September 07, 2005
A brief political update

I'm sure I'll get back to regular political and electoral blogging sooner or later, but for now I'll just pass along some tidbits I've seen elsewhere. BOR has several items of interest: here, here, here, and here. And In the Pink reports that State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos (D, Austin) is making an announcement today, which could speculatively be that he's retiring. I'll update this post when I know more.

UPDATE: Senator Barrientos is retiring. Here's the press release:

State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos (D-Austin) announced today that he will not seek to represent Travis County for another term in the Texas Legislature. First elected to the legislature in 1974, Barrientos served ten years in the Texas House of Representatives before being elected to the Texas Senate in 1984. “After thirty years pursuing a high calling, my heart is telling me to continue fighting for the things I believe in, but to find another way to wage that fight,” Barrientos said. “I will serve out my current term, but I shall not seek another.”

As a legislator Senator Barrientos authored, co-authored, sponsored and co-sponsored almost 550 pieces of legislation. Among the bills of which he is most proud are the state’s Top Ten Percent law, which addressed the Hopwood ruling by guaranteeing college admission for Texas high school students graduating in the top ten percent of their class, a package of bills from the 71st Regular Session addressing the state’s school dropout problem, the creation of the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, and the creation and funding of Texas Task Force One. Through decades of service on House Appropriations and Senate Finance, the senator consistently pushed for better pay and benefits for state employees. As a whole, Barrientos legislative record reflects his focus on education and his steadfast advocacy for society’s most vulnerable members. Barrientos distilled his legislative philosophy simply. “Looking back, I would say that through thirty years in office, what I did more than anything else was follow my heart.”

Senator Barrientos quoted his favorite president, John Kennedy, as he concluded by urging colleagues to return to the tradition of bipartisanship as they wrestle with the issues of the day in the future. “In his inaugural address, President Kennedy said ‘civility is not a sign of weakness,’” Barrientos remembered. “As they work in the next session and beyond to further the common good, I hope that my colleagues in the house and senate will take that to heart.”

My thanks to Senator Barrientos for his dedicated service.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 07, 2005 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Speaking of political commentary and such, anyone who is feeling cynical about all the politically motivated finger-pointing, race-baiting and blame-casting NEEDS to read this statement from Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

Whatever anyone thinks about his party or his politics, this is EXACTLY sending the message that people and other politicians need to hear. Some would cynically call it posturing for a potential 2008 presidential run, but regardless of whether it is or isn't, it's something that SOMEONE high on the political food chain needed to make amidst all the exploitation of tragedy for political purposes.

Nice to see someone trying to unite rather than divide.

Posted by: Tim on September 7, 2005 11:47 AM

I know this can get to be a pain with lots of legislators, but is there any chance you could put party affiliation and the area they represent? It'd be a help for your out-of-state readers.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot on September 7, 2005 1:15 PM

My perception is that Barrientos was lacking in influence in the last legislative session. This has a lot to do with the Republican majority, of course, but he was second in command on at least one committee (Transportation) and his legislation went nowhere.

Posted by: MaxConcrete on September 7, 2005 2:36 PM

Barrientos is (D-Austin)

Posted by: Andrew Dobbs on September 8, 2005 9:55 AM