Former Speaker Jim Wright leaves lasting legacy

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin. His district stretches from the edges of Tarrant County to Austin.
U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin. His district stretches from the edges of Tarrant County to Austin. Star-Telegram

As a young boy, Roger Williams wanted to be a baseball player when he grew up.

But the late former U.S. House Speaker Jim Wright of Fort Worth suggested another path.

The two first met when Williams was a 9-year-old boy and Wright was a congressman. After Williams said he wanted to play baseball, Wright suggested a backup plan.

“If you don’t become a baseball player, go into politics and don’t do something small, do something big — like run for Congress,” Williams recalled Wright telling him.

Decades later, Williams ran for the U.S. House, as a Republican, and one of the first phone calls he received after he won was from Wright, a Democrat.

“I said I would have never done this if he hadn’t told me to in 1958,” Williams said.

Now, Williams is among those who say Wright’s death will leave a big void.

“He cut through party lines, he got things done,” he said. “And Jim Wright never forgot people, he never made people inferior. … That’s just who he was, just a good guy.”

Judicial honors

Chief Justice Terrie Livingston of Fort Worth’s Second Court of Appeals received the 2015 Silver Gavel Award from the Tarrant County Bar Association.

“[T]he Silver Gavel Award is given to a member of the judiciary who has served on the bench for at least 10 years and who has made a substantial and noteworthy contribution as a result of their service,” according to the association.

Lance Barrow Day

Lance Barrow, a Fort Worth native who covers football and golf news for CBS, was honored recently by the Fort Worth City Council for promoting Fort Worth and the city’s well-known Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club.

Mayor Betsy Price named May 23 “Lance Barrow Day” in the city, adding that when she travels, people often know of Fort Worth because of the CBS-sponsored Crowne Plaza Invitational golf tournament.

“If they don’t know us from anything else, they will know us often times from your hard work in promoting Fort Worth,” Price told Barrow in front of the City Council.

Barrow said he is proud to call Fort Worth his hometown.

“This city should be proud of this golf tournament. It should be proud of what it does for this city and this community,” Barrow said.

This year’s Crowne Plaza Invitational will be May 18-24.

A Codel too far

The three U.S. Texas congressmen with the most knowledge about counter-terrorism related to the event and shootings in Garland last week — including Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, who represents the district — were overseas when it happened.

With the U.S. House off for a week, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Austin, was leading an eight-member trip that included Sessions, chairman of the House Rules Committee, and Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, a former CIA operative, to Baghdad, Jerusalem, Istanbul and Brussels.

The lawmakers were in Jerusalem the day an off-duty Garland officer shot and killed two armed Muslim assailants at a controversial anti-Islamic event featuring cartoons of the prophet Mohammad.

The Congressional Delegation (Codel) trip was organized, according to a briefing paper, “to examine evolving security threats to the homeland, including the flow of foreign fighters from Europe to Syria and Iraq, and recent homeland threats/attacks against European Union allies.”

Staff writer Caty Hirst contributed to this report.

Maria Recio, 202-383-6103

Twitter: @maria_e_recio

Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610

Twitter: @annatinsley