[This year, in addition to recognizing its Texan of the Year (which will come this Friday), the Texas Progressive Alliance elected to recognize a number of other Texans who have contributed to Texas politics and the Progressive cause during 2007. This week, leading up to the TOY announcement, we bring you our Texas Progressive Alliance Gold Stars (one each day through Thursday). Wednesday, we recognized Molly Ivins. Tuesday, we recognized Denise Davis. Monday, it was Rick & Melissa Noriega. Our Silver Stars, announced last week, may be found here.]
Don't forget! The Texan Of The Year Will Be Announced On Friday!!!!
State Sen. Mario Gallegos
We all like to think that when our beliefs and principles are truly put to the test, that we will be able to answer the call and stand up for the things we hold dear, even if it means putting our own well-being at risk. Most of us never find ourselves in that position, and it's often just as well, for as the Apostle Peter could tell us, it's easier said than done. But when it is done, it serves as an inspiration for all of us.
State Sen. Mario Gallegos was in that position this spring. Having undergone a liver transplant shortly after the legislative session began, he spent most of the rest of the session in Houston recuperating. His absence meant that the Democratic Senate caucus had only ten members in it, which by itself was not enough to block a divisive partisan bill, such as the many that were filed to restrict voting rights by requiring photo ID. Sen. Gallegos asked Lt. Gov. Dewhurst to give him notice if a voter ID bill was going to be on the docket, so he could do his duty and prevent it from passing. Dewhurst made a one-time-only guarantee, so against the advice of his doctor, Gallegos arrived in Austin and vowed to stay there until sine die to protect all voters' rights. And it was a good and necessary thing that he did, as later events proved Dewhurst's willingness to pass such a bill by any means necessary. His health was weak, but his will was strong, and the battle was at a standstill.
But alas, just as victory seemed assured, his fragile health sent him back to Houston, and it looked like Dewhurst would finally get his chance. And then, when everyone least expected it, he came back, and he left no doubt as to the force of his resolve.
Ailing state Sen. Mario Gallegos, D-Houston, has a hospital bed set up in the sergeant's office -- about a 100 feet from Gallegos' Senate chamber desk, Monday so that he could help block a contentious voter ID bill from debate.
"I'm hurting. I'm hurting," Gallegos said a few minutes ago as the Senate went into session.
In the meantime, Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, is monitoring Gallegos' health. Deuell is a physician.
In the face of such resistance, Dewhurst finally capitulated, and let Sen. Gallegos return home where he could get the treatment he needed. He left the Senate chamber to a standing ovation, and the lasting gratitude of all Texans who cherish the right to vote.
For literally putting his life on the line in order to protect democratic principles, State Sen. Mario Gallegos is a deserving winner of a Gold Star from the Texas Progressive Alliance.