Texas horsemen ask state leaders to help their industry survive

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick AP

Texas’ horsemen are trying to extend an olive branch to state leaders.

In a letter sent days ago to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Texas Quarter Horse Association, Texas Thoroughbred Association and the Texas Horsemen’s Partnership asked to meet to talk about “the future of the horse racing and breeding industry in Texas.”

Patrick is among those leading the fight to end historical racing, a controversial new way to gamble at horse racetracks statewide, but says he supports the industry.

“We are confident that by working together in an open-minded and transparent process, we can develop solid solutions to the current plight of our industry and for the thousands of Texans dependent on this industry for their livelihoods,” the letter stated.

Last week, the Texas Racing Commission, which regulates all of the state’s racetracks, refused to retreat from a plan to allow historical racing, and the agency chairman asked the staff for a plan to shut down the agency because he believes state funding will be withheld.

Changing guard

Philip D. Sudman becomes executive director of Tarleton State University’s Fort Worth campus as of Jan. 1.

This is part of the college’s leadership structure change, which moves Tarleton-Fort Worth from three directors to one executive director to boost efficiency.

Sudman, currently head of the university’s department of biological sciences in Stephenville, joined Tarleton in 1996.

In his new post, he will coordinate the nearly 40 graduate and undergraduate programs offered in Fort Worth and oversee services for the more than 1,700 students currently enrolled.

Baseball fans?

When Gov. Greg Abbott went to Cuba this month, he was bearing gifts — a dozen baseballs signed by former Texas Rangers pitcher and CEO Nolan Ryan.

The GOP governor, who raised eyebrows with his friendly business and tourism trip to the Communist island, banked on making more friends with the Nolan baseballs in beisbol-crazed Cuba.

“You tengo un baseball,” said Abbott at a meeting with CIMEX, the Cuban Export-Import Corporation, and tourism officials.

Abbott talked to Alexis Trujillo Morejón, first deputy minister of tourism, about how Texas wants to expand tourism and travel with Cuba. He asked what could be done to speed up the process.

“The lifting of the blockade,” Trujillo Morejón replied, referring to the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba that dates back to 1960.

“I say, ‘Not my job,’ ” Abbott said.

George W. Bush ribs Cheney

Former President George W. Bush joined his former vice president, Dick Cheney, for a rare joint public appearance this month.

The scene: Emancipation Hall, the U.S. Capitol.

The purpose: unveiling a bust of Cheney, who as vice president presided over the Senate.

“I’m delighted to be here,” said Bush, the 43rd president. “I must confess, I’m somewhat reluctant to come back to Washington. Last time I showed up, I was hanged at the White House.” (Bush and first lady Laura Bush had their official portraits unveiled in 2012.)

“This time, I’ve returned only to find my vice president getting busted at the Capitol.”

Maria Recio, 202-383-6103

Twitter: @maria_e_recio

Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610

Twitter: @annatinsley