The Honorable Joe Straus III
Joe Straus III served as the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives from 2009 to 2019. As the presiding officer of the Texas House, he prioritized an inclusive, bipartisan approach to major issues, from public education to mental health to protecting the Texas business climate. He is also a longtime supporter of investing in the arts and arts education across Texas. Speaker Straus‘ family has long been known for its arts advocacy across Texas. His mother, Joci Straus, was one of San Antonio’s most active and respected champions for the arts. She was the Chair of the Texas Cultural Trust, Founding Chairman of the Foundation for Cultural Arts in San Antonio (also known as the Las Casas Foundation), the Founding President of the San Antonio Performing Arts Association, a member of the National Endowment for the Arts, and is Chair Emeritus of the Texas Medal of Arts Awards. Joci was also the driving force behind the restoration and preservation of San Antonio’s historic Majestic and Charline McCombs Empire Theatres.