How Things Really Work in Policy and Politics
Lone Star legislators look back on careers
By Hadiya Iqbal
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Four prestigious former elected officials visited the Honors College on Tuesday to the nature of Texas politics, and their experience at the capitol. The event was organized by UH’s Hobby Center for Public Policy. | Mary Dahdouh/The Daily Cougar
The law-making process isn’t viewed as a gladdening topic, yet the four former lawmakers that gathered to reminisce in the Honors College Commons on Tuesday debunked this idea and pleasantly discussed the education system and each other’s prominent careers.
Lawmakers Lt. Gov. William Hobby, Donald Adams, Mark White and Saralee Tiede shared their memories and what they learned while serving in the Texas legislature.
“Everything we will talk about is ancient history, but particularly relevant,” Tiede said.
Tiede, the discussion’s moderator, served under Hobby’s chief of staff from 1985 to 1990. Tiede also served as deputy chancellor for external affairs of the UH System when Hobby was the chancellor from 1995 to 1997.
The veterans had worked with each other and were familiar with each other’s habits, accomplishments and experiences.
“If you hang around the legislature you discover there are more ways to kill a bill than to pass one. I will say, Gov. Adams was a master at killing bills,” Tiede said.
Various topics were spoken about such as the Texas Constitution, public education, healthcare and the water issue. As these topics were discussed, the veterans delivered their opinions about different situations.
Adams, who was elected to the House of Representatives in 1968, served six years in the Texas Senate, and was appointed general counsel and executive assistant to the governor.
“The constitution continues page after page. Although it is purposefully written that way, it is very restricting on the governor,” Adams said. “It does need to be revised, and until it is, I will claim to be a constitutional expert. I don’t know what’s in it but nor does anyone else.”
The lawmakers turned their focus to public education, which is the most important thing Texas legislature focuses on, Tiede said.
“Education is the best investment we can make,” Adams said. “It pays off in jobs. It’s going to get worse and worse if we don’t do something about dropout rates and proper funding. If we don’t do something, we will become what Mississippi used to be.”
The panelists veered from legislation in general, to one individual who has left his mark in Texas politics.
“Bill Hobby is the finest lieutenant governor Texas has ever had,” White said. “He understood Texas, knew the history behind Texas and had a vision for Texas.”
Hobby held the office of lieutenant governor for 18 years, and his main purpose for to provide adequate funding for Texas’s colleges and universities. He served as the chancellor for the UH System from 1995 to 1997 and currently serves as the chairman for the Board of Hobby Communications.
Both White and Adams continued to commend Hobby’s leadership role in the Texas Legislature system and his passion for making colleges and universities thrive.
“Hobby was the kind of man whose decisions you never had to look back at to see why he did them,” Adams said.
White, who served as the governor for Texas from 1983 to 1987, encouraged involvement from everyone who is interested.
“The most exciting thing is to see people of different ethnicities and religions stepping up,” White said.
“Don’t be hesitant to think you don’t have as good of ideas as someone else.”
Senator Don Adams, Saralee Tiede, Governor Bill Hobby and Governor Mark White
HCPP Director Jim Granato, Senator Don Adams, HCPP Advisory Board Member Ramona Davis and Governor Mark White
Governor Bill Hobby and Governor Mark White
HCPP Advisory Board Chair Beverly Kaufman and HCPP Intern Teclesha Blanchard