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Rogues’ Gallery TO WHAT END does a legislator use his or her power? This is the Observer’s primary consideration in assessing the performance of good and bad lawmakers. The “worst” in our book are those who stand with the financial interests to the detriment of the public interest \(as many did on insurance with nefarious political shenanigans \(such as gunning for the ag commissioner obstruct desperately needed social progress \(on such issues as school We don’t begin to come to grips with ALAN POGUE Stan Schlueter: Most Despised the whole lot of perennial troublemakers in the Republican ranks. Working together, they can usually find more ways to package perniciousness than we care to count. In the House, the 59 Republicans often join Tory Democrats and together the two groups are capable of doing considerable harm to the public. -The guy who really needs to get reamed is Schlueter,” said one Senator’s aide toward the end of the session. “He’s such an obstructive force. ” Such assessments of Rep. Stan Schlueter, D-Killeen, are now so common around the Capitol that it is a mystery why people continue to mention him as a possible future Speaker of the House. No one ever won a popularity contest as chairman of the Calendars Committee, which controls which bills come to the floor and when, but the consensus seemed to be that Schlueter was about as heavy-handed and abusive as a Calendar’s chair could be. He tried to sit on the TDA Sunset bill, claiming that he would allow it to come up only when he was certain that the Governor wouldn’t veto it. And along with Haskell Democrat Rick Perry, Schlueter helped advance the cause of the Chemical Council by cutting into the ag department’s ability to fine violators of pesticide regulations. Dallas Times Herald columnist Molly Ivins pegged Schlueter in May about as well as he can be pegged. “Schlueter does have his own legislative agenda and he uses the Texas Legislature and writes Texas law to pursue vendettas from his private life and to ride his pet hobby horses,” Ivins wrote. “The fact that he has recently suffered the agonies of an extremely unpleasant divorce is bad news for the women of Texas. He is now messing with child custody laws, divorce laws, laws to protect women with abusive husbands anything with echoes of his own unhappy experience. ” How bad was the speaker? Some public interest lobbyists claim that Gib Lewis is now indistinguishable from the big business lobby he serves. Late in the session, in what was described as an obvious abuse the chair’s privilege, Lewis completely derailed an insurance reform package that would have benefited consumers who have been at the mercy of the insurance boys for years. In a session when the Republican Right in the House seemed to have become less vocal, there were several conservative Democrats who rushed in to shore up the right flank. Rep. Rick Perry, D-Haskell, has been one of the worst. He became the new Cliff Johnson of the House, which is to say this year’s Benedict Arnold of the Democratic Party. Just as Johnson, a former Democratic Rep. from Palestine, went to work for the Republican governor, Perry was doing the governor’s work this session from the floor of the House. He was in the thick of the schemes to attack Ag Commissioner Jim Hightower in whatever way the Farm Bureau, the Chemical Council, and Gov. Clements thought they could get away with. Perry insists that by pushing for a new board to share pesticide regulatory authority with Hightower he was merely serving his conservative rural district. But what’s clear from watching Perry’s performance is that he takes the pulse of his “district” by holding onto the wrists of Farm ALAN. PbGUE John Gavin: Insurance Toady Bureau lobbyists. The more he serves as the errand-boy for the Farm Bureau, the more his credibility ought to be called into question. When Rep. John Gavin, D-Wichita Falls, stood up in the House and told his colleagues that he didn’t much like the big insurance companies since he himself is an agent and frequently has to try to get money out of them it’s a wonder he wasn’t met with hoots and guffaws. For as chairman of the House Insurance Committee, Gavin gave the insurance lobbyists everything they wanted. Gavin’s worst moment came when he allowed insurance lobbyists to ALAN POGUE Brad Wright: Least Statesmanlike 36 JUNE 16, 1989