The Hobby name is one that most Texans recognize immediately. Media, philanthropy, and public service have all punctuated the family’s legacy for more than a century.
William P. Hobby Sr. served as governor from 1917 to 1921. In 1953 Oveta Culp Hobby became the first secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare—and only the second woman to hold a Cabinet position. Their son, William P. Hobby Jr., became the longest-serving lieutenant governor in the history of Texas, from 1973 to 1991. His son, Paul, served as the chief of staff of his successor, Bob Bullock, and a few years after that, Paul ran for comptroller, losing to Carole Keeton Strayhorn by a mere 20,000 votes. And in Houston, it’s hard to overlook Hobby Airport, the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston, and, well, you get the idea.
I mention all of this because this issue of Texas Monthly is historic: on November 1, Paul Hobby and Genesis Park, the Houston-based private equity firm he runs, purchased our venerable brand. In our 43-year history, we have had only two principal owners. Michael R. Levy founded Texas Monthly in the early seventies, and the first issue appeared in February 1973. I was relatively new to the staff when Levy sold it to Indiana-based Emmis Communications, in 1998, which ran Texas Monthly until this year. Now we enter a new era, one that is full of promise and optimism.
Our faith in Paul is not unfounded. His family published the Houston Post and the American Journalism Review for many years and owned local television and radio stations as well. Paul has served as the chairman of the Houston branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the Texas Ethics Commission, the Greater Houston Partnership, and the Texas General Services Commission, among others. For those readers who worry our political coverage could be affected because Hobby was a Democratic nominee eighteen years ago, remember that his grandmother was in Eisenhower’s Cabinet, his uncle was President George H. W. Bush’s ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, and he was appointed to the Ethics Commission by a Republican speaker of the Texas House.
I can assure you that our editorial independence, which has been a hallmark of our journalism, will remain. And you will see a renewed energy for covering the state as robustly as possible, with an expansion of our digital coverage and our live events. That’s good news for Texas Monthly and, I hope, for all of Texas.