1 John Zerwas
Richmond Republican
Appropriations Chair, Legislative Budget Board, Legislative Audit Committee
2 Dennis Bonnen
Angleton Republican
Speaker Pro Tem, Ways and Means Chair, Culture Recreation and Tourism, Legislative Budget Board, Legislative Audit Committee
3 Todd Hunter
Corpus Christi Republican
Calendars Chair, Criminal Jurisprudence Vice-Chair, County Affairs
4 Charlie Geren
Fort Worth Republican
Administration Chair, Calendars, State Affairs, Licensing & Administrative Procedures, State Preservation Board
5 Drew Darby
San Angelo Republican
Energy Resources Chair, Ways & Means, Redistricting, Select State & Federal Power & Responsibility Chair, Legislative Budget Board
6 Byron Cook
Corsicana Republican
State Affairs Chair, Calendars
7 Sarah Davis
Houston Republican
General Investigating & Ethics Chair, Appropriations Subcommittee Chair, Calendars, Corrections
8 Four Price
Amarillo Republican
Public Health Chair, Natural Resources, General Investigating & Ethics, Health & Human Services Transition Oversight Co-Chair
9 Tan Parker
Flower Mound Republican
Investments & Financial Services Chair, International Trade & Governmental Affairs, Redistricting, House Republican Caucus Chair
10 Larry Gonzales
Round Rock Republican
Appropriations Subcommittee Chair, Local & Consent, Government Transparency & Operation, Select State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Sunset Advisory Commission Chair
11 Cindy Burkett
Sunnyvale Republican
Redistricting Chair, Transportation, Public Health, Local & Consent Calendars, Health & Human Services Transition Oversight, Sunset Advisory Commission
12 Senfronia Thompson
Houston Democrat
Local & Consent Calendars Chair, Transportation, Licensing & Administrative Procedures, Select State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Sunset Advisory Commission
13 Dan Huberty
Humble Republican
Public Education Chair, Pensions, House Republican Caucus Treasurer
14 Geanie Morrison
Victoria Republican
Transportation Chair, Higher Education, Select Texas Ports Innovation & Infrastructure
15 John Kuempel
Seguin Republican
Licensing & Administrative Procedures Chair, State Affairs
16 Lyle Larson
San Antonio Republican
Natural Resources Chair, Elections, Joint State Water Implementation Fund Co-Chair
17 Rafael Anchia
Dallas Democrat
International Trade & Intergovernmental Relations Chair, Pensions, Select State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Mexican American Legislative Caucus Chair
18 Oscar Longoria
La Joya Democrat
Appropriations Vice-Chair, Appropriations Subcommittee Chair, Local & Consent Calendars, Investments & Financial Services
19 Richard Peņa Raymond
Laredo Democrat
Human Services Chair, Ways & Means, Health & Human Services Transition Oversight, Sunset Advisory Commission
20 Trent Ashby
Lufkin Republican
Appropriations Subcommittee Chair, Calendars, Natural Resources
21 Larry Phillips
Sherman Republican
Insurance Chair, Transportation
22 Jodie Laubenberg
Parker Republican
Elections Chair, Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
23 Dan Flynn
Van Republican
Pensions Chair, Defense & Veterans Affairs, Sunset Advisory Commission
24 John Smithee
Amarillo Republican
Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Chair, State Affairs
25 Giovanni Capriglione
Southlake Republican
Appropriations Subcommittee Chair, Government Transparency & Operation Vice-Chair, Local & Consent Calendars, General Investigating & Ethics
26 Ken King
Canadian Republican
Calendars, State Affairs, Public Education Subcommittee Chair, Select State & Federal Power & Responsibility
27 Chris Turner
Grand Prairie Democrat
Higher Education, Insurance, General Investigating & Ethics, Select State & Federal Power & Responsibility, House Democratic Caucus Leader
28 Jim Murphy
Houston Republican
Special Purpose Districts Chair, Ways & Means. House Republican Caucus Floor Leader
29 Phil King
Weatherford Republican
Homeland Security & Public Safety Chair, Energy Resources
30 J.M. Lozano
Kingsville Republican
Higher Education Chairman, Environmental Regulation
31 Angie Chen Button
Garland Republican
Economic & Small Business Development Chair, Higher Education
32 Chris Paddie
Marshall Republican
Calendars, State Affairs, Select State & Federal Power & Responsibility
33 John Frullo
Lubbock Republican
Culture Recreation & Tourism Chair, Licensing & Administrative Procedures
34 James White
Hillister Republican
Corrections Chair, International Trade & Governmental Affairs, House Republican Caucus Deputy Floor Leader
35 Joe Pickett
El Paso Democrat
Environmental Regulation Chair, Transportation
36 Gary Elkins
Houston Republican
Government Transparency & Operation Chair, Urban Affairs
37 Rene Oliveira
Brownsville Democrat
Business & Industry Chair, State Affairs, Select Texas Ports Innovation & Infrastructure
38 Garnet Coleman
Houston Democrat
County Affairs Chair, Public Health
39 Tracy King
Uvalde Democrat
Agriculture & Livestock Chair, Natural Resources, Select Texas Ports Innovation & Infrastructure
40 Eddie Lucio III
Brownsville Democrat
Rules & Resolutions Chair, Natural Resources, Government Transparency & Operation, Joint State Water Implementation Fund
41 Joe Deshotel
Beaumont Democrat
Select Texas Ports Innovation & Infrastructure Chair, Public Education, Economic & Small Business Development
42 Donna Howard
Austin Democrat
Calendars Vice-Chair, Appropriations Subcommittee Vice-Chair, Administration, Higher Education
43 Helen Giddings
Dallas Democrat
State Affairs Vice-Chair, Appropriations Subcommittee Vice-Chair, Calendars
44 Toni Rose
Dallas Democrat
Appropriations, Calendars, Human Services, Health & Human Services Transition Oversight, House Democratic Caucus Treasurer
45 Roland Gutierrez
San Antonio Democrat
Defense & Veterans Affairs Chair, Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
46 Carol Alvarado
Houston Democrat
Urban Affairs Chair, Higher Education
47 Abel Herrero
Corpus Christi Democrat
Land & Resource Management Chair, Licensing & Administrative Procedures
48 Harold Dutton
Houston Democrat
Juvenile Justice & Family Issues, Public Education
49 John Raney
Bryan Republican
Appropriations, Higher Education Vice-Chair, Administration, House Republican Caucus Secretary
John Kuempel James White J.M. Lozano Lyle Larson
John Kuempel James White J.M. Lozano Lyle Larson  


March 30, 2017

Republicans from Super Majority Rookie Class
Find Clout Rising Collectively in Texas House

Texas Senate Power Rankings

House Glass Ceiling Crasher

Democrats Net Power Wash

Jodie Laubenberg & Cindy Burkett
Jodie Laubenberg and Cindy Burkett

A trio of Republicans who rode a titanic tsunami into Austin seven years ago have vaulted into the top 10 on the Texas House power chart while one of their former freshmen class members has made the biggest leap up the ladder of clout in the 2017 regular session.

As the second half of the Texas Legislature's biennial gathering gets under way, the Capitol Inside power rankings reflect the fact that establishment moderates are more firmly in control in the lower chamber than they've been at any point in the current century.

GOP Speaker Joe Straus has a tighter grip on the gavel in his fifth term on the dais partly as a result of a leadership team nucleus that boasts a wealth of experience and talent and the thick skins that it takes to stay a relatively centrist course by today's standards in the face of ferocious pressure from the right. But Republican leaders in the House have solidified their sway by sharing a fair amount of power with conservatives and the 55 Democrats in a 150-member chamber where the GOP seized its first majority in more than a century 14 years ago.

The Texas Legislature Power Rankings for the west wing of the statehouse this year have a new name at the top with GOP State Rep. John Zerwas of Richmond crowning the list in his role as the House Appropriations Committee chairman. A medical doctor who's an anesthesiologist, Zerwas had been ranked as the 11th most powerful House member in the regular sessions in 2013 and 2015.

Three House Republicans who are listed right behind Zerwas - State Reps. Dennis Bonnen of Angleton, Todd Hunter of Corpus Christi and Charlie Geren of Fort Worth - were ranked among the top five in the last two regular sessions. GOP State Reps. Drew Darby of San Angelo and Byron Cook of Corsicana are fifth and sixth respectively this time around after top 15 rankings in 2013 and slots in the top 10 two years ago.

State Rep. Tan Parker - a Flower Mound Republican who's a former Straus foe and highly-valuable speaker team member now - is ranked ninth on the power list in 2017just like he'd been two years ago as a function of his prestigious post as the majority party's caucus leader on the west side of the rotunda.

Legendary State Rep. Senfronia Thompson of Houston is the highest ranked Democrat on the power list this year in the 11th spot. Three other Democrats - State Reps. Rafael Anchia of Dallas, Oscar Longoria of La Joya and Richard Peña Raymond of Laredo - have top 20 ratings as well in 2017.

But the most significant aspect of the power rankings this year is the emergence of seven six-year House veterans who'd been Republican rookies in 2001 when the GOP had its first and only super majority in the Legislature's lower chamber.

1 Dade Phelan
2 Linda Koop
3 Gary VanDeaver
R-New Boston
4 Mary Ann Perez
5 Morgan Meyer
6 Diego Bernal
D-San Antonio
7 DeWayne Burns
7 Will Metcalf
7 Andrew Murr
7 John Wray
1 Scott Cosper
2 Jay Dean
3 Kevin Roberts
4 Tom Oliverson
5 Gina Hinojosa
6 Diana Arévalo
D-San Antonio
7 Stan Lambert
R-San Angelo
8 Ernest Bailes
9 Justin Holland
10 Barbara Gervin-Hawkins
D-San Antonio

Amarillo State Rep. Walter "Four" Price is the only member of that group who'd been ranked among the 20 representatives with the most clout in the last regular session two years ago. Thanks in large part to a promotion to the position of Public Health Committee chairman, Price has jumped from number 13 to the eighth spot on the current power list.

The group of Republicans who'd made their debuts in the House when the GOP had its first super majority in history there produced features a half-dozen representatives in the top 25 on a 75-member list that has no freshmen or sophomores from either party.

GOP State Reps. Sarah Davis of Houston and Larry Gonzales of Round Rock - like Price - are both four-term lawmakers who are ranked among the 10 House members with the most clout in the lower chamber in 2017.

Gonzales jumped from number 21 two years ago to the tenth spot on the power chart this time around partly as a result of his role as the chairman of an Appropriations Committee subcommittee that crafted spending plans for agencies that oversee natural resources, business development and regulatory functions. But Gonzales' surge in sway has been fueled even more by the prestigious part he has now as the Sunset Advisory Commission chairman.

State Rep. Cindy Burkett - a Sunnyvale Republican who entered the House in 2011 as well - has soared from 35th in the 2015 power rankings all the way up to the 11th spot now as a Gonzales colleague on the Sunset Advisory Commission and first-time committee chair as the leader of the standing panel on redistricting.

But Republican State Rep. Sarah Davis of Houston is the highest-ranked six-year House veteran on the 2017 power ladder as the budget subcommittee chief for health and human services agencies in addition to her debut as a standing panel chair in the lead role on the General Investigating & Ethics Committee. But Davis is a triple-threat as a major league assignments are concerned as a Calendars Committee member as well.

Another Class of 2011 product - GOP State Rep. Dan Huberty of Humble - has vaulted 15 spots into the 13th position on the current power list with a plum appointment as the Public Education Committee chairman in the west wing of the statehouse.

State Rep. John Kuempel, a Seguin Republican who'd also been a rookie six years ago, jumped five spots to number 15 on the power chart in 2017 with a promotion to the Licensing & Administrative Procedures Committee chairmanship after a stint in the lead role on the ethics panel.

But none of the House Republicans who served their first sessions as super-majority party members have leaped as far as State Rep. Lyle Larson of San Antonio in terms of his power rankings position in the current biennial gathering compared to the regular session two years ago. A former Bexar County commissioner who'd been a city council member as well, had been ranked 52nd in 2015 before landing in the 16th spot on the new list with a prestigious appointment as the Natural Resources Committee chairman.

But GOP State Rep. James White of HIllister has seen his stock soar at a similar rate as the 34th highest rated House member who wasn't ranked among the top 75 in 2015. White became the first African-American Republican to be appointed as a standing panel chairman in the lower chamber since the 1800s when Straus selected him to lead the Corrections Committee that concentrates on the state prison system. White is one of 10 Republicans who are ranked in the top 35 on the House clout chart in their fourth regular sessions.

State Rep. J.M. Lozano - a Kingsville Republican who's also served in the House since 2011, is ranked 30th on the current list in light of a promotion from the lead role on the Redistricting Committee to the top job on the Higher Education Committee in 2017. The chairmanship shift culminated in a bump of seven spots up the House power list for Lozano, who switched to the GOP during his first term after winning a seat initially as a Democrat.

Two third-term Republicans - GOP State Reps. Trent Ashby of Lufkin and Giovanni Capriglione of Southlake - are ranked in the top 25 for the 2017 session as the leaders of state budget subcommittees. But a Democrat who'd been a rookie in 2013 as well - State Rep. Oscar Longoria of La Joya - is the highest-ranked lawmaker with just over four years experience in the lower chamber where he doubles as the Appropriations Committee vice-chairman and the leader of a budget panel subcommittee that focuses on public safety and the courts.

Longoria is the third highest-ranking Democrat in terms of clout in the House where State Rep. Rafael Anchia of Dallas is one slot above at number 17 as a result of a new role as the Mexican American Legislative Caucus chairman. The MALC boss job is the power equivalent of the House Democratic Caucus leader post that State Rep. Chris Turner of Grand Prairie holds for the first time in 2017. But Anchia is ranked 10 spots higher than Turner as a function of the chairmanship he's occupied for more than four years on the International Trade & Governmental Affairs Committee.

Slightly more than 37 percent of the top 75 on the House power list are Democrats in a chamber where 36.7 percent of the seats are held by members of the minority party. But only five Democrats are ranked among the 30 House members with the most sway this year.

The lion's share of the state representatives who have the most sway at the statehouse in their first or second terms were elected with various degrees of support from the Speaker Joe Straus leadership team. But the House rookies and second-term colleagues who are ranked highest in 2017 have been helping craft a new state spending plan for the next two years as members of the Appropriations Committee.

GOP State Reps. Dade Phelan of Beaumont and Linda Koop of Dallas are first and second on the sophomore power chart as lawmakers who are both serving on the Appropriations Committee and Calendars Committee - the two most prestigious assignments that House members can have in the Capitol's west wing. While Koop wields additional sway as a Public Education Committee member, Phelan reaped another plum when the speaker named him to be the vice-chairman on the Natural Resources Committee that will dealing with water issues that are major priorities in the part of southeast Texas that he represents.

Republican State Rep. Gary VanDeaver of New Boston is a close third on the power measuring stick for second-term House members with a seats on the budget and public school panels in addition to a key part as the Administration Committee vice-chairman. Democratic State Rep. Mary Ann Perez is ranked fourth on the sophomore power chart as an Appropriations Committee member as well.

Straus has reputation as a leader who's fair and determined to put colleagues who haven't been enemies in positions that are suited for them based on their unique and individual talents and experience. But the speaker hasn't forgotten where he's from when he's been doling out committee assignments since he began wielding the gavel eight years ago. That's especially true when it comes to Democrats from the Alamo City where Straus' family helped build the GOP from the ground up.

Democratic State Rep. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio is the most prominent example of the speaker's hometown affinity - having landed his first chairmanship as the leader of the Defense & Veterans Affairs Committee with an appointment that's a real plum in a city with a massive military presence.

But some of the House's newest members from the Bexar County seat that's the speaker's home base have fared relatively well in the appropriation of sway as well. The list of the House sophomores with the most clout now is dominated by Republicans who the speaker's team helped elect with the exception of Democratic State Rep. Diego of San Antonio. Bernal had a late start as a rookie after winning a special election runoff a month after the regular session had convened two years ago. But Bernal came out like an old pro last month when Straus appointed him to the Administration Committee and Public Education Committee where he's second in command as the vice-chairman.

The three freshman Republicans who won budget committee appointments in their House debuts - State Reps. Scott Cosper of Killeen, Jay Dean of Longview and Kevin Roberts of Longview - are ranked in the top three spots on the power list for newcomers on the west side of the rotunda in 2017.

But the House freshmen clout chart features a trio of Democrats including a pair of San Antonio residents in State Reps. Diana Arévalo and Barbara Gervin-Hawkins.

Arévalo landed a pair of key posts in her rookie debut with appointments to the Public Health Committee and the Defense & Veterans Affairs Committee. Gervin-Hawkins, whose brother George Gervin was a hall-of-fame performer for the San Antonio Spurs, scored seats on the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and the Culture Recreation & Tourism Committee - a pair of standing panels that handle issues that are important to the east side of the city where she's based. .

Gervin-Hawkins and Bernal represent districts that border the district where the speaker has been the state representative for the past 12 years. Arévalo's district in northwest central SA is a 10-minute drive away from the Straus residence.

50 J.D. Sheffield
Gatesville Republican
Public Health Vice-Chair, Appropriations, Rules & Resolutions
51 Greg Bonnen
Friendswood Republican
Appropriations Subcommittee Vice-Chair, Energy Resources
52 Ron Simmons
Carrollton Republican
Appropriations, Transportation, Local & Consent Calendars
53 Rick Miller
Sugar Land Republican
Appropriations Subcommittee Vice-Chair, Human Services
54 Poncho Nevarez
Eagle Pass Democrat
Homeland Security & Public Safety Vice-Chair, Calendars, Natural Resources, General Investigating & Ethics, House Democratic Caucus Vice-Chair
55 Segio Munoz Jr.
Mission Democrat
Insurance Vice-Chair, Appropriations
56 Armando Walle
Houston Democrat
Appropriations Subcommittee Vice-Chair, Energy Resrouces
57 Mary Gonzalez
Clint Democrat
Agriculture & Livestock Vice-Chair, Appropriations
58 Justin Rodriguez
San Antonio Democrat
Appropriations, Pensions, Select Texas Ports Innovation & Infrastructure
59 Travis Clardy
Nacogdoches Republican
Local & Consent Calendars Vice-Chair, Higher Education, Energy Resources
60 Jason Isaac
Austin Republican
Energy Resources, Urban Affairs, House Republican Caucus Fundraising Chair
61 Jason Villalba
Dallas Republican
Business & Industry, Economic & Small Business Development
62 Dwayne Bohac
Houston Republican
Ways & Means, Public Education
63 Craig Goldman
Fort Worth Republican
Administration, Transportation, Licensing & Administrative Procedures, Select Texas Ports Innovation & Infrastructure, House Republican Caucus Policy Chair
64 Eric Johnson
Dallas Democrat
Redistricting Vice-Chair, Ways & Means, Investments & Financial Services, Select State & Federal Power & Responsibility
65 Gene Wu
Houston Democrat
Appropriations, Human Services
66 Kyle Kacal
College Station Republican
Rules & Resolutions Vice-Chair, Calendars, Natural Resources, Environmental Regulation
67 Ryan Guillen
Rio Grande City Democrat
Licensing & Administrative Procedures Vice-Chair, State Affairs
68 Dawnna Dukes
Austin Democrat
Appropriations, International Trade & Intergovernmental Relations
69 Yvonne Davis
Dallas Democrat
Ways & Means Vice-Chair, Transportation
70 James Frank
Wichita Falls Republican
Human Services Vice-Chair, Natural Resources, Local & Consent Calendars
71 Drew Springer
Muenster Republican
County Affairs Vice-Chair, Ways & Means, Redistricting
72 Phil Stephenson
Wharton Republican
Investments & Financial Services Vice-Chair, Ways & Means
73 Ed Thompson
Pearland Republican
Environmental Regulation
Vice-Chair, Transportation
74 Charles "Doc" Anderson
Waco Republican
Energy Resources Vice-Chair, Agriculture & Livestock
75 Tony Dale
Cedar Park Republican
Juvenile Justice & Family Issues Vice-Chair, Environmental Regulation, House Republican Caucus Deputy Floor Leader


Copyright 2003-2017 Capitol Inside