Best State Legislator (2003)
Senator Bill Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant
It's rare that we stray from our Dallas best, but the political courage of Senator William Ratliff is so exemplary that it deserves being celebrated, even though he hails from Mount Pleasant. With conservative Republican Governor Rick Perry so partisan he can make David Dewhurst look like a statesman, it's damn refreshing to find a moderate Republican who has the political huevos to do the right thing rather than the thing that is right. He is honest (chastised his brethren for not raising taxes), brilliant, savvy, and if not for his refusal to bend to big-time Republican money, he might still be lieutenant governor today. During the regular session, he smoothed out the extreme edges of a tort reform bill and made its passage possible. But his most impressive act of defiance came during the special session when he refused to roll over and play dead for the redistricting designs of the Republican guard. Siding with 10 Democrats, this lone Republican derailed at least one map that would have "Perrymandered" the state in a manner that he felt would have diluted the voting strength of rural Texans. We can only hope they appreciate it--and him--as much as we do.