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Secretary Nelson Convenes 88th Texas Legislature

January 10, 2023
Contact: Sam Taylor
512-463-6116

AUSTIN — Texas Secretary of State Jane Nelson today convened the 88th Texas Legislative Session on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives, becoming the first Texan to preside over the opening of both chambers of the Texas Legislature. After gaveling in the Texas House of Representatives, Secretary Nelson reflected on her career as a lawmaker in the Texas Senate, and urged members to recognize their common goal of improving the lives of all Texans.

"No matter where you're from, we are all Texans, and we've come together for the next 140 days to work on behalf of our state," Secretary Nelson said.

"There will be difficult moments ahead—that happens every session. But remember this: As Texans, we all agree on much more than any differences we might have. I have great faith in you all, and I will be rooting for you to have a successful session."

Following her opening remarks, Secretary Nelson presided over the election of Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, Representative Dade Phelan of Beaumont.

To watch the full video of Secretary Nelson's opening remarks to 88th Texas Legislature, click here or on the image below.


Full text of Secretary Nelson's remarks to the 88th Legislature:

*Disclaimer: Secretary Nelson may deviate from prepared remarks*

Good afternoon, and welcome to the 88th Texas Legislature.

For those of you who don’t know me, I served in the chamber over on the east side of the Capitol for 30 years.

Being here with you today in the House chamber brings back so many memories.

Of course, I witnessed some of my bills die very colorful deaths in this chamber, as I’m sure some of you have.

But it's also the place where I forged some of the best friendships and partnerships of my career.

As Finance chair, I had the privilege of working on the state budget with 4 amazing Appropriations Chairs – Chairman Pitts, Chairman Otto, Chairman Zerwas and Chairman Bonnen.

I've teamed up with many of you, who are truly amazing subject matter experts on your key issues, to pass good legislation over the years.

I want to share just one memory that really stands out.

When we were working to establish the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, there was a key vote here in the House to save that bill, which I think had nine lives.

I heard it was in trouble.

I ran over from the Senate and went straight to Mrs. T and Chairman Morrison for help.

We gathered all of the women of the House together and we went from all the way in the back to the front of the room, desk by desk, and we counted votes.

And by the time we got to the front, Speaker Craddick knew we had the votes.

So to be here in the House today is truly special.

I want to extend a warm congratulations to each member of the House, and to your families as you begin a new chapter in your service to the Texans you represent.

Thirty years ago I sat exactly where you are on my first opening day of the legislative session with my husband and five children, feeling the excitement in the chamber, hearing the buzz around the Capitol building, and anxiously awaiting what the session had in store for us.

You are surrounded by some new faces this year, including the 26 new members of the Texas house and 5 new members of the Senate.

But we also have some seasoned veterans among us who have worked year after year—and in some cases, decade after decade—to improve the lives for all who call Texas home.

Many of you are fresh off the campaign trail, where you had an opportunity to listen first hand to the concerns and hopes of the constituents you now represent.

Each of you brings a unique point of view, background, and expertise to this body.

We have a legislature comprised of teachers, doctors, police officers, moms, dads, and, yes, lawyers.

You come from big cities and small towns, seasides and deserts.

But, no matter where you’re from, we are all Texans, and we have all come together for the next 140 days to work on behalf of our state.

There will be difficult moments ahead—that happens every session.

But remember this:

As Texans, we all agree on much more than any differences we might have.

I have great faith in you all, and I will be rooting for you to have a successful session.

Congratulations, and good luck!

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