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The House Will Come to Order: How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics In a state assumed to have a constitutionally weak governor, the Speaker of the Texas House wields enormous power, with the ability to almost single-handedly dictate the legislative agenda. The House Will Come to Order charts the evolution of the Speaker's role from a relatively obscure office to one of the most powerful in the state. This fascinating account, drawn from the Briscoe Center's oral history project on the former Speakers, is the story of transition, modernization, and power struggles. Weaving a compelling story of scandal, service, and opportunity, Patrick Cox and Michael Phillips describe the divisions within the traditional Democratic Party, the ascendance of Republicans, and how Texas business, agriculture, and media shaped perceptions of officeholders. While the governor and lieutenant governor wielded their power, the authors show how the modern Texas House Speaker built an office of equal power as the state became more complex and diverse. The authors also explore how race, class, and gender affected this transition as they explain the importance of the office in Texas and the impact the state's Speakers have had on national politics. At the apex of its power, the Texas House Speaker's role at last receives the critical consideration it deserves.
Lines in the Sand: Congressional Redistricting in Texas and the Downfall of Tom DeLay The events of 2003 in Texas were important to the political history of this country. Congressman Tom DeLay led a Republican effort to gerrymander the state's thirty-two congressional districts to defeat all ten of the Anglo Democratic incumbents and to elect more Republicans; Democratic state lawmakers fled the state in an effort to defeat the plan. The Lone Star State uproar attracted attention worldwide. The Republicans won this showdown, gaining six additional seats from Texas and protecting the one endangered Republican incumbent. Some of the methods used by DeLay to achieve this result, however, led to his criminal indictment and ultimately to his downfall. With its eye-opening research, readable style, and insightful commentary, Lines in the Sand provides a front-line account of what happened in 2003, often through the personal stories of members of both parties and of the minority activist groups caught in a political vortex. Law professor Steve Bickerstaff provides much-needed historical perspective and also probes the aftermath of the 2003 redistricting, including the criminal prosecutions of DeLay and his associates and the events that led to DeLay's eventual resignation from the U.S. House of Representatives. As a result, Bickerstaff graphically shows a dark underside of American politics--the ruthless use of public institutional power for partisan gain.
Reinventing Texas Government The Survey of Organizational Excellence is revolutionizing the operation of Texas state agencies and other governmental and private organizations. Developed and refined over the last twenty years by a team of researchers led by Michael Lauderdale, the survey is a proven tool for improving the effectiveness of state government services through surveys of employee attitudes toward their organizations. In this book, Lauderdale gives a history of the survey and its use under four governors, including George W. Bush. He explains what the survey is, how to use it, and how to apply its results to organizational change and improvement. Step-by-step instructions for planning, implementing, and evaluating the survey are enhanced with real-life case studies from the 140,000 surveys that have been distributed and used by more than 75 different organizations. Lauderdale also sets the survey in a broader perspective by identifying some of the forces currently impelling change in organizations throughout our society and exploring where this push for change is taking us.