AUSTIN (KXAN) – When an embarrassing recording of Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen was released last week, many House members joined the call for the Speaker to resign.
It’s something State Representative Kyle Biedermann had been calling for since the summer.
Biedermann, a Fredericksburg Republican, was one of the first members to call for Bonnen to resign. He made the decision in August after hearing the secretly recorded audio of Bonnen’s meeting with a conservative activist.
“I know Speaker Bonnen speaks his mind and of course he said a lot of those things in the way he talks, but the things that are on the tape were very, very detrimental, and the things I didn’t expect to hear,” Biedermann said.
On the recording, Bonnen made crude and hurtful comments about other House members. He also plotted to break his vow not to campaign against fellow members. Bonnen had threatened retribution for other lawmakers who campaigned against incumbents.
Bonnen announced on Monday that he won’t seek re-election as State Representative of District 25, and subsequently, as Speaker of the House.
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“The worst part was just the dishonesty,” Biedermann said. “The dishonesty towards members and then the dishonesty towards the State of Texas with the denials and not telling the truth. That’s what hit me the most.”
Governor Abbott released a statement after Bonnen’s announcement praising him for his role passing conservative priorities like the Born Alive Act and putting a proposition on the ballot to permanently ban a state income tax.
Biedermann said it has nothing to do with accomplishments.
“The whole reason for the need to resign and to have new leadership is honesty, integrity, and that’s the overriding thing,” Biedermann said.
The word that keeps coming up for the next speaker is honesty according to Biedermann. He said they do not have a name for the next Texas Speaker but what is important is their party coming together as a caucus to start the healing process.
“The speaker’s job is not to run and control and be a dictator of the House and all the legislation,” Biedermann said. “They should be facilitating members to allow them to represent their district and of course put forth Republican party issues.”
When asked what they need to do to make sure a similar situation doesn’t happen again Biedermann said politics is politics but representatives are either going to be honest and ethical in their hearts, or they’re not.
“So for next session obviously we’ve got a lot of learning experience here, and we see what we don’t want,” Biedermann said.