Texas Speaker of the House names House Higher Education Committee


Texas House Speaker Joe Straus named committees of the Texas House of Representatives Thursday, including the nine members of the House Higher Education Committee.

Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, will remain chairman of the committee and Rep. Diane Patrick, R-Arlington, will succeed former state Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, as vice chair. Castro was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November.

In addition to Branch and Patrick, returning members include state Reps. Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas, Donna Howard, D-Austin, and John Raney, R-College Station.

New members are Reps. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, Armando Martinez, D-Weslaco, and Jim Murphy, R-Houston, and freshman Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches.

In a statement accompanying the appointments, Straus said he considered members’ expertise and representative districts when making his decisions.

“All of the committee appointments highlight the House’s strong mix of experienced leaders and newer members who are ready to take on greater responsibility,” Straus said. “After traveling around the state to visit with Members before the session and talking to them over the last few weeks, I am very encouraged that the House is ready to tackle the serious challenges our state faces.”

In a statement following the committee announcement, Howard said she looks forward to working with Branch as the committee addresses the state’s higher education needs.

"Our state's position as an economic leader depends on a well-educated workforce," Howard said. "We must ensure that our diverse population is prepared to meet tomorrow's challenges."