February 22, 2007
Like most folks, I enjoy seeing my name in print, even though I really have no ego to speak of. Sure, sometimes it’s irritating if somebody criticizes an idea or plan of mine. Somehow, the fact that I’m always, unerringly, some might say miraculously right never seems to make it into the story.
But, I’m also a sensitive kind of guy. Sometimes, my feelings get bruised. Recently, in a profile of new legislators, a report described me this way: “He’s affable, reasonably attractive, and has a loquacious presence refined by courtroom arguments and countless banquet speeches.”
What? Reasonably attractive? Reasonably? Now, I don’t fancy myself an uncrazy Tom Cruise, but come on. My kids read this stuff.
The good news is I’m over it, as you can tell. So, there’s no need for those of you who think I’m more than just “reasonably” pretty to start a flurry of letters to the editor.
Fortunately, things have been so busy that my ego has fallen by the wayside – and, I suppose, it’s possible my appearance has too. The session is starting to take on form and it feels like it’s developing a rhythm.
Committees, which is where a lot of the real work is done, are now fully engaged. Some days, it’s impossible to make any full committee meeting because the ones I’m supposed to attend overlap with each other. Other Senators face the same challenge. There’s just a lot of work to be done.
Wednesdays are the busiest committee days for me. This week, I spent all morning in Transportation and Homeland Security, then the afternoon running back and forth between Nominations and Jurisprudence to make sure both committees had a quorum when it was time to vote on something.
Deadlines for filing legislation are bearing down on all of us, so there’s some hustle to get things filed. Things are definitely picking up speed, which I like. I also like that there’s more engagement on issues and more opportunities to work with other members on specific items and ideas.
I’ve chaired parts of some committee hearings (I knew all that practice on Austin zoning cases would come in handy one day). Another bit of fun was presiding over the full Senate this week.
Also, as you may have read, the Senate voted last week to override the constitutional spending cap. That’s a jargony way of saying that instead of first figuring out how much money they were willing to spend and what they wanted to spend it on – the way we do at home – Texas lawmakers overrode the constitution and wrote themselves a blank check without going through the full budgeting process.
Whether or not it could legally or technically be done this way, I think the Senate denied itself a chance for important deliberation, negotiation, and consensus – the building blocks for responsible governing. If you want to read more about it, and why I opposed it, click here.
I’ve also filed a number of bills with implications for the district. Some I’ve mentioned in previous Watson Wires. Some of the others would:
This week I also passed a Senate resolution that includes an invitation. It was in honor of the Relay for Life: Light Up the Dome event, where people from all over come together to raise money and to prevent, fight, and ease suffering from cancer. Every dollar that teams raise for the event also increases awareness about cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, and patient support.
The first Light Up the Dome event will be Monday, on the south steps of the Capitol, at 6:45 p.m. My family will be honoring my parents and Liz’s parents. Please come to the Capitol building and honor someone you love but lost to cancer, whom you’re helping fight that beast, or whom you value because they are a survivor. I hereby resolve that you should resolve to come. I’ll see you there.