McDonald sees “great things” for county under Bonnen’s leadership
As expected, Representative Dennis Bonnen was elected Speaker of the House for Texas House of Representatives Tuesday in the first order of business following the swearing in of representatives.
Bonnen, who represents the 25th District of Texas, was able to lock up the race within days of last November’s election and following the announcement of the retirement of Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio.
“(Bonnen) has done a lot for the state of Texas and a lot for Matagorda County,” said Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald. “I look forward to his leadership in the Texas House of Representatives Chamber. Matagorda County will do great things under his leadership.”
During his early days as Speaker of the House, Bonnen is expected to release committee assignments. An early pledge by Bonnen was to run a bipartisan chamber so it will be interested to see how many Democrats are named to head the committees.
Another challenge waiting in the wings is how Bonnen will handle Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. Patrick and Bonnen have clashed publically in the past but since it appeared that Bonnen was headed towards the speaker post, they have showed nothing but cooperation with each other.
“Throughout my career in the House, I have always emphasized my respect for the institution as a whole as well as the unique position each member has to serve their district,” Bonnen said in a statement. “I look forward to the many conversations to come with members across the state. My desire, which I believe I share with the vast majority of my colleagues, is that this process come to a conclusion with a House ready to do the people’s business with strength, resolve, and unity in the 86th Legislative Session.”
Bonnen serves the 25th Legislative District in the Texas House of Representatives representing southern Brazoria County and all of Matagorda County. First elected to the Legislature in 1996, he began his 11th term of office in January 2017.
At the beginning of the 85th Session, Bonnen was reappointed by Straus to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore, acting as presiding officer of the House in the Speaker’s absence. Bonnen also serves as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee with policy oversight of all legislation relating to the state’s tax code.
Additionally, he is a member of the House Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee where he promotes the natural beauty and tourism opportunities offered by the state of Texas, while also supporting Texas’ rich culture of hunting and fishing.
At home in Brazoria County, Bonnen serves as the honorary chairman of Brazosport College’s “Count on Us” campaign. He is on the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement and B.I.G. Love Cancer Care Services, and is an honorary member of the Brazoria and Matagorda County Cavalries. He has served as honorary co-chairman of the Leukemia Society Light the Night Walk and Crime Stoppers Golf Tournament, and is an active supporter of the Brazoria County Fair, BACH, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, ActionS, Inc., and local Boys and Girls Clubs. He is also a member of the Angleton, Brazosport, Sweeny, West Columbia, Brazoria, Bay City, Matagorda, Palacios, and Sargent Chambers of Commerce.
Bonnen is a graduate of Angleton High School and graduated cum laude from St. Edwards University in Austin with a B.A. in Political Science. St. Edward’s honored him with their Alumni Achievement Award in 2001 and he was inducted into the Angleton ISD Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame in 2013.
In addition to his legislative duties, Bonnen is the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Heritage Bank. The Houston Business Journal honored him in 2009 with one of the inaugural “40 Under 40” awards recognizing young business leaders who show dynamic leadership in their community.
He and his wife, Kim, and their two sons make their home in Angleton.