billion, but the effort has failed in the far more conservative State Senate.
And, when it comes to the growing divisions among Americans, Straus says he plans to work to end those issues as well.
"I also plan to keep advocating for a better approach to politics in our country," he said. "As the last few days have made clear, we have a lot of work to do."Straus closed by thanking his wife and his two daughters for their support of his political career.He joked that his daughters have not previously had any interest in his political life, but that has changed this year.
"Dad, they say, could you maybe introduce us to Beto O'Rourke?" he said to laughter and cheers.