restricted access Chapter 22. From Slot Machines to Congress
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v v CHAPTER 22 From Slot Machines to Congress T he threatening phone calls continued, and I was really worried about David. We moved back to Rick Smith’s apartment so he could help me take care of David while I was on the road campaigning . I was also still working for Wesley’s Center Plains Industries. District Attorney Danny Hill called and asked to see me. I thought he might have a lead in my case. When I got to his office, he closed the door and told me I needed to drop the investigation and pull the Texas Rangers off the case. I was in shock. “Danny,” I pointed out, “someone attacked me and threatened to harm my son. I want to know who did this, and more important, I want to know why.” Danny leaned over his desk. “You don’t know who you’re messing with,” he said. “You could just as easily have been shot dead in the parking lot. You got off easy.” At that moment, I had a feeling that Danny knew who had attacked me. I walked out of his office. Suddenly the threats stopped, and I was able to refocus on my campaign. My opponent, Larry Milner, was an aggressive campaigner and raised a lot of money. The Republican Party desperately wanted to hold on to the party seat and was pouring money into Milner’s campaign. ThiscampaignwasashardasanyI’deverrunbefore.IputtheoldRocky eight-­ track tape in the player in my van and went to work. I needed a From Slot Machines to Congress • 231 young, energetic person to help me with my campaign—­ somebody who was willing to travel and put in the long hours. I called Aaron Alejandro, who was working for the state agriculture commissioner. Aaron had graduated from Boys Ranch and had been elected FFA state president. He had proven himself a very capable leader and an effective public speaker. I offered Aaron the job, and he accepted. Aaron was probably one of the most loyal, hardworking employees that I had ever hired. He is one of my best friends to this day. In July 1988, Wesley Masters sold Center Plains and most of the employees were laid off, including me. I had no idea what I would do for a living. My salary as a state senator, still just six hundred dollars per month, was not enough to pay the bills and care for David. I called everyone I knew and asked for a job, but nobody would hire me because I was in the middle of a congressional campaign. If I was elected to office, I would have to quit any job within six months and would need time off to continue campaigning. If someone hired me, then it would become a campaign issue. I tried to get a loan to help pay the bills, but no one would lend me money because I had no job and I was in the middle of a campaign. I had no money in savings; my divorce from Donna had cost me everything. David and I ate most of our meals at campaign events. We were still sharing an apartment with Rick. I was able to meet a lot of people while on the campaign trail, and I knew they all thought I was successful with plenty of money available to carry me through my race. I felt like such a loser. I was broke and practically homeless, again. I thought if they knew the truth, they would never vote for me. I had to find a job to take care of my son, so I was trying to figure out how to drop out of the race. I had reached a point where I just couldn’t handle any more setbacks. But I had worked so hard and had never quit at anything in my life—­ if I quit now, it would be such an embarrassment to me, to my supporters, and to Boys Ranch. Lobby work had always intrigued me ever since I had been elected to the state senate. Lobbyists were a great source of information. I thought that was something I would enjoy if I were no longer in public service. I even thought about which company I’d like to represent as a lobbyist. 232 • The Grand Duke from Boys Ranch Texas had no income tax, so every session we dealt with an increase in the sales tax for additional revenue for the state. I noticed...


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