Texas Monthly’s much-read picks for the 10 Best/10 Worst performers in the 83rd Legislature are out, and Tarrant County was equally represented in each category. Among the 10 Best: State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, and Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth. Among the 10 Worst: Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, and State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills.
Another local lawmaker – Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, former chairwoman of the Tarrant County Republican Party – was one of four members selected to the magazine’s “Furniture” lineup. Furniture, TM explains, “is a designation for lawmakers whose level of participation in the process was indistinguishable from that of their desks and chairs.”
Here are some snippets of the magazine’s rationale behind the Best/Worst Selections: (Note: The selections covered lawmakers’ performance during the 140-day regular session and did not include the special session filibuster that rocketed Davis into national media stardom.) Davis: “… maintained a tight focus on school finance throughout the session…a prominent voice in her party. While Davis sometimes couldn’t resist the urge to grandstand, she kept that impulse mostly in check as the session progressed, instead focusing her energies on compromise and bipartisanship.”
Geren: “An indispensable member of (House Speaker Joe Straus’ leadership team)…glue that holds the House together…the most ubiquitous presence on the floor…understands how to solve a problem before it becomes a crisis…not much roils Geren’s placid surface.” Burnam: “In terms of raw intelligence, Lon Burnam sits at the top of the class. Sadly, he receives a failing grade when it comes to presenting his ideas in a way that will gain the support of his colleagues…can slip into a toxic mix of smugness and sarcasm…” Hancock: Rapped by Texas Monthly for receiving insurance industry donations and authoring legislation to eliminate a small agency that represents the public in insurance cases.
“Hancock may have treated his donors well, but by carrying a bill to eliminate an important protection, he left the public feeling jilted.”
Dave Montgomery is a veteran political reporter who covers state government and politics for the Fort Worth Business Press.