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least one poll. We endorse John Sharp and urge you to talk to three neighbors about his candidacy. TREASURER After Ann Richards’s superb job of reorganizing the agency and managing the state’s money, this agency appears to be the designated “women’s seat” in state government. Now, for the first time in history, two women are candidates for the same office in a general election. While former state Representative and TV reporter Kay Bailey Hutchison might be the least objectionable of the Republicans running for statewide office this year, Harris County Treasurer Nikki Van Hightower has a long record of involvement in progressive causes, especially women’s issues. This has been a nasty race, with the two candidates trading allegations of financial mismanagement. But Van Hightower’s innovative ideas for the office \(especially her proposals, to maximize return on state investexperience in managing public funds make her the better qualified candidate. Kay Bailey played bridge well and voted badly during her brief tenure in the state house. And her marriage to Ray Hutchison, one of the biggest bond lawyers in the state, represents a clear conflict of interest for any public official dealing with banks and bonds. We enthusiastically endorse -Nikki Van Hightower, who has always been accessible and interested in issues that make a difference to working people in the state. AG COMMISSIONER There is really no choice here for Democrats and enlightened Republicans. Jim Hightower has been the recognized leader in the progressive and populist community in Texas since he returned from Washington after working for Ralph Yarborough and Ralph Nader. And Hightower has taken a sleepy egg-candling bureaucracy and turned it into an agency dedicated to serving farmers, consumers, working people while protecting the environment. It is hard and frightening to imagine what Texas would be like if Hightower hadn’t altered the state’s political landscape. Hightower gets credit for the vision of a Populist Alliance that whether it succeeds or fails will serve to foment grassroots political movements and change in the state. Rick Perry, on the other hand, was a lackluster Democratic state representative who sponsored a chemical lobby and Farm Bureau bill to strip the ag department of its authority to regulate agricultural pesticides and other chemicals. He was seduced by the Republican Party/Farm Bureau after they realized they couldn’t persuade Walt Garrison or Nolan Ryan to go up against Hightower. We endorse Jim Hightower. RAILROAD COMMISSIONER This race between two former Congressmen doesn’t hold much hope for the public inter est. Amarillo’s Beau Boulter, who succeeded Kent Hance in Congress, is trying to claim Hance’s seat on the powerful, three-member energy and transportation agency. Even among fellow Republicans Boulter is known as a lightweight, while New Braunfels’s Bob Krueger is a conservative Democrat who has always been in the deep pockets of the petroleum industry. Krueger was recruited by his former protege Garry Mauro at the last minute to run against Clint Hackney in the Democratic primary. Boulter has run a bizarre campaign accusing Krueger of sponsoring the windfall profits tax so hated by oilmen. Would that it were so. We’ll pinch our nostrils and endorse Krueger here, and hope that if John Sharp is elected Comptroller, a Governor Clayton Williams won’t be around to appoint Boulter to the Railroad Commission next year. CONGRESS Unlucky District 13 could be one of the few House districts in which the incumbent might lose. In an unusual development, rich rancheroilman Dick Waterfield has raised double the money of incumbent Democrat Bill Sarpalius, thanks to White House help. The national GOP sees a Democrat representing the conservative Panhandle as an anomaly, but Sarpalius was about as conservative as a Democrat can be during his tenure in the state Senate. He has moderated his views and voting slightly since going to Washington, but the Amarillo agri-businessman will never be an enlightened leader his American Conservative Union rating on Congressional votes is 64. The Panhandle might produce brighter Congressman than Sarpalius, but the area is unlikely to produce anyone more progressive. And ;Canadian state Representative Waterfield, while a nice guy, is a Phil Gramm protege. He would be even more regressive than the incumbent, so we endorse Sarpalius. Another coin-flip race pits incumbent “Democrat” Greg Laughlin of West Columbia against Victoria rancher Joe Dial, another Gramm production. Laughlin is no prince. Though he won a marginal victory against an incumbent two years ago, with the work of environmental groups such as Clean Water Action pushing him over the top, you wouldn’t know it by his voting record or accessibility. In two similar races, we give the lukewarmest of endorsements to Sulphur Springer Jim Chapman and Forth Worth rich kid Pete Geren both of whom, like Laughlin, received strong national Democratic Party support in their initial races for their seats, and both of whom, like Laughlin, vote like Republicans but probably not quite as much as their opponents would. We’re much more enthusiastic about Chet Edwards, who, despite his cave-in on workers’ compensation reform last session, has had a generally progressive record in the State Senate. Now he’s moved to Waco \(from of retiring Tory Democrat and aspiring country & western crooner Marvin Leath. Edwards, a former aide to Tiger Teague, would probably be a moderate-to-progressive voice in Congress along the blurry lines of Martin Frost a clear improvement over Leath, and certainly as good a Congress member as this conservative area is likely to elect. We endorse him over turncoat Democrat and former State Representative Hugh Shine, without reservation. Shine is running perhaps the most scurrilous campaign ad in the state, using Edwards’s earlier appearance at a Houston Gay and Lesbian Caucus dinner \(during an abortive lieutenant governor’s is a homosexual. Edwards was accepting an award at the dinner which honored the memory of Mickey Leland on behalf of State gepresentative Debra Danburg, for her work fighting AIDS. U.S. Senator Phil Gramm again showed his integrity by forwarding information about the Gay and Lesbian event to the Texas Farm Bureau which endorsed Edwards anyway. \(Despite the seeming philosophical gulf between Edwards and the TFB, the endorsement makes sense because Edwards is favored in the race and We join the Farm Bureau for once and endorse Chet Edwards.. Other Observer favorites seem pretty safe this time around \(but with Gramm’s $7 million altering the top of the ticket, you never ments to the class of the Texas delegation: John Bryant \(who faces former Dallas City Committee Chairman Jack Brooks \(facing Al Bustamante in San Antonio is no Henry B. worthy of support in a race against Republican lightweight challenger Jerry Gonzalez. In the 10th district .we endorse without reservation state Representative Lena Guerrero of Austin. She is smart, articulate, a fine parliamentary floor tactician and almost always takes the lead on the right issues. Voters here can’t go wrong here, except that she’s not running and we’ll have to settle for J.J. “Jake” Pickle, a veteran Democrat who votes right on women and children’s issues, often horribly on Central American issues, is on an inflated S&L loan, and has been on automatic pilot since 1974. But we’ll continue to hope for Lena to leap in someday. Lufkin’s Charlie Wilson is also an Observer favorite but mostly for his quotes, newsworthy extracurricular activities, and overall panache. In District 21, which extends from the north of San Antonio into West Texas, Kirby Roberts is challenging Lamar Smith and we would all be better off if the Roberts would prevail. Though we don’t know much about John Wayne Caton, Dick Armey is a Republican House reactionary so far right he’s off the map. B.C., L.D. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23