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Scott Hochberg Scott Hochberg Like his former employer, whose vacated seat he won iri 1993, Hochberg is an education wonk with a sense of humor. In two sessions, Hochberg has become, like his former boss Paul Colbert, an enlightened advocate of educational policy. Hochberg’s intelligence and agility as a member of the House Public Education Committee helped improve an education code rewrite that is bad but could have been worse. On one occasion, when Arlington Republican Kent Grusendorf was making the argument for elimination of all contractual rights for teachers, so that they would work under the same conditions as “95 percent of the rest of the people working in this economy,” Hochberg intervened. How many corporations have a complete turnover of their board of directors and their CEO every two years? he asked Grusendorf, referring to school board elections. Because he understood the policy the committee was making, Hochberg was a worthy adversary for both Grusendorf, the Republican right’s bad cop on the committee, and Ric Williamson, the libertarian Republican good cop. And Hochberg was not blinded by ideology. “Fair and intelligent,” one teachers’ association lobbyist said of Hochberg. Christine Hernandez A teachers’ advocate on the House Public Education Committee, Hernandez not only understood and improved a complex rewrite of the 1,000-page Senate Bill 1, she made an honest attempt to explain it to other House members. Her staff’s S.B. 1 outline was as good a reader’s guide to education policy as could be found this session. She was generous with her time, fair with her opponents, and scrambled to line up votes to preserve the state’s teachercertification systemwhich will begin to unravel under a “local certification” provision that becomes law in September. “She fought a lot of important fights in the committee and on the floor,” said Richard Kouri of the Texas State Teachers Association. When at the end of the session, the House Mexican-American Caucus opposed the education bill in which Hernandez had invested months of hard work in committee hearings, she did the right thing and participated in a protest organized by the two minority caucuses. Kevin Bailey Houston Democrat Kevin Bailey, whom Austin Chronicle political reporter Robert Bryce swears doesn’t own a single decent suit of clothes, served as chair of the nascent Legislative Study Group and actually made it work. “This time, instead of a runaway train engineered by the conservative caucus, the House had balance,” Public Citizen’s Tom “Smitty” Smith told Sylvia Moreno of the Dallas Morning News. “Every once in a while democracy broke out on the floor of the House…” Bailey, a teacher and education consultant from Houston now serving in his second term, deserves credit for some of that democracy. The study group’s reports, read by more than its 62 members, were a valuable source of information. Bailey coordinated it all and somehow made the whole awful session seem what like labor lobbyist Dee Simpson calls a “joyous game.” John Hirschi The Wichita Falls Democrat has been a leader on environmental and consumer issues since he was elected in 1991. Hirschi led in the fight to pry public studies of takings legislation out of the hands of Attor Christine Hernandez Kevin Bailey ney General Dan Morales, who only allowed Hirschi to have the material after Hirschi filed an Open Records request. Hirschi obtained the documents early on the day of the debate, and some 30 other House members followed him but did not see the AG’s study of the potential consequences of takings legislation until after the vote. “I would have preferred to see the attorney general be more forthcoming with the information,” Hirschi said, in his usual restrained fashion. For standing up to Morales, it appears that Hirschi is paying a price, as the AG’s office later claimed that Hirschi leaked the documents to the environmental groups that released the information to the press. “Absolutely false,” said Mary Kelly, an environmental lawyer whose office at the Texas Center for Policy Studies had to go to state district court to compel Morales to release the information. Kelly said that at the time the AG’s office circulated word that Hirschi had released the reports, the AG’s lawyers had only done two depositions “of members of their own staff.” She described the attempt to link Hirschi to the leaked documents as an “abuse of the deposition process.” Garnet Coleman A first-term Democrat who is smarter than most of his House colleagues, Coleman caught on to the the process quickly. “He figured out how to fight for the right things on the Appropriations Committee and wasn’t afraid to do it,” said Debby Tucker of the Texas Council on Family Violence. Coleman also wrote the cumulative-voting provision in the education bill, which provides a mechanism to elect minority members without gerrymandering districts. To his credit, Coleman explained it in the midst of contentious floor debate on educa 30 JUNE 16, 1995