Articles by Patricia Hart
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.
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.
• Matthew Dowd, 43, and Mark McKinnon, 49, Austin The two Bush campaign veterans have returned to Texas, consultant Dowd to set up his own firm and media guru McKinnon to return to Public Strategies, his old stomping ground. Their political talent and impeccable credentials will have an impact…
• Rick Perry, 54, Austin He’s one of the best campaigners Texas has ever seen, but that’s all that can be said. Beyond the inherent powers of the office, the assets that earn a governor extra clout are an uplifting vision for the future, broad-based popular support, and the…
Apr 30, 2003 — By Patricia Hart
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.
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.