Senator Kip Averitt, Republican, Waco A modest and understated certified public accountant, he applies financial principles to look beyond the “liberal” and “conservative” labels. On the Senate Finance Committee, he won the support of fiscal conservatives for a proposal allowing families who can’t afford private insurance to buy into the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program. (The bill was consumed by the end-of-session chaos.)
Dan Branch, Republican, Dallas For putting Texas on the path to developing more top-tier universities.
Senator Bob Deuell, Republican, Greenville For his stern warning to fellow Republicans who killed a needle-exchange program:”If we’re to remain a viable party, we need to start looking at medical facts and dealing with reality and not dealing with black helicopters and other myths that are put out there by right-wing extremists.”
Ruth Jones McClendon, Democrat, San Antonio For helping to persuade homebuilders to let the Texas Residential Construction Commission die.
Mark Strama, Democrat, Austin For being as interested in other members’ successes as his own.
Michael Villarreal, Democrat, San Antonio For advocating increased funding for the Texas Grants scholarship program.