Rep. Longoria of Mission vying for Speaker of Texas House

Rep. Oscar Longoria, D-Mission

State Rep. Oscar Longoria announced Thursday that he is throwing his name in the ring to be the next Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.

Longoria, D-Mission, whose District 35 encompasses Cameron and Hidalgo counties, announced the news in a statement Thursday after filing his candidacy with the Texas Ethics Commission.

“I am humbled by the support I’ve received from a bipartisan coalition of my colleagues in the Texas House, and today I formally declare my candidacy for Speaker of the House,” Longoria wrote. “I am running for Speaker to ensure that we have stability, civility, and integrity in the Texas House. The unprecedented challenges we face require a leader who can build consensus across the political aisle, across rural and urban communities, and across ideologies.”

The four-term incumbent detailed his priorities and plans for his prospective post in the release, pledging to work cooperatively and in a bipartisan fashion to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 has reshaped the American landscape, and more than ever, we need healing, not strife,” he wrote. “As Speaker, I will assemble a diverse coalition of leaders and work on behalf of all Texans to create a better tomorrow. Together we will bring our economy roaring back from this pandemic that has affected millions of Texans and thousands of small businesses across the state.”

The grandson of Mexican immigrants and son of a migrant farmworker, Longoria pledged to promote cultural and gender equality in the release.

“Texas is stronger with diverse leadership, and women belong in seats of power in the legislature. It is important to elevate women to positions of leadership so that all of our daughters have shining examples of the strength of Texas women,” he wrote.

Other priorities outlined in the statement included ensuring the quality of public education and increasing access to health care across the state.

“I will conduct this race with respect and decorum, attributes that have been hallmarks of my leadership style as a public servant,” Longoria wrote. “If elected to be the first bilingual Mexican-American Speaker to lead this body, I will set a tone that respects all backgrounds, cultures, and viewpoints. As a proud husband, I will ensure that we put Texas families first. I commit to House members that we will work in unity — not division — to build a better Texas for generations to come.”

There’s no shortage of competition for the speaker position this year. Longoria is one of seven candidates that had filed to run for the position by Thursday afternoon.