AUSTIN, Texas -- Republican Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan shook up the chamber’s leadership this week, signaling who his top lieutenants will be during his first session overseeing the lower chamber.
But a Democrat — state Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso — is once again serving as speaker pro tem, a position he held under former House Speaker Dennis Bonnen during the previous legislative session.
“It’s unheard of for the same person to be appointed to this position by two different speakers. I think it speaks to the trust both Speaker Phelan and my colleagues have in me to help the House run smoothly and effectively," Moody said in a statement.
Before Moody, no El Pasoan had ever been named speaker pro tem, and only one has ever served as speaker — R.E. Thomason, who presided for a single term a full century ago.
The speaker pro tem is the number two spot in the chamber, responsible for convening and presiding over the House in the speaker’s absence and assisting the speaker with the administration of the House.
According to the speaker's office, 21 chairs of the chamber's 34 standing committees are Republicans and 13 are Democrats this session under his appointments.
Five committee chairs and 14 vice-chairs are women, while 14 chairs and 21 vice-chairs are Black, Hispanic or Asian American.
Compared to 2019, Democrats this session have one more chair and three additional vice-chairs serving on committees, though the 83-67 split in the chamber remains unchanged.