Pete Gallego’s decision not to seek reelection to the Texas House is a true loss for the body. Gallego has been a great member who has grown in stature during the years of Republican domination. His deep voice was instantly recognizable and his calm demeanor helped soothe some difficult moments. He was highly regarded as a committee chairman (Criminal Jurisprudence), and he always showed great respect for the process. When things went awry in the House, as they too often have, he injected a note of sadness into his speech that served as a quiet rebuke to angry members. In the recent regular session, he served the important role of teaching freshman Democrats how to be effective in the minority. He is a first-rate legislative craftsman. He told me once that the birth of his son, Nicholas, a familiar figure on the floor, made him a better legislator, because he realized what was really important in life, and it wasn’t the battles of the moment. There was nothing more Pete could accomplish in the House, and he is wise to have chosen the up-or-out path. His Republican opponent for the congressional seat that runs from San Antonio to El Paso is Quico Canseco, who has considerable personal wealth. With Perry on top of the GOP ticket and an unpopular Barack Obama heading the Democratic ticket, this will certainly be a tough race; the Republican congressional committee will surely throw a lot of resources into holding what has traditionally been a Democratic seat. The House will miss Pete, and I personally will miss him. He was one of the best legislators of the past twenty years, and he was my friend.
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