FOR many Republican lawmakers, being selected Texan of the Year by a bunch of liberal political bloggers might not be welcome news.
But state Rep. Carter Casteel of New Braunfels said she was "tickled" to be recognized by the bloggers for political courage in bucking the House leadership on several education issues this year.
Charlie of Pinkdome, who goes by his first name only because of his day job with a finance company, came up with the idea to have 17 bloggers work together to recognize a Texas politician.
The blogs asked their readers to nominate politicians. Communicating by e-mail, the bloggers ranked the 150 suggestions and finally decided on Casteel, a lawyer and former teacher whose West Texas accent commands attention when she steps to the microphone in the House.
Casteel opposed school vouchers and bills pushed by the House leadership that would have intruded on local school district control. She chastised her colleagues for treating educators as the enemy and said she didn't care if her stands on issues cost her re-election.
"We like fire in the belly. And that's why she won," said Eileen Smith, whose In the Pink Texas is a popular blog among Capitol insiders.