"The first day is always exciting," said Rep. Rafael Anchia of Dallas "We're surrounded by family and friends and my good friends will be elected Speaker of the House, and that's Joe Straus."
Ken Paxon, who previously had placed his name in the hat to become the next Speaker, withdrew his name himself with a speech to the House. Dozens of people wearing Paxton shirts listened while their candidate of choice declared that he no longer wanted to be considered.
A vote of 132 to 15 officially won Straus his seat back as the Speaker. It came as no surprise to many as Monday he won the non-binding support of the Republican Caucus.
"I want Texans to look at the House and see leaders [debate the issues of the day] with civilicty," said Straus in a speech to the House.
"I think he's led the House in a bi-partisan fashion, a fashion that befits Texas," Anchia said. "Last session we had unanimous agreement on the budget. I think it's going to be a lot more difficult this time."
Anchia said Democrats want a balanced approach to the Legislature's biggest task - balancing the budget. He said creating new sources of revenue, in addition to cuts, will be on the table. But he fears Republicans won't see balancing the budget in the same ways.
"I think the leadership wants to do just cuts and that's going to hurt some of the most vulnerable Texans," he said. "And those are folks that we are committed to helping in this Legislative session."
Rep. Aaron Pena, Republican from Edinburg, is one of two House members who switched parties. That action helped give Republicans a super majority in the House.
"We can do this," said Pena. "We're Texans. No longer will you have people run off to Ardmore, Oklahoma or New Mexico. They can break a quorum, we'll just continue business without them."
Pena says there are tough challenges ahead.
"We have to get serious about what we're doing here," he says. "Part of that is working together. I feel very comfortable having been bi-partisan. I was a conservative Democrat. I'm very comfortable being a Republican."
Gov. Rick Perry also stood before the House of Representatives and their families to reflect on the importance of elected officials to shape the future of the state.
What we're doing makes the difference between success and failure, Perry said.
The Governor took a moment to also remember the victims of the shootings in Arizona that critically injured U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed numerous others.
"We're commencing a historic legislative session. As we begin, it's fitting for us to take a moment and reflect on the shootings that occurred in Arizona, and to keep those people in our thoughts and prayers," Perry said.
"Naturally after Arizona, everybody was concerned," said Anchia. "As a Democrat, I was concerned the Democrats were being targeted by some of this violence. We went into this day very wary and vigilant. I'm very happy to see the stepped up security at the Capitol."
Perry ended by saying he's certain the work done inside the Capitol will benefit Texans in the end, and encouraged lawmakers to keep the interest of their constituents in mind.
It's just a really wonderful time to be able to share this fellowship and do such an important job for the constituents that I represent and for the state of Texas," said Anchia. "I'm one of 150 people in a state of 25 million people that gets to do this. It is a great honor."
"My job was to get problems and find solutions for Texas," said Pena. "I ran to represent the people of my district, and I'm going to do that regardless of party."