Texas’ two senators draw big attention this month

12/28/2013 2:20 PM

12/28/2013 7:56 PM

It was a big month for Texas’ two U.S. senators: John Cornyn drew a surprise big-name challenger in the GOP primary, and Ted Cruz made a surprise trip to South Africa.

Cornyn was minutes away from only token opposition for the March 4 primary when an aide to U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman filed Stockman’s papers to run for the Senate.

“I was surprised in the sense that he was not on my radar screen,” Cornyn told Texas reporters during a recent interview.

In a sign that Cornyn can parry and thrust with the best, he added, “While Mr. Stockman is a fascinating person, there’s no guarantee that he’s actually going to be competitive.”

Meanwhile, Cruz was the only senator to be part of the congressional delegation attending Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. Cruz, who is Cuban-American, made it a point to walk out during the speech by Cuban President Raul Castro, scoring points with some in the Cuban-American community angry over President Barack Obama shaking hands with Castro.

And all this the same week Cruz was one of five finalists to be Time magazine’s Person of the Year. (He came in fifth.)

So how are the two, very different Texans getting along?

“My relationship with Sen. Cruz is good,” Cornyn said. “We complement each other.”

Twitter IPO, no-go for O’Rourke

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, made a costly freshman mistake.

O’Rourke, a former businessman, is fond of IPO investments, but Congress restricts members from participating in the initial public offering of stocks, in case they might have an advantage over the public.

Legistorm .com, a news provider on Congress, reported that O’Rourke had bought seven IPOs since entering Congress in January, including the recent Twitter IPO. The House Ethics Committee specifically warned members in advance of the Twitter IPO about a law forbidding them to buy stock in the IPO.

O’Rourke ended up reporting himself to the Ethics Committee, which told him to sell the shares he still had and contribute his profits to the Treasury.

The price of his mistake: $7,136, which he gave to the Treasury.

“Upon receiving the letter from the committee today I instructed my broker to sell all remaining shares, which he did. I then sent a check for the full amount of the profit from all IPO trades this year to the U.S. Treasury by overnight mail,” O’Rourke said in a posting.

“I apologize to the House of Representatives and to the people I represent for not exercising due diligence. I will be much more thorough in the future concerning financial transactions and do my best to ensure that I am in full compliance with all rules covering members of Congress.”

Awards, awards, awards

Among the awards given out to local leaders recently:

• State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, received the Texas Woman’s Health Champion Award from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for his commitment to women’s health issues.

He also received the “Best of the House” award from the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas for his work regarding the law enforcement community.

• Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, received the 2013 Patient Protection Award and was named one of the Texas Medical Assocation’s best lawmakers from the 83rd legislative session.
• Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, received the Camelot Award from the Child Protection Roundtable. The award is given to a lawmaker who shows a commitment to helping children.

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