Page 39


younger brother Pete Geren served four terms in Congress, as a appointed to the Water Development Board by Ann Richards. Running for office “has been as much fun as anything I’ve ever done in my life,” says Geren. “You get to meet so many interesting people.” The race was probably a little less fun for the man he beat, Nathan Schattmana smart liberal lawyer and the son of Michael Schattman, a Fort Worth judge who saw his 1995 nomination to the federal bench scuttled by Senators Gramm and Hutchison. Donations of dartboards featuring the faces of prominent Republicans may be sent to the Schattman family care of the Observer. Meanwhile Geren, who last year had t-shirts made with the slogan “Life Is Too Short To Live In Dallas,” will have to moderate his Fort Worth partisanship in order to work effectively with other House members. Student Council: Chuck Hopson \(D -Bill Callegari \(R -Though their party affiliations differ, Hopson and Callegari are both 59, they’ve both sat on their local school boards and participated in other civic activities, and both promise to be solid meat-and-potatoes legislators. Hopson, a pharmacist, ran in the long East Texas shadow of last year’s hotly contested District 3 Senate race \(won by Republican Todd Staples, who pensive House races, costing around $400,000. “Pharmacists are people-oriented,” he says, noting that his first elected position, which he held some 20 years ago, was president of the Texas Society of Hospital Pharmacists. Knocking on some 8,000 doors during the campaign “reaffirmed my faith in America,” says Hopson. Callegari, an engineering consultant, sold his business a few years back and found retirement to be boring. “You can only fish and golf so much,” he says. “I felt like I wanted to do something productive, and it was either starting another business or this.” When six-term Rep. John Culberson decided to run for Congress, Callegari talked to him and other legislators about filing for his seatwhich he finally did in December of 1999, right before the deadline. This session, he says, he will attend to water issues, Interstate 10 issues, and positivity. “A lot of people are afraid to do this \(run for and hold elective ofgari. “We will be doing things in a positive way.” Class Sweetheart: Myra Crownover \(R -Crownover takes over the seat held last session by her husband, Ronny Crownover, a Denton veterinarian who was diagnosed with leukemia shortly after being elected in 1998. Because of his illness, “I became much more active than I would have been,” says Myra Crownover, who assisted Ronny through the legislative term. “I sort of fell in love with the process. I’ve always had a fascination with efficiency and effective time use. Making government do well the things it should do well caught my interest.” After her husband died, “I had people coming up to my door and encouraging me to run,” Crownover says. The decision to campaign, she says, wasn’t a hard one. “Compared to everything I’d been dealing with, it was easy,” she says. A former elementary school teacher, Crownover will take a student’s approach to the legislative process. “I look forward to getting a focus,” she says. “You choose your area, and after intensive study and hard work you become the person that other people look to on that subject.” Crossing Guard: Jose Menendez \(D -A San Antonio City Councilman from 1997 to 1999, Menendez sent out 15,000 pieces of literature with his cell phone number on them during his House race. “People, when they call and I answer, say `Oh my gosh, it’s you!'” Menendez says his hero is Henry B. Gonzalez, “a person who never lost sight of who he represented,” and what he recalls most fondly from his City Council days is the implementation of the Pedestrian Mobility Access Plan. “We put sidewalks in places where people had never had them before. It was so rewarding,” he says. Menendez not only hopes to represent his district to the best of his ability, he hopes to go back home as often as possible, to see his wife and 10-month-old son. “I plan to commute as much as I can,” he says, “though I’ve heard other members don’t exactly see that as a positive.” That Kinda Weird Guy Who Hangs Out With Those Miller says his interest in running for the Legislature dates back to the ungodly autumn of 1999, when the courts first chased prayer off the football field. Miller, who was a member of the Stephenville school board at the time, says, “I realized how fragile our freedoms were when a judge in Louisiana could tell us not to pray at football games.” As Scooby Doo might say, ruh -roh. Miller’s race against one-term incumbent David Lengefeld was, like Hopson’s, a targeted race, meaning that he received massive infusions of cash from the Republican Party of Texas, as well as the Associated Republicans of Texas and the Free Enterprise PAC \(cf When asked whom he had relied upon for advice and support, the first two names Miller mentioned were Arlene Wohlgemuth \(whose legislative agenda is always heavy on Christian conservative causes the representative from the National Rifle Association. Governor Rick Perry, Attorney General John Cornyn, Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, and Secretary of State Tony Garza also made their way north to promote Miller’s campaign. First In Her Class: Ann Kitchen \(D -Kitchen, a soft-spoken UT Law graduate and health care consultant, takes the place of longtime Austin Representative Sherri Greenberg, who did not run again. Kitchen’s resume includes stints in the Attorney General’s consumer protection division \(back when Attorney Genand Human Services Commission. She says her decision to run for office was an outgrowth of “the positive experience I had working on two major health care bills.” A prominent member of Austin’s Save Our Springs Coalition and a light-rail advocate, Kitchen ran a well-orchestrated campaign with the help of her husband, Democratic consultant Mark Yznaga, Austin Mayor Kirk Watson, and other prominent local pols. Her contributor reports read like a who’s who of local progressive and Democratic causes. This one could skip a grade. 10 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JANUARY 19, 2001