Early choices Long-time campaign workers, rich businessmen and conservatives of both major parties are finding favor with Gov. Bill Clements as he makes appointments to his staff. After being turned down by Jim Baker, last year’s GOP candidate for attorney general, and by Rep. Tom Craddick, a Midland Republican, Clements finally persuaded George Strake, Jr. of Houston to accept appointment as secretary of state. Strake, Clements’s statewide ’78 campaign manager, is the son of a wealthy oilman who entered his dad’s business after seasoning at Harvard University’s graduate school of business. To help him sell his programs to the Legislature, Clements picked four former members of the House Republican Ray Hutchison of Dallas, who ran for governor and lost to Clements in the May primary; James Kaster, a conservative Democrat from El Paso; Hilary Doran, conservative Democrat from Del Rio; and Don Cavness, a Democrat who has been an Austin lobbyist since leaving the House in 1973. David Dean, another conservative Democrat and former Briscoe campaign heavyweight, will serve as general counsel to the governor, providing legal advice and overseeing the governor’s clemency office, which exercises de facto control over gubernatorial pardons and paroles for the inmates of Texas prisons. Tobin Armstrong Sr., long-time jefe of the King Ranch, was named appointments secretary and will help Clements choose the nearly 4,200 people he can expect to appoint to state boards and commissions during his four-year tenure. IBM executive Omar Harvey is the new chief executive of the Texas Department of Community Affairs, which funnels federal economic development money to units of local government. Harvey’s first official act was to recommend to a Senate committee that the Legislature consider abolishing his agency. Tom Rhodes, Clements’s campaign treasurer and a retired executive of the governor’s own company, SEDCO, will head up his fiscal division for at least 30 days. It will be up to Rhodes, an unpaid volunteer slated for replacement by a salaried staffer later, to draft Clements’s official budget recommendations. The report is due February 15. Another dollar-a-year man, Dallas businessman Douglas Owen Brown, will serve Clements as special assistant for state affairs, which means he’ll be a middleman between the governor’s office and state agencies. Allen Clark, a West Point graduate and Clements campaign worker, resigned as vice president of Republic National Bank in Dallas to become Clements’s office manager. The man responsible for Clements’s finances during the campaign, Jim Francis, yet another Dallas businessman, will stay on to help retire the governor’s $4 million campaign debt. For press secretary, Clements picked Jon Ford, who held the same post under Gov. Price Daniel Sr. from 1960 to 1963. Ford quit his job as political editor for the Austin American-Statesman to sign on with the Republican. Clements succeeded in finding that rara avis, a black person who’s also a Republican, to serve as a specialist in minority relations. Joe Kirven, cofounder of an office equipment company, has run on the GOP slate for posts on the Dallas city council and in the Legislature. Vicki Vaughan Who’s in charge here? If you doubted that there was a powerful lobby influence behind the introduction of SB 357, which would effectively dismantle the deceptive trade practices act \(it would exempt auto the bill’s author. In an interview with the Austin American-Statesman, Sen. Bill Meier of Euless seemed to have a little trouble explaining his own, bill, so the reporter asked him who had drafted it. “The Legislative Council, I guess, ” Meier re plied. “I got it from Fondren and Schulle and Townsend.” Gene Fondren is the lobbyist for the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, and Gerhardt Schulle and Tommy Townsend are lobbyists for the Texas Association of Realtors. The two groups have contributed more than a bill to Meier. In 1978, the political action committee for auto dealers gave him $1,250; TREPAC, the political action committee for the realtors’ association, gave Meier a whopping $11,000$10,000 in the month of March alone. Vicki Vaughan Out of action The Senate temporarily lost one of its most hard-working and judicious members January 24 when Sen. Carlos Truan of Corpus Christi was hospitalized after suffering a mild heart attack. Truan, who’s used to working 12 to 14 hours a day, is making a fine recovery, but he’s not likely to be back on the Senate floor in time to vote on some crucial legislation, such as the bill to raise the ceiling on home mortgage interest rates. Vicki Vaughan THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11
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