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MC HINTERIANG Lena Guerrero POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE THE APPOINTMENT rumor mill has been grinding away at top speed since November 6. We won’t report every name floated for various positions, but one in particular seems worth noting. Prominent Beaumont attorney Walter Umphrey, one of the top contributors to Ann Richards’s gubernatorial campaign, is seeking an appointment to the chairmanship of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission and, unlike most other favor-seekers, isn’t shy about admitting it. “I’ve had an interest in [the Parks and Wildlife post] for several years,” Umphrey told the Austin American-Statesman, which reported that Umphrey almost got the job under former Governor Mark White. Sources at the agency told the Observer that environmentally concerned staffers worry that Umphrey \(who reckons he sensitive to ecological issues. He was a partner in a group that sold 1,800 acres of land \(located next to a state wildlife management He still holds the company’s stock, which he received in the sale. Umphrey also owned a ranch that was the site of the big-game hunting “bust” involving several public officials in 1989. Some Parks and Wildlife workers are said to be concerned that Umphrey would not be a force for environmentally sound management at the agency, which has been criticized for concentrating far too much on hunting and fishing at the expense of habitat preservation and ecological diversity. That direction, however, might finally be reversing under recently appointed executive director Andrew Sansom, a former Nature Conservancy official, who appears to be trying to make Parks and Wildlife a player in helping Texas comply with federal and state environmental regulation. In fact, the rumors about Umphrey’s possible appointment came at the same moment the agency’s new environmental policy was about to be released. ONE ANN RICHARDS appointment that’s sure to make some waves is the naming of Austin state Representative Lena Guerrero to the three-member \(formerly and sion. Nowhere in state government have women and minorities been more systematically excluded. The agency’s first affirmative action officer, a Hispanic appointed in a move engineered by outgoing commissioner John Sharp, showed up for his first day of work four years ago only to discover that there was no furniture in the affirmativeaction office. Apocrypha has it that Commissioner Jim Nugent reluctantly agreed to an affirmative-action program but not to furniture. Guerrero, a progressive Austin legislator, will be the first woman ever to serve on the commission, which regulates oil and gas production, trucking, and even railroads. Richards held the line against good-ol’-boy advice to appoint someone like Clint Hackney, a former Houston state representative who has now run twice for the commission, or perhaps Democratic Senator John Montford or Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower. Guerrero, 33, is not only capable and bright but, in this case, deserving of the She played a key part in Richards’s primary victory, almost single-handedly beating back a Jim Mattox attempt to win the endorsement of the Mexican American Democrats an organization with which Mattox had culti vated strong ties and majority support but not the two-thirds necessary for an endorsement. Guerrero also beat the Mattox campaign on the floor of the AFL-CIO convention in Austin in January. Mattox had made the back-to-back endorsements a test of his political popularity and will, and Guerrero was the floor tactician who denied him both nominations thus depriving his campaign of important early momentum. She left the Richards campaign after the primary and worked on Unity ’90 a less-than-successful Democratic Party effort to pool candidates’ resources and coordinate campaigns. Though on the Railroad Commission, she might be the minority vote on what has been 14 DECEMBER 7, 1990 ,