We didn’t know it at the time, but there was something karmically appropriate about asking senior editor Mimi Swartz to write about riding around the state with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Victor Morales in his dented white pickup truck (see “Truckin’,”). At first, it seemed to make sense because San Antonio–bred Swartz had recently written about another outsider politician, U.S. Representative Steve Stockman of Friendswood. But then Swartz became a victor herself: Competing against formidable entries from The New Yorker, Harper’s, Life, and Reason, she won a 1996 National Magazine Award—magazine publishing’s equivalent of an Oscar—for “Not What the Doctor Ordered” (March 1995), her disturbing analysis of what’s wrong with the nation’s health-care system. It was the first-ever National Magazine Award for Swartz, who has been on staff at Texas Monthly since 1984 (though she published her first piece, about makeovers, as a freelance writer in 1979), and she’s just thrilled about the honor. “It’s ecstasy,” she says. “I’m forty-one years old. It means more when you’ve worked as long as I have.”