Patricia Hart – DUPE
It was a new era at the Capitol, with a new Speaker and a new mood of peace, love, and bipartisanship in the war-torn House. But the eighty-first legislative session turned out to be a lot like the eighty that came before it—some heroes, some villains, and enough hot air to last until 2011.
The eightieth session began with a Speaker’s race, ended with a Speaker’s race, and was consumed in between by the usual mix of nuanced issues and nasty politics. Along the way, a handful of lawmakers put the common good ahead of all else. And a handful of lawmakers didn’t.
As we head into the most critical legislative session in decades—maybe ever—the question is not just, Who are the people with the most clout at the Capitol? It’s also, What do they want?
Ah, redistricting—that partisan, vengeful, hazardous battle for domination the Legislature fights every decade. Here we go again.
A few lawmakers in both parties distinguished themselves during one of the worst sessions anyone can remember. As for the rest? Well, in the words of Jon Stewart, that famous observer of Texas politics: not so much.
Twenty-three other people with more clout than they know what to do with. (Well, they know exactly what to do with it.)
The name on everyone’s lips this legislative session is unknown to most people outside Austininside Austin too. But Mike Toomey, the governor’s chief of staff, is the most powerful political operative at the Capitoland the most feared. Just ask his fellow Republicans.
Ron Kirk may be this year’s most jovial political candidate, but his bid for the U.S. Senate is as much about race as personality. He knows it. His fellow Democrats know it. And you’d better believe the Republicans know it.
A diary of San Antonio Democrat Leticia Van de Putte’s first session as a state senator.
Rodney Ellis was excellent. Gary Elkins was well, significantly less so. Bill Ratliff was a model of dignified leadership. Domingo Garcia was a one-man leper colony. Our biennial roundup of the Legislature’s leading lights and dim bulbs.