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Texas House Speaker important for homebuyers
Saturday, 06 January 2007

House Speaker decision to impact everyone
"That can make a huge difference in terms of whether we protect the home builders or the home buyers, how much we charge for insurance or whether you have insurance protection, or whether we have school vouchers or we have full funding for schools," Smith said.

House Speaker decision to impact everyone
1/5/2007 8:13 PM
By: Veronica Castelo

Next Tuesday lawmakers will elect the House Speaker of the 80th Legislative session. Republican Jim Pitts is challenging current Speaker of the House Republican Tom Craddick.

Public Citizen director Tom Smith said everyday voters will be impacted by the outcome of this race.

"It's going to affect every Texan in terms of their insurance rates, the quality of their health care, the quality of their environment," Smith said.

Smith said it will be up to Craddick or Pitts to appoint key players to various law making committees.

"That can make a huge difference in terms of whether we protect the home builders or the home buyers, how much we charge for insurance or whether you have insurance protection, or whether we have school vouchers or we have full funding for schools," Smith said.

David Thomason is the Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy for the Texas Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. He will be pushing their agenda this legislative season.

"We want to see improved funding from the state for caring for seniors that are low income," Thomason said.

Thomason, like many in the political arena, is torn on who will serve his agenda best.

"Chairman Pitts has been very strong supporter of elderly issues. In fact, he was our Legislator of the Year, last year," Thomason said.

However, Thomason points out that it was Craddick who appointed Pitts to the chair of the appropriations committee.

Political analyst Chuck McDonald said this conflict is one reason the race is so unique.

"On the issues these two are very very similar. I think lawmakers are going to have to decide on leadership style," McDonald said.

"Opponents of Craddick say his heavy-handed leadership style has made it tough to get their agendas on the legislative table. Pitts' supporters say he'll be more fair and open.

Regardless of who wins, McDonald said it's a decision that will ultimately affect everyone's lives.

"Whether we like to admit it or not, for better or worse, these guys show up in Austin in the pink building and make real decisions that impact our lives. They decide how much money goes to schools and how much money goes to teachers. Those are real decisions," he said.

Come Tuesday one man will have the power to appoint all the people who will be making those decisions.

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