Politics & Government

Slimming down a top priority for a local official

Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns says it’s time to slim down.

Since being sworn in to the council in 2008, Burns said he has gained 40 pounds — and now he’s signing up for Mayor Betsy Price’s Fit Worth 10-week health challenge.

“It’s time to do something,” he said, posting on Facebook that his cholesterol is higher than his dad’s. “I’m also signing up for the Cowtown 10K in a few weeks. Who wants to join me?”

Shoot straight

Annie got her gun — and now Wendy’s got it.

Gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, was presented with former Gov. Ann Richards’ shotgun last week at a campaign event in Austin.

Richards’ daughter Cecile Richards and her siblings presented the firearm to Davis. During her time in office, photos of Richards with a shotgun — whether dove hunting or posing for a magazine cover photo — became an iconic image of the governor.

This gun, a Winchester Golden Quail 20-gauge shotgun, was a gift to Richards while she was governor, according to Davis’ staff.

After Davis was presented with the shotgun, and posed for photos, she said “she will do her best to kick some ass with it,” according to a Twitter post by the Texas Democratic Party.

Fort Worth connection

Frosh U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., was getting the rush by conservatives to run for U.S. Senate in the special election to replace Sen. Tom Coburn. Coburn recently announced he is retiring early in 2014 after a cancer recurrence instead of in 2016, when his term ends.

That set off a mad scramble in the solidly Republican Sooner State for the election in November.

But Bridenstine, who represents the Tulsa area, decided last week against the Senate. “After giving this matter serious consideration and prayer, my family and I have decided I will not to run in the special election to complete Dr. Coburn’s term,” he said.

If he had made the run — and won — it would have kind of made him Texas’ third senator.

Bridenstine, it turns out, has quite a Fort Worth connection. At an event at the World War II memorial during the government shutdown, he revealed that he used to work for the Star-Telegram.

The congressman was an intern on the paper’s business side in the mid-1990s while he was attending Rice University. He went on to become a Navy flier and served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But wait, there’s more.

The Star-Telegram played cupid when he was at the paper. Now-wife Michelle came over one day to find out who the fellow Oklahoman was. They married in 2004. Ivory, the niece of then S-T Vice President David Ivory (who died in 2007), and Bridenstine later moved back to Tulsa.

High-speed rail to Mexico

Do you know the way to Monterrey? Well, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, thinks it’s going to be a high-speed rail corridor from San Antonio to Monterrey that will have a stop in Laredo.

At a high-level Jan. 16 meeting in Washington, officials from the Texas Department of Transportation and the Mexican government met with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and U.S. rail officials.

According to Cuellar, who also attended, it went very well. “He was very interested,” said Cuellar of Foxx. “He was very impressed with the Mexicans’ teamwork and coordination.” Supporters want the U.S. Transportation Department to add $400,000 to a study of a rail corridor already underway that will connect Oklahoma — via Fort Worth and Dallas — to San Antonio and the border.

“The Mexicans are way ahead of us,” Cuellar said. The Mexican government has already secured the right of way to the U.S. border, a vital component that has stymied high-speed rail in other areas. Mexico’s part of the high-speed rail line to the border, which would be built with a public-private partnership, will be ready by 2018, and Cuellar wants the U.S. to catch up. The international high-speed rail line “will be the first of its kind,” he said.

Staff writer Caty Hirst contributed to this report.