Hall thinks that a lot of these internal problems could be solved by annual sessions of unlimited duration. He also proposes that there be a 10-day period between the introduction and passage of legislation. Hall says these reforms would insure more thorough consideration of legislation and would make it less likely that something like the Sharp mess would happen again. Hall, along with every other state pol this year, styles himself the ethics candidate. In the last session he sponsored a bill to force full financial disclosure by all legislators and elected state officials. But Christie and Connally amended the bill to add all state officials, both appointed and elected, to the requirement. This, charges Hall, weighed the bill down and killed it. Hall also has sponsored legislation which would make it a felony for a lawyer in the Legislature to practice before state governmental agencies. Hall seems to have broken away from a strictly conservative position on welfare. Otto Kerner would be proud of his statement that, when he thinks of poor people, “I don’t see fat lazy people, but people who were born into that environment, and people who can’t find a job.” He strongly favors day-care centers as “one of the most important steps we can take to ease the problems of the poor.” He favors also “a liaison between the Texas Employment Commission and the Department of Public Welfare to make jobs available, to make welfare the beautiful word it once was.” An extension of Job Ralph Hall Corps programs, a day-care system, and an increase in the minimum wage would all ease the problems of poverty, Hall says. Hall looks a bit like John Connally around the cheekbones. But it’s a shaMe for Hall that there’s a real Connally in the race. Because they’ll both be fighting over the same votes. The only way for Hall to get them may be to out-Connally Connally. And that’s not easy. Christie The left end of Joe Christie’s bumper sticker has a big star with a big orange arrow coming out of its center pointing upward to the right. It’s the kind of symbol that would lose Gloria Steinem’s vote. But in Texas it might work. \(Christie says there’s no male chauvinism intended. It’s just an arrow pointing out from a rising star, ’cause that’s where he’s from, Rising Christie, state senator from El Paso, comes across as a forceful and tough politician. He has a strong mind about most issues, and he isn’t scared when people disagree with him. He has a disarming honesty about him, and will probably share the Mr. Clean vote with Hobby. When the Observer asked Christie to respond to charges made by Hobby and Hall that he “took a walk” on the vote that ended the liberal filibuster on the grocery tax issue, Christie thought for a moment and said, “Yeah, I did.” And then he explained that he did so because he thought it tactically wise and that it would lead to the bill’s defeat in the House. That sort of straight-forward style is a bit jolting. During this political year, when integrity is a magic word, Christie comes off well. Christie calls “the mess in Austin” the principal issue. He supports new ethics legislation, and has made public his most recent income tax return. One reform that Christie is pushing is a change in the committee structure of the Legislature which he says would prevent the recurrence of the Sharp banking bills fiasco. There are now 27 standing committees in the Senate, and each senator serves on at least a half-dozen committees. Consequently, Christie says, most bills never receive thorough committee consideration, and a lot of bad bills slip through. As lieutenant-governor, Christie says, he would appoint only 10 or 12 committees, a move which would streamline the legislative process. Christie’s not a liberal. He talks about past support from the Texas Municipal Police Association, and says “I was the original candidate who ran on the principle of law and order.” At the recent Dripping Springs Reunion, Christie took out a full page ad in the program which emphasized his strong record on law and order issues. He has successfully sponsored legislation Joe Christie providing for oral confessions and breathalyzer tests. But Christie’s not a conservative either. He walked away with labor’s endorsement at the recent AFL-CIO convention in Galveston \(Obs., and Connally for their support for the grocery tax. And he strongly backs a corporate profits tax. It’s about time, he says, that the corporations started paying some of the costs of the state. In addition to the labor vote, Christie has strong support from the chicano community in El Paso and he recently received the endorsement of the liberal Harris County Democrats. Tony Proffitt of Christie’s staff says that Christie beat out Bill Hobby at the Democrats’ meeting on an overwhelming voice vote of “about 2,000 to 5.” In the field of conservation, Christie has sponsored legislation creating the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the Hueco Tanks State Park and the Mount Franklin Wilderness Park. But the thing he most likes talking about is his bill which put the Texas horned toad on the endangered species list. “Don’t laugh,” he says, “stuffed horned toads were being sold in tourist shops all over the country.” On April 8, the candidate has scheduled a canoe expedition down Armand Bayou, near the NASA complex, south of Houston. There’ll be canoe races starting from the Bay Area Park and a picnic in the park to dramatise what a fine recreational area the bayou would make and to show what a fine outdoorsy lieutenant, governor Joe Christie would make. Christie has support from a lot of different people, ranging from chicanos to cops. He gets it by listening well and by remaining receptive to diverse ideas. But he gets it also because he is forceful and honest about his opinions. He has a Muskie-stlye appeal, and will be attractive to those looking for a Muskie-style candidate. April 14, 1972 11
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