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Tiguas Tribe Hopes for Gambling Restoration at the Speaking Rock Casino

On January 6th, 2009, State Representative Joe Straus appeared to be the next Texas House speaker; a development Tigua tribal officials stated could have a good influence in their ongoing goal to resume gambling at the Speaking Rock casino. Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Lt. Governor Carlos Hisa said that they are looking on the development as a good thing for the whole tribe.

Joe Straus, a San Antonio Republic with family ties to the gambling industry became the speaker after a tough House Speaker Race. Straus assumed the position after incumbent House Speaker Tom Craddick bowed out from the race and two other Republican candidates stepped aside for Strauss. The other speaker candidates withdrew from their candidacy as Straus announced 100 of the 150 House members, including five legislators from El Paso, supported his bid as House Speaker, one of the most sought out position in the state government.

Straus was first elected to the Texas House in 2005 special election. His family has roots in the Texas Republican Party and the newly elected speaker worked in the administrations of Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Straus also helped outgoing Republican Pat Haggerty of El Paso during his 1982 campaign for the U.S. House. Despite his deep ties to the Republican Party, his family's interests in gambling concerned some GOP legislators and some conservative groups that oppose gaming.

Straus' father is the head of the Retama Entertainment Group Inc., a horse racing track in San Antonio, Texas. Cathie Adams, the President of Texas Eagle forum, a conservative organization said that Straus' family is set to make billions of dollars if slot machines were to be allowed in Texas.

In 2007, Straus also voted for the proposal of state Representative Norma Chavez, a Democrat from El-Paso that would have permitted the Tiguas tribe to resume gambling at the Speaking Rock Casino. Those factors give Chavez and the Tiguas Tribe hopes that this time around, their efforts could finally bear fruit.

Chavez said that he thinks Straus is a reasonable guy and he would hear them out. Hisa said that tribal official hoped that Straus' support would continue even in his new position. Hisa added that all that they are asking is a fair shot on the issue.


02/23/2009 19:33 PM


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