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A congressional tribute to Jim Wright

Jim and Betty Wright photographed in the garden of their Fort Worth,Texas home Monday August 6, 2001.
Jim and Betty Wright photographed in the garden of their Fort Worth,Texas home Monday August 6, 2001. Star Telegram

The late House Speaker Jim Wright, D-Fort Worth, was honored on the House floor last week with an hour-long tribute by several Democratic members.

The “special order,” as it is known, is time allotted at the end of the legislative day and was organized by U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, and came just a week after Wright’s wife, Betty, passed away.

“Jim Wright was very influential to me,” Veasey said. “I can tell you that the city that I am from, Fort Worth, Texas, … is the great city that it is today because of the work and the statesmanship of Jim Wright.”

Wright died May 6 in Fort Worth.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she served under Wright’s leadership for a short time — and will never forget it.

“His oratory was just so compelling,” she said. “People would stop what they were doing to listen to what Jim Wright had to say and how he said it.”

Burton taken for a ride

Fort Worth Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray is already looking to the next legislative session.

Gray told her council colleagues last week that she acted on an impulse recently, called state Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, and took her for a 90-minute ride through her district.

Most of Gray’s Fort Worth District 8 is within Burton’s State Senate District 10.

These were “three areas that her vote actually affected. It didn’t hurt us, but it would have helped us to have [her] on our team,” Gray said.

Gray said Burton remarked several times during the tour, “I didn’t know that.”

So she urged other council members to “put [Burton] in the car with you and ride her through your district to show her what is important and what is happening in the city of Fort Worth. In 2017, we don’t need her saying she didn’t know; we need her to be on our side.”

New honors

Fort Worth attorney Brian Newby of the Cantey Hanger law firm has been promoted — by the Air Force.

The former chief of staff to former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Newby is now the Air National Guard assistant to the judge advocate general, Pentagon, Washington, D.C., which means he’s the main adviser to the judge advocate general on all Air National Guard matters. He also serves as the senior representative on the Air National Guard Judge Advocate Council, helping with planning and management of the Air National Guard Judge Advocate program.

There recently was a private “pinning” ceremony to mark the promotion.

Continuing investigation

In 2013, 10 members of Congress — including four Texans — went on an all-expenses paid trip to Azerbaijan to attend a conference at Baku on the Caspian Sea.

According to a Washington Post report, House ethics investigators say it was secretly funded by the country’s state-owned oil company, violating House rules.

The Texans were: U.S. Reps. Ruben Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, Ted Poe, R-Humble, and Steve Stockman, R-Clear Lake, who retired in January after a failed U.S. Senate bid.

The House Ethics Committee announced last month that it was extending the investigation of the trip made by members, except for Stockman, and would make another announcement by Aug. 6.

The Texas lawmakers said they took the trip after it was approved by the U.S. House Ethics Committee.

Staff writer Sandra Baker contributed to this report.

Maria Recio, 202-383-6103

Twitter: @maria_e_recio

Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610

Twitter: @annatinsley

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