Texas House Pledge Cards

Say NO to the good ol' boy system!


Stop the Texas House Pledge Cards NOW!


Say NO to Texas House Pledge Cards and House Speaker Joe Straus!
May 25, 2011


Open Letter to House Representatives Opposing Pledge Cards
May 23, 2011


Re: The Corrupt "Pledge Card" System


Honorable Members:


As you know, the traditional "pledge card" system for electing the leadership of the Texas House has been the subject of much controversy in recent years.  Under the "pledge card" system, members of the Texas State House are required to tender written pledges of loyalty to the current House leadership.  Supporters of the "pledge card" system argue, among other things, that it is a time-honored process that maintains stability and continuity in House affairs from one session to the next.  Critics of the pledge card system argue that it is nothing more than a mechanism for conveniently perpetuating the "good old boy network" in the State Capitol.


As you know, this controversy over the pledge card system precipitated an unprecedented vote in the Republican House Caucus prior to the 2011 Texas Legislative session.  The controversy was brought on by the overwhelming call for new conservative leadership delivered in the 2010 midterm elections.  As a result, Republican House legislators were forced into an unfortunate choice between the will of the people on the one hand and their 2009 "pledges" to the existing leadership on the other. 


We the undersigned write to express our opinion, in the strongest possible terms, that the "pledge card" system, whatever its merits may have been at one time, has long since outlived its usefulness and has become a recipe for corruption and abuse.

It is our fervent belief, grounded in our core principles, that our elected public servants derive their authority from the people of Texas.  Elected public servants owe their allegiance first to our federal and state constitutions, second to the people they represent and to none other.  As an elected public servant, you have already pledged your loyalty to our constitutions and the people of Texas.  You have no further allegiance to promise.  Thus, you have no business whatsoever pledging loyalty as a public servant to any person or group.  Every two years the People of Texas are free to elect a whole new House legislature if they so choose.  Should our elected officials not have that same choice?  It is against the principles of fair and free representation to lock in a pledge for the third highest office in Texas prior to a vote of the Texas people. 


Compounding this fundamental problem is the illicit appearance of the transaction.  There is an understandable perception on the part of many Texans that any legislator who pledges his or her allegiance to the House leadership does so as a result of inducements.  Even in the absence of an actual quid pro quo, there is the understandable appearance of a quid pro quo, and for the sake of appearances alone this system should have been abolished long ago.


Finally, we write to remind you that the offering of an inducement or a threat for a vote on the House leadership is not merely unethical.  Offering inducements of any type "with the intent to influence a member of or candidate for the house of representatives in casting a vote for speaker of the house of representatives" is illegal under Section 302.032 of the Texas Government Code--and rightly so.


For the reasons set forth above, we implore you to refrain from pledging your loyalty to the House leadership and to retain your independence to represent the people of Texas.  We look forward to your response to our letter, including your written assurance to the people of Texas that you will pledge your allegiance to your constituents, and to none other.


For Texas,




Stop the Pledge Cards NOW!

As the 82nd Texas Congress came into session last January, the vast majority of the grassroots activist and GOP primary voters throughout the state expressed a deep desire to see a new, truly conservative Speaker elected in the Texas House of Representatives.  As we all know, the will of the people was defied and we were denied that conservative Speaker.

One of the tactics that was used to ensure the Speaker's reelection was the practice of having state representatives sign "pledge cards" in support of a candidate.  In turn, the state representatives hid behind this practice to thwart the efforts of the grassroots activist and the people.  Their out was simply saying they had signed a pledge card for the Speaker and needed to be "true to their word".

State Rep. Wayne Christian, early in the 82nd Legislature and after a torrid fight for the soul of the Speaker's office, introduced a bill that would eliminate this practice.  The status quo and The Establishment literally laughed at his efforts to clean up the process of electing a Speaker of the Texas House.

More at http://www.ragingelephants.org/

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Say No to RINO Joe and the Texas House Speaker Pledge Card System ~ Send this cartoon to your local newspapers