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Author: Farenthold, Frances, interviewee
Interview conducted by DeVries, Walter Bass, Jack
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
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Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
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2006.
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2006-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-12-15, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Frances Farenthold, December 14, 1974. Interview A-0186. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series A. Southern Politics. Southern Oral History Program Collection (A-0186)
Author: Jack Bass and Walter DeVries
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Frances Farenthold, December 14, 1974. Interview A-0186. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series A. Southern Politics. Southern Oral History Program Collection (A-0186)
Author: Frances Farenthold
Description: 160 Mb
Description: 36 p.
Note: Interview conducted on December 14, 1974, by Walter DeVries and Jack Bass; recorded in Houston, Texas
Note: Transcribed by Joe Jaros.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series A. Southern Politics, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Frances Farenthold, December 14, 1974.
Interview A-0186. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Farenthold, Frances, interviewee


Interview Participants

    FRANCES FARENTHOLD, interviewee
    JACK BASS, interviewer
    WALTER DEVRIES, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
JACK BASS:
You served how long in the legislature?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Two terms.
JACK BASS:
And that first has been referred to as the "reform session"?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
That's right. It was the makings of the reform session. The stuff that I used to introduce in that first session were just reforms of rules changes, because we didn't have a chance to begin to get anything else. The so-called "reform session" came after that in 1973. But the impetus and the makings of it were in the 1971 session.
JACK BASS:
What were these basic changes that occurred in the legislature at that time?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Really, where it started, I think, was the total controls that the speaker had. That was one of the things that we were starting out against. If you weren't on the team, if you didn't vote, regardless of what your constituency might be, if you didn't go along with the team, you were just ostracized. It didn't matter what the merit of your legislation was, you couldn't get started. And then, of course, early in the term, so far as I was concerned, I could see conflict of interests everyplace you turned. Because there was a kind of climate up there that if you didn't exploit your public office, you really weren't with it, you were sort of a square. For example, the things that you were hearing about were appearing before agencies of your clients and so on, on down the line. Investing in companies that might have something going on, all that type of thing. There wasn't even

Page 2
criticism of it. I remember that on the floor of the house, a legislator telling me how much a group in a big city here had turned over to the speaker, who didn't have any "serious" opposition, as a campaign fund. These were all campaign funds for people that didn't have opposition, to speak of. It is all this stuff that you read about, but you just saw it firsthand there.
So, it was a multi-faceted thing. It wasn't in the beginnings of it, but the impetus for it came out of the so-called Sharpstown Banking Bills and the disclosures made by the SEC about a year and a half after their passage. And you know, you can look back and say, "Oh, it looks all cut and dried and this was the reform session of the legislature," but it didn't start out that way, that is all hindsight. You look at one thing. I know that we were working for rules changes. For example, such things as that the conference committee on appropriations would have to use the guidelines of what came out of the house and senate bill, rather than going outside those guidelines, which has been what happened. For all practical purposes, the appropriations bill was written by the conferees. We went through the exercise in the house and senate, but it didn't mean anything. And this kind of thing didn't mean . . . and this wasn't the first session that that had been pushed. I can recall that in my first session, I had attempted as a rules change, to have at least a record of the committee testimony. Because I had had firsthand experience with my experience with the land commissioner where witnesses would take an oath and then there was no record of what they testified to, which made the matter meaningless.
So, it came from different problems like that, but then the substantive matter came with the Sharpstown Bills. And again, we stay with procedure because the procedure was so much a part of what went on and what didn't go on. For example the consent calendar where

Page 3
one time and we were passing something that averaged a bill a minute. So that you had to do something about correcting the procedure before you could get to the substantive matter. What happened in a sense with the Sharpstown Bills, the speaker's head lieutenant got up and said that it was a good bill, that it would help the small banks and that was it. And because it was a speaker's bill, automatically, there would be whatever number of committee chairmen that we had and the vice-chairmen. That was part of getting those positions, so, I mean that there was no substantive discussion.
And in a way, that's why I want to say that the procedural part was so much a part of what we were trying to do. But again, you didn't know where it was going to lead in the beginning and I still sometimes have second thoughts about where it has led now. I think we have the veneer of much, but I don't know if we have anything else. It wasn't cut and dried in the beginning. When we tried to get an investigation of . . . all I wanted when I asked the resolution, was to study the legislative history of those two bills. I did that in March of '71. Because I really wanted to know and I thought that it would be very informative to all of us, if we could just find out what went into the passage of a piece of special legislation. Who drafted it, where it came from, how it was manipulated, if you want to call it that. And of course, we were stopped there and I didn't intend to be stopped there. So, we went all different directions around the problem. I don't think that we know very much today.
JACK BASS:
This is a bill that would have done what?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
It would have gotten banks that wanted to get out from under the regulation of the federal FIDC and substitute state insurance, but in effect, without regulation. They didn't know what it meant. And that was why I was so curious to find out what I had voted on twice. Because there had been

Page 4
two bills on the subject. But let's say that it was the catalyst.
JACK BASS:
Was that the beginning of the Sharpstown scandal?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
That's right.
JACK BASS:
Well, we've been told that it really emanated out of the SEC.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
That's right, but it was the information from the SEC. We wouldn't have even known about it. This was one of the reasons that I wanted that legislative history of the matter. Because it was in effect, I think in August of '69, vetoed by Smith and still, there was only one political reporter that made some comment about it. And again, had it not been the SEC investigation, it would have gone and we wouldn't have known anything about it. It was interesting, because I . . .
JACK BASS:
What has happened insofar as procedural reforms in the legislature? You said that before, am I correct, that the conference committee on appropriations held in effect . . .
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Yes, those rules were changed during one of our special sessions in '71. I thought that here, you try and try and then when there is a complete turnover in attitude or pressure, things just float in. For example, it may appear to be a very small thing, but if you are going back to try and find the legislative history, it is very important to find out what witnesses testified. That came in as a rules change, limiting the conferees to the two bills came in as a rules change in the special session . . .
JACK BASS:
Before that, the conference committee could add or subtract anything? They could change anything? And now, they have to go to . . .
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
That's right. And also . . .

Page 5
JACK BASS:
Is there also provision for a pre-conference? In other words, they can go beyond that and with both houses?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
That's right, yes. They can do that. And even by the special session, when Gus had been deposed or stepped down, the hearings were open. Before, they weren't. Secrecy was . . .
JACK BASS:
What hearings are these?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Appropriations, the conferees. I remember one time the reporters and I tried to track them down and they were meeting in somebody's apartment. So much went on . . . for example, posting. We had just such a battle in that session just to get the posting of committee hearings. I have now pushed most of it out of my mind, but it was a matter in 1971 of everyday, pounding on it. That's why I say that the reform session was really 1973, when the four or six so called "reform statutes" and . . .
JACK BASS:
What were these basic statutes?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Oh, they are everything ranging from lobby control to financial disclosure. I think that probably the most significant is a public information act, by far.
JACK BASS:
Was that fashioned after the Florida sunshine law?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
All I know is that much of them came from the work of the Texas branch of Common Cause. So, there may be . . .
JACK BASS:
Who is the chairman or whatever of that group in Texas?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
The man that was the executive director was Buck Wood, but he has resigned. And so, he was the one that went through all this. He worked with Price Daniel Jr. The new executive director is a young man named John Hannah, from Lufkin. He was in the legislature at the time that I was.

Page 6
WALTER DEVRIES:
Is it sort of a generalization to say that Sharpstown affected the politics of the '70s?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Superficially.
WALTER DEVRIES:
What do you mean? Didn't it get a different governor?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
But what did you get? That's why I say it's superficial. At least that's my thinking, and I may have all kinds of preconceptions, but I think . . .
WALTER DEVRIES:
Well, it wiped out a whole lot of statewide officers, didn't it?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Yeah, but I sometimes think that that is pretty superficial, too. Because I don't know if the personality of those that go on make that much difference.
JACK BASS:
Well, let me ask you this question . . .
WALTER DEVRIES:
But the procedures are different than they were in the '60s.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Yeah, in the house it is. I think the house and the people . . . I was not there in '73, but they told me that it was different. As I said, the only way that you could describe the situation in those two terms that I was in there, was that you were just in a straitjacket. You could do a lot of stuff, maybe, but it wasn't legislative. I said that I never went up there to be a private detective. Half of our time was spent on this here and something there and that type of stuff. But I understand that procedurally that everyone got a hearing on their bill. That may not seem so important, but during my time, it was.
JACK BASS:
Ralph Yarborough made a comment in an interview with him, he said, "Texas is a happy hunting ground of predatory wealth."
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
What kind of wealth?
WALTER DEVRIES:
He said, "The last happy hunting ground of predatory wealth."

Page 7
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I don't know if it is the last, but it certainly is that.
JACK BASS:
He said that of all the fifty states, it is the happy hunting ground of predatory wealth. You would not consider that an overstatement?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
No. I only say that I don't know if it is the last. I don't know that and I don't know that much about the other forty-nine states. I mean, I go around frequently and people will ask me about things, about experiences that I have had here and then they will say, "Well, it's not too different from our state." Which may be true. I think that there is a distinction in that there is so much money here. There's a lot.
WALTER DEVRIES:
When did you first get involved in politics?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I guess that that depends on what you mean by politics. If you mean running for elective office . . .
WALTER DEVRIES:
Or just involved in the interests of it?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
All my life. But I didn't run for public office until '68.
WALTER DEVRIES:
In the period that we are looking at, from 1948 until 1974, what major changes have taken place? In Texas politics?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Not much. We have seen one thing . . . I am now referring to the legislature, but I think that you can refer to this in a broader thing. I asked my husband, who was serving there in the 50s, and I was serving there in the 70s, he came up to see me and I said, "What difference do you see in the legislature?" He said, "There is less racism." And I would say generally that the visibility of blacks and browns is there where it wasn't back then. If I could point to one . . . and that may not be standardized all over the state, either, but I would say that. Not where

Page 8
power is and that kind of thing.
WALTER DEVRIES:
There has been no basic shift of power?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I don't really think so.
WALTER DEVRIES:
That should mean that big wealth still pretty well takes the nomination of statewide office?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Sure.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Some people say that they don't do that anymore, they just exercise a veto over it. They will defeat you.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Well, what's the difference? They can defeat you unless you appear to be amenable. So what is the difference? I don't really feel that I am at liberty to discuss my lawsuit against the present governor, but in tracking things, we see where it is much the same power base. I am not at liberty to discuss it, but it has come back full force to me one more time.
JACK BASS:
Is that the purpose of that lawsuit, to demonstrate that point?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
No. [Laughter] The purpose is to see that the people who claim to be reformers live up to it.
JACK BASS:
You mean specifically referring to the governor of this state?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
That's right, and then campaign financing. We talk about House Bill 4, you know, everybody patting themselves on the back and this same old process, the same old corporate practices continue.
JACK BASS:
How do you evaluate Lloyd Bentsen? Both as a senator and as a potential presidential candidate?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I have absolutely no time for him and I may be so colored in my own thinking that I can't properly evaluate him. I know where he comes from, what he represents and how he got to where he has. I mean, to see

Page 9
Bentsen do it is nothing new. I just feel very deeply about it, and maybe I am not being realistic in this and the kind of campaign that he waged in 1970. This is not the first time that you have seen Texans come in with the business support and then move to the left for national consumption. I just hope that the rest of the country doesn't fall for him.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Does it basically go back to the 1970 campaign?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
One aspect of it would. I would probably never support Bentsen knowing where he comes from and the interests he represents. Basically, his own thinking, his own being. And certainly, the '70 thing just added one more.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Well, he said that he made some mistakes in that campaign.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
He knew what he was doing. He knew exactly what he was doing.
JACK BASS:
We keep hearing that the next governor of Texas is likely to be a moderate, whatever that is.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I don't know. All I can say is, just beware of moderates from Dallas. They all tag themselves as moderates up there, the dominant Democrats. The next governor . . . we won't have another election for three and a half years, four years almost.
JACK BASS:
Do you see Texas politics moving in any specific direction?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
No. It's just standing where it is right now. I don't see anything else.
JACK BASS:
The only real change that you see, though, is that racism is less prevalent. Not dead, but less prevalent?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Certainly.
JACK BASS:
Less visible?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Less visible. I really think that it is. On the surface,

Page 10
in the positions that are held. You know, I phoned Ralph Yarborough a couple of months ago about . . . I wanted to get something about some piece of legislation that he had sponsored in the Senate. And we started talking, and he said, "You know, it is much more difficult today to defeat . . . "—the political establishment or whatever you want to call it, I've forgotten what term he used—"it's much more difficult today than it was in the '50s." He was telling me this and I said, "Yes, I think that is probably true." Because you just can't beat today, Learjets and computers, speechwriters, I mean, particularly the place that society has come to. Or a DeLoss Walker, if you want that. I mean, I think that is because the method of campaigning and all has changed so.
JACK BASS:
How do you assess DeLoss Walker's role in that '72 race?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I would rather not get into the subject.
JACK BASS:
I wish that you would, really. And the reason that I say that is that here is a man who ran six campaigns in states in the South and he has candidates, twenty-eight candidates successful in something like twenty-two races.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I have something that I have to speak to him about before I discuss him. It was something that was brought to my attention in Arkansas and I just have to find out whether he is responsible for what is attributed to him or not, before I go any further into that subject. And I have never laid eyes on the man . . . [Recorder is turned off and then back on.] . . . I have no idea.
WALTER DEVRIES:
And yet, people perceive themselves in this state that way and line up that way.

Page 11
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
They don't line up that way. By and large, I think that there are all different kinds . . .
JACK BASS:
You are speaking of Texas liberals?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Texas liberals. I spoke to a young man that wrote an article for Texas Monthly that I saw in Kansas City last week. He said that a line that he really wanted left in one of his articles about a congressman-elect from here had been cut. And he said that Texas liberals have "the loyalty of the Greek junta." I don't know what a Texas liberal is, I have no idea.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Yeah, but it is a very meaningful term for a lot of people, they see politics in those terms, as the liberals and the conservatives.
JACK BASS:
Why did you run for governor in '72?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Are we going to go through that again? I didn't plan on it. Well, again, this isn't hindsight, this is the way it seemed then. I thought that then the reform movement was a very important thing in the state, that we could really get something started insofar as opening government. And I had great belief in that. And I looked at who was running and I read up on Briscoe and I saw that he was part of the same thing. Now, the way that the whole thing started out was through members of the "Dirty Thirty". We met through 1971, after the session was over, we went around and talked on campuses and stuff like that. And our first idea was that it wouldn't be a slate, but to try to field people for statewide office and to try to have ethnic representation, gender representation, although that wasn't the most important thing. There was more concern about having a Mexican-American, having a black. Then, when it got right down to it, no one would run because they had the sense to see the enormous energy in running that it would take.

Page 12
WALTER DEVRIES:
The "Dirty Thirty" now caucused in '71 and '72 and . . .
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Yes.
WALTER DEVRIES:
They were looking for candidates among that group?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Yeah, or others, if we could find them.
WALTER DEVRIES:
And you couldn't find any?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
And I remember here, Tom Bass, who is now the county commissioner, said that he would like to run for treasurer, if he had the money. I remember standing out in front of the university where he teaches here, maybe in December of '71, and he said that he just didn't have the money for it. And the same thing with Sam Holmes, the black legislator who was later my campaign manager in Dallas County . . . for the railroad commission. I talked to Joe Bethal about lieutenant governor, all in a very loose way. But then it got down to it, and there wasn't anyone. But really, the impetus had been the reform and all that that had gone through '71.
So, it got down to me and it got down, as far as I was concerned, basically between two races. One was governor and one was lieutenant governor. And I guess that starting at Christmas of '71, I tortured over that decision. When I heard that John Hill was going to probably run for attorney general, I recall saying to one of his supporters that I would get out of that because he was a better lawyer than I am. And there were a dozen things that you waved back and forth. And I looked at all those races. I remember people phoning me about this one and that one, the railroad commission, treasurer, and attorney general. And it seemed to me that where the greatest change could be made was in the governor's office. And I still contend that. I don't pay any attention to all this talk about what a weak governor we have under our constitution.

Page 13
The governor can do a lot. We just have a kind of climate here where he doesn't. And as I said, had I thought that Briscoe was a different cut in his backing and support and philosophy, I wouldn't have run.
One of the things that brought me to the idea that he wasn't any different was a book, that wasn't written for that purpose, but it's called Money, Marbles and Chalk. And I read it during that period. It's by a man named Jimmy Banks. It sets out the meeting that was held at the Caterina Ranch, which is one of Briscoe's ranches, about one of John Connally's races. So, I never took him seriously as a significant indication of change.
WALTER DEVRIES:
One Democratic conservative that we talked to asserted that Briscoe was not a member of the Democratic establishment. That he was a cut different than Preston Smith . . .
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
They are not the same at all. But . . .
WALTER DEVRIES:
That he was not part of that group.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Actually, he's much closer to that group than Preston Smith. And I think that I know enough about Texas politics, I saw enough of it work, to say that. Smith had his own lobby and stuff, that whole West Texas scene and the power did for awhile shift out there. He would have been protected by this press much more than he had been. Briscoe is much closer to Connally, to Locke, that whole thing that centers right in Dallas today, where so much of his financing came from along with Miss Nettleton and Jess Hay. Those are Locke compatriots. The Locke law firm. But neither Smith or Mutcher, they were kind of political . . . no, I don't mean political mavericks, but power mavericks. I just know that firsthand. I can read the first chapter . . . Jimmy Banks didn't write it for that purpose.
WALTER DEVRIES:
What did you learn about Texas politics in those two campaigns that you didn't know before?

Page 14
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Probably more than I want to talk about.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Did it reinforce what you already thought, or did you learn something new?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I learned new things.
WALTER DEVRIES:
But your experiences suggest that things really haven't changed very much in Texas politics in the last twenty years?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I don't think that they have, except for this overt racism.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Why not? Is the grip that strong?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I think so? That's why . . .
WALTER DEVRIES:
Why can't you shake it?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
[Laughter] That's why I had felt so deeply about that reform, because I knew how hard it was to get anything like that started in Texas. And that's why I thought that it was so important.
JACK BASS:
Why didn't any of the so called "progressives" in statewide office now run against Briscoe this year? Was it just fear of the two-term tradition?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
See, I couldn't . . . maybe I was the one in error, I couldn't buy the two-term tradition. It's one of the things that was controlling in my own situation this time, the fact that we were going into four year terms of office. This is the first year that we have had four year terms of office. And I have an idea, again I'm not in the center of all this, I have to observe or go through my own experience . . . I think that I have seen enough to say that I believe that the lack of opposition this year, and I know two of them that were both headed that way if they can get there, Hill and Hobby . . . it's a part of the Bentsen strategy. I don't want to overstate what I know, but I am inclined to think that. And part of it was to have no dissension, have a quite convention. I remember somewhere . . . and I used to say during this primary of mine this year, "Let's not let state government go down the drain

Page 15
over presidential politics." Well, the four year term was passed in '70, it was not even discussed. Everyone just sort of stayed in place. And I remember during the campaign just seeing the thing that . . . well, several things lead me to saying what I just said. One is the night before I filed this time, when a labor lawyer told me . . . and I lost my labor support this time, just like that. He said, "Your problem with labor is not Briscoe, but Bentsen." Then I remember during the primary reading where Bentsen said that his office was working with Briscoe, his office was working with his 254 county contacts and they in turn were working with Briscoe on the convention. So, that's the way I feel in part. I remember going to the state convention in September and the Steelworkers supported me last time and they did not this time, and one of them said to me, "We can't support Leonel this time, just as we could not support you in May and the reason is that we want unity for '76." Now, you analyze that, I'm not able to.
WALTER DEVRIES:
It looks like you already have. What about the assertion that if you put together the black vote, the Chicano vote, and the liberal vote, you've got a majority in Texas?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
It hasn't happened yet.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Is it there?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Theoretically.
Let me give you two experiences. I don't want to generalize from this. In a way, maybe I am speaking about leadership, or people in position. I would like you to turn that thing off and . . . [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
WALTER DEVRIES:
How about the rest of them . . .
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
All I can assume is that this was part of the Bentsen picture.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Well, it's been alleged that the poll [unclear]

Page 16
. . . that the poll showed that this was unbeatable.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Do you want to know where the poll came from?
WALTER DEVRIES:
No, I'm just saying that this is . . .
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Yes, but this is one thing that I found interesting.
WALTER DEVRIES:
But they didn't want to change, really?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Yeah, and that may be true, and obviously they didn't . . .
WALTER DEVRIES:
They wanted to rest.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
They wanted to rest, and you obviously could not stir up the farm thing, which I think has really been superficial, because I don't think that it has been followed through. But that poll . . . I remember precisely when it came out. It came out in October of 1973 and it came out of Bentsen's office.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Bentsen's office released the poll?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I remember that it was on the right-hand side of the Houston Chronicle one day.
WALTER DEVRIES:
That was the major reason that nobody else got in it?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I don't know the thinking of the other people. I also know that that was soon followed by the biggest fundraising . . . the dinner that my lawsuit is over. That was on October 31 of '73. And after those two things, they apparently considered him unbeatable.
JACK BASS:
How much did they raise in that thing? $700,000?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Something like that.
WALTER DEVRIES:
$350,000.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
No, that was Bentsen's dinner in October. No, this thing, they claimed to have raised $750,000, but 400 and something before the October 19, which is when I claim that they should have had a campaign

Page 17
manager. I don't know the inner workings of these things.
JACK BASS:
Was Price Daniel Jr. one of the "Dirty Thirty"?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
No. Only at the end and only peripherally. And I'll be very explicit about that. Because in those early days of the legislative session in '71, I was very anxious to get his help because I wanted us to broaden our base. We had what were then considered liberals and some Republicans and I wanted to move out. And I can remember two occasions very explicitly, one was when I had written a letter to twenty-three legislators and signed it. We were sending it to over four hundred state officeholders, elected and appointed, asking them if they would join us in making a full financial disclosure. My whole idea about Sharpstown was that unless we did that, we would be living in glass houses ourselves. I got twenty-three signatures including my own on that. And what was involved in a financial disclosure which would have shown those things which had been acutely portrayed with the Sharpstown scandal was a matter of having loans without collateral and that kind of thing. And also, it would have required a filing of the income tax return. And I remember that I brought young Price in in the morning and I said, "Can you sign this with me?" And he would agree to one but not the other. He didn't sign. And then I remember when it later became his piece of legislation, but in '71, I had a rules change which would have required financial disclosure of speaker candidates. You know, that's one of the real slush funds there. And I believe that also I had a one year term of office requirement in there. Again, it . . .
WALTER DEVRIES:
One term limitation?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Yes. I think that I had that in there plus financial disclosure. And so, I thought that . . . Gus was still in office and I thought, "Well, to get anywhere with this, I will try to get as cosigners the key

Page 18
likeliest candidates for speaker. And they were Price Daniel and Rayford Price, and neither would sign it. That's why earlier I said that it was the '73 session which is called the reform session, it harks back to '71, but in '71, we were trying to do things with rules changes.
JACK BASS:
In '71, your attempt was through procedural reform and then in '73, you went from there to substantive reform.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
That's right, theoretically.
JACK BASS:
Has that whole reform movement crested in Texas?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I'd like to think not, but I have no indication that it isn't over.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Will more single member districts bring more reform to the legislative process?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I think that it will help. And you know, again, I really felt that this was going to be a significant issue. Because I don't know if you knew, but a three judge panel had called for redistricting into single member districts . . . you know, we have three counties now, or four . . . three, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston are single member districts. And so, this court decision called for seven more which would get you into your areas where you have a high Mexican-American population. El Paso, Corpus Christi, Tarrant, Travis, and I've forgotten where else . . . Port Arthur. And at the request of the governor the week before the filing deadline, the attorney general asked for a stay and was granted a stay. So, those single member districts have been postponed. But I think, based upon what we saw in 1973, that the single member districts are significant.
WALTER DEVRIES:
So, where do you see it going? If we come back in ten years from now, what is going to change here?

Page 19
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I can't tell you.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Do you think that it's stalled?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Sure it's stalled. Now, I can see the changes in some things through single member districts, that were never even attempted before that. And I speak specifically of prison reform, and of course, the blacks are into that. We didn't even consider such. I can see stuff with the women coming in, on credit discrimination. Those are specific things that were started in '73 and that weren't even discussed prior to that.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Has there been a change in the last twenty-five years in the role that women have been playing in Texas politics?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Some. I think that you are going to see a good deal more. I guess, and I don't say that it is the be-all and end-all, and I that's why I don't particularly start with it, but since my first coming into elective politics in '68, I think that I have probably seen as much or more change there than any other area.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Is that going to continue?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Oh, sure.
WALTER DEVRIES:
How about in the other southern states? How would you compare Texas to the other ten states of the old Confederacy?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Well, I'm only in and out of those. For example, I would say that Texas . . . it's a generalization, but it's ahead of the southern states.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Ahead of all of them?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Well, OK, you know about North Carolina . . . well, all right, I'll take the number of . . . I guess that the first way that you could measure it is the equal rights amendment. Now, we'll see if there is a serious

Page 20
recision . . .
WALTER DEVRIES:
It's under attack.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Yes, it's under attack now and we will see. When a legislator started that in '73, he didn't get very far. But this is a much more organized attack and I suppose that in this state we had it in the state constitution because we passed that in '72, I don't know of any state of the old Confederacy that has an equal rights amendment in their own constitution.
WALTER DEVRIES:
What other indices would you cite?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Well, I suppose those in public office. And I would have to go maybe to the legislature and I think there are now seven women in the Texas legislature . . .
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
. . . Arizona made the most remarkable increase in women legislators.
JACK BASS:
We're dealing just with the southern states.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I know.
JACK BASS:
Let me ask you this, if you take the eleven states of the old Confederacy and this will just be very impressionistic . . . but if you rated them on a scale of one to ten in terms of progress made of women in politics, and ten was the highest, one the lowest, how would you rate each one, starting with Texas?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Well, it would be so impressionistic that it would be worthless.

Page 21
JACK BASS:
Well, I . . .
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Let me ask you, was it North Carolina that elected a woman to the Supreme Court . . .
JACK BASS:
Yes, as Chief Justice. She had been on the court for some time.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
She had been on the court, but even so, to date, we do not have a statewide . . . I mean, if you are looking at that . . .
WALTER DEVRIES:
A statewide officer?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Yeah, that is a woman. I had those figures, and the thing that makes me hesitate about the Deep South states is that I have had the figures about other states, the total number of women office holders. And they have been from six percent, which was in Texas of seventeen thousand elected officeholders . . . yeah, eleven hundred are women. Six percent in Texas to twelve percent in Oregon. But during that, I never had any occasion to check the old South states. Now, I can tell you, I've been in Louisiana and . . .
WALTER DEVRIES:
What's your impression of the way that they are organized and . . .
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Organized caucus-wise?
JACK BASS:
Not just caucus-wise, but in terms of influence as well and the degree of development, I guess, is what I am talking about?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I don't know that much. I can tell you just my impressions. I can see, for example, in Louisiana . . . I can speak several ways, I can speak of just the last couple of weeks when I was there with the caucus and there is a strain between the black and the white women. It is a pitiful little thing beginning, but there is a strain there. Then, you go over to an affluent place like the Sophie Newcomb campus and you find young women just amazedly conscious of where they want to go. But that doesn't say anything about political power, if you want to call it that, or even visibility. Visibility is the first thing.

Page 22
JACK BASS:
Projecting ten years, and in the South, do you see the role of women in politics being a significant force in terms of change?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I hope so, that's all I can say.
WALTER DEVRIES:
What have you seen in the past ten years?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Well, again, on that I have to pretty much limit myself to Texas. I have been traveling in the other states the last two or three years.
JACK BASS:
What will this change mean? Beyond strictly women's issues?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I hope that it means less racism. You know, I used to say over and over that I hoped women could be the bridge to the more conspicuous minorities. I don't know if that is going to be the case. It's pitifully little right now. But I see women really emerging.
WALTER DEVRIES:
How?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
With the battles ahead and then you see some places where they can . . . [interruption] . . . and then, of course, you get women and you can get them all up and down the spectrum, too. Isn't there a woman in North Carolina who fights the equal rights amendment?
WALTER DEVRIES:
She got beaten.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Did she get beaten? I spoke to the governor of Louisiana the other day, because women don't feel that he is really helping them. And I asked him why, and he said, "Well, you don't have to go past the point that the greatest opponent of the ERA in the legislature is a woman." So, how can I generalize about women?
WALTER DEVRIES:
That's a [unclear] Edwards saying.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Oh, I know it. But let me tell you the beautiful conclusion of that.
WALTER DEVRIES:
I didn't mean to throw that in, but he's . . .

Page 23
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I know it, but let me tell you the beautiful conclusion to that. The president of the state AFL-CIO came up and I was introduced to him. And I had heard that in Louisiana, the state AFL-CIO has been very helpful to the ERA and so, I thanked him accordingly. And Edwards said to him, "Well, do you think that there is anything that can be done or is it hopeless?" . . . something like that. And the state president said, "There would be one thing that would pass the ERA and that would be the forceful support of the governor." [Laughter] I thought it was beautiful. I didn't want to hear another thing. I just said, "Thank you," and went on.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Did you get a chance to talk to him at all, the president of the state AFL-CIO?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Just that brief time. [interruption] The thing of it is, when I am cruising around, I only see people that are involved, limited as it may be.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Is there any change in their involvement or the types of people, that you have seen in the last two or three years, or four years?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Well, I went to a political workshop in Atlanta. It's being done by the National Women's Educational Fund.
WALTER DEVRIES:
I helped them with it.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
You did?
WALTER DEVRIES:
I helped them in terms of getting guests and so on.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Yeah, well, again, it was well attended, enthusiastic. Women that had not run before or if had not this time, planned to next time. And that has a kind of mushroom effect. As I say, women will be in office in significant numbers, the only question is whose lifetime.
JACK BASS:
Do you know of any other southern state that has a women's caucus that is organized to the extent that North Carolina is, from the standpoint of

Page 24
being both bipartisan, of having come up with a data bank on women's capabilities, and providing input into the governor's office and getting appointments made, and providing the kind of workshops that they do for women candidates? Is Texas that organized?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Texas does all of that.
JACK BASS:
Does the governor make appointments on the basis of that imput?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I'll tell you a funny story on that. I addressed the state caucus a year ago and at that time, made the statement that there was not one woman on the appellate court in this state, intermediary court. Within four days, there was a woman appointed. The appointment came so fast that they did not even have her first name in the governor's office. That's one isolated instance. I am trying to think of some other states. When I went down to Florida in December of '73, but that was . . . you see, in some places, so much of the effort has been put on the equal rights amendments. Florida is one of those states and they were still trying to work in coalition. The same thing was true when I was in Alabama a year and a half ago. South Carolina, I hear . . . and South Carolina did elect its first black woman to the legislature this time. Did you know that?
WALTER DEVRIES:
Yeah, that's his home state.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I hear that there is some chance for the ERA in South Carolina. I would like for us to get through with the ERA myself.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Isn't that getting to be sort of a hang-up now? It has almost gotten to be a minus rather than a plus.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
What do you mean?
WALTER DEVRIES:
In terms of time and money and . . .
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
You know, I guess that . . . I am just appalled that we are sort of phantoms floating around in the Constitution, personally. I would rather

Page 25
not put my time on it, in a sense, but I can't get over that.
JACK BASS:
Do you plan to be a candidate again?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I have no idea. I have never programmed my political life. I think that maybe all of us politicians that have lost learned something from Nixon's '62 declaration. [Laughter]
WALTER DEVRIES:
Any regrets?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
About what?
WALTER DEVRIES:
About what you have done in the last . . .
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
No, no.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Would you do it the same way?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Given what I had to go on, yeah. You know, I went up to Washington the day after this primary. And it was a miserable experience, to put it mildly, miserable. And Sander Vanocur said something to me that put it very aptly. He said that it was a no-win situation. And I stayed out of what I thought was a miserable situation.
WALTER DEVRIES:
It's still no-win.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
It's still no-win. It would have been no-win that way, because I would have been wretched with myself. The best thing is to move on to something else.
WALTER DEVRIES:
But you don't think that that primary defeat precludes another chance at the state White House?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
My concern isn't so much the external realities as the internal ones. I will have to make my own decision.
JACK BASS:
Do you see any substantive difference . . .
WALTER DEVRIES:
Well, what I was getting at, some people say that after that defeat . . .

Page 26
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I know, Time Magazine said it, too. Well, let them be. Those are not the things that . . . that's what I was trying to say, that's not the things that my decision is made on. I am aware of that.
JACK BASS:
Do you see substantive regional differences in terms of women in politics and specifically, do you see the South, Texas to Virginia, that whole region, is there any difference in women in politics there from elsewhere in the country?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
You know someplace that I have been impressed with the women? Tennessee.
WALTER DEVRIES:
We've been there.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Nashville, I guess, is where there is . . . a Carleen Waller?
WALTER DEVRIES:
Yeah, we interviewed her. Very lengthy, it went about four hours. Carleen Waller.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Carleen. Yes. Carleen Waller.
[interruption]
JACK BASS:
I'm asking you really, is there a cultural difference.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I know, people have asked me that and I could argue either way on it. I know that traditionally, it is to say, "Yes." And then I have seen places where women have a hard time outside the South, too. Sometimes, I wonder if it is maybe a more rural-urban thing rather than a difference in . . . I mean, the areas that are predominatly rural, I can take that from my own experience. I am always a disaster in rural areas.
JACK BASS:
In other words, as a candidate?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Yes. And maybe that is the difference rather than a regional North-South. It's the rural-urban. I know that that goes against your . . .
WALTER DEVRIES:
You know, we are trying to write a book on southern politics. And

Page 27
the premise is that southern politics, whether male or female, or somehow different from the politics in other regions of the country. But if it is based on the rural-urban in the case of women, then there probably isn't much difference.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I think that should be considered.
JACK BASS:
How do you define the role of religious fundamentalism in terms of shaping political attitudes?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Would you ask that again?
WALTER DEVRIES:
Be precise. [Laughter]
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Yeah, I know. Because I'm not part of that movement.
JACK BASS:
How would you define religious fundamentalism in terms of shaping political attitudes?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Well, I think that it is strong. The thing that strikes me most, I guess that it is part of the political situation in terms of the traditional roles. This is where I was most struck by it, because I could never get past that point, the traditional roles of men and women. And I go to Alabama on that, when I debated Phyllis Schlafly in Birmingham on the Equal Rights Amendment and someone stood up and asked me if I was a Christian. And the inference was that anyone who espoused such things as I was couldn't be. And I can't even get into the other political attitudes, because I do think that that has so shaped the concept of women's roles.
JACK BASS:
What other issues do you see associated with that? In terms of liberals and conservatives?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Well, first I think that you run into the distinction between the races. I think that is very prevalent. Everybody in his or her place. And I think that has enormous ramifications politically. "For the preservation of the status quo." I remember being in Wichita Falls in one of the '72 campaigns and a man said, "You just can't mention the fact that you are a Catholic, that

Page 28
you are a woman, or that you are a wet." I mean, I was just shut out. And the basic core of that is . . . well, I don't know which came first.
JACK BASS:
What role does the frontier tradition play in Texas politics? Particularly in terms of . . .
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Guns.
JACK BASS:
Could you go beyond that, in terms of rugged individualism shaping political attitudes and in terms of providing state services for people? I mean, it usually is pictured as big wealth wanting to keep taxes down.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Yeah, but it's more than that. I can recall being stunned when I first went to the legislature because I had been in cities, but I hadn't been over the state and I was simply appalled by the reaction of many of the legislators from West Texas and their hostility toward Mexican Americans. I mean, even more than the black situation, we run into that. Now, whether that is frontier, and I guess that in part it was. The conquerors or what have you. It is appalling. West Texas could match deep South Texas anytime on that subject. I mean, they still fight things like bilingual education, you know. "This is America, this is Texas. If they don't learn that language at home, it's their hard luck." I think that the frontier theme has had a lot to do with the treatment and the attitude towards Mexican Americans. It's all pretty appalling.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Has it changed?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Not much.
JACK BASS:
What's the political affect of suburbinization of Texas?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Well, which suburbinization of Texas do you mean? The lily-white enclaves or something that some places may be a little different? One, I think, is just to sort of remove yourself from the problems, and I think

Page 29
that a lot of that goes on. Right now, where we live is all white. They are different from the way that my life was in Corpus Christi. I mean that in just everyday experiences, I don't see any blacks except people that work as domestics. You don't see any Mexican Americans. And I guess that you can remove yourself and you vote accordingly, if you've had a loss of memory. I found in the legislature, no, it was after I left, but probably the most significant change is the single member districts. And why? Because the inner city got some consideration that way. I remember a great statement made by the wife of a legislator. Dallas was notorious for having a slate selected, I don't know if you are aware of it, and when they ran countywide, you had to get on that slate, or you would never win.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Who put together the slate?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Business groups. They have a specific name up there, I've forgotten it. And anyway, when the single member district opinion came down, they were just stunned. Only a handful of them ran, by the way. But one wife came to me, one wife of a legislator, and she said, "Does that mean that Doug has to run from where we live?" And I said, "Yes, it does." So, the single member district has been a countervailing influence, but surely one slow to come.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Could I go back to that liberal-conservative thing? Do you . . . you are perceived in Texas as a liberal. Do you perceive yourself that way?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
No. I perceive myself, for lack of a better term, more radical than that.
WALTER DEVRIES:
For example, on what? Take taxation. How would you differ from a liberal?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Well, you see, I see myself not so much in what we would be saying, but in what we would be doing. I guess that I've got a congenital

Page 30
defect with this "you go along to get along." And that, with rare exception, Yarborough is an exception, I have seen among the liberals in Texas . . . in fact, I have seen where that term is sort of institutionalized. I can't speak for anyone else. I'm not even critical of them. Let's just say that I distinguish myself from them.
WALTER DEVRIES:
But on a specific issue . . .
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
No, no, it might not be on a specific issue.
WALTER DEVRIES:
You are talking about strategy, not issues.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
OK, well . . .
JACK BASS:
Let me ask you the question a little differently. Suppose you had gotten elected in 1972, what would have done as governor different than Briscoe, if you want to put it that way? And while I'm asking that, let me ask you this question? Did you come closer than you expected, or did you expect to lose?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
No, you . . . at least, I have never gone into a race without fighting my life out to win. And I have always been grossly offended, beginning with my first race, when people would assume, maybe because I was a woman, maybe because I was a long shot, that it was just some kind of exercise. I've never gone into anything like that. Well, one of the first things . . . and he waited until the end to do it and it is a big problem in this state and I don't have the answer for it, but I would have put people to work immediately on it. That's public school financing. Immediately. There was a big setback for us to have the Rodriguez case. And that was one of the really significant issues. For example, I would never have asked for a stay in the redistricting. Just on specifics like that. I would probably right off have recommended a public

Page 31
utilities commission, which everybody is talking about now.
WALTER DEVRIES:
What about a corporate or personal income tax?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
A corporate profits tax I proposed back then. I proposed it . . . as a matter of fact, I cosponsored one. And so, it isn't so much a matter, as I say, of what we talk about as what maybe we do or what we settle for. And where I think one of the most significant powers of the governor is, because of that spread out kind of authority that we have, is in the appointments. And I made quite a study of this and did what I could to discuss it, but to no avail during this last thing. Because this time, we had at least one term of Briscoe to look at. By and large, Texas has been governed by campaign contributors. And this term was no exception. Now, maybe some people don't find anything wrong with that.
WALTER DEVRIES:
You mean in terms of appointments or policies?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Appointments. Straight-out appointments. I have a file on it, because it is fascinating stuff. Even interesting is the kind of thing of campaign contributions coming in a month before or after an appointment. I am not talking about steady folks that give you money at campaign time, but also those giving you money around the time of your appointment. I had all that reasearched. Again, because I didn't really think that there had been any basic change in the kind of governor that we had.
WALTER DEVRIES:
Now, you've come up with a new wing. We have the Texas radicals, liberals, moderates, conservatives, and we have Wallace. Now we have five wings.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
That's right. You know, what I used to do to get away from the tag of "liberal" in '72, because I . . . well, we have a lot in differences.

Page 32
WALTER DEVRIES:
Yeah, but this is one southern state where that label seems to mean something to people.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Well, anyway, I tried to get away from that label by calling myself an "insurgent." I started that in El Paso. I took not the first definition of "insurgent", but the second. It sounded safe enough to me. [Laughter]
WALTER DEVRIES:
That's Texas, to threaten a coup d'etat rather than work with . . . [Laughter] Well, what is the second definition?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Willing to work within the system, but for change. Something like that. I remember that the first one is pretty strong, a turnover, or whatever. Well, I guess that that's it. I've probably not told you much.
JACK BASS:
What is the role of organized labor in Texas politics?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
You ask them. [Laughter]
JACK BASS:
Is there a difference between George Brown and Hubbard, for example?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Not George Brown. George Brown is Brown and Root. You are thinking about . . . before Hubbard. Hank Brown. Well, I never worked, I mean, I wasn't in office. I remember that my first experience was that they were going to go in support of my opponent. I had such naivete when I ran in '68, I took the hardest race on in our district. But I simply took it on because that office was held by a Republican and at that time, I thought that there was a difference between Democrats and Republicans. [Laughter]
WALTER DEVRIES:
You concluded that there wasn't?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
No, this was my first experience and I got word that AFL-CIO was supporting my opponent. You see, he had been good enough to them. So, what's their role? It varies. I guess that all of them, Briscoe and Hill certainly have their support. Hobby, I don't know. Roy Evans was one of the

Page 33
team of Brown and Hubbard.
JACK BASS:
Is there any difference between the two of them?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Evans and Hubbard?
JACK BASS:
Yes.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Again, I can only personalize, which is not always the best thing to do. I think that in my own experience in '72, Evans opposed me, I would say, in many ways. And Hubbard fought for me, he was on the executive council. '74 comes along and Hubbard assures Briscoe that he will not have . . . again, I put it in quotes . . . "any liberal opposition." I was not privy to that conversation, but I've heard it from two different sources. Billie Carr was there, she can confirm it. I think that maybe there are differences in their relationship to their staff and all that kind of thing, but I am speaking now outwardly, and I don't see any difference at all. Anything else?
JACK BASS:
Anything else, Walter?
WALTER DEVRIES:
What should we have asked that we didn't?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I couldn't even tell you right now. I'm sure that there will be something that I will think of, but I'm sorry.
JACK BASS:
Let me ask you this. Texas is unique in southern states of the old Confederacy in that it has, outside of women, it has two distinct minorities. The Chicanos and blacks, who together, form a substantial minority. Around thirty percent or more. Do you see those two groups exerting more influence in the future?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Well, I think that's where it would be helpful to talk to Leonel. I think that is what they are working on here between the blacks and the Chicanos. And they really do have a kind of base here, Benny Reyes and

Page 34
Castillo. But of course, Houston has always been, for Texas, the seat of liberalism or minorities, or whatever you want to say. More than any other area. I mean, the handful of rich "liberals" are here. Yarborough can tell you that. When you raise money for a statewide race, probably more than half will come from Houston. So, I think . . .
JACK BASS:
Is there a specific Jewish role in politics in Texas?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
There was, and then I went to talk to somebody about it the other day, Bill Blue, he's the house liberal for the Baker Box law firm. And he was saying that since the whole Israel defense, that much of the liberal money has gone there. There was a time, I have never been part of it, because it was before I was up here, my experience has been . . . that's why I brought up Dr. Garcia, my experience from all that ten or fifteen years that I had in so-called "community affairs," OEO and that whole gambit of stuff, my experience was principally with Mexican Americans and some blacks. You see, Corpus Christi is about forty-nine percent Mexican Americans. Nothing like that votes. But again, there is an enormous difference between the power, if you want to call it that, of the blacks and the Mexican Americans in urban areas and in rural areas. So, that's why I can't say it's . . . I first saw it in '68 when I campaigned. I went out into rural Nueces County, Corpus Christi is in Nueces County, and into Kleberg County. And it was like fifty years behind even Corpus Christi. That's the way it is in West Texas. And in East Texas, in every campaign, you talk to some blacks and they say, "We are going to organize and we are going to register some voters." And it just doesn't happen. So, that part of Texas is very old Confederacy. Well, Houston is the most striking example. And I think that you will see changes in those mid-sized cities with

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single member districts. You will see an enormous change with the Craig Washingtons and the Mickey Lelands and the Ben Reyeses here. Because that gives a focal point, I guess traditionally like the sheriff used to be. A liberal does a darn sight better when they are contesting single member districts, I can tell you that. I've had that experience. That's where the vote gets out.
JACK BASS:
Success breeds success?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Well, it is a focal point for local interests.
JACK BASS:
You mean registration, getting out the vote and this sort of thing?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
A surprising number of those of minorities that came in two years ago did not have opposition this time.
JACK BASS:
Anything else, Walter?
WALTER DEVRIES:
No. I enjoyed it very much.
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
I hope that I've helped you some, I doubt it.
[Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
. . . the favored, the anointed.
JACK BASS:
Barnes was in '72?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Oh, yes. And had I not been there for four years and observed how he was treated with kid gloves, how he even made political mistakes like that Barnes Bread Bill to put a tax on food, that he consented to, I would have probably . . . had I been at a distance, I would probably have voted for him, because he sounded better and had all the trappings. But, I was right there and I thought he was limited. He was the one that had been selected. And one of the few persons in '72 who said, "Go ahead and run," was Professor McCleskey, he is now at Virginia. He was the head of the government department at Texas. He told me this, "There are only two big

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races in Texas and Barnes, regardless of all this buildup . . . " You know, he got the largest number of votes when he ran for lieutenant governor, all of his NATO assignments from Johnson, he said, "Regardless of the votes he's gotten before, he has never been tested. There are only two races in this state and that is the Senate and the governor's."
And so, whatever his reasons, he has his reasons as well as I have mine, about his showings, and there are a dozen others, I guess. I know that no one would take him on. At the end of May of '72, I went to a Dallas Gridiron dinner and I said that I have never seen three sicker men, in expressions, that evening, than Barnes, Bentsen, and Strauss. And yet, within nine months of that time, that faction of the Democratic Party was well entrenched in the DNC. With Strauss there and with Bentsen playing a role in the campaign. And through that experience in '72, everything points to that it was Barnes who was being groomed, and you just don't know how seriously groomed, again . . . it is over with, you know. But, it was quite extraordinary.
JACK BASS:
Do you think that Strauss is in effect, fronting for Bentsen?
FRANCES FARENTHOLD:
Sure. I don't know if you could even say "fronting." It's one and the same. Well, I'll see you.
END OF INTERVIEW