Texas Republicans score a rare victory in Washington, D.C.

Republican U.S. Reps. Joe Barton of Ennis and Roger Williams of Austin pose with the trophy after the congressional baseball game.
Republican U.S. Reps. Joe Barton of Ennis and Roger Williams of Austin pose with the trophy after the congressional baseball game. Courtesy

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, the long-suffering manager of the Republican Congressional baseball team, finally has a win after losing to the Democrats for seven years in a row.

The 8-7 game, played at the Washington Nationals’ field in D.C., was a nail-biter that went down to a walk-off hit in the last inning.

The last time the GOP beat the Democrats was in 2008, and Barton, who wears a Texas Rangers uniform with the number 6, as does his 10-year-old son Jack — for the sixth congressional district — was both humbled and happy.

“It’s a big relief, to be honest,” Barton, R-Ennis, told the Star-Telegram. “To be manager of the Republican team with the longest losing streak in history is no fun.”

The team practiced hard, led by task-masker U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, the team’s coach, who is a former player and coach for TCU who briefly played for an Atlanta Braves farm team.

Williams wore a Braves uniform and praised the players, who included Texas U.S. Reps. Kevin Brady of The Woodlands and Mike Conaway of Midland.

Barton stressed that the importance of the game was that it raised over $500,000 for charity. It was the 55th Congressional Baseball Game, sponsored by Roll Call, a news outlet.

A big week

U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, had a high-profile week.

He was part of the more than 24-hour Democratic takeover of the House floor, one of many Democrats speaking without a microphone but still reaching a national audience thanks to social media.

(When the House is not officially in session, the cameras that provide feed to C-Span and House microphones are turned off.)

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, was one of the high-tech members using Periscope to broadcast the speeches, chants and singing.

At one point in the evening, Veasey also spoke to a crowd outside the Capitol supporting the Democrats.

What time did he leave? “I left at 4 a.m.,” he told the Star-Telegram. “It was fun. We … made it known that we don’t think terrorists should be able to have guns.”

By 8 a.m. Veasey had to be at the White House to get former Fort Worth resident, now Dallas attorney, Amy Witherite in for a tour.

Then, the indefatigable Fort Worth lawmaker was back on the Hill, hosting a news conference that turned into something of a rally on the Voting Rights Act featuring the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Veasey created the Voting Rights Caucus to promote legislation updating the law.

Sit-in moments

The Democratic takeover of the House floor didn’t stop U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, from looking her best. The morning after the sit-in protest over gun control legislation, the always well-dressed Jackson Lee was in a red suit — Chanel maybe? — wearing pearls with her signature braids on her head.

Of course there was one new wardrobe addition: she was wrapped in a large white blanket.


A Fort Worth woman has been named to serve on Gov. Greg Abbott’s Committee on People with Disabilities.

Heather Griffith-Dhanjal, an occupational therapy practitioner, chairs the Fort Worth mayor’s Committee on Persons with Disabilities. She and give others named to the committee will serve terms that expire Feb. 2, 2018.

Griffith-Dhanjal, who graduated from Texas Woman’s University, is a policy resource panelist for the city of Fort Worth’s Master Thoroughfare Plan and a member of the AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly Communities Planning Committee for the city of Fort Worth, according to Abbott’s office.

New Blue Zones leader

Matt Dufrene has been named vice president of the citywide well-being initiative called Blue Zones, replacing Suzanne Duda, who is stepping down to spend more time with her family.

Dufrene is currently serving as a vice president with the United Way of Tarrant County. He has served as a volunteer co-chairman of the Blue Zones’ restaurant implementation committee. He will take the helm at a Blue Zones event July 16 at Panther Island Pavilion.

Duda has lead the Fort Worth initiative since September 2014.

“Matt has been an integral part of Blue Zones Project since the beginning, and we expect the project’s stellar track record to continue under his leadership,” said Barclay Berdan, CEO of Texas Health Resources, the organization that helped bring Blue Zones Project to Fort Worth.

Fort Worth has 46 Blue Zones-approved work sites, 25 restaurants, four grocery stores, three schools, and one church, plus 11 participating organizations.

Staff writer Sandra Baker contributed to this report.

Maria Recio, 202-383-6103

Twitter: @maria_e_recio

Anna Tinsley, 817-390-7610

Twitter: @annatinsley