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February 7, 1969 Twenty-Five Cents A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South The Texas Observer Preston Smith’s Honeymoon Austin It seemed that Preston Smith could do no wrong during his first weeks as governor. Acutely aware that his public image was one of a dull and incorrigibly conservative politician, Smith tried, and for the most part succeeded, in showing that he harbors both a sense of humor and some progressive ideas. The inaugural festivities, which many feared would be a dreary rerun of the Grand Ole Opry, turned out to be truly festive. The day was balmy, perfect for the outdoor ceremony and parade. The six inaugural balls provided a variety of entertainment for a variety of people. Many sophisticates had snickered at Smith’s predilection for western music a n d western stars. Syndicated columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak revealed that Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes wanted Robert Goulet, a singer who starred in the broadway play, Camelot, to appear at the inauguration. Smith, according to the columnists, said he had never heard of Camelot or Goulet and that he already had invited western types Glen Campbell and Jimmy Dean to perform. Smith’s office responded with a press release insisting that the governor really was familiar with Goulet and that he had seen Camelot. The night of the inaugural dinner Glen Campbell sang, but Smith stole the show with a series of one-liners that poked fun at John Connally, state government and himself. He had the final words on the Goulet issue: “I didn’t say I had never heard of Camelot .. . what I said was, I never heard of Evans and Novak.” IN HIS FIRST speech to the Legislature, Governor Smith conveyed tone of moderation and cooperation without actually committing himself on many major issues. He deferred specific recommendations on taxing and spending and called for “immediate further study” of former Gov. John Connally’s controversial report on public education. He re-endorsed the state Democratic plat form which he helped write last September. Smith put special emphasis on the need for major improvements in the state’s vocational education program. He endorsed increased salaries for public school teachers, but he did not specify an amount. He recommended new medical schools in Houston and his hometown of Lubbock and a new dental school in San Antonio. The governor insisted that he does not oppose constitutional revision, but added that neither the new constitution proposed by a study committee appointed by Governor Connally nor any other complete rewriting of the constitution “would be likely to meet with majority approval.” Instead, Smith suggested that the constitution might first be purged of outdated language and then amended article by article. Among the constitutional amendments recommended by the governor were: the resubmission of the proposal to increase the funds available for public welfare, this time with no ceiling on the amount legislators can appropriate; resubmission of a legislative salary increase accompanied by an amendment defining and prohibiting legislative “conflict of interest;” and a measure allowing the legislature to set by law a minimum voting age lower than 21 but not lower than 18. The governor also proposed enlarging the three-member Parks and Wildlife Commission “to obtain better geographical distribution and broader representation of the interests of all our citizens”; replacement of obsolete and dangerous buildings now being used by the Dept. of Mental Health and Mental Retardation; enactment of the compromise workmen’s compensation bill agreed upon by the Texas AFL-CIO, the trial lawyers and the Texas Manufacturers Assn.; and “consideration of a fair minimum wage requirement.” AS IN HIS inaugural address, Smith dwelled upon law enforcement without being very specific. He concluded with some words on economy. “While it may sound strange to speak of ‘spending’ and ‘economy’ in the same