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The Brief: December 29, 2009

Texas House races are full of comings and goings.


Texas House races are full of comings and goings.

State Rep. David Swinford, R-Dumas, announced that, after nearly 20 years in office, he won't run again.  Reading his press release announcing his decision, one might wonder why anybody would.

“We have missed so many family events, grandson's ballgames, concerts and events that are special things in all our lives,” he said. “Joyce and I need to take care of our family and ourselves at this stage in our lives."

It's unclear who will run on the Republican ticket to replace Swinford. So far, the only contender for the seat is Abel Bosquez of Amarillo, a Democrat. 

Elsewhere, a race is developing to replace retiring state Rep. Carl Isett, R-Lubbock.

Former member of the Texas Tech Board of Regents, Mark Griffin, a Republican, announced that he will seek the seat.  At the very least, he will take on former Lubbock County Commissioner Ysidro Gutierrez, who recently switched parties, in the primary.  Others may yet join the fight.

As for the general election, former Lubbock City Councilman Victor Hernandez may run as a Democrat.  He said he might decide later this week — which is advisable, considering that the Jan. 4 filing deadline is less than a week away.


• U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison will cover significant ground rolling out her transportation policy.  Her plan will be unveiled in Tyler this morning and then in Waco and Dallas this afternoon. The Dallas Morning News’ Michael Lindenberger hopes she might answer some of the biggest questions facing the state, including:

1) Are transportation planners and leaders like Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, right when they say Texas' fast-growing population requires enormous investments in new roads and bridges?

2) If so, how do we pay for those new projects, especially in our busiest cities, when the costs of simply maintaining the aging and growing system we already have continues to rise? New taxes? More toll roads by public entities willing to borrow billions? Capital from private firms willing to build them?

3) Is Texas wise in favoring roads over rail to such a large extent? And if something should change here, how quickly and with what money?

4) Finally, if the money is too tight at the state level, should local governments be allowed to ask their citizens to vote on new, local tax increases and fees to fund local roads?

Gov. Rick Perry owes Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue some Mesquite Smoked Peppered Beef Tenderloin from Buffalo Gap’s Perini Ranch Steakhouse — such are the spoils of a friendly wager made on the outcome of the Independence Bowl game between Texas A&M University and the University of Georgia — who won 44-20. The meat will be donated to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

 “I love you and believe in you.” — U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, in an e-mail to banker Allen Stanford shortly after he was charged with swindling $7 billion from investors.


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