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FOREWORD T his is an American story, but don’t think that it’s just another inspiring story of an aspiring boy making good—­ it’s so much more. Bill’s mother was an alcoholic at a time when treatment options were few and far between. Abandoned by her husband and unable to hold a job, she moved her three boys from apartments to vacant houses. At one time, Bill was a delivery boy for the Houston Post, my family newspaper, and what he earned from two paper routes was nearly all that supported the family. Not much later, a Houston judge took charge of a desperate situation and referred the boys to Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch when Bill was thirteen. At Boys Ranch, still a well-­ respected Panhandle home for boys, it seemed like the solution to every problem at that time was a good beating , but to Bill it was the first stable home he had ever had. It was a tough environment; however, Bill credits Boys Ranch with teaching him the work ethic that made him a success. But success did not come easily. Bill was determined to go to college and worked several jobs—­ including one milking cows and feeding hogs at 4:00 a.m.—­ to pay for a degree in vocational agriculture. He started at Clarendon Junior College and graduated from Texas Tech University. Determined to seize opportunities that came his way, he parlayed a membership in Future Farmers of America into becoming state president of that organization. And when the chance came to run for the Senate, he ignored the odds against him and worked harder than anyone else to get the votes. I first met him when he was on the campaign trail, and then, after he was elected, he came to talk to me about committee assignments. x • Foreword He told me that his goal was to create more treatment options for alcohol and mental problems. I put him on the Human Services Committee , and since he was a likely lad and well qualified, I also made him chair of the Agriculture Subcommittee. Bill remembers that when it came time to pass his first major bill, to raise the drinking age from eighteen to nineteen, he was confronted by Senator “Mad Dog” Mengden, a Houston Republican with a bad temper. Mengden informed him that the bill was his property since he had been in the Senate longer. Bill refused to back down, and the two of them ended up in my office. Bill remembers that I tossed a coin to determine whose bill came to the floor. The coin rolled behind my desk. What happened from there? Well, you have to read this book! As a senator, Bill did what good senators do and represented his constituents well. He also took advice from many others. He picked his share of controversial issues, including one that resulted in a death threat, and when he carried a bill, he was well prepared and resourceful. We did not always agree on all issues, but I respected his hard work, his determination, and his ability to tell a good story. No surprise then that when a US congressional seat opened, he was ready to campaign for that, and when he won, he headed for Washington , where he served for six years in Congress helping with the breakup of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. For his efforts, the country of Lithuania gave him the highest award they can give a noncitizen and named him their Grand Duke. Bill is now a successful lobbyist in Washington, DC, and is a highly respected motivational speaker. Most importantly, Bill is my friend. This is not just another book about politics. It is the inspiring, motivational , compelling story of my friend’s life—­ and politics happened to be a part of it. You will enjoy Bill’s story. I know it because I know Bill and I know his story. I am proud to say I was a part of it. Bill Hobby Lieutenant Governor of Texas, 1973–­ 91 ...


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MARC Record
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