That was what state Rep. José Aliseda told the crowd at the Bee County Chamber of Commerce banquet last Thursday when he described his response to those who opposed a voter identification bill in the Texas Legislature earlier this year.
Aliseda said he was often accused of certain demographic groups of trying to disenfranchise “their people.”
“The Republicans realized they had a secret weapon,” Aliseda said of his experience as a freshmen member of the Texas House of Representatives this year. “A brown-skinned man who knew what he was talking about.”
When the day came for Aliseda to rise and speak to the other representatives in the House, all 32 freshmen representatives walked up and stood behind him.
Those freshmen lawmakers had been told by the more seasoned representatives that, as freshmen, their job was to “sit down and shut up and just let the seniority do the work.”
The problem Aliseda said he saw was that the Republicans with seniority did not have their act together. The Democrats did.
Aliseda said his tenacity earned him the nickname “The Chairman of the Self Loathing Committee.”
The lawmaker said one of the lessons he learned in Austin was that the truth did not mean anything when it came to testifying before a committee.
Those who testified would make outlandish claims but they were never required to provide witnesses or evidence to back up their claims.
Aliseda, a former county judge in Bee County, said he had an advantage over many of the African-American and Hispanic Republicans who were in the Legislature for their first term.
“They hadn’t mixed it up on the commissioners court.”
“I came back from Austin and took a cold shower and felt a lot better,” the District 35 representative said. “It’s good to be home.”
Although the local attorney is the first state representative to hail from Beeville in 40 years, Aliseda said he will be hanging up his legislative spurs at the end of 2012, when his term ends.
The former county attorney said he intends to run for 156th District attorney, representing Bee, Live Oak and McMullen counties next year.
He hopes to replace current District Attorney Martha Warner, who will be leaving the office at the end of her term.
Earlier in the evening, diners heard from David Blackmon, a seasoned oil business executive and director of government affairs for the El Paso Corporation in Houston. He had exciting news for everyone at the banquet concerning the development of the Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas formation.
Although fracturing deep rock formations with water is a significant concern among environmentalists, Blackmon said operators in the Eagle Ford are lucky to be able to tap into a deep aquifer and get all the water they need.
“We’re very fortunate in that regard here in South Texas,” Blackmon said.
The speaker described the field as the biggest thing in Texas since the East Texas oil field.
Blackmon said that only one field in the Eagle Ford has enough natural gas to supply Texas for the next seven to 14 years.
The oil and gas deposits in the Eagle Ford span 24 counties, Blackmon said.
“It’s a resource that’s going to take a long time to develop. It’s a very deep, very dense field with lots of hydrocarbons.”
Blackmon said Texas now has an abundance of natural gas but prices are still strong for oil and liquid natural gas. Bee County, he said, has a dry natural gas that will be needed on the market.
“We will see more drilling in Bee County as gas prices rise,” he said.
Although Beeville is booming, other cities in South Texas have seen phenomenal growth.
Blackmon predicted that thousands and thousands of jobs will be created here over the years and tax receipts for cities, counties and school districts will continue to rise.
One of the purchases driving up sales tax receipts in this part of the state is the oil field equipment. “Each drill bit costs more than a Chevy Suburban,” Blackmon said.
The speaker said 700 wells have been developed in the Eagle Ford this year and next year he expects that to climb to 800-900 wells.
Blackmon said the oil and gas activity in this part of Texas should easily continue for the next 10 to 20 years.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.