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MAD… very act of endorsement would split and then wreck MAD as it has all previous Mexican-American statewide political organizations. Garcia soon pointed out a problem: the conference was debating the endorsement question in the form of an amendment to the bylawsand there were no bylaws. MAD chairman and former state senator Joe Bernal, the heart within San Antonio’s chicano movement, cratered. The adoption of bylaws and the taking of a name for the group would have to be taken care of first. Bylaws were approved. Then the majority had its way. MAD voted to endorseto put unity to the test. Dealing in “viabilities” This latest attempt to organize Mexican-Americans in Texas under a single political banner began with a distinct break from the white liberal establishment, although disclaimers were made. “Yes, certainly we’ll continue to work with the white liberals . . . but we’re dealing in viabilities now,” emphasized MAD vice chair Alicia Chacon, a national Democratic Party committeewoman from El Paso. “Dealing in viabilities” apparently means trying to ensure that MAD is on the winning side of as many elections as possible. Thus, the organization is willing to overlook differences with the powers-that-be in exchange for patronage appointments and other concessions. Consider MAD’s current favorites for 1978. For attorney general, it’s former House speaker Price Daniel Jr., by default. Secy. of State Mark White won himself MAD’s everlasting hatred through his constant and pointless opposition to the extension of the Voting Rights Act to Texas. Most MAD members will back oil and gas whiz kid Bob Krueger for the U.S. Senate against incumbent John Tower. The New Braunfels congressman had the inside track from the start. Joe Bernal worked for the Shakespearean scholar and former Duke University dean during Krueger’s two congressional campaigns, and Chacon brought Krueger to speak to the El Paso conference. \(He recently added one of her proteges to his 1978 campaign staff, El Paso lawyer and state Democratic Party executive commitKrueger charmed the delegates with a speech about bigotry that described the “scars” left on him by prejudice. “Discrimination is a sword that is all blade,” he said. “It scars those who inflict pain as much as it does those upon whom it is inflicted . . . not immediately, perhaps, but more poignantly later on.” Krueger reminded the delegates that he had fought to bring Texas under Voting Rights Act coverage and characterized New Jersey congressman Peter Rodino’s alien control bill as “a kind of discrimination” that would require “someone named Bernal . . . to prove his citizenship, while someone named Krueger” would not have to do the same. \(Rodino’s H.R. 982, introduced last session but dropped this year, would have penalized employers who knowingly hired illegal aliens. Many civil libertarians feared some would use the bill as an excuse to exclude all chicanos from U.S. payrolls on the grounds that none could adequately prove citiAfter Krueger’s speech, even state Rep. Ben Reyes, who is expected to work in his Houston district for another Senate hopeful, state insurance board chairman Joe Christie, conceded that Krueger “showed a real understanding of the issues.” As for two other potential Senate candidates, Barefoot Sanders of Dallas and former U.S. Sen. Ralph Yarborough, MAD leaders all but begged them to stay out of the race. “The Senator [Yarborough] would do more harm than good. He could hurt us because some would go to his aid, knowing he would lose, out of affection and loyalty to an old friend. It would be the same old song, backing losers again,” one senior MADman told the Observer. \(Sanders, who lost his 1976 bid to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, has since announced he will not Whatever the squabbles over which man to back for U.S. senator and state attorney general, it’s the governor’s race that will put MAD’s solidarity to the test. Most of the rank and file despise Dolph Briscoe. They realize that Briscoe has done little for them, and they point to the governor’s role in the passage of the 1977 school finance bill as evidence. \(The new law essentially gave more state aid to rural than to city school districts, affecting adversely the majority of Mexican-American school children Obs., Lip service Even though the governor’s harshest critics acknowledge that Briscoe has appointed more Mexican-Americans to patronage positions than any of his predecessorsand he’s worked with MAD principals in doing soit is argued that most of the appointments have been mere window dressing. Adelfa Callejos, the fiery chairwoman of the Dallas Housing Authority, said she threw away the notice appointing her to the Governor’s Council for Input on Crime, Rehabilitation and Prevention. “Hell, that damn board has never met. I don’t need lip TWPC . . Krueger, state insurance board chairman Joe Christie and former House speaker Price Daniel Jr., all of them announced or soon-to-be announced candidates for major public office in next year’s Democratic primary. There was plenty of evidence that the state’s political establishment recognizes TWPC’s growing influence. While Hill, Krueger, Christie and Daniel showed up to recite their commitments to women’s rights, U.S. Sen. John Tower and Mark White, Texas secretary of state, made perfunctory appearances hoping at least to neutralize the women’s presumed opposition, if not to make off with their support. Former U.S. Sen. Ralph Yarboroughwho is reportedly considering a Democratic primary campaign for Tower’s Senate seatdidn’t come, but sent a message that was read from the podium. Gov . Dolph Briscoe didn’t show either, but he troubled to make an excuse, albeit a weak one. The governor had a prior commitment. Said commitment was ultimately canceled, but too late, he claimed, to change his plans and attend the caucus. The politicians drew fewer El Pasoans than the swimsuiters, but the caucus women still accomplished what they came to do. They appropriated $10,000 to suppQrt women candidates in ten 1978 state legislative races. They voted to boycott Coors beer and J.P. Stevens sheets and towels. They scored child pornography and the exploitation of women in films. And they pledged cash and hard work to promote passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and freedom of choice on abortion for welfare recipients. Most importantly, TWPC spelled out its goal: the maximization of its power in every 1978 race. Bonnie Lesley of El Paso, outgoing state chair, said the caucus wants its members involved at all levels of every major political campaign next year. “We have never tried to do this before, to try to be in on the decision-making level of all these campaigns,” Lesley said. With a membership that includes Democrats and Republicans, workers and managers, the caucus can afford to place two-dollar bets on the whole field and assure themselves access to all the winners. TWPC does not make endorsements, but it does “target” candidates who are strong on women’s rights. Politicians, Lesley said, need to know that “no longer will women allow their issues to be trivialized. We want women in key policy positions. We want the candidates to help elect women and minorities.” Ill Steve Peters is a reporter for The El Paso Times. 4 SEPTEMBER 9, 1977