He stated, “The job of the Speaker is to find common ground between these differences, and help create policy that benefits Texans from all walks of life. My goal is to focus on what unites us and offer leadership that allows members to represent their unique districts, and the values of constituents they serve.”
First elected in 2014, Phelan represents Orange County and part of Jefferson County. He chairs the House Committee on State Affairs and was one of outgoing Speaker Dennis Bonnen’s (R-Angleton) top lieutenants.
In the private sector, Phelan owns and operates a commercial real estate firm.
Phelan is expected to be one of the frontrunners for the speakership, though the field is likely to continue to grow.
While ultimately the results of the election will determine much of the speaker’s race depending on the electoral makeup of the House, the backroom shuffling will still play a big role.
Bonnen will not be returning to the state House after the recording of a meeting he held with Michael Quinn Sullivan of Empower Texans was released, during which a quid pro quo of a target list of Republicans was offered in exchange for press credentials. Bonnen later announced he would not run for re-election.
Within the GOP caucus, two camps have generally formed called “Team Texas” and “Team Bonnen” and each are jockeying for position to amass enough support behind their preferred candidates.
Phelan joins the field along with three Democrats; Reps. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio), and Oscar Longoria (D-Mission), and four Republicans; Reps. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall), Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), John Cyrier (R-Lockhart), and Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria).
Cyrier announced Friday that he’d back Morrison for the speakership, eliminating himself from the contest.
The speaker will be officially chosen at the beginning of the 87th Legislative Session in January.
For a timeline on the speaker’s race, visit here.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include Rep. Phelan’s statement.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.