Static: Wednesday, May 22, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Nailing the Hammer

When the Hammer’s — a.k.a. Congressman Tom Delay’s — dream of GOP ascendancy in the U.S. House turned into a nightmare filled with braying jackasses, Fort Worth’s two Democratic state house reps were front and ... well, back, so to speak.

It’s ironic enough that this bastion of conservatism still has two Democrats in the Texas House — Lon Burnam in District 90, and Glenn Lewis, District 95. But when 53 House Democrats signed identical letters informing Speaker Tom Craddick that they wouldn’t be in for work that week, the similarities stopped. Only Burnam was a visible and leading participant in the Killer D walkout. Lewis, head of the House committee on county affairs, declined his colleagues’ invitation to sign one of the letters or take the bus with them to beautiful downtown Ardmore, where most of the rebels holed up for four days in the local Holiday Inn, long enough to kill Delay’s dream.

One of the few Democrats favored by Craddick with a chairmanship in the Republican-dominated chamber, Lewis hedged his bet, according to Shallow Throat, Static’s local political source. Lewis waited until he was sure that enough Dems had left town to deny the House a quorum and a vote on the Delay-backed redistricting bill. The measure, being pushed by Craddick, would have redrawn Texas into a Republican nation. Then, and only then, Staic’s source said, did Lewis join the boycott, laying low in Austin for the duration where he maintained communication with Craddick, ready to get to the House chamber in a flash if the Texas Rangers or the Office of Homeland Security found the hooky-playing terrorists and hauled them in. Lewis did not return Static’s calls asking for confirmation or comment.

Burnam, the only House member to vote against Craddick’s bid for the speaker’s post, admitted he had little to lose by challenging a leader who has turned the House into “a torture chamber.” Even before the walkout, none of Burnam’s bills had seen the light of day. “Important stuff for my district’s been stopped,” he said, including a human trafficking bill and insurance reform legislation. On the up side, he’s gotten “terrific support” from his Democratic district for the Ardmore trip. “It turned into a folk event, and it killed redistricting ... for this session at least.”

And as for the playing-it-safe Lewis? “He did it his way,” was Burnam’s politically correct reply


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