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1117 W. 5th Street Austin, Texas 78703 “Largest dispensatory of Botanicals in Texas” Sam Dawson checks signals with Reps. Ben Reyes and John Bryant. SUNDAY Viva, the casually elegant cafe in THE VILLAGE garden. 2700 W. Anderson Ln. IF YOU ARE an occasional reader and would like to receive The Texas Observer regularly-“or if you are a subscriber and would like to have a free sample copy or a one-year gift subscription sent to a friend here’s the order form: SEND THE OBSERVER TO name address city state zip this subscription is for myself gift subscriptionsend card in my name sample copy onlyyou may use any name $14 enclosed for a one-year subscription bill me for $14 MY NAME & ADDRESS THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 W. 7th, Austin, Texas 78701 By Vicki Vaughan Austin Sam Dawson is a good-guy lobbyist, but you’d never guess it from watching him at work outside the floor of the Texas House of Representatives. Dawson, lobbyist for 25,000 Texas members of the United Steelworkers of America, is indistinguishable in appearance from any of the others who ply the same trade. Nor are the tools he employssellable facts, lots of legwork, and force of personalityany different. It’s a cause and a philosophy that separate Dawson from the highly-paid guns who come to Austin to sell industry’s legislative wish list. In fact, a big part of Dawson’s job is to kill these special-interest bills while he pushes scores of others that are in labor’s interest. Dawson believes he’s different from lobbyists like the Texas Medical Association’s Ace Pickens, the auto dealers’ Gene Fondren, or the realtors’ man Gerhardt Schulle, not only because of the huge salaries they command but also because “they represent a very narrow interest, and I’m quick to call them special-interest lobbyists. Our legislative program is so broad that generally anything that affects people’s lives we’ll take a position on. There’s nobody else up here who’ll take the time for that.” Labor-backed bills for the 66th session, for example, ran the gamut of issues from the bill allowing cheap generic drugs to be substituted for higher-priced brand-name ones to expanded bilingual education and legislation to protect the environment. For an omnibus lobbyist like Dawson, being prepared to argue at a moment’s notice for labor’s 75 to 100 bills isn’t easy. It’s hard, though, to imagine Dawson being caught short. Early every morning, the 42-year-old Dawson bounces back from a hard night of befriending and persuading legislators, usually over a Mexican dinner or numerous scotch-and Lobbying for the little guy 22 JUNE 8, 1979