Mike Anderson, 1955-2013

Mike Anderson

The Houston Chronicle reports that the Harris County District Attorney, Mike Anderson, has died early this morning at the young age of 57. As you may remember, Anderson disclosed last May that he had cancer. It must have been very aggressive, and it is a shame, because Houston truly lost a legend among men.

Anderson, a former District Judge and prosecutor, defeated the previous District Attorney, Pat Lykos, in last year’s Republican primary. After his opponent was incompetent in ways only imaginable to the incompetency of Texas Democrats, Anderson got plenty of bipartisan support in the November election, including mine.

I was never really a fan of Anderson’s politics, but I did see plenty of glimmers of hope in the meantime. But whatever your ideology, today is a day to put aside partisanship and see Anderson for who he really was underneath all the politics. Anderson dedicated his life, whether that be as a Prosecutor or a Judge, to upholding the law and making sure justice always prevailed. Serving for many years as one of the big felony court prosecutors, Anderson spent his days putting the worst of the worst in jail–where they belong.

Anderson was a longtime contemporary and colleague of my father’s, and despite their political disagreements, he always believed Anderson was a man of tremendous integrity and a great public servant.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Anderson’s family, especially his young children. It is a heartbreaking day for those who knew him. While I feel absolutely terrible discussing the political implications at a time like this, it is worth noting that the vacancy in the DA’s office will be filled by a nominee of Governor Perry.

Off the Kuff and Life at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center have more.

Jack Hightower, 1926-2013

The Dallas Morning News reports that Jack Hightower, the former Congressman and Texas Supreme Court justice, has died at the age of 86. Hightower, a Democrat, also served in both houses of the State Legislature.

After serving in the military, Hightower began his long and prosperous political career at the age of 26, when be became the District Attorney of the 46th Judicial District, covering Foard, Hardeman and Wilbarger Counties. He took this position immediately after being admitted to the Bar of Texas.

Then, in a move that would be unheard of in today’s day and age, Hightower ran for and was elected to a seat in the Texas House of Representatives, all the while contuing to serve as the District Attorney. Hightower only served in the State House for one term, from 1953 to 1955. He then continued serving as the District Attorney until 1961.

A number of years later Hightower was elected to the Texas Senate, where he served for one term from 1965 to 1967. More years later, in the aftermath of Watergate, he defeated Republican Bob Price in his Pandhandle district, and served for ten years, until Hightower himself was the victim of a partisan landslide in 1984 that contributed to his defeat.

To top off his career, Hightower was elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1988, where he served for the next six years. Coincidentally, the individual who succeeded him (when he retired) on the court was a District Judge named Greg Abbott.

Hightower served with integrity and honesty, and perpetually did things for the good of his country. Luckily for him, as a liberal Democrat, he lived in a day where his constituents were intelligent enough to discern between national politics and local/judicial ones. Fox News has taken care to ensue that is no longer the case. But Hightower was not swayed by national interests and whims. He always stood fast to his principles and stuck up for the little guy.

RIP, Justice Hightower.

Bob Perry, 1932-2013

The Texas Tribune reports that GOP super donor Bob Perry died this morning in his sleep. He was 80.

Bob Perry had amassed a large fortune over the years from his large development company, Perry Homes. Eventually, the focus turned to philanthropy of a political nature. Perry was one of the biggest donors to politicians in the State, mainly giving to the GOP. Among his recipients were George W. Bush, Rick Perry, Sylvester Turner, Mario Gallegos, George P. Bush and Carol Alvarado. A Houston resident, he worked tirelessly to support candidates, both left and right (but mainly right), from his hometown.

Additionally, Perry was invaluable in silencing the far-right from dominating the Republican Party’s immigration policy. He was one of the key reasons the cruel Sanctuary City bill did not pass, and for that, liberals like me will always be grateful.

I do not believe I ever had the pleasure of meeting Mr Perry in person, but I wish I did. He will be missed and I was saddened to hear of his passing.

Raymond Telles, 1915-2013

Raymond Telles, the first Hispanic Mayor of El Paso, who served from 1957 to 1961, died on Friday at the age of 97. Telles, a Democrat, would go on to become the Ambassador to Costa Rica under the Kennedy and Johnson administrations from 1961 to 1967. In 1967, he became the Chairman of the United States-Mexican Border Commission, and in 1971 he became a commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (which is distinct from the Chairman of EEOC, that the LA Times, in their continuing disgrace of journalism, seems to think), serving until 1976.

Telles was the first Hispanic elected Mayor of a major US City (population of El Paso at that time was about 150,000). His election came a full 24 years before that of Henry Cisneros, and 8 years before Alfonso Cervantes of St. Louis, who is erroneously sometimes called the first Hispanic person to the elected Mayor of a major US City. If and when Texas ever turns blue, it will be because of the hispanic community, and one of the first milestones will be Mayor Telles. An inspiration to all.

Gaynelle Griffin Jones, 1948-2013

The Houston Chronicle has reported that Gaynelle Griffin Jones, President Clinton’s first US Attorney for the Houston area (S.TX district) has died. She evidently also served on the 1st Court of Appeals (back when good Democrats were still on the bench, I presume). A native of Dallas, she was 64.

She was praised by many of her colleagues, as well as her family. Her daughter, Athena, who is a correspondent for CNN, stated that “She certainly pushed people to achieve greatness.”

Hilmar Moore, 1920-2012

Hilmar G. Moore, perhaps the longest serving public official in American history, died today at the age of 92. Moore had been the Mayor of Richmond, TX for 63 years, roughly my father’s entire lifespan (THAT is a long time!). Moore came from a Fort Bend area political family. His grandfather, John Moore Sr, was a State Representative, Congressman, and the Texas Secretary of State, while his father, John Moore Jr, was a Fort Bend Judge, and also a Mayor of Richmond.

Hilmar Moore took office in Richmond in 1949, and was re-elected over thirty times. In that time, the city has gone from 2,000 residents and being considered “in the country”, to a 12,000 person suburb of the burgeoning Houston metropolis. Even though city elections are non-partisan, it is pretty obvious that Moore was a Democrat (a Republican in rural Texas in 1949?). Also, a cursory google search shows myriad campaign donations to Lampsons and Clintons over the years.

A Chronicle article lists the praise the late Mayor received from all over the state, and mentions Ford Bend flags will be flown at half-staff. The Mayor Pro Tem of Richmond, Bill Dostal, will serve as acting Mayor until further notice. Mayor Moore was a staple of accountable government through the years, may he rest in peace.


Just for laughs, I have compiled a list of things that have changed throughout the country since Richmond had another mayor.
President–Harry Truman
Governor–Allan Shivers
Mayor of Houston–Oscar Holcombe
World Series–New York Yankees defeat Brooklyn Dodgers
NBA Champions–Minneapolis Lakers
Football Champions  (there was no Superbowl)–Philadelphia Eagles defeat Los Angeles Rams
Cost of a stamp–3 cents
Cost of a gallon of gasoline–27 cents
$100.00 equivalent–10 dollars, 29 cents

Jack Brooks, 1922-2012

Jack Brooks, the former Beaumont-area congressman, passed away yesterday at the age of 89. The New York Times presented quite an obituary for the late politician. First being elected to the Texas House in 1948, he served for two terms before being elected to the US House of Representatives in 1952. He served for forty-two years, twenty-one terms in all, before being defeated for re-election in the 1994 sweep by Steve Stockman, the former one-term Congressman who was just sent back this year.

Brooks was one of the most liberal members of a southern delegation, a big protege of other Texas liberals like Sam Rayburn, Lyndon Johnson, and Ralph Yarborough. A big supporter of the Civil Rights Act and Great Society/New Frontier legislation, he was also present in the motorcade when President Kennedy was assassinated.

Brooks was given universal praise today after word of his death came out, from both sides of the political aisle. He was one of the good ones and he will be missed.