Page 18


Carl Parker FILE PHOTO Ron Coleman of El Paso; progressive Henry Gonzalez; moderate Solomon Ortiz of Corpus Christi; moderate Frank Tejeda of San Antonio; progressive Gene Green of Houston; and progressive Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas. Henry Bonilla, who won a second term with 62.5 percent, was the Republican member of Congress who had the closest call, as Democrat Rolando Rios of San Antonio got 37:5 percent in Border District 23. Stenholm, who had been mentioned as a potential conservative coalition speaker if the GOP fell short of a majority, said the new Republicancontrolled Congress must live up to its rhetoric that calls for tax cuts, more defense spending and a balanced budget. “That makes excellent rhetoric to get elected, but it makes awfully poor math when you start looking at the budget,” Stenholm was quoted in the Lubbock Avalanche -Journal as he predicted that farming programs will be singled out for cuts. U.S. Senator Phil Gramm has said the new farm bill will cost less and rely more on markets. Wilson, the East Texan who has balanced a moderate record on social issues with a strong defense posture, said there is no way of getting around the fact that the next Congress will be very conservative. “I don’t think there’s going to be very much coming out of there that the President will sign; maybe some things like GATT and the appropriations bill, some things like that,” he said. He believes the party should return to the centrist policies of the Democratic Leadership Council. “I think it would have been wise if he ways been a centrist, or at least tried to be, and that’s when we’ve won elections.” Liberals should forget about trying to purge conservatives from the party, he advised. “They would certainly like to have 14 Boll Weevils back, I’ll tell you. But if that’s the way they feel about it, fine. If they don’t want pro-defense Democrats in the party, well hell, we’ll get out rather than change our views on something as basic as national security.” He added, “I was called last night by the Republicans and they asked me if I would consider changing parties and I said no, but I’m sure there are others that are thinking about it.” Wilson said he would advise Clinton to find common ground for agreement on issues such as health care and GATT. “Where his soul is involved of course you have to stand and confront,” Wilson said. Martin Frost, because of his seniority, likely will retain his seats on the Rules and Administration committees, although for the first time he will be in the minority. He saw signs of Republican confusion the first week after the election. Bill Archer, the new chair of Ways and Means from Houston, announced tax cuts without an explanation of how he would pay for them but Frost has no doubts that the Republican leadership will advance many of the initiatives contained in their Contract with America. “They have great party discipline, unlike the Democrats. The question is how extreme they become.” Democrats need to rethink what they are about, Frost said, and while some partisans, such as Bryant, believe in a more confrontational, progressive approach when the House Democrats reorganize December 2, Frost believes they should adopt a more centrist orientation. “We’re only down 13 seats; we can regain the House in the next election,” he said. Other Democrats were enjoying the prospect of watching Republicans fulfill their campaign promises. “No one is holding Phil Gramm back from finally passing a balanced budget,” one said. One of the problems that faces Democrats is the possibility of having to redraw Congressional districts next year if the U.S. Supreme Court lets stand a district court ruling that districts in Dallas and Houston were illegally gerrymandered to allow election of minority candidates. Bush could veto any plan drawn up by the Democrat-dominated Legislature, sending the job to the GOPfriendly federal judges. “We need to win that Congressional redistricting lawsuit at the U.S. Supreme Court,” Slagle said. Texas Senate While Democrats emerged from the election with a 17-14 majority in the Texas Senate, upsets of two veteran Democrats and the Republican capture of an open seat in a marginally Democratic East Texas district put a decidedly more conservative tone on the chamber. The upset of liberal Democratic lion Carl Parker of Port Arthur by a relative unknown from suburban Houston removes the most formidable progressive force in the Senate, a lawmaker feared for his biting wit in floor debates as much as his behind-the-scenes skill in fixing bad bills on behalf of organized labor, trial lawyers and environmental and consumer advocates. Parker had served in the Legislature 32 years, including the past 18 in the Senate. Republicans came tantalizingly close to a Senate majority, which would have threatened Lieut. Gov . Bob Bullock’s primacy in the chamber, when early returns showed incumbent conservative Democrat Bill Sims trailing Republican former legislator Hugh Shine in the West Texas 24th District and David Cain, a Dallas Democrat and state representative, trailed Richard Harvey of Tyler in the Northeast Texas Second District. Late reports put both Democrats ahead as Sims finished with 53.4 percent of the vote and Cain with 50.6 percent. The immediate past Senate had eight generally progressive votes and seven generally moderate votes. The new Senate will have nine progressive votes and five moderate votes, based on past performance. Under past Senate rules, two-thirds, or 21, votes are needed to bring up a bill for debate and 11 votes can block legislation. Michael L. Galloway, a 29-year-old Republican oil-and-gas producer from the Woodlands, shocked Parker, who had been persuaded by Southeast Texas Democrats to seek another term after he announced plans to retire after the past legislative session. Parker ran an aggressive, issue-oriented campaign with ads that focused on his leadership on education reform while Galloway’s visibility in the eastern part of the district was limited, according to the Beaumont Enterprise. As in the case of Brooks, Parker won THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9