Rick Perry vs. the World *
Tracking the 2006 Texas gubernatorial race.
* Now at the new Rick Perry vs World

Saturday, January 01, 2005
The Seniority Issue
When the new senators are sworn in this week, Kay Bailey Hutchison will rank 18th out of 55 GOP senators. She holds a spot on the most important of committees, the Appropriations Committee.

As recently as 2002, Texas had about 27 years of seniority between Phil Gramm and KBH. If KBH retires in 2002, Texas will have only John Cornyn's 4 years of Senatorial experience, ending a tradition of Texas power in the Senate.

There are 16 standing committees of the United States Senate. As many as four of those senators may retire in 2006. If KBH runs for re-election to the Senate, she will almost definitely become a committee chairman in her next term, likely of either Commerce or Veterans Affairs. She also would relinquish her chairmanship of an Appropriations subcommittee (currently, KBH chairs military construction).

If KBH chaired the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and eventually chaired the transportation subcommittee of Appropriations, then she would hold great sway over Texas' attempt for proportional parity between gas taxes paid and highway funds received.

This is the sort of thing that newspaper editorial boards and business leaders -- but not primary voters -- worry about. Undoubtedly this is an argument the Perry campaign is making behind the scenes.

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