The Quote of the Year

Dave Mann

In the past two years, I’ve watched State Board of Education meetings for many hours. I’ve heard State Board members utter some of the most ridiculous statements likely ever to pass the lips of a government official in a public meeting. I thought I’d reached a point at which State Board members—no matter how nonsensical their statements—couldn’t faze me anymore.

But David Bradley, bless his heart, proved me wrong.

Bradley, a Republican Board member from Beaumont, recently provided Texas Tribune reporter Abby Rapoport with what has to be the quote of the year.

In a story entitled “No Experience Necessary,” the Tribune points out that State Board members have little experience with high finance and yet they help oversee Texas’ $23 billion public-school fund.

In defending the Board, Bradley, who chairs the finance committee, argues that expertise is over-rated. To make his point, he employs this priceless analogy:

If you sit on the mental health commission, do you have to be retarded? If you sit on the [Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission], do you have to be a drunk?

I would like to gingerly point out that—beyond the general ludicrousness of this statement—there is no such thing as the “mental health commission.” Bradley also seems to confuse mental illness with mental retardation, which are two distinct and very different conditions.

Give him some credit, though. Given the way the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has been acting lately, Bradley might be on to something.

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Dave Mann is a former editor of the Observer.