AND THEY'RE OFF
BY ROSE WRIGHT
Two area congressional districts face contested races. In District 22, three Democrats, Mike Andrews,
Bob Gammage, and Joe Pentony are competing in the Democratic primary in order to challenge ultra-
conservative Republican, Ron Paul, who is uncontested. In District h, Larry Washburn is running
against long-time incumbent Bob Eckhardt. The Republican candidate, Jack Fields, is unopposed.
Bob Gammage, Doctors Degree in law,
University of Houston. Former Assistant
Attorney General under Mark White,
former State Representative and former
State Senator. He was Congressman from
the 22nd District before Ron Paul
defeated him in 1978.
Issues and answers roll out of Bob
Gammage with ease. "While I've been
accused of over explaining. . . I've never
been accused of being simplistic," says
When asked how he would best describe himself on a political scale from
right to left, Gammage says, "I believe
in economic responsibility and economic
justice. Because of my attitude towards
fiscal practices and economic responsibility, my legislative voting record generally falls on what most people would
measure as the conservative side of the
mark. As far as social questions, human
rights, ... I've been a very progressive
Gammage received the Susan B. Anthony award from the Harris County
Women's Political Caucus back in 1974,
but angered feminists during his U.S.
Congressional term when he voted in
favor of the Hyde amendment which
severely limited federal funding of
When asked how he felt about the
Hyde amendment being declared unconstitutional earlier this year, Gammage
is quick to respond, "If it's unconstitutional, it's unconstitutional. I support
the law of the land."
If elected, Gammage intends to concentrate on two areas of legislation:
"I would either sponsor or co-sponsor
legislation to promote meaningful tax
cuts. It would stimulate money circulation which also increases productivity
which increases jobs.
"I also would support legislation to
stimulate our domestic production of
traditional energy sources," says Gammage who would also "support major
investments in the development of new
energy technology . . ." Gammage on
Rose Wright is an intern at Breakthrough.
"I think we must increase our defense
budget. There should be targeted expenditures as far as bolstering the body of
our armed forces, our combat-ready
His main area of concern lies in the
"conventional type exchange" whereas
in an "international nuclear exchange . . .
we are prepared for overkill," says Gammage. "By cutting out the chaff in the
defense budget . . . and retargeting them
towards areas of need, we shouldn't
need more than an additional five—seven
percent increase," he adds. On Iran: "I
don't think we should take any overt
military action until it is absolutely
As a one-term Congressman, Gammage
voted for the extension of the ERA.
He also voted for the Hyde amendment
Gammage believes military registration
for women and men is necessary," without
actual conscription at this point."
On women in combat roles, Gammage
feels a preference should be given to males
for combat duties but "would want women to be trained to perform combat
On energy: "we must develop nuclear
fission . . . along with coal liquification,
coal gasification, gasohol and any other
technology that is available to us now."
Gammage is also "very much a proponent
to the development of solar energy."
When asked how he differs from his
Democratic opponents he asserts, "I
have a solid record of accomplishment
as a legislator in the State House, the
State Senate and in the U.S. House."
Q. Who are you supporting in the
A. Jimmy Carter.
A. Because Jimmy Carter is a man of
courage and high moral principal. I
haven't agreed with him most of the time
on his proposed solutions or remarks or
methods of handling particular issues. . .
however, I have agreed with him on his
willingness, I have admired him for his
courage in dealing with many issues. . .
Bob Gammage (District 22): "I think we must
increase our defense budget."
Harris County Council of Organizations, Harris County Gulf Coast Building
Trades, Central Council of Teamsters.
Mike Andrews, attorney, law degree from
Southern Methodist School of Law.
Former Federal District Court law clerk,
and Assistant District Attorney. Private
practice since 1976.
Although he frequently attacks
Congressman Ron Paul and calls him the
"most ineffective congressman we have
ever had," Mike Andrews is not as opinionated in defining his own goals as a
potential member of Congress.
When asked what legislative bills he
intends to introduce, Andrews says:
"First of all, not just legislation but being a responsible member of Congress
is important. I'm not sure it's the amount
of legislation you pass, maybe sometimes it's the legislation you stop. I
would not introduce bills like Congressman Paul. . ."
Andrews does express adamant
concern on the issue of flooding, a topic
which cropped up constantly in interview. He says he would "fight for
national flood insurance" and "push for
flood control legislation."
Andrews also expresses concern for
our national economic situation: "In
terms of the economy which, in traveling around the district, is the number one
issue out there, there are some positive
things that Congress can do. One is to
encourage people to save more rather
than to spend. There would then be more
money (available) for businesses. It would
greatly stimulate the economy and do a
great deal for our productivity," he adds.
While he encourages people to save,
Andrews will be spending more in his
campaign than any other Congressional
candidate. He is running a big media
campaign. Bob Heller and Associates
are working with a $120,000 budget, and
putting it mainly into television.
Andrews dodges labels. "It depends on
what issues you're talking about." And
now, the issues:
In reference to the 134 billion dollar
national defense budget for 1981, Andrews supports a "three percent increase
in line with the Carter approach" to keep
up with the "extremely rapid development of the Soviets.
"We need to develop the B-1 bomber...
and develop our missile system," he
stresses. "Russian troops are 300 miles
from the Persian Gulf. We have got to
have a military presence over there and
we've got to have allies, especially like
Israel, well armed. God, I sound like
Joe Pentony (District 22): "I am not for increasing our national defense budget."
John Wayne," he adds rather sheepishly.
As to the situation in Iran, Andrews
claims he has "been supportive of the
President . . . should he feel that it is
necessary to mine the harbors or that a
naval blockade would work, then I would
be supportive of it. Until then I am not."
Andrews supports the ratification of
the ERA and would vote in favor of its
He believes the military registration
of both women and men is necessary at
this time but is opposed to the draft
for the present. He does not believe that
women should be included in combat
On abortion, Andrews feels it should
remain "a woman's choice." As to federal
funding of abortions, he is "in favor of
government funding of abortions in cases
where the woman's life is in danger or
the pregnancy is the result of incest or
rape. Only in those specific cases am I in
favor of it," says Andrews.
Andrews has "a great deal of misgivings about nuclear energy. I'm not
satisfied that there are adequate safeguards for nuclear energy development.
I'm not anti-nuclear, I'm for cautiously
going forward with it. . . I'm more concerned with solar energy . . J would
hope to introduce legislation to help
NASA and bring in federal funds to our
district to encourage scientists to further
develop solar energy."
Andrews says his campaign differs from
his Democratic opponents in that "I
think I can beat Ron Paul. . . I don't
think Pentony can win, he hasn't raised
any money. It's a very expensive proposition to beat Ron Paul. I'm proud to be
able to raise money, unfortunately that's
what it takes . . . that's the way politics
is . . "
Asked how he differs ideologically
from his opponents, "Quite frankly, I
don't know what all their stands are on
all the issues. I really don't," admits
In the presidential election, Andrews
would "support the nominee of the
Democratic Party. That's a very political
answer, isn't it?" he asks. "I really don't
have any favorites."
Houston Chronicle, Harris County
Women's Political Caucus and Rice Political Caucus.
Joe Pentony, Ph.D., Chair, Psychology
department, University of St. Thomas.
Former State Representative (1972-