Meanwhile, Nippon, through its subsidiary, Texas Farm, has built a factory farm capable of producing 500,000 fully grown hogs per year. The farmers whose land lies downwind of the pig farms have sued in state court, because they were not given an opportunity to appeal the licensing of the facilities at the TNRCC and some must be remembering those legislators who warned that Combs’ property-rights bill was a smokescreen for less government protection of the environment and public health. \(In other states, corporate hog farms have caused a populist uprising. At least twenty counties in Kansas have held referenda on corporate hog farms; eighteen of the Where does Combs stand on the corporate hog farm issue? If her association with agribusiness lawyer Ed Small, also her campaign treasurer, is any sign, look for Big Pork to stay at the trough. His firm, Small Craig and Werkinthin, represents Texas Farm, which has invested over $200 million in hog-production facilities in the Texas Panhandle. Small was instrumental in drafting the property-rights legislation, and his candidate has also indicated her support for a new hog meat-packing plant in the panhandle, a project that Texas Farm and several other companies reportedly have been considering. On the cotton front, Combs will have to deal with one of the biggest messes in Texas agricultural history: the boll weevil eradication program. Texas produces more cotton than any other state, and the objective of the eradication program was to rid Texas of every single boll weevil. In theory, it was a lofty goal. The weevil has been in Texas for more than 100 years, but the argument for the eradication program was simple: given enough pesticide applications, we can eliminate the weevil, thereby cutting pesticide use over the long term. Weevil eradication is unlikely ever to work in Texas, because farmers in various parts of the state have refused to join the eradication program perhaps with good reason. In early 1996, farmers in the Rio Grande Valley voted three-to-one to opt out of the Texas program after a horrendous year, during which pest infestations wreaked havoc on their crop. Subsequent analyses by two U.S.D.A. scientists blamed the overuse of pesticides for the infestation. And that returns us to Small, whose firm also has a lucrative contract with the Texas Boll Weevil Eradicatioh Foundation, a quasi-public legislative hybrid that took on millions of dollars of debt to fund the program. Small is personally responsible for some of that debt; since 1994, his firm has billed the foundation more than $425,000. Small’s firm not only represents the foundation in lawsuits that farmers have brought against the foundation, his firm also did the foundation’s legislative lobbying. Where does Combs stand on the boll weevil? If her association with Small is any indication, her position will likely be the same as his. Voters may also wish to consider candidate Combs’ literary career. Her first and only romance novel was published in 1990. A Pe ifect Match recounted the tale of Emily, a cryptanalyst for the National Security Agency, who knows too much and of course, Ross, Emily’s manly bodyguard. Combs earned $6,000 from Meteor Publishing Corporation for such deathless prose as, “He could feel her mouth and hands tormenting him, as he struggled for control.” In 1995, while a member of the House, Combs said, “There’s hope yet. I want to write a whole bunch of books.” In addition to her torrid literary efforts, Combs has occasionally A Carole Keeton Rylander, in character Austin History Center shown an aptitude for biting political commentary. After the 1990 gubernatorial race, she remarked, “Ann Richards was obviously the smarter candidate, but I voted for Clayton Williams because I hoped that he was stupid as opposed to misguided.” When Carole Rylander she was blinded by the political light, she wasn’t on the road to Damascus she just thought she was on the road to Washington. Her light ning-quick conversion from liberal Democrat to conservative Republican was propelled not by revelation but by pure ambition. After her term as mayor of Austin, the next step on the career ladder, as she saw it, was a run for Congress and she didn’t want to wait until perdurable Democratic Congressman Jake Pickle was ready to quit. In 1985 just one year after working on the steering committee for Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale she switched to the Republican Party. It was a shrewd if utterly unprincipled move that left her a clear field, and many of her long-time Democratic supporters in Austin seething. “Her supporters felt betrayed, attacked. Their rhetoric against her became very extreme,” says Travis County Attorney Ken Oden. Oden says that Rylander also “got a new set of friends.” The political payoff was substantial. “The race against Jake vaulted her career over those who had been active in GOP circles for decades,” says Oden. Ambition has been a Carole Rylander signature from the beginning. Daryl Janes of the Austin Business Journal once wrote of her, “In 1957, just out of high school, Carole Keeton was ranked No. 2 12 THE TEXAS OBSERVER OCTOBER 23, 1998
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.