Scorecard: Grading the CenTex Delegation
How did our legislators do?
Elliott Naishtat: A
Critics call him a liberal windmill-tilter in a conservative state, but the 38 bills he authored and co-authored that made it to the governor mean he's a progressive success.
Dawnna Dukes: A–
After seemingly risking expulsion during the 2008 primaries, Dukes fought for every good cent that made it through the budget process.
Kirk Watson: A–
After fighting for the state to take its crumbling infrastructure seriously, Watson made himself a Senate success with the slate of family issues bills he pushed through via bipartisan negotiations.
Jeff Wentworth: A–
Rarely has any legislator so accurately reflected the political contradictions of his own district. His gun-love frustrates, but his bipartisan approach to electoral reform is peerless.
Donna Howard: B+
She won headlines by taking on the State Board of Education, but the sweeping health-care reforms in Senate Bill 7 she saved by folding it into her House Bill 1218 built up some serious political collateral.
Eddie Rodriguez: B+
The quiet visionary of the Travis County delegation turns radical and innovative concepts into solid policy but needs to move more prominently into the public eye.
Mark Strama: B+
Getting a new committee built around him proves he's a rising star; next session will determine how far he goes.
Valinda Bolton: B
The sophomore lost bills in the session's grind, but when the Lege finally decides to deal with urban county affairs, her grasp of the issues will make her a leader.
– Richard Whittaker
HAYS AND WILLIAMSON
Diana Maldonado: B++
Named freshman of the year by the Legislative Study Group, the Round Rock rep scored several local victories, obtaining more than $17 million in funding for higher education in her district and winning passage of a bill to let Taylor and Hutto draw on hotel occupancy taxes to pay for recreational upgrades.
Patrick Rose: B
Big wins included securing more oversight of the troubled state schools and directing $1 million to fund research at Texas State University. But on matters of concern to his aquifer-dependent Hays County constituents – local control and groundwater management – Rose struck out.
Dan Gattis: C
Gattis failed to land a leadership committee role – surprising considering his rising-star status in the 2007 session. His active promotion of the defeated voter ID bill was also viewed as political pandering.
Steve Ogden: D
The senior senator and budget leader lost political ground on key votes this session and, for whatever reason, waged a mighty defense of creationist State Board of Education member Don McLeroy, who was ultimately bounced from the chair's seat.
– Amy Smith
Speaker Joe Straus: B
The surprise new class president, Straus still needs to work out where the line between hands-off
administration and AWOL leadership lies.
Gov. Rick Perry: D
The odd Tweet about his latest jog and behind-the-scenes threats about vetoes showed that even basic leadership skills evade him.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst: C
It may have been his hand on the gavel, but he left too much of the Senate's leadership to cantankerous Senate Finance Chair Steve Ogden.
– Richard Whittaker