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Fort Bend County, At Large
By Cheryl Skinner

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


“Too big for your britches syndrome”

In the political world, getting too big for your britches is something that isn’t too unusual. However, that usually immediately follows being elected. The big head is often followed by strutting your stuff and finally by getting too big for your britches.

In most cases this is short-lived when the newly elected official finds out they can’t do any of the things they promised to do because they are big headed, strutting their stuff and acting too big for their britches. So, they dust off their damaged ego and start playing “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” with their fellow elected officials and that seems to work out quite well.

Sometimes, along comes a young, aggressive, eager political hopeful who immediately gets the “too big for your britches syndrome” and I believe that is what happened to Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace when he jumped the starting gate for the Republican run for the District 22 congressional seat. Now David is a really nice and personable person, but he managed in a short span of less than a week to alienate a lot of his fellow Republicans and he didn’t do too well with the media either.

Almost simultaneously with the announcement that the U.S. Supreme Court would not hear the Republican’s appeal and the announcement by former Congressman Tom DeLay that he would seek to have his name removed from the ballot and would definitely not run for the office, David quits answering his phone and some stranger from Austin calls saying he is returning David’s phone calls as a representative of his PR firm. What?

Two days before you could call and hear a familiar, friendly voice that was willing to talk issues or politics without a qualm. Fifteen minutes after officially becoming a write-in candidate, you can’t touch him with a 10-foot pole. That is the first symptom of getting too big for your britches.

So, a whole lot of Republicans from three other counties are claiming David is rubbing their noses in the selection process, the media is clamoring to find out if he is going to run despite being the “un-chosen” one of the party and David holds an official press conference with family and patriotism all around. Now there is nothing wrong with press conferences, other than most of them are a whole lot like mandatory staff meetings at the office.

They take up a whole lot of time saying what could have been said in five minutes on the phone. So, reporters are not real keen on official press conferences. Anyhow, one of our reporters had interviewed David and he was still toying with the idea of staying in the race but when he was contacted just before deadline, he wouldn’t disclose what he was going to announce in an hour at a press conference.

So, I go to the press conference and he is nice enough to provide a “news packet”—after we all took notes for 20 minutes; then when I get back to my computer, I sit down with the notes and the prepared packet to do the story for the paper. I completed the task, which has now taken two hours, including drive time, and sent it to the editor.

Immediately after I went “click” on the send button, an incoming e-mail arrives from none other than David with... you guessed it, the information from the earlier news conference attached.

Now that really can hack a reporter off to no end. Heck, I could have just cut and pasted the info and have been done with it. I won’t even mention the cost of gas getting to the press conference, that wasn’t his fault.

So, since David is seriously considering a run for congress sometime in the future, may I suggest a sure cure for “too big for your britches?” First get elected to the position.

However, while running for the office you are seeking, have press conferences only when you can’t click and send to the masses in seconds, and first of all answer your darn phone. Do not hire a public relations firm to do your talking.

People like officials who are reachable, in touch, and mingle with the masses.


Contact skinnerc1@ev1.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  October 04, 2006