Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sibley Hoists A Brew, Watches Game At Crickett's

One eye cocked to the Baylor-Duke game, the other on his
interlocutors, David Sibley hoisted a glass with the Blue
Collar Republican Club at Crickett's Bar & Grill in downtown
Waco Sunday afternoon.

He made no political statements and took no questions from
the assembled voters.

A former State Senator with 11 years of experience, he
started swapping Bobby Bullock stories with The Legendary.

He revealed that he has been working on a biography of Mr.
Bullock now off and on for several years. In fact, he
tried out a prospective title that was appropriate and pro-

Lt. Governor Bobby Bullock was one of three people "Texas
Monthly" Magazine once said everyone in the state know
automatically by their first name - Ann, Bobby, and Willie.

First on his list was the one about how Mr. Bullock
locked he and two other Republican Senators up with three
Democratic Senators in the small apartment behind the
President's rostrum in the Senate chamber.

"Sit yourselves down," Mr. Bullock told them. Mr. Sibley
mimicked his gestures - smoking and blowing billows of smoke
out in a broad half moon over his shoulder, stabbing his
forefinger at the ground. "God, how he cussed me. I mean,
I've been cussed before, but I think that was the limit,
that cussing.

"Baylor was playing Texas that night - down there - and I
was supposed to go to the game with Governor Bush." He hung
his head. "I never did get down there."

He is a 6-foot, 6-inch former Baylor varsity cage man.

By the time the weekend was over, the six senators and the
Lt. Governor had emerged from the smoky back room with a
brand new workers' compensation insurance package for Texas

"That's when he said to call in the lawyers. He never called
the lawyers in until he had the big stuff settled; then he
would call the lawyers in to handle the details."

Premiums went down in certain high risk occupations; claims
were settled quickly and the new regulations tightened up
the possibility of long-term, drawn-out tort lawsuits.
Lawyers won't even listen to prospective clients who were
injured on the job.

Mr. Bullock often told his constituents that David Sibley
was the best man he ever worked with in the Legislature.

Mr. Sibley remembered a Rotary luncheon they held in
Hillsboro where he was debuting as a candidate for the State
Senate. Before they called him to the podium, he said,
long-time insurance and real estate man Will Bond stood to
ask the throng of business men if he could say something.
He raised Bobby Bullock after his mother and father parted
in a divorce. Mr. Bullock lived in the Bond family's home
while he went to high school and junior college, then went
on to the University of Texas.

"He told those people, 'This is Bobby's man, right here.'
And, good God, I won in Hill County by - what was it - 60
percent? Something like that."

Mr. Bond, a scion of a pioneer family that specialized in
hardware and windmills, was at one time a member of the
State Welfare Board and a frequent visitor to the State
Capitol where he had much influence in the Legislature over
insurance regulation.

In another Bobby Bullock story, he recalled how the stormy
Lt. Governor once sent a bag of steer manure to a newspaper
editor who he said had lied about him in print. "He said,
'Hey, this will go with the rest of the B.S. you put out.'"

Then there was the time he saw Mr. Bullock order a State
Senator out of a closed caucus for the same reason. He
seems to have set a lot of store by the truth.

It's been a long time. In the intervening years, Mr. Sibley
has redone the laws governing life, property and casualty
insurance, electrical power services, transportation issues
concerning toll roads and the way the state's water managers
such as the Brazos River Authority do business with their
customers - cities who buy water, farmers' co-ops who need
irrigation, electrical companies who buy hydroelectric

It's all been part of a series of bills either authored by
himself and sponsored by then Representative Kip Averitt, or
authored by Mr. Averitt and sponsored by Mr. Sibley, then
signed into law by Governor George W. Bush. Until recently,
he was the paid lobbyist for 11 power companies, State Farm
Insurance, and the Brazos River Authority. He dropped those
commitments to run for the Senate again.

He is vying against three other candidates to fill the
unexpired term of Senator Averitt.

They are Darren Yancy, a Burleson insurance and real estate
man; Brian Birdwell, a retired U.S. Army Colonel who was
injured in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and now makes his
home in Grandview; and Gayle Avant, a Baylor University
Political Science professor who makes his home at Waco.

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