The Barbara Jordan seat
Who deserves to win?
Barbara Jordan rose to national prominence as the representative from
Texas' 18th Congressional District. She is not running for reelection and
interest in the race to be her successor extends to the national level.
The seven candidates aspiring to Jordan's place in Congress are
Anthony Hall, Mickey Leland, Jack Linville Jr, Judson Robinson Jr,
Harrel Tillman, Al Vera and Nathaniel West.
-By Maxine McCall Atlas-
A recent comment by a local liberal state representative seems appropriate to this campaign. "In this political system, unless we start completely over, politicians accomplish their goals through wheeling and dealing.
Our government runs on a buddy system. The thing one must decide is
whether a politician is stepping too far over the line in their dealing when
it comes to human needs versus political needs. " -M.M. A.
Why did this man
coddle up to Dolph
"My voting record," says Anthony
Hall, "shows I am in support of equality
and justice. My public positions can't be
criticized. I am asking people to judge
who has been effective and productive."
Hall is serving his third two-year term as
state representative for southeast Houston's District 85, and is basing his campaign on a record of achievement.
"Abortion should be a personal issue
for all women," says Hall. He believes
public funding should be available, just as
it should for all health care.
Hall says it was unfortunate that the
Houston Women's Advocate position was
abolished. "It had become symbolic to
the question of women's rights and it was
a mistake to eliminate it, but a Women's
Advocate is not the only way to achieve
"My history is adequate testimonial to
my stand on women's issues," claims
"Because there are many single-parent
families in the 18th Congressional District," Hall says, "it is especially crucial,
an economic necessity and a question of
survival, that we provide adequate child
care facilities for everyone. It should be
the joint function of federal and local
"The federal government should assume a greater share of the financial responsibility of assisting in the educational
process," says Hall. "Houston has dealt
miserably with educational desegregation,
which is the key to quality education.
With a diverse student body there is a
greater concern of everybody for quality.
This is the key to making better housing
and transportation equally available to
Hall skirts the question of why he did
not support Sissy Farenthold in her last
campaign for the Democratic nomination
"When I first went to Austin in 1972
73, a prime black concern was black political appointments in the state. It had
been an issue in the campaign. I went
there intending to get some input with
whomever was governor in order to get
more black appointments. I have worked
with the governor's office in order to
achieve this kind of input, and pledge to
continue to do so. I have done the same
for black women," says Hall.
"Hall is seen as one who coddles the
establishment," says one political observer.
An article in the May 24, 1974, issue
of the Texas Observer reported that Hall
told the Black Professional and Business
men's Organization that he realized all of
his pet legislation had to be signed by
"That makes it an extra special plea
sure that I stand up here, because I've got
some bills I want passed and I want
signed. It's as simple as that."
(continued on page 27)
The question Mickey Leland says he
would like his opponents in this campaign
to answer honestly is "How really devoted are you to humanity?"
Leland has represented State Legislative District 88 since 1972.
"I am strongly in favor of the women's
movement," says Leland. "It has detracted somewhat from the drama of the civil
rights movement, but people have the
right to raise the level of their education
and become activists in the pursuit of
their own rights. Many blacks were somewhat insulted by the rise of the feminist
movement and became reserved about
their own movement. When there is no
longer a visible concern on the part of the
media, some activists withdraw," he says,
but the civil rights movement is not
During Sissy Farenthold's last campaign against Briscoe for the Democratic
nomination for governor, Leland joined
Craig Washington as Farenthold's Harris
County campaign coordinators.
A local feminist-activist says, "Support or non-support of Sissy Farenthold
in '72 and '74 shows where they (the candidates) come from. Some put a lot on
the line to support Sissy, and Mickey
She rates Leland as, "the very best on
women's issues." Another knowledgeable
source says, "Mickey has sought out what
women are concerned about."
Would Leland work for extension of
the deadline for ratification of ERA?
"Sure," he says. "I've been fighting the
Pink Ladies for years."
One of Leland's critics says, "Last session Mickey Leland followed Billy Clayton wherever he went. Why is he sidling
up to Clayton, who voted against ERA?"
In the last race for Speaker of the
Texas House, Billy Clayton, a conservative from west Texas, won because some
liberals were so offended by the abrasive
personality of his liberal opponent, Carl
Parker. Leland was one of them. Sources
say a plane load of liberal legislators flew
to Springlake, Texas (Clayton's home)
where they "cut some kind of a deal with
Clayton." They were apparently rewarded for their support with appointments
to chair house committees. Mickey was
given the Appropriations Committee, Ben
Reyes a seat on the Rules Committee,
and Craig Washington chair of the Jurisprudence Committee. But Clayton
stacked the key committees with rural
conservatives, making it impossible for
the liberals to pass any progressive bills in
their own committees.
(continued on page 27)
Why did this man
sidle up to Billy
Why did this man
JUDSON ROBINSON, JR.
"Persons who are leading tnis country
are going to have to be persons who have
had some basic experience," says Judson
Robinson Jr. He regards himself as a
"brick and mortar" person and sees his
strong business background as an important qualification for his candidacy.
Robinson is president of Judson Robinson and Sons Real Estate, Mortgage and
Insurance Co, owns a Burger King franchise, and is part owner of KCOH radio
in Houston. He is in his fourth term and
seventh year on the Houston City Council. He was the first black elected to the
Robinson surveyed the district and
found the primary concerns of the voters
to be upward mobility; safety in the
streetsand home; the lack of energy and
its spiralling cost; adequate, safe and
cheap transportation; educational opportunities; and upgrading neighborhoods.
"These are the things people talk to me
about," Robinson says.
Robinson, whose family is one of the
wealthiest in Houston's black community, says "As a minority person who had
to struggle for the rights of our people, I
wholeheartedly endorse the rights of all
people, including the predominantly middle-class, white women of the feminist
movement. We are all talking basically
about the same things-all rights of all
people. I see feminism as another added
tool to tear down the walls of segregation
Robinson voted to keep the Women's
Advocate position in Houston. "It finally
dawned on me, he says, "that the ladies
in the audience were talking about the
same things we in minority groups were
talking about for years." However, he also voted to reduce the salary of the Wo
men's Advocate to one dollar a year.
Robinson cites intense pressure from the
Catholic community, stemming from
Nikki Van Hightower's support of abortion, as the primary reason for that vote.
On abortion Robinson says, "As a
Catholic, it is part of my religion that I
personally would not want my wife to
have an abortion; but as an elected official, I believe in the right of every woman
to make that her decision." He favors
providing funds for those who need it and
would support legislation guaranteeing
these funds for those persons needing it
In 1972, two months after he was
elected to the city council for the first
time,' Robinson outraged the black community when he told reporters that Police
Chief Herman Short was a "sincere and
dedicated" man who probably does not
deserve the image he has in the black
(continued on page 27)