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vicki truitt

Times v. Sullivan

Apr 4, 2012 By Paul Burka

Maybe the times are a-changin’ in the Texas House if legislators are willing to challenge Michael Quinn Sullivan. Win or lose, the ethics complaints lodged against Sullivan by two committee chairs, Vicki Truitt and Jim Keffer, are a shot across the bow and an indication that Sullivan’s detractors are not…

The Best & Worst Legislators explained

Jun 16, 2011 By Paul Burka

The 20th edition of the “Best & Worst Legislators” story is complete. Yesterday we posted, on Twitter and on this blog, the names of the ten Best, the ten Worst, the Bull of the Brazos, and the Rookie of the Year. Today the write-ups for all of these 22 members are available online. The full story, including honorable and dishonorable mentions, furniture, and the very special features that mark the 20th edition of the story will be available in the magazine, which will begin reaching subscribers this weekend, and on our website next week. I have been involved in nineteen of the twenty previous articles, and I cannot recall a more difficult year when it came to selecting the members on both lists. This was a session without heroes. All the usual jokes about naming 5 Bests and 15 Worsts were on point, for a change. The budget dominated everything, with the result that there were few major bills. I count three: Truitt’s effort to regulate payday loans; Ritter’s attempt to get funding for the state water plan (one of several occasions on which Perry could have exercised leadership for the state’s future but did not); and Keffer’s bill regulating hydraulic fracturing in shale formations. The rest was noise. Particularly cacophonous was the governor’s “emergency” agenda, which consisted of nothing but red meat for Republicans. Republicans got to vote on abortion, immigration, voter fraud, tort reform, and, shades of the fifties, state’s rights. Democrats got to vote no a lot. Even the major Sunset bills didn’t seem to generate any interest. You could look out across the House floor during any debate and see few members engaged. The House Republican caucus was a curious organism. Its members preferred to vote as a block, as if they lived in fear that their age-old enemies, the Democrats, might perhaps be resuscitated to offer a scintilla of opposition. The group-think voting was reminiscent of the refrain sung by the “Monarch of the Sea” in Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore: “I grew so rich that I was sent/by a pocket borough into Parliament/I always voted at my party’s call/and never thought of thinking for myself at all.” The anemic Democratic caucus, meanwhile, mustered up occasional resistance, mostly with parliamentary maneuvers, but the D’s were so outnumbered, and so demoralized by their election rout, that they never seemed to have a leader or a plan. Not that it would have made any difference.

Bad day for conservatives: the anger that wasn’t there

Mar 3, 2010 By Paul Burka

This was supposed to be an unpredictable election due to the tea parties and the Medina candidacy. It was supposed to be an election in which angry conservatives rose up and smote incumbents. Nothing remotely like that occurred. Republican congressional candidates, who might have been tainted by Washingtonitis, won with ease; the closest race was Ralph Hall's 57% victory. In fact, this was a bad election for conservatives, with one exception--Rick Perry. He was a ten-year incumbent in an election cycle that was supposed to be terrible for incumbents, but his keen political instincts enabled him to get out in front of the tea party movement early and become its champion instead of its victim. One of the undercurrents in this election was that conservatives disgruntled by Joe Straus's defeat of Tom Craddick in the 2009 speaker's race saw an opportunity to destabilize him by running hard-right Republicans against moderates on his team. Todd Smith was assailed for holding up Voter ID; he won with surprising ease. Vicki Truitt was assailed for offering a local option gasoline tax; she dispatched three opponents without needing a runoff. Burt Solomons had an unexpectedly close race but prevailed. Chuck Hopson, who switched from Democrat to Republican, infuriated Republicans in his district by announcing that he would continue to vote as he had in the past--and smashed his two opponents. Most of the opposition didn't come from the grass roots; it came from self-appointed kingmakers like Texans for Lawsuit Reform and Michael Quinn Sullivan. Incumbency proved to be mightier than ideology. The voter anger never materialized; it metamorphosized into a brief infatuation with Medina and faded away after she self-destructed on the Glen Beck radio show. A bonus for Straus: One Republican he surely didn't want to see in the House was former Legislative Council director Milton Rister, a longtime Republican operative and hatchet man who is close to Craddick and Dewhurst. Rister was running for the Gattis open seat, but Dr. Charles Schwertner won that four-person race without a runoff. In the end, only five incumbent legislators lost, three Democrats (Al Edwards, Dora Olivo, Tara Rios Ybarra) and two Republicans (Betty Brown and Tommy Merritt), and none of the losses could be blamed on voter anger or ideology. Rios Ybarra could not overcome issues in her personal life that became public, and the others lost for the typical reason why legislators lose: They stayed too long and had too little to show for it. Brown could also attribute her loss to the suburbanization of her district.

R’s vs. R’s updated; Carona responds

Mar 2, 2010 By Paul Burka

My original post on this subject apparently touched off something of a firestorm involving whether Kelly Hancock had a role in opposing Vicki Truitt and Chuck Hopson. In researching the original post, I had e-mailed the Hopson and Truitt campaigns. I accurately published the response and attributed the information to…

House primary races

Feb 16, 2010 By Paul Burka

Note to readers: The descriptions of these races reflect the best information I have been able to glean. It isn’t always possible to know what is happening “out there.” The four most endangered Republican incumbents (alphabetical order): Chuck Hopson Delwin Jones Todd Smith Vicki Truitt Hopson’s problem is that he…

Wrong division

May 13, 2009 By Paul Burka

Eiland and Truitt just engaged in a major debate over Teacher Retirement System bill that expanded the types of companies eligible to offer 403(b) retirement accounts to certify with the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). Eiland offered an amendment sought by the Houston Independent School District. Truitt, aided by…