Lobbyists Who Are Characters
Last updated 3/15/2022 at 1:06pm
It’s very difficult to write about the state Legislature without including a few stories about lobbyists. Lobbyists represent various interests in the capitol and do their best to influence legislation in such a manner that it will benefit or not harm their client’s interest. All kinds of people are lobbyists and all lobbyists have different methods of reaching members of the Legislature. Most are bonified characters and after 32 years in the Legislature I recall many and some in a humorous manner.
Bailey Jones was the lobbyist for El Paso Natural Gas. Bailey was an elderly gentleman, rotund and given to great humor. Bailey’s method of lobbying and communicating with the legislative members was to place himself at the crack of dawn every morning at a large, round table in the Stephen F. Austin Hotel. It was well known among the legislators that anyone connected with the Legislature, even other lobbyists, were welcome to enjoy a free breakfast at Bailey’s table.
Early in my career when the legislative allowance for food and lodging was $12.00 a day, many of us availed ourselves of Bailey’s largess by being his guests on a regular basis. On one morning I recall I had an early morning committee hearing and decided to pop in for a quick bite or coffee at Bailey’s table. Because of my early morning appointment, I only had a cup of coffee. As I rose to leave, Bailey asked, “Young man, where are you going in such a rush?” I responded to Bailey in what I thought was a clever way, looked him in the eye and said, “Bailey, I’m going to the capitol to represent the people.” Bailey’s response was quick as he looked at me, smiled and said in a serious tone, “Go ahead, son, that’s been tried before.”
That was my first term. After serving several more years, it became apparent to me that Bailey’s humorous comment probably had more truth in it than I realized at the time.