In Dallas, Straus Touts the Arts and a Texas President

Dallas-based AT&T has been one of his most stalwart campaign contributors. So maybe it shouldn’t have come Joe Strauss IMG_0600as a huge surprise when Rep. Joe Straus and his wife, Julie, of San Antonio turned up as honorary chairs of Saturday’s Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala at the Meyerson. Asked about his connection to the DSO and the reason for his appearance in Dallas, the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives replied, “I was invited by the organizers.”

Between meeting and greeting guests at the cocktail reception, Straus said the arts are playing increasingly “critical roles in economic development,” not only in Dallas but in Houston and San Antonio and the state’s more rural areas. While Texas is still under-appreciated for its arts communities, he added, that’s changing. Asked what’s at the top of his agenda as the Legislature’s interim committees start gearing up, the Bexar County Republican (pictured in photo by Jeanne Prejean) pointed to jobs and the economy and, as his personal priority, “restoring funding” for public and higher education.

Does he have a favorite yet in the GOP presidential primary? “It’s always good to have a president from Texas,” the Speaker answered diplomatically. “Standing here in the home of George W. Bush, I can easily say it’s always good to have a president from Texas.” So, I guess that means you can narrow his choice down to Rick Perry … or Ron Paul?