WEATHERFORD — Ric Williamson, the controversial chair of the Texas Transportation Commission, died of a heart attack just before the end of 2007, prompting many of his friends and colleagues to offer kind tributes. Perhaps the most interesting, however, came from Texas governor Rick Perry, who quoted Jonathan Swift to describe Williamson: “When a genius comes into this world you will know him by this sign: Dunces will be in confederacy against him.” Leave it to Rick Perry to take a swipe at anti-toll road forces while remembering a close friend.
AUSTIN — Larry Joe Doherty’s campaign for the Democratic Party’s nomination for Congress from Texas’ 10th District took an interesting turn this week following revelations that his finance chair, Jim McIngvale, hosted a fundraising reception for GOP Presidential Hopeful Mitt Romney in mid-December. Doherty (whom you can also find on YouTube in an interesting video with the late Anna Nicole Smith) faces Democrat Dan Grant in the March 4 primary.
AUSTIN — Ending his silence concerning the four candidates who seek to replace him, retiring Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle Monday formally endorsed his chief assistant, Rosemary Lehmberg, in the Democratic Primary race. Lehmberg faces several other Democrats, including Mindy Montford, daughter of former State Sen. John Montford, a longtime telecom executive who has been rumored to be a candidate for San Antonio’s mayorship.
DALLAS — Federal District Judge Barbara Lynn has upheld the constitutionality of the “moment of silence” law for Texas schoolchildren passed by the Texas Legislature in 2003, saying that “the primary effect of the statute is to institute a moment of silence, not to advance or inhibit religion.” It is unclear if the plaintiffs, David Wallace and Shannon Croft of Farmers Branch, will appeal. The Crofts have another lawsuit pending against the state concerning the new revisions to the pledge to the Texas Flag, which was altered by the Texas Legislature last spring to include the words “under God.”
EL PASO — State Rep. Pat Haggerty (R-El Paso), is expected to challenge the residency of his Republican Primary opponent for his District 78 seat, Dee Margo. Under Texas law, a person must have been a resident of a state house district for one year prior to the date of the general election. Haggerty claims Margo is 10 days shy of that requirement. Margo, who ran a losing race against State Sen. Elliot Shapleigh in 2006, had previously denied any desire to run against Haggerty, and even told the media last fall he was considering a move into Haggerty’s district because his housekeeper was elderly and he needed to find a house she could navigate with more ease.