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Though he wavered on the anti-income tax amendment last session, neither of his opponents can begin to match his record. Another Valley legislator, Renato Cuellar, gets our endorsement. Cuellar almost always votes a liberal agenda. He has demonstrated a genuine interest in listening to his constituents. He wears the most colorful western scarf-ties and plays a better blues harmonica than any other member of the legislature. He is opposed by Juan Maldonado, former mayor of San Juan, and a Pharr Democrat, Leonard Pruneda. Maldonado has high name recognition and probably would vote just as Cuellar does perhaps better on tort reform issues. Unfortunately he has squared off with just about, every member of the Mexican American Caucus. At one time or another Maldonado has had feuds going with Lena Guerrero, Juan Hinojosa, Gonzalo Barrientos . . .We see no need to introduce division into the most effective political caucus in the House. This is a three-city race. In the Valley that means that each candidate begins with a local base. It could be close. West Texas Incumbent Larry Don Shaw is opposed by Cecil Gay Gilstrap in the Democratic primary. We go along with organized labor here and endorse Larry Don Shaw for a fifth term. Jack Vowell, the four-term Republican from El Paso, has drawn an opponent in the Republican primary. There is no Democratic opponent and if there were we would still be inclined to endorse Vowell. While we can’t agree with his entire voting record, he is one of the few Republicans who had the courage to say publicly that reckless social spending cuts were not the answer to the state’s fiscal crisis. And a good number of Vowell’s Democratic colleagues in the House would do well to take a few cues from this honorable Republican. Vowell has served on the powerful Appropriations Committee, where the voice of reason was especially crucial. El Paso Democrats should vote for him every chance they get. It is hard to say the same about Nick Perez, another El Paso Democrat. Perez has a solid liberal voting record but exerts little influence on the legislative world around .him. Jesse Glover, a school board member from Fabens, has filed against Perez. Some in El Paso tell us that he would be an improvement. We endorse Glover. Arves Jones, the Republican businessman, is returning home after spending five years too many as District 71 representative. Two Democrats have filed for the seat: James T. Allen and Ron McCluskey. McCluskey supported Pat Haggerty, one of two candidates filed in the Republican primary, back when Haggerty was a Democrat. Should McCluskey win he will be faced with the unpleasant circumstance of running against a political ally in a ni tan tan-ni muy muy race. Let’s spare him that; we endorse James Allen, a mainline Democrat and the best candidate. Central Texas There are two races of interest in San Antonio. Ciro Rodriguez, the first-term representative who replaced Frank Tejeda when Tejeda went to the Senate, proved himself a promising legislator last session. Rodriguez put his knowledge of education issues to good use on the House higher education committee. He has a challenger in Leo Alvarado, but we endorse Ciro Rodriguez. The stage is set for Lloyd Doggett to join former state Senator Oscar Mauzy on the Supreme Court. In the wake of Lou Nelle Sutton’s retirement from the House, five San Antonio Democrats and two Republicans are running for her seat. The choice is pretty clearly between Karyne Conley and Ruth Jones in the Democratic primary, but beyond that it’s not so clear. Jones has been a member of the state Democratic executive committee and has been involved in Democratic politics for 15 years. Conley, a lawyer, served on former U.N. ambassador Andrew Young’s staff. Jones has labor’s support; the Texas Women’s Political Caucus made no endorsement. One Jones supporter we talked to said frankly that Conley might make a better legislator. We would gladly support either Karyne Conley or Ruth Jones. In the 52nd district, north of Austin, there may be a chance to unseat Round Rock Republican Randall Riley. This is a “marginal” district for the Democrats, with a base Democratic vote of about 48 percent. Three Democrats are in the primary: James McCollough of Georgetown, George Whitt of Round Rock, and Jennifer Mattingly of Hutto. Mattingly, who has the endorsement of the Texas Women’s Political Caucus, seems the best choice here, but she may have a harder time of it, since she has a smaller home base. In the primary race to challenge incumbent Republican Steve Holzheauser in the 32nd district down Victoria way, we favor Glen Smith, a local sportscaster with labor’s support, over Rene Torres. This ought to be a Democratic district and a strong race by Smith might reclaim the seat in the fall. Other Races Among the incumbent Democrats around the state who face nominal challenges, we endorse the following: Frank Collazo of Port Arthur, Lena Guerrero of Austin, Bob Melton of Gatesville, Garfield Thompson of Fort Worth, David Cain of Dallas, and David Patronella of Houston. JUDICIAL RACES THE RACE BETWEEN incumbent Supreme Court justice Raul Gonzalez and challenger Art Vega does not promise to raise anyone’s esteem for the state of the elected judiciary. This one features everything from recriminations about one Hispanic taking on another \(Gonzalez is the only statewide elected Hispanic officeunethical campaigning. We are not able to endorse Raul Gonzalez, who, as Vega charges, has sided more with large insurance concerns in questions of tort law and workers’ compensation law than with working people. For example, last January the Court ruled that the Aetna Casualty and Surety Co. was wrong to deny and delay payments to an injured worker and that a lower court was correct in awarding treble damages to the worker. Gonzalez was the lone dissenter in the case, arguing that the company ought not be penalized, because the worker had sued under the deceptive trades practices act instead of under workers’ compensation law . These are the kind of battles that are behind the inflammation of Supreme Court politics in recent years. The candidacy of Art Vega comes out of the desire of trial lawyers and labor to fill the court with justices who reliably will see such disputes from the worker’s point of view. That is fair enough. But Vega, a plaintiffs’ lawyer in San Antonio, seems to be little more than a cooked-up candidate to carry out the mission of the plaintiffs’ lawyers. Vega is short on experience; he has been a practicing lawyer since 1978, but he has no experience in judicial or elective office. Such is not the case with Lloyd Doggett, who is running for a different seat on the Supreme Court, and who has a stellar record of public service. There is no need to go on at length about Doggett, whom most of our readers undoubtedly remember as a progressive and effective state Senator in the days before he stepped down to take on the inimical Phil Gramm in the 1986 U.S Senate race. Doggett has an insignificant opponent in the Democratic primary. We’re confident he will make a fair and intellectually rigorous Supreme Court justice. Justice Bill Kilgarlin deserves the support of those interested in the integrity of the state Supreme Court. Kilgarlin, as an attorney, was actively involved in prison system litigation and voter’s rights lawsuits years before the current Chief Justice was working on his Junior Achievement certification. Kilgarlin’s recent indictment on “60 10 FEBRUARY 26, 1988