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Richard Connor: Charlie Geren’s a hard charger – and that’s no bull

🕐 3 min read

Charlie Geren and the word patience are not often used in the same sentence but for now he has taken on the aura of a man who is willing to wait.

In the latest issue of Texas Monthly he’s been named “Bull of the Brazos” for the job he’s doing in Austin as a Republican state representative from Fort Worth. The listing comes in the issue where Texas Monthly rates the state’s 10 best and worst legislators.

“I don’t know if it’s good or bad,” said the straight-shooting Geren. “I’ll have a comment when I read the story about it, but generally in the past it’s been a good thing.”

He didn’t have much to say about Austin, the Legislature or Texas Monthly. Mainly, he was thinking baseball. Geren never misses a College Baseball World Series and this year TCU made its second straight trip to the national tournament. Geren’s a Horned Frog all the way, serves on the TCU Board of Trustees and when we talked on June 18 he was rooting for TCU to avoid elimination after dropping into the losers’ bracket with a 1-0 loss to defending champion Vanderbilt.

Geren has served eight terms in Austin and he’s one of the state’s most influential legislative leaders. He serves as chairman of the powerful House Administration Committee and is closely allied with House Speaker Joe Straus. Together, they decide who is appointed to which committees – a crucial role in a body where committee assignments can make and break careers.

Geren is a no-nonsense guy who can be painfully blunt one minute and disarmingly charming the next – to the point that adversaries often walk away from a confrontation believing he complimented them.

And while Geren has basically one speed – fast – he’s learned how to work as slowly as necessary to achieve his legislative goals and those of his colleagues. His designation as “Bull of the Brazos,” won’t surprise his friends, except when Charlie says “bull” he usually adds four more letters. Some may describe him as, ahem, plain-spoken. He’s smart and has the doggedness and work ethic to stay with a project until it’s finished, usually the way he wants it finished.

The combination of his unique personality, will and sometimes brutal honesty has served him and his constituents well in Austin. He’s worked hard to become one of the state’s most powerful politicians.

Back home, we might decide to call him “Rascal of the Railhead.” He owns Fort Worth’s most popular barbecue restaurant, The Railhead.

The restaurant offers a variety of food offerings but television fare on the premises is more limited – if TCU is playing and the game is on television you’ll be watching it. On a recent night you could either watch the baseball game between TCU and Vanderbilt or the game between TCU and Vanderbilt. Democracy only goes so far.

Charlie’s designation as “Bull of the Brazos” helped improve Tarrant County’s image on the Texas Monthly best and worst list. We were 2-1 on the bad side, with State Rep. Stephanie Klick of Fort Worth being named among the 10 best but GOP Rep. Jonathan Stickland of Bedford and Republican Sen. Jane Nelson of Flower Mound among the worst.

Nelson’s recent threat to withhold funding from the state racing commission because of policy differences did nothing to enhance her image. Her actions were more like a bull in a china closet. What’s that about a rose by any other name?

Richard Connor is chairman of the parent company of Fort Worth Business, DRC Media. Contact him at rconnor@bizpress.net.

Richard Connor
Richard Connor is the owner and CEO/Publisher of DRC Media, the parent company of the Fort Worth Business Press. he also owns newspapers in Virginia. Mr. Connor held a number of corporate media executive positions before founding his own company. He is an award-winning columnist and at one time wrote a weekly column on national politics for CQ Politics, the online version of Washington, D.C.-based Congressional Quarterly.

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