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2013: The Best and Worst Legislators

The Freshman Class

The Eighty-third Legislature brought the biggest class of freshmen to the Capitol since the Sharpstown scandal, in the early seventies: 41 in the House, 5 in the Senate (plus an open seat). And as with any freshman class, you could pick out those most likely to succeed—as well as those most likely to end up having to repeat a grade. In the Senate, Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) won over his colleagues with his intelligence and integrity; he was the only freshman in the chamber who didn’t change his vote on a transparency bill after the special interests came calling. In the House, Bennett Ratliff (R-Coppell) addressed the accountability system for public school students in grades three through eight. Too bad not everyone followed these members’ example. Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) stumbled in early committee hearings and was never able to erase the impression that she was out of her depth, and Representative Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) spent too much time at the back mike going off half-cocked, railing against enemies, real and imagined.

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