Eckhardt of Houston was in on it, too, but Eckhardt, fearing that the gesture would serve little purpose and would cost those involved too dearly in House influence, advised against it, as he told the press to refute the reports he was behind it. Tunnell’s serious liberal opponent, Rep. Alonzo Jamison of Denton, had withdrawn, having seen that Tunnell’s “pledges,” or promises of votes from fellow members, had settled the contest. Reps. John Alaniz and Jake Johnson of San Antonio indicated to Whitfield, not only that they were willing to be sacrificial calves in a protest nomination, but that the one not nominated would begrudge the other the honor. , Alaniz won out. He says he would like to make it a felony to sign a pledge to vote for a candidate for speaker, and he would require that any money spent on behalf of such a candidate be reported, by lobbyists and by the candidate, and made public \(at present there is no accounting Johnson was assigned a consolation prize: the seconding speech for Alaniz. He was asked, wrily, whether he thought his part in the rebellion might affect his committee assignments from Tunnell. Well, he thought he’d be appointed, probably, to the committees on colonial nations, sailing vessels, horse-drawn cavalry, and Confederate veterans’ affairs. Whitfield’s points against the system are straightforward; he presents them in the flat, declarative way that is his style. The. House has lost control of its election of its own presiding officer, he says; it’s cut and dried before the session opens. The lobby takes too heavy a hand in it. Some representatives arrive each session not only to vote for the candidate to whom they are pledged, but because they gave their pledges and were thereupon given campaign funds and backing by affected interests. Tunnell was nominated in a quiet speech by his deskmate, Rep. John Allen of Longview. The new speaker is a Baylor-educated lawyer from Tyler ; he sits for Smith and Gregg counties. He has accumulated a number of honors in the junior chamber of commerce of Texas. Allen reminded the members that Tunnell was chairman of the East Texas delegation during the 1959 legislature. Tunnell’s scores on Texas organized labor’s evaluation reports for legis 4 The Texas Observer latures between 1957 and 1961 total 68 votes labor considered bad ones and 12 that labor considered good. In 1957 he voted for the law that sought to give school districts power to assign students to different schools, in effect on the basis of race, but he voted against the local option law that required elections on integration \(just declared unconstitutional retest votes of the 1961 legislature, Tunnell cast what labor considers a “bad vote”: to the delight of the conservatives, he didn’t miss a one ; rural electrification, telephone rates, migrant labor, the general sales tax, personal and corporate income taxes, unemployment compensation. Nominating Alaniz, Whitfield said that candidates for speaker and those supporting them go into other members’ districts and affect the balance of forces in the upcoming House. He recited one estimate that during the recent contest for speaker between Reps. Turman and Wade Spilman, one of the candidates spent $20,000, and the other, more than that; six airplanes were used, and one member complained that a note he customarily signed to get money to feed his cattle was denied renewal because of his position in the speaker’s race. Recalling that Alaniz ran against the millionaire San Antonio incumbent representative, Frates Seeligson, although Seeligson was thought unbeatable, and beat him, Whitfield riveted down his paints against the system, and by implication only its most recent winner : “He [Alaniz] has no pledges, save only mine . .. not having spent one single dime; he has borrowed or chartered no airplanes, has no hotel bills to pay for parties, bought no football tickets for members, he hasn’t gone into other people’s districts to help elect or defeat themyou get the picture, he’s not obligated to anyone.” Rep. Eligio de la Garza, Mission, seconded Tunnell’s nomination “on behalf of South Texas,” a gesture designed, possibly, to counteract the defeat of a Latin-American for that office. Johnson, in his second for Alaniz, said that of course they would lose, but “today we will plant a seed that will grow into the reform of the system for the election of the speaker.” Tunnell was elected and, his wife standing at his side, thanked the members. When he said that his heart was full of pride and humility, Rep. James Cotten, Weatherford, who was sitting at the press table, added sotto voce, “and a little bit of vengeance!” Gov.-elect Connally was on the 1Vouse floor and told reporters he was delighted with Tunnell’s election and that he would make a “great speaker.” Alaniz had the one comment on his nine votes: “Anything over three is a victory.” Tunnell announced his support of rules ‘ of decorum which characterize the temper of his victory. No secretaries in the House chamber ; no drinking or eating in the House; all gentlemen to be attired in coats and ties at all times. “Truly the eyes of Texas are upon us all,” he said. THE AFTERNOON of this decisive first day, the rules were revamped. Under those passed late last session, the speaker’s power was clipped. One-fourth of every committee would have had to be chosen on the basis of seniority, which would have prevented Trnnell from so heavily stacking key committees, no minority report could force forth controversial legislation from them. A simple majority of the House could have switched a bill from one committee to anotherreducing the importance of stacked committees. The “Siberian committees,” as Eckhardt called themcommittees such as , aviation and enrolling and engrossing billswould have been abolished. In a letter to Tunnell in advance of the session, Eckhardt had tried to deter him from reverting to the old rules by referring to a reporter’s discussion of such a development in light of the widely held view that “the lobby was pretty solidly behind your candidacy for speaker.” Tunnell told the House candidly that he wanted the old, not these new, untested r u 1 e s. Rep. C. W. Pearcy of Temple put forward, and w a s turned back, on a point of order. Arguing for the old rules giving the speaker total power over the composition of committees, R e p. Richard C. Slack, Pecos, said, “Let’s put the solid oak keel in the ship of state.” When Eckhardt moved to substitute the new rules
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