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Nobody Has the Votes Yet (Week 6)

Add two more official candidates for Speaker of the House, calls for the head of House Parliamentarian and former Rep. Terry Keel, a constitutional amendment that would allow future coups in the House, and a "Solve for X" strategy and you'll be up to date on the contest for control of the Legislature's lower chamber.

Add two more official candidates for Speaker of the House, calls for the head of House Parliamentarian and former Rep. Terry Keel, a constitutional amendment that would allow future coups in the House, and a "Solve for X" strategy and you'll be up to date on the contest for control of the Legislature's lower chamber.

• Rep. Edmund Kuempel, R-Seguin, has been looking at the race for Speaker of the House for weeks. Now he's in it. Kuempel, elected to the House in 1982, ran for speaker in 2002 but dropped that bid when it became apparent that Tom Craddick had the votes. Now, he says, it's time for more "continuity" and "bipartisanship" in the House. "Each members' voice needs to be heard," he said. "It's important that each individual have their say." Kuempel said his filing isn't a comment on any of the others who've also thrown their hats in the ring. "I just wanted to get in and show what I have to offer," he said.

• Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, filed papers to run for speaker of the House. Cook didn't have a bad thing to say about his opponents for the job. He said he's interested in putting the power back in the members' hands. "I just have so much confidence in the talent and skills of this House," he said. "I hope to be a positive proponent of what this House can be in the future."

Cook, you'll remember, delivered a personal privilege speech in the last days of the 2007 session detailing his problems with current management and making his argument for a new speaker. Here's a link. Beyond that, he doesn't have a platform at this point, and said he doesn't have a nose count because he just filed "and I don't want to get one thing in front of the other." He did say he wants to "empower members to take advantage of their talents", to see "fairness in how you handle things", "how you maintain decorum in the House", and "a members'-driven process, as opposed to special-interest driven."

• The race to overthrow Craddick has attracted nine candidates in addition to Craddick and now, to Cook and Kuempel. It's an even dozen. There are a slew of others in the wings, if you believe the scuttlebutt, and Cook apparently does: "I think there are some great candidates," he said. "I think there are going to be some other candidates who appear in the next week's time."

Think of this formula: 64 + X, where 64 is the number of Democrats opposing Craddick and X is the number of Republicans. If the two add up to 76 votes (real votes and not wiggly, squiggly votes), Craddick will lose the gavel. Any number short of that and he'll have a fourth term at the helm. House Democrats claim they have signatures from 64 of their party who pledged not to vote for Craddick's reelection (we haven't seen it and aren't here to testify). If that's so, a dozen more members could topple the incumbent. There's a pool of ten Democrats and 76 Republicans who haven't signed the pledge, but everybody who files to run for Speaker is, at least on the surface, against Craddick's reelection.

The list of official opponents includes Democrats Pete Gallego of Alpine, Scott Hochberg of Houston, Allan Ritter of Nederland, and Senfronia Thompson and Sylvester Turner of Houston, and Republicans Delwin Jones of Lubbock, Jim Keffer of Eastland, Tommy Merritt of Longview, and Burt Solomons of Carrollton. And now Cook and Kuempel.

There's an "unofficial list," too, but that's the people who've filed. And since the House is narrowly Republican, that's the party of all the people on the not-filed-but-mentioned-regularly roster: Warren Chisum of Pampa, Dan Gattis of Georgetown, Bryan McCall of Plano, Jim Pitts of Waxahachie, and Joe Straus III of San Antonio.

• Gattis adds to his Craddick dissent by proposing a way to oust a sitting House Speaker. He filed a constitutional amendment that would allow the House to toss out a speaker if two-thirds of the members so wish.

• And Solomons, Merritt and Jones fired off letters (here and here) asking for Keel's head on a platter. They don't want him in the parliamentarian's seat during the race for speaker on the first day. Their beef is that he's a creature of the current speaker and won't give a fair shake to anybody else if he's advising Secretary of State Hope Andrade while she's presiding over that election. Solomons: "It is my conclusion that a majority of my House colleagues agree that you have become a polarizing figure with divided loyalties, and should no longer be the House Parliamentarian... it has become apparent to my House colleagues and myself that you are working for the current Speaker and not the body." Merritt and Jones concur, and also ask that former Rep. Ron Wilson, who's been helping with parliamentary duties, also resign.

• Let us not forget the battle over how to vote. Just as the Senate did when electing a Lite Guv in 1998 (George W. Bush moved to Washington, Lt. Gov. Rick Perry moved up, the Senate elected Bill Ratliff to preside), the House is talking about whether to vote in the open or with a secret ballot. The first is the recent tradition, though votes for speaker were done with secret ballots well into the 20th century. The theory is that members can more freely express their preferences for the next speaker if they don't have to do so in the open. And everybody seems to be passing around copies of a Texas Supreme Court opinion from 1998 when some newspapers and magazines (not us) sued to try to force senators to vote in the open. The Supremes said — unanimously — that the Senate was free to vote however it wanted.

• One last thing. Before the House votes on who should be speaker, they're likely to have a test vote on something else that clues everyone in on the political temperature. And the two things above are leading candidates for test votes. A House vote on Keel and/or Wilson could turn into a mini-referendum on Craddick, as could a vote on whether to vote secretly.

Less than a Week to Go

Early voting end Friday in the SD-17 runoff election and the Tuesday election will decide the last remaining seat in the Texas Senate. Democrat Chris Bell and Republican Joan Huffman are vying for the spot left open by Republican Kyle Janek's resignation earlier this year.

It's a contest that's important to both parties, but not as critical as it seemed a month ago. Texas Republicans are one vote shy of a two-thirds majority in the state Senate, which means they have to have at least one Democrat on board to consider legislation. But they've been able to peel one Democrat (or two) away from the opposition on some issues, and they've been able to wait until members are absent — thus changing the two-thirds numbers — on others. Democrats wanted to pick up an insurance vote for their side; Republicans wanted to hold their numbers.

Then Democrat Wendy Davis unseated Sen. Kim Brimer, R-Fort Worth, taking some of the shine off of the Houston race. It put 12 Democrats and 18 Republicans in the Senate with one last desk available. Both parties are still battling for the seat, but there's a little less at stake than before.

That's for the parties. This is also a proxy fight between trial lawyers and businesses that want to limit lawsuits, and both of those groups have showered their candidates, Bell and Huffman, respectively, with campaign contributions. Each candidate is in the million-dollar range in the runoff election alone, without considering what it cost them to get this far.

Five counties have a piece of the district. Harris County accounted for more than half the votes in the first round of the special election, and Democrats — Bell and Stephanie Simmons — pulled 52.8 percent of that county's votes.

Fort Bend and Brazoria counties — which together accounted for over a third of the votes in Round One — went Republican. Brazoria's voters gave 61.2 percent of their votes to GOP candidates; Fort Bend's were more evenly divided, but Republicans pulled 51.4 percent of the votes there.

The remainder of the votes came from Jefferson and Galveston counties, in that order, and Democrats won handily in both, pulling 83.9 percent in Jefferson and 61.5 percent in Galveston.

Huffman's best performances in the first round came in Brazoria and Fort Bend, but she split the Republican support with three others and got just more than 36 percent of the overall vote in those counties (she got 26.1 percent overall, to Bell's 38.4 percent). She beat Bell head-to-head in Brazoria. He beat her in Fort Bend, and he clobbered her in the other three counties, including Harris, where he had almost 20,000 more votes. In raw numbers, the Democratic margins in Jefferson and Galveston more than offset the Republican margins in Brazoria and Fort Bend in the first heat; Harris County, for the Democrats, was just gravy.

Not that any of matters now. It's a turnout race and the two sides are working their lists to get their people to the polls during the early voting now and on Election Day next Tuesday; 223,295 people voted in the first round, but that Election Day coincided with the general election and the big turnout of the presidential race.

Both candidates are making last-ditch appeals for money, and both are in the million-dollar range for these last four weeks of the race. In the 8-day reports filed this week, Bell showed contributions of $895,105 and spending of $456,439, ending the period with $263,838 in his campaign accounts. Huffman raised $1,127,158, spent $970,867, and had $364,229 on hand. She also had $890,000 in loans outstanding.

Now It's 150

The number is 19. That's the margin by which Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, held onto her seat. The other number is 150, which is — now that this is settled — the number of representatives who'll be available to vote in next month's election of a Speaker of the House.

Democrat Bob Romano is now deciding whether to launch an election challenge when the House meets next month. A challenge won't impact the race for speaker — Harper-Brown would be in her seat for a vote on the speaker, though she could lose it later in the session should she lose an election contest. That's the rules so far, apparently. As it's been explained to us, the certified winner of the election — that's Harper-Brown — gets sworn in on the first day. They go through the rules, the selection of the speaker, etc., and it's only later that an election contest would be held to see whether she or Romano should serve out the term.

This arose a couple of sessions ago when Democrat Hubert Vo unseated Republican Talmadge Heflin. Vo won the election, barely, and was sworn in on the first day. He voted in the speaker election. Heflin challenged him and though he dropped the contest before it went to a vote on the floor, that vote would have been the only vote from which Vo would have been barred.

A successful challenge to the Irving election result might empty the seat for a longer time, if the House were to decide another election is needed. Same thing with the feds: A new election is among the remedies the Democrats are seeking in their lawsuit, though their first choice is a recount using their preferred rules.

Fight or Flee?

What's Bob Romano gonna do?

The Irving Democrat fell 19 votes short in his challenge of Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, and has until early next week to decide whether he'll challenge the results.

His choice will tell you, 1) whether this is going all the way to the floor of the House, where election contests are settled, and 2) how the Texas Democratic Party proceeds with a federal lawsuit challenging Dallas County's vote-counting procedures.

That federal lawsuit is in a kind of limbo at the moment, as the lawyers on the Democratic side wait to see what Romano wants to do next. If he decides not to contest the election results, they'll try to drop the HD-105 issues and proceed with the lawsuit with 2010 in mind, according to Chad Dunn, the attorney for the Democrats. The battle, you might remember, is over the counting of so-called "emphasis votes" on electronic machines. Vote straight ticket and then for a candidate on that same ticket on a paper ballot, and Dallas County tallies that as a vote for everyone in that party including that candidate. But do the same thing on an electronic machine, and it's counted as a vote for everyone in that party except for that candidate.

The Democrats say the counting change was made without required approval from the U.S. Department of Justice.

If Romano continues his challenge to Harper-Brown, they'll proceed with him in the lawsuit, asking the court. If he doesn't want to keep counting, they will likely drop him and Harper-Brown both and ask the court for a ruling on how things should be counted in the next state elections, in 2010. Romano has until next week to make his decision. He says he's still thinking it over: "We want to make sure all of the votes are counted, and we want to make sure all of the people are represented."

Look Who's Running

Former Comptroller John Sharp says he'll run for Kay Bailey Hutchison's Senate seat, whether it opens up early or in 2012, when her term is up.

Sharp is the first Democrat to openly express an interest in that race. He's been talking about the possibility with potential supporters for several weeks.

"I've been watching some other people strain and moan with all this exploration stuff," he said. "I think that makes you look weak. I know what I'm going to do — why not just say it?"

Hutchison recently announced she's formed an exploratory committee to consider whether to run or not. And she said she would not resign early to run before the end of next year, putting any question of a special election to replace her off for another 12 months. State Sen. Florence Shapiro formed an exploratory committee last summer to allow her to raise money and publicly contemplate a bid. Several other potential candidates are in the wings, waiting to see what Hutchison does, angling for a gubernatorial appointment to her position should she leave early, and scheming: Houston Mayor Bill White, Railroad Commissioners Elizabeth Ames Jones of San Antonio and Michael Williams of Austin, former Secretary of State Roger Williams of Weatherford (don't act surprised if he files papers this week or next), and U.S. Rep. Kay Granger of Fort Worth. White's a Democrat; the rest are Republicans. And there are almost certainly some schemers we're not mentioning here.

Sharp said he'll file papers on January 1 and start organizing and raising money for a race. A special election, he said, will probably cost "$10 million before you get to a runoff, and there will be a runoff." That could be a real number; it could also be a caution sign he's erecting for the benefit of potential competitors. When Hutchison ran in 1993, 24 candidates were in the running and nobody got more than 30 percent of the vote. She easily defeated appointed U.S. Sen. Bob Krueger in the runoff that followed.

Sharp was comptroller from 1990-98 and before that served as a Railroad Commissioner, a state senator, and a state representative. He ran for lieutenant governor in 1998, losing to Rick Perry, and again as part of the Democrat's "dream team" in 2002, when he lost to David Dewhurst. He and Perry have mended fences, and Sharp was a key figure in the writing and passage of the state's tax on businesses passed in 2006.

He was up for the Senate, sort-of, when U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen resigned the seat to become Bill Clinton's first Treasury Secretary. Then-Gov. Ann Richards considered Sharp and Henry Cisneros before picking Krueger for the job. Insider accounts of why she didn't pick him vary with the political biases of the storytellers; the bottom line is, she didn't.

One problem then and now, for some Democrats, was Sharp's position on abortion. As a state senator, he sponsored one of the strongest anti-abortion bills ever filed in the Legislature; later, as comptroller, he was cozy with the Texas Abortion Rights Action League, a pro-choice group. He's a conservative Democrat, which worries liberals in the party but has sometimes helped him in rural Texas (he did better in his run against Perry than he did four years later against Dewhurst).

In this race, he's arguably better off in a special election than he would be in a contested Democratic primary. He was the architect of Perry's 2006 school finance tax swap, which ticked off some Democrats while keeping Sharp in touch with the kinds of business interests that finance statewide campaigns. A special election lets him frog-leap the Democrats who might prefer someone else and try to appeal to the moderates who might be willing to consider a Democrat, if it's a conservative one and if the Republicans in the race aren't politically attractive or well-known enough to capture their fancy.

Sharp's the only candidate in the running — so far — who's been in a statewide race (he's three-for-five in those contests). Roger Williams, who's filing right away, was one of Perry's Secretaries of State and is surrounded by people who think he's a frontrunner for the appointment if Hutchison quits early and Perry names a temporary replacement.

SOS has a mixed history as a launch pad, but it's historically been a better start than, say, a seat in the Texas delegation to Washington. Being appointed SOS worked for John Hill, Bob Bullock, Mark White, Tony Garza, and Alberto Gonzalez, who all won statewide offices later on. John Hannah Jr., Ron Kirk, and Henry Cuellar went on to other, higher political gigs, but two of them fell short in bids for statewide office (Hannah, who later became a federal judge, ran for attorney general before he was SOS, Kirk became mayor of Dallas, ran for U.S. Senate and lost in 2002, and might soon be on his way to Washington for a spot in the Obama Administration). Roy Barrera, George Strake, and Jack Rains all ran for statewide offices and lost. And there's a list of people who held the office who, for ballot purposes, haven't yet been seen again.

Williams hasn't been a candidate, but has a good political phonebook from raising money for others, and you could do worse for a starting spot that the state gig he held.

Saluting Washington I

National Democrats disrespected Texas Latinos by laying out of the U.S. Senate race between Republican John Cornyn and Democrat Rick Noriega, a couple of state senators said in a strongly critical letter to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Mario Gallegos of Houston and Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio wanted until after Noriega had been trounced to send their note. And they sent it to the outgoing chairman instead of the incoming honcho. But they also sent it to everybody with a pencil and a notebook to put the DSCC on notice.

They started with the relative importance of the Hispanic vote:

"Of those in the Democratic coalition in the state, there is no emerging demography more important, with more unrealized potential, than Latino voters in Texas. Unfortunately, while we have made great strides to help ourselves, we have seen little enthusiasm toward recognizing that our efforts are worth investing in... "

Complained that Washington is more attentive to Anglos than to Latinos:

"We are offended by the lack of investment in Texas, specifically the lack of institutional support given to our colleague and friend Rick Noriega in the recent United States Senate campaign. The heat of election night had not cooled before the speculation began about DSCC support for several Anglo candidates in future races. This is not only disrespectful, it’s shameful...

Reiterated the growth of Latinos in Texas politics:

"In a statewide Democratic primary race in Texas, it is impossible to win without Latino support. A Latino candidate will always have the advantage in a low turnout race. In the future, greater numbers of viable, qualified Latino candidates will be running for statewide office in Texas. We intend to make sure of it..."

And turned a timeworn complaint about money leaving the state and not coming back into a suggestion that race had something to do with the inattention to Noriega:

"Institutions such as the DSCC continually raise millions from Texas contributors for the benefit of Democrats across the country. Texas Democrats, especially Rick Noriega, did not benefit from Texans’ generosity. Yet, in the 2002 race between the Democratic nominee Ron Kirk and candidate John Cornyn, the DSCC spent $4.5 million on ads in support of Kirk. Kirk was able to garner 43% of the vote. Rick Noriega was able to garner 43% of the vote in his race against Cornyn, the incumbent, without any financial support from the DSCC. If just half of the amount spent on Kirk had been invested in the Noriega campaign, we might well be discussing the transition of the first Latino US Senator from Texas."

And they closed it with a slap:

"The DSCC’s decision is shameful and disgraceful, and we will do everything we can to prevent this disrespect from happening again. For the face of the US Senate to represent the true face of America, we must all work together to invest in quality candidates such as Rick Noriega, not take a walk when our candidate is not a member of the millionaires club. We have invested in Texas, and will continue to do so. Please consider joining us in investing in these efforts as well."

The letter was addressed to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, head of the DSCC for this year; the incoming head, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey was copied on it.

Saluting Washington II

In an email to supporters on the eve of the state's fundraising deadline, Gov. Rick Perry opened a line of attack you're sure to hear for the next two years if he's battling Washington D.C. over money, Democrats over partisan stuff, or U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison over his reelection.

You know the music to the partisan fight, but the line against Washington and Hutchison is similar: They've abandoned Republican values.

Perry doesn't mention Hutchison in the fundraising missive, but the language echoes what we're hearing on the political side. Just watch and see.

Perry's opening line repeats the criticisms of the Bush Administration he was making during the primaries, when he traveled other states on behalf of Rudy Giuliani:

"While I was certainly disappointed by the recent national election results, I am not disheartened. If anything, the last two elections have confirmed one important fact: Republicans should not only campaign as conservatives, but govern as conservatives too."

He wrote about political analyses of a change in the country's political direction:

"Some think that the political pendulum will swing back now that the Democrats have total control over Washington. While I certainly see an opportunity for the re-emergence of a conservative movement focused on lunch pale issues, it won't happen if we simply offer opposition — only if we offer an alternative."

He positioned himself as an opponent of Democratic programs, and included a swipe at Republicans who've been in office for the last 12 years, which goes back to the middle of the Clinton Administration and nearly to the beginning of Hutchison's tenure in the Senate:

"We cannot merely object to socialized medicine, we must offer consumer-driven alternatives. We cannot simply say 'no' to the failed status quo in education, but provide a vision that empowers parents and educators to offer a better product that prepares more students for the jobs of a high-tech economy. And we cannot allow the true party of big government and spending deficits — the Democrat Party — to cling to the mantle of fiscal responsibility simply because Washington Republicans blew it with twelve years of exploding earmarks and spending sprees."

And near the close, there's another swipe at Democrats and at moderate Republicans:

"We're not just battling the Democrats' liberal vision for America, but some within our midst who want to chart a course that is Democrat Lite — Republican in name, Democrat in priorities."

Hutchison opened her exploratory campaign with a call for improvements in education and health care — issues often associated with Democrats: "Texans deserve a Governor who, in the context of sound budgetary policies and low taxes, works for quality schools and universities, access to health care for our families, communities safe from crime and drugs, protection of private property rights, sensible transportation and a government that listens and responds to them."

Perry's email (which could have used a proofreader, by the way) closes with a pitch for money. Saturday's the deadline for state officeholders, who won't be able to solicit campaign contributions from then until the legislative session ends in June. Hutchison and other federal officeholders aren't subject to that restriction. She can raise money while Perry and others are frozen out.

Political People and Their Moves

Kay Bailey Hutchison isn't leaving her federal job any time soon, but she's losing her chief of staff. Marc Short will take a gig as chief of staff for the House Republican Conference.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn will take Rob Jesmer and Brian Walsh along to his new gig as head of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee. They're new to that gig, but not to Cornyn.

From Politico: Jeanne Lambrew, an associate professor at UT's LBJ School of Public Affairs, will be deputy director of the new White House Office of Health Reform, reporting to former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle.

Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer, D-San Antonio, takes over as head of the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus. His vice chairman will be Abel Herrero of Corpus Christi. Diana Maldonado of Round Rock is the new secretary. Solomon Ortiz Jr. of Corpus Christi is treasurer. And Veronica Gonzales of McAllen is that caucus' new legal counsel.

Never mind: Paul Bettencourt, who won reelection as Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector last month, plans to resign before Christmas to take a job in the private sector. County commissioners will pick a successor to serve for the next two years. Bettencourt's on the radar of several statewide officeholders and contenders who think he's got statewide ambitions.

Speaking of statewides, Comptroller Susan Combs claims to have raised $950,000 at one event in Austin this week. Reports come out next month.

Hector Nieto — communications director at the Texas Democratic Party — will return to the Pink Building next month as chief of staff to Sen.-elect Wendy Davis of Fort Worth. He worked in the House before joining the TDP.

Alan Burrow left the Pink Building (is this some kind of exchange program?) to open a lobby practice. He worked for Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, most recently, after gigs with several House members and the Department of Insurance.

Deece Eckstein is Travis County's first intergovernmental relations coordinator, a job that'll have him working with folks in the Pink Building, City Hall, and in other places where government types do their thing. Eckstein had a variety of jobs in the Pink Building, was a state insurance commissioner, and regional director of People for the American Way.

After a dozen years at the Texas Hospital Association,

Dinah Welsh joins the (relatively new) Texas EMS, Trauma and Acute Care Foundation, as CEO. Denise Rose will take over her government affairs job at THA.

Deaths: Bill Patman, the former congressman and state senator who served for 24 years in those two institutions, of stomach cancer. He was 81. He served in the statehouse for 20 years, starting in 1961, before serving two terms in the U.S. House. A Democrat, he lost a reelection bid in 1984 — a big year for the GOP. And he was the son of a congressman; Wright Patman served in Congress for 47 years.

Bill Stinson, a freelance lobbyist who worked for the Texas Association of Realtors and its affiliates for most of his career, starting in Lubbock and working in El Paso before finally landing in Austin. Stinson, who lost to cancer, was 60.

Quotes of the Week

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the day before he was arrested on corruption charges: "I should say if anybody wants to tape my conversations, go right ahead. I can tell you whatever I say is always lawful."

Mary Faithfull, executive director of Advocacy Inc., quoted in the San Antonio Express-News: "The days of rampant abuse and neglect of state school residents, poor medical care, unnecessary use of restraint and poor behavioral services must end before any other residents are harmed or die."

Jeff Garrison-Tate with Community Now, which supports community-based care for people with disabilities, in The Dallas Morning News: "Who's standing up for these people? If 53 dogs died, people would be marching in the streets."

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, quoted by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on his opposition to transferring the Christmas Mountains to the National Park Service: "I said, 'No guns, no hunting, no deal.' Now we have the Department of Interior doing the right thing. The question remains: Will the [new] president leave that in place? Before we make any moves on this positive development, we're going to have to see how that plays out."

Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, talking to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal about making concealed handguns legal on college campuses in Texas, after shooting sprees at other American universities: "I want to introduce this bill because I want the students to have a chance to live if something like that happens again. Right now, they are sitting ducks."

Senate Finance Chair Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, talking to Texas Monthly about efforts to rebuild the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston after Hurricane Ike: "UT has a weakness in that their primary goal is prestige. Their attitude is, 'If it's prestigious and we can make a lot of money, we're for it, and if it's not, we're against it.' Public service is way down on their priority list."

State Transportation Commissioner Ted Houghton, quoted in The Dallas Morning News: "If they are going to hand out this kind of money, we are sure not going to walk away from it. Not if 49 other states are lining up for the money... Whether it's the right thing to do, that is an entirely different question."

Rep. Tony Goolsby, R-Dallas, on the $140,000 renovation of the House members' lounge in the state Capitol: "You will have to agree — whether you like it or not — that we have done a great job here."

Texas Weekly: Volume 25, Issue 48, 15 December 2008. Ross Ramsey, Editor. Copyright 2008 by Printing Production Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. One-year online subscription: $250. For information about your subscription, call (512) 302-5703 or email For news, email, or call (512) 288-6598.

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