Mike Andrews (District 22): "God, I sound like
"In my judgement, I'm obviously the
progressive in the race." Proud of his past
voting record in the state legislature,
Joe Pentony says, "I voted 85 percent
with the Harris County Women's Political
Caucus in 1976, I was 100 percent with
Common Cause, I had 100 percent with
the State Teachers Association and 100
percent with the Texas Environmental
Coalition." Pentony believes his record
"qualifies me for Congress."
Pentony speaks with energy, "In my
second session, I passed more bills than
anybody else in the Harris County
delegation." As a member of Congress,
he w™ts to reduce government bureaucracy and limit excessive campaign
spending. "I would be for a congressional veto over bureaucratic rulemaking,"
says Pentony, who would also "pass a
constitutional amendment to limit the
amount of money that can be spent on
congressional campaigns." Pentony feels
that $100,000, total, for both primary
and general election is, "enough to get
known." Pentony says he was "appalled"
at the amount of money, close to one
million dollars, spent by all the candidates in the last city elections. Pentony
adds that his opponent, Mike Andrews,
with no political experience, is going to
be "the big spender this time. He's going
to go over $100,000."
Pentony is also quick to point out
that he has a "good record in terms of
hiring minorities ... my legislative
top aide was either a woman or black,"
during both sessions. On other issues:
"I am not for increasing the national
defense budget," states Pentony who
does believe the funds should be rearranged somewhat. "I would attempt to
cut all of the three to four billion dollars
spent on defending other rich countries"
and direct the funds towards "increasing
our troop mobility and on troop transport," he says.
On Iran: "Our response has been fairly
rational and compassionate, although our
moderate response has not worked. We
may need to gradually escalate our pressure on the Iranians," Pentony says
cautiously. Although he would support
a naval blockade "if the president calls
for it," he believes "we can achieve the
same purpose without mining their harbors."
"My record is the best on women's
issues of anybody in the race. As a member of the House Calendar Committee
in 1975, I was one of the floor members
who stopped the recision of the state
ERA, I killed it right there so it never
got to the floor for a debate," Pentony
says proudly. He also supports an exten-
Bob Eckhardt (District 8): "I think the defense
budget can be cut some."
sion of the ERA, if it's necessary for its
He is "against a constitutional ban on
abortion," but he would "not vote for
federal funding of abortions."
On military registration, "I am against
registering women for the draft. Let's
face it, women don't have equal rights
in America. It's unfair to give people
equal responsibility when they don't
have equal rights. If the ERA passes
I'll have to take another look at my
position. I am for the registration of
men at this point but I'm not for the
draft yet," says Pentony.
Pentony maintains that his progressive voting record in the state legislature
distinguishes him from his opponents.
"Andrews can talk a good game because
he doesn't have a record," notes Pentony.
Of Gammage, Pentony pointed out that
his opponent is conservative as a
Congressman and Gammage went so far
as to "vote to take money out of the
education department and put it in the
defense budget," an action Pentony
On the question of energy, "Of the
three people in the race, I am the least
pro-nuclear. I would emphasize solar
energy. I would push to give it a better
tax credit. We only get a 20 percent
tax credit for acquiring a solar unit. We
need to raise that to 50 or 60 percent..."
"I'm not going to support either one
Harris County Democrats, Texas State
Teachers Association, American Federation of Teachers, Jewish Herald Voice,
Bob Eckhardt, attorney and U.S. Representative since 1966.
Fourteen years in Congress haven't
dulled Bob Eckhardt's sense of purpose.
He's running again, on his record and the
After a rather dry account on "a resolution of disapproval with respect to the
present import fee on oil," Eckhardt
describes his most recent bill concerning hazardous wastes. "It would provide
that companies bear the cost of cleaning
up their wastes and the responsibility for
damages which occur for as long as that
waste continues to be hazardous. It
would also provide for matching funds
out of general revenue for the purpose
of cleaning up existing dump sites."
"There are a lot of places where we
ought to look very carefully as to
whether or not that money is being
Larry Washburn (District 8): "I certainly don't
agree with Eckhardt's defense budget cuts."
properly spent." He gives one example:
"The armed forces recently purchased a
number of machine guns but had the
same machine guns in stock," says Eckhardt. "I voted against the B-1 bomber
because that's an antiquated concept. . .
If a nuclear warhead has to be carried,
perish the thought ... it would be
carried by transcontinental ballistic
missiles, not by airplanes. . . " Eckhardt
then points out that "all of us believe
we should not err in the direction of making the U.S. weak. . . but the military is
taking advantage of that reasonable
caution on the part of the people and
have, at times, wastefully expended
money. In my opinion, the military
budget can be cut some," he concludes.
As to the situation in Iran, Eckhardt
believes "Carter has done very well.
I'm not in favor of mining the harbors
or a naval blockade and I don't think
he is either."
"I would vote for the resubmission of
the ERA. The extension, in effect,
changes the original submission to a
period of 10 years in which the states
would be bound by the decision. It was
a material change from the original
submission and I found that to be unconstitutional. For that reason, I voted
against the extension last time. I would
again vote for a resubmission if it is
needed and I am strongly in favor of the
ERA," says Eckhardt.
On the issue of federally funded abortions, Eckhardt states, "I have always
felt when the rule is for persons generally,
that to deprive poor people of exactly
the same treatment is wrong. I've always
opposed the Hyde amendment. Sometimes, to get bills through, I've had to
vote in favor of modifications that have
prevented the use of such funds, except
to save the life of the mother. . . but my
feeling is that there should be no restriction other than that which exists for
On the subject of military registration
Eckhardt is inclined, "from the standpoint of women's rights, not to exclude
women from registration if it is to be
issued. However, I don't think registration is necessary at this time. But certainly, whatever happens, whether women are
included in compulsory registration or
not, those who elect to go into the services should be treated precisely the same
as men," including combat duty, says
"I will support the Democratic nominee. I cannot conceive of myself voting
Harris County Democrats, Harris
County Women's Political Caucus, Harris
County Council of Organizations, PASO,
Larry Washburn, civil engineer. BA from
Washburn's casual attitude gets downright sloppy at times. He claims he's
"really not that concerned about the safety factors" involved in the production of
nuclear energy. "They're getting better
all the time."
Other environmental issues don't really phase him either. "I haven't got any
particular environmental issues that I'm
more concerned about. Everybody is concerned about the environment."
Washburn says he is running for Congress because he is unhappy with "just
about everything" in reference to Eckhardt and points out that the National
Tax Payers Association accused Eckhardt
of being a big spender. Washburn later
complains that Eckhardt "voted for cuts
in the defense budget, across the board,
on every opportunity . . . and I certainly
don't agree with that."
Washburn feels qualified for Congress
because he's "certainly had plenty of experience in managing companies and I
don't think I would have too much of
a problem representing the people of this
If elected, Washburn would try to limit the terms of U.S. representatives and
senators. He would also reduce government regualtion on industries. "We need
to turn our industries loose so they can
produce what they need to produce with
the least possible cost. Government regulation causes these costs to go up and the
consumer ends up paying for it," says
Washburn is certain that the "money
we have already allocated for our military
is either not being spent right or we have
not got enough in there yet, one of the
On the situation in Iran, he feels "the
president is handling that and as far as
blockading the gulf or mining the gulf, he
would probably be the best one to make
that decision. . . I really don't know,"
Washburn would not vote for the extension of the ERA and says "There's plenty
of legislation on the books that gives
them that right ... I'm not against women's rights ... I just think it's unnecessary
legislation. Talk to my wife, you're liable
to get a different answer," he chuckles.
Q. Are you in favor of the Supreme
Court decision that guarantees a woman's
right to have an abortion?
Q. Do you support federal funding of
Washburn says he "could be talked into supporting" the federal funding of
abortions "in cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother."
Washburn supports military registration and conscription of men but doesn't
see "any need for" the registration of
women because they "have always volunteered." His gut reaction to women in
combat: "No. I'm certainly not in favor
"I haven't made up my mind yet. I
assume at this particular point in time
that Carter and Reagan are going to be
the nominees but I'm not sure so I'm not
going to make any decision until I find
out who the two are going to be," says
"I haven't sought any endorsements."
And he hasn't received any.