Molly Mitchell and Fred McClure chaired the Congressional Reception in the Cannon Caucus Room in February. Our sponsors were Heublein and the Big Texan Steak House of Amarillo and nearly 1200 members and guests jammed the room. New Officers for 1989-1990, including Molly Mitchell as President, were elected at the Annual Meeting which was held in the Hyatt Regency. Lori Rogers of Congressman Tom DeLay’s office served as Chairman, of the event. Following the business meeting, a buffet was served around a large replica of the Washington Monument. The Texas State Society’s Cherry Blossom Princess, Stacy DeLisle Winkelmann was presented.
In June, Texans gathered again for the annual Father’s Day Picnic at Potomac Valley Lodge. The event, chaired by Congressman Albert Bustamante and Joe Bracewell, drew over 1000 people to enjoy golf, tennis, softball, bingo and barbecue.
August brought Texans out again. Bob Mansker chartered buses filled with refreshments and took a group to the Baltimore Orioles/Texas Rangers baseball game. On August 27, Robert Hardesty, former Special Assistant to President Lyndon Johnson and the President’s grandson, Lyn Nugent, addressed those who gathered for the Lyndon B. Johnson birthday celebration. Lyndon Boozer and Alisa Malechek co-chaired this successful event.
In September, the Sheraton Washington Hotel’s ballroom was transformed into a Texas dance hall for the Society’s autumn event, the Terlingua Two-Step. Party chairs, Jill Collins and Congressman Charles Wilson put together an evening of brisket, fajitas and tacos all enjoyed to the sounds of Alvin Crow and The Pleasant Valley Boys.
1990 began with an evening at the Kennedy Center for a performance of “A Tuna Christmas.” The sequel to the long-running comedy hit Greater Tuna, kept Texas State Society members laughing and reminiscing about Texas. Following the show, Oryx Energy Company hosted a party for the cast and Society members attending the show.
In February, Congressman Lamar Smith and Michael Keeling organized the Congressional Reception that drew nearly 1500 Texans. Again, Heublein, Inc. sponsored the reception through their generous contribution of beverages for the evening.
Miss Sharon Elizabeth Clark was honored as the 1990 Texas State Society Cherry Blossom Princess at the Annual Meeting and Reception in April. Congressman Greg Laughlin and Lois Auer organized a wonderful “Texas Two-Steppin’ at Teatime” reception in the atrium of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Administration Building. Texas food and music added to the delightful evening after Mike Hudson was elected President.
Again, Congressman Albert Bustamante and Joe Bracewell co-chaired the Father’s Day Picnic at Potomac Valley Lodge. A record crowd enjoyed the many activities and a feast of good Texas-style barbecue.
On July 26, the Texas State Society joined with the Texas Breakfast Club to honor Texas’ own Sarah McClendon on her 80th birthday. After recalling her years at White House press conferences, Congressmen Jake Pickle, Jack Brooks, Ralph Hall, Charlie Stenhohn, Albert Bustamante, Dick Armey, Steve Bartlett and Greg Laughlin had their turns roasting her. She was presented with a Congressional plate, and a dedication honoring her for “her untiring commitment to champion the plight of the many without public voice.”
In honor of former President Lyndon Johnson’s birthday, more than 50 friends and members of the Society gathered at the LBJ Memorial Grove on Sunday, August 26, 1990 to celebrate. Dr. George Davis, pastor to the former president, opened the afternoon with an invocation. Harry J. Middleton, director of the LBJ Library at The University of Texas at Austin spoke fondly of his years with President Johnson and shared many remembrances. Event chairman Lyndon Boozer, along with his volunteers, served lemonade, cookies and watermelon at a reception following the celebration.
The fall was highlighted by the Terlingua Two-Step Rodeo Dance on October 12. The daughter of legendary Hank Williams, Jett Williams, and the Drifting Cowboys Band set the tone for a night of dancing and a complete Tex-Mex buffet. Co-chairs Jill Collins and Ann Thornburg coordinated this terrific function.
1991 began with the annual Congressional Reception drawing over 1000 Texas State Society members gathering in the Cannon Caucus Room to honor the Texas Congressional Delegation. This event was made possible by the generous support of Heublein, Inc. and Miller Brewing Company. The co-chairs for the event were Congressman Bill Archer and Congressman Pete Geren.
In April, Lia Lucero was honored as the 1991 Cherry Blossom Princess at the Annual Meeting and Reception at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Pentagon City. Patti Pyle and Barry Williamson planned this wonderful event. Following the election of Ann Thornburg as President and introductions of Lia, guests enjoyed fajitas and other Tex-Mex fare as they celebrated another Cherry Blossom season.
On June 11, the Society helped kick off the Texas Festival at the Kennedy Center, a two week festival celebrating the vast cultural offerings of the State, with an evening of the American Film Institute’s showing of “Giant” in the Eisenhower Theater. After the movie, guests enjoyed Texas barbecue and Texas dancing on the Roof Terrace level. Congressman Tom DeLay, Tiffany Gleason and Tina Blanton organized a most successful Father’s Day Picnic at Potomac Valley Lodge in Poolesville, Maryland. It drew more than 1500 members for a day of softball, golf, tennis, bingo, barbecue and great door prizes.
Over 45 Texans braved the summer heat to attend a Texas Rangers/Baltimore Orioles baseball game on August 15. Dave Mason rounded up these faithful fans, loaded them in a bus filled with refreshments and headed to Baltimore to watch the Orioles beat the Rangers 9 to 2.
Then, on August 27, about 75 LBJ and Texas State Society loyalists had the great privilege of hearing honored guest Dale Miller share his fondest remembrances of our former President. The celebration of Lyndon B. Johnson’s 83rd birthday included a presentation of the colors by the Army Color Guard, taps by a Navy bugler, and the invocation by Dr. George Davis, long-time pastor to LBJ. Chairman of this event, Lyndon Boozer, and co-chairwoman, Gwen Moore, had welcome refreshments of cookies, lemonade and watermelon waiting for guests after the ceremony.
Finally, on October 12, was the event everyone had been waiting for. Nearly 600 Texans turned out at the Sheraton Washington Hotel for an evening of two-steppin’ to the Front Porch Swing band and chili supper with all the fixins’. The hotel ballroom was transformed into a Texas Chili Parlor complete with red and white tablecloths, plenty of chips, hot sauce and beer. No guest left empty handed, as white cowboy hats were given to each person, and so ended 1991.
A salute to the Texas pecan took place on the Capitol grounds the first week in February. The planting of an 18-foot Pawnes Pecan tree, grown in Texas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was organized by Brownwood businessman Groner Pitts and Congressman Charlie Stenholm. The tree was designated as an official tree representing Texas by the Capitol Architect.
Also in February was the lively annual Congressional reception for the Texas Congressional Delegation in the Cannon Caucus Room. The reception drew record crowds as folks consumed Mikeska’s barbecue of El Campo and enjoyed the music of the Texas musical icon Willie Nelson. Chairwomen Tina Blanton and Tiffany Gleason did a superb job organizing this Texas State Society traditional event.
On April 9th, the Annual Meeting and election of the Texas State Society Officers and Board for 1992-1993, including Joe Bracewell as President, and the reception honoring the Cherry Blossom Princess, was held at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City. Miss Rachael Anne Reeder, daughter of longtime member Joe Reeder, was honored as the 1992 Princess. Thanks to Chairwoman Jill Collins, the meeting and reception were delightful. Larry Meyers and Billy Moore kicked off the spring/summer on May 14 with a Spring Book Fair at the Botanic Gardens on Capitol Hill. The event saw several Texas publishers and authors promoting their wares over sips of Texas wines that were served.
Thanks to co-chairs Congressman Greg Laughlin, Congressman Sam Johnson, Tom Sellers, Brenda Fleming, Jim Greenwood, and Lesley Gilbert, the Annual Father’s Day Picnic, held at Potomac Valley Lodge Picnic Area, was big fun. The weather was unseasonably cool, but nevertheless there were more than 1500 Texans, over 60 corporate sponsors and 14 Congressional participants. With barbecue chicken-n-trimmings, plenty of face painting, softball and dancing to the Dixie Rebels, there was not “down” time.
Over 80 people were on hand August 27 to honor the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson, on his 84th birthday including his daughter Lynda Robb and her husband, former LBJ Chief of Staff and former Congressman James R. Jones. Thanks to the planning by Lyndon Boozer, everyone had a delightful afternoon.
On September 14, the Texas State Society voted John Howard to provide his able assistance as General Counsel. Laure McLaughlin provided great fall festivities with the first annual Tailgate party. What a way to start the Southwest and Lone Star Conferences. The October event, held at Jones Point Park in Alexandria, featured a scrumptious chili cook-off between numbers of Texas schools. Hats off to A&M Univ. Alums. Prairie View – they won!
In January, Joe Bracewell and his team of volunteers kicked off the New Year with an unforgettable Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball honoring the Secretary of Treasury Lloyd Bentsen at the Washington Sheraton. Four autographed and beautifully framed prints by Texas artist G. Harvey depicting scenes of Washington were given to Secretary Bentsen for display at the U.S. Treasury in honor of his distinguished service to Texas and the nation. Six thousand guests gathered to hear the sounds of Mark Chestnutt, Holly Dunn, Marcia Ball, Asleep at the Wheel, Michael Marin Murphy and the Front Porch Swing Band — and await the give-away of a red, fully-loaded Ford F-150 pickup converted to use natural gas. It was a night to remember, and remains the most sought after Inaugural Ball ticket.
In February, the annual Congressional Reception was, as always, an enjoyable opportunity to honor our Texas Delegation and celebrate the 200th anniversary of Sam Houston’s Birthday. Co-chairs Lois Auer and Kerrill Scrivner had Mikeska’s barbecue flown up from El Campo and indulged us with margaritas, Texas trimmings, and a special birthday cake.
Ashley Coffman was welcomed as our 1993 Cherry Blossom Princess at our Annual Meeting and Cherry Blossom Reception on April 1. Chairpersons Charlotte Cope and Nichole Jenkins organized this lovely reception at the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City and treated us to sounds from the Tyler Jazz Ensemble and entertainment troupe “Harmony and Understanding” from Tyler Junior College. Congressman Ralph Hall introduced the group and participated in the festivities.
At the preceding annual meeting, Kerrill Scrivner was elected President and a new slate of officers and board members were approved.
In May, Prairie View’s winning chili recipe competed against the Arkansas State Society at the National Kidney Foundation Chili Cookoff. Thanks to Texas State Society chefs Roy Brooks, Amanda Bullard, Tina Blanton and Laure McLaughlin, the Texas chili was declared the winner and left the razorbacks squealing.
Potomac Valley Lodge was again the setting for our annual Father’s Day Picnic. Picnic Chairpersons Congressman Sam Johnson and Brenda Fleming and co-chairpersons Congressman Ralph Hall, Lesley Gilbert and Nick Nicolai did a terrific job of putting together a day of games, door prizes, country and western dance lessons and contest, and a barbecue feast.
Through the efforts of Lyndon Boozer and Grover Bynum, the Texas State Society served its first Texas Wine Dinner on June 26 at the City Club. The four course menu was prepared from recipes of the chefs from four outstanding Texas restaurants. Special guest speakers for the evening were Ms. Sarah Jane English, well-known author and speaker on food, wine and travel and Ms. Susan Auler, owner of Fall Creek Vineyards.
Marcia Ball, one of the finest rhythm and blues entertainers, came back by popular demand to entertain Texans at our first “Texas Blues Night in Washington.” This fabulous event, coordinated by Zelda Shute and Chino Chapa gave Texans a chance to both sit back and enjoy the blues band and dance to some great sounds.
Bill Shute organized the terrific outing to Camden Yards to watch the Texas Rangers play the Baltimore Orioles. The bus trip provided cool relief from one of the hottest nights of ’93 with ice cold refreshments and each TSS ticket holder receiving a Rangers baseball cap.
The Honorable Fred Korth spoke at our LBJ birthday celebration on August 27 relating stories of his days as the Secretary of the Navy under President Johnson. Ann Howard provided delicious home-baked cookies and refreshments for the 75 guests, including Lynda Robb, who came to pay tribute to our 36th President of the United States.
October was a busy month with three terrific events. Our second annual Tailgate party was once again a hit with more than 300 alumni of Texas schools competing to make the best pot of chili. Organizers Amanda Bullard, Tom Sellers and Laure McLaughlin made sure there was plenty of food and cold beer to cool the palate.
Noted Texas author Jane Roberts Wood joined us at the U.S. Navy Memorial to sign copies of her latest book Dance a Little Longer. Chairpersons Roxanna Burns and Ann Thornburg had her other two books A Place Called Sweet Shrub and The Train to Estelline on hand as well. A delicious buffet was served to complement this lovely evening.
We concluded our 1993 events with the spectacular Terlingua Two Step featuring one of the hottest names in country music, Lee Roy Parnell. He thrilled our 500+ guests with his music until 2 a.m. Chairpersons Jill Collins and Jay Neel made us feel like we were back in Texas by providing a feast of Texas chili and ice cream sundaes.
TSS kicked off 1994 with the Annual Congressional Reception which was held on February 23, 1994. Chairman of the event Jim Greenwood rounded up over twenty Texas Congressman as well as Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to participate in the festivities. As usual the Cannon Caucus room was packed. Valero Energy, Heubelein and Jose Cuervo were proud sponsors of the event.
On Thursday, April 7, 1994, over 150 Texans gathered at the Pentagon City Ritz-Carlton for the Texas State Society’s Annual meeting and Cherry Blossom Princess Mary Laughlin was in attendance along with her proud parents Greg and Ginger Laughlin and brother Brad. Roxanna Burns and Lea Ann Edwards both did outstanding jobs of coordinating events in conjunction with the Cherry Blossom festivities. Their months of hard work sure did pay off.
Before the reception, Board Member Joe Bracewell announced the new TSS Officers and Board Members for 1994-1995: President Jim Chapman; First Vice President-Tina Blanton; Second Vice President Larry Meyers; and Historian-Jennifer Young. The new Board Members included Amanda Bullard, Lesley Gilbert, Bill Griffin, Kay Bailey Hutchison and outgoing TSS President Kerrill Scrivner.
Go Rangers Go!!! On April 9, 1994, Event Co-Chairs Kate Roberts and Bill Shute organized a group of 55 Texans to travel down to Camden Yards to cheer on the Texas Rangers. Since 1994 was the year of the Baseball strike this was the only opportunity Texans had to see the Rangers in action.
On Sunday, June 19, 1994, TSS held their annual Father’s Day Picnic at Potomac Valley Lodge. Thanks to Co-Chairmen Congressman Ralph Hall, Congressman Henry Bonilla, Greg Bosworth, Nick Nicolai, Steve Ruhlen and Ed Bullard the picnic was a big success. Over 1200 Texans braved the hot weather just to attend this annual Texas/Washington D.C. tradition.
August 27, 1994, the LBJ Birthday Tribute was held. Approximately 75 Texans attended the Saturday afternoon celebration including Lynda Johnson Robb her husband Senator Chuck Robb and their family. Chairwoman Tina Blanton made this event a big success as well as a wonderful tribute to LBJ.
On September 27, 1994, “A Salute to Congressman Jake Pickle” was held in the courtyard of the Rayburn Building. The theme was “This is Your Life” and focused on Congressman Pickle’s year when he was the President of TSS. Texans took over and made the Rayburn Courtyard their home. A life size Texas flag hung from the rafters for all to see along with a 30 x 40 inch poster of Congressman and Mrs. Pickle. Many friends of Congressman Pickle came to this exciting event including Congressmen from Texas and other states, as well as Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Secretary of the Treasury Lloyd Bentsen. Thanks to Co-Chairs Kerrill Scrivner and Tina Blanton, the night was a great success and a fitting Tribute to Congressman Jake Pickle.
On September 30, TSS hosted Jerry Jeff Walker at the Barns of Wolf Trap. Chairwoman Lesley Gilbert made sure everyone kicked up their boots and danced the night away. The combination of Jerry Jeff Walker’s performance, the atmosphere of the Barns and the wonderful food from Tortilla Coast made for an outstanding event. Hats off to Lesley Gilbert for all her hard work.
The Texas Tailgate Party was held on October 1, 1994 at Jones Point Park in Alexandria. The weather was absolutely gorgeous.
Several Southwest Conference teams competed fiercely for the title of “Best Chili by a Southwest Conference School.” At the end of the day Trinity University was declared the overall winner.
February 23, 1995, the Congressional reception was held and Jim Greenwood was the Chairman. The event was held once again in the Cannon House Office Building. Many members of the Texas Delegation were present to welcome the old and new members of the Texas State Society. In good ole’ Texas fashion, a Country Western Band was on hand to entertain the crowd.
Shannon Davis was the Chair of the 1995 Annual Meeting and Election of Officers. It was held on May 10, 1995 at the Mexican Cultural Institute and it was the perfect setting for a fun-filled evening. Keeping with the theme of the evening Continental Airlines generously donated two round trip tickets to Mexico that were raffled off that evening.
Before the meeting, the new officers for the 1995-1996 year were introduced: President-Tina Blanton; First Vice President-Larry Meyers; 2nd Vice President-Jim Greenwood; Treasurer Kate Roberts; and Secretary-Katherine Graham. The new Board Members included Congressman Jim Chapman, Debra McKeown, Bianca Penalver, Amy Sellers, Kyle Simpson, Jack Walton, and Amanda Bullard.
The Annual Father’s Day Picnic was held once again at Potomac Valley Lodge on June 18, 1995. Chairman Tina Blanton and Ed Bullard did a great job of introducing lots of new activities that were well accepted by all. The “Texas Train” took families across the field to participate in bingo, softball games and other fun activities. Children were able to have their pictures taken with their dads and turn the photos into buttons that all the proud dads could wear. The rain tent helped to keep everyone cool and comfortable.
LBJ’s Birthday Celebration was held on August 26, 1995 at the LBJ Memorial Grove. Debra McKeown was the Chairman. Larry Levinson, former Deputy Special Counsel to LBJ was the featured speaker. Approximately 75 people were in attendance, many of which were friends or fellow employees of LBJ. Schlotzsky’s Deli generously contributed a Texas-size lunch.
The Chili Cook Off was held again at Jones Point Park in Alexandria on October 7, 1995 and chaired by James Johnson and Jan Veeder. Prizes were awarded in the following categories: University of Texas Pan American was the overall winner and won 2 round trip tickets on American Airlines; Southwest Texas’ Chili won the award for “best showmanship”; Rice University—”hottest” chili; and University of Texas at San Antonio—”most unusual” chili. Overall the event was a big success with over 12 Texas universities participating.
The TSS ended 1995 with a holiday celebration. Members of the TSS attended the Opening Night Performance of “A Tuna Christmas” held at the National Theatre and a post-performance reception was held in the Helen Hayes Gallery. The 1995 Tony Award nominee, Joe Sears, attended the reception. As usual the show was a delightful experience thanks to Chairpersons Roxanna Routten and Ann Thornburg who established a new meaning of Christmas in D.C.!
TSS started the Leap Year on the right foot, with the Annual Congressional Reception on February 29. The Cannon Caucus Room was packed with Texans there to mix, mingle, and munch on the Tex-Mex food scattered around. Event Chair Jim Greenwood reported almost 750 sign-ups for TSS membership.
More than 180 Texas State Society Members turned out for the Annual Meeting on May 17 to elect Larry Meyers President. Chair Amy Whittenton and her assistants, Jennifer Brown, Roxanna Routten and Lesley Gilbert created a wonderful atmosphere with great food and delightful classical music by Crystal Springs.
Bianca Penalver arranged for a day at the ballpark in April. The Texas Rangers played the Orioles in Baltimore on a bright but chilly Saturday afternoon. Luckily Ranger bandanas had been arranged as favors … by the end of the game they were turned into parkas and long pants.
The weather was perfect for the Annual Father’s Day Picnic at Potomac Valley Lodge. Chairman Rick Meyers, the picnic committee and the volunteers did a fantastic job for the 700 who attended. There was bingo, softball, golf, volleyball, and a rain tent to provide fun for all ages. The door prizes and dance contest provided entertainment for those who chose to stay in the shade of the Pavilion.
The TSS again hosted an LBJ Birthday remembrance ceremony in August at the LBJ Memorial Grove. Leonard Marks, Director of the U.S. Information Agency in the Johnson White House, shared a great deal of interesting history with the 75 members in attendance. Chairman Alisa Sell did a wonderful job of arranging this annual tribute to LBJ.
In October, Jim Greenwood and Shannon Davis worked on presenting a Texas-style “THANKS, PARTNER!” to TSS sponsors at a Sponsor Appreciation Luncheon at Tortilla Coast. The Board expressed their appreciation and gratitude to the corporate sponsors of the Society’s events and gave a sneak preview of the excitement that the Black Tie and Boots Inaugural Ball would have in store. This duo also pulled off another new event — the “Congressional Roundup” — which was held for staffers from Texan congressional offices. This event was a great social happy hour, allowed board members and sponsors to get to know the younger members, and also was a great membership recruitment tool. Prizes were given for the office with the most staff attending.
The big event of the year was the incredible Black Tie and Boots Inaugural Ball, held at the Washington Sheraton on January 18. Larry Meyers and Tina Blanton outdid themselves on creating and carrying off THE inaugural ball of the 1997 season with 6000 plus party-goers in attendance. The featured entertainer was Junior Brown, and the auxiliary rooms were kept alive with the sounds of Emilio, Lonestar, Ronna Reeves, Lou Ann Barton, Clay Baker and the Texas Honky Tonk Band, and Jackopierce. A cigar and martini bar made us trendy, and Texas twostepping kept us traditional. The ranking Texans in the armed services were the honorees that evening in a ceremony emceed by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
In February, the Society held its annual Congressional Reception in the Cannon Building to greet the 105th Congress. More than 800 members attended. Amanda Bullard, Katherine Graham and Bianca Penalver did an outstanding job in organizing this event. Good Texas food and drinks were enjoyed by all.
On April 28th, outgoing President, Larry Meyers, turned over the reins of the presidency to Jim Greenwood. The annual meeting was held in the Rayburn Building (named after the late Sam Rayburn, an illustrious Member of Congress who represented his district for many years in the House of Representatives. One of the items on the menu was a big “Texas size” cake that was “finger-lickin” good.
Officers for the 1997-98 year were Jim Greenwood, Pres., Amanda Bullard, 1st Vice Pres. & Rick Meyers, 2nd Vice Pres. Board members included Tina Blanton, Bob Mansker, Diane Morales, Lesley Gilbert, Cong. Mack Thornberry, James Johnson, Shannon Davis, Jennifer Brown, Larry Meyers and Cong. Ruben Hinojosa. Katherine Graham served as Historian, Julie Turner as Treasurer, Alisa Sell as Secretary and Laure McLaughlin as Newsletter Editor. Becky Hebert continued her outstanding service to the TSS as Executive Secretary.
The annual Father’s Day picnic on June 15 was again held at Potomac Valley Lodge. With all the usual goodies including Texasstyle barbecue and bingo, we enjoyed the singing talents of Chris Wall, a major Austin, Texas recording star. Congressmen Jim Turner and Pete Sessions chaired the event with lots of help from Glenn LeMunyon, Henry Gandy, Mark Schnabel and Scott Styles.
Keeping with tradition, we met at the LBJ Memorial Grove on August 30 in honor of President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s 89th birthday. Just like at the LBJ ranch in Stonewall, Texas, lemonade and sugar cookies were served. We were delighted to have LBJ’s granddaughter, Lucinda Robb, as our featured speaker. She shared with us excerpts of letters that LBJ sent to her as a child. U. S. Senator Charles Robb (D-VA) and Lynda Bird Robb also attended. Alisa Sell chaired this annual tribute and was assisted by Jim Greenwood, Clay Sell, Lyndon Boozer and others.
On September 16, TSS hosted the Texas Congressional Staff Roundup at Tortilla Coast. It provided a chance to enjoy some Texas food and drink, socialize and receive membership information. A good time was reported by all.
October 1st brought us all back to the Birchmere to hear Jerry Jeff Walker perform at our “sold out” annual Terlingua Two-Step evening. In addition to hearing Jerry Jeff and his Gonzo Compadres perform, there was lots of two-steppin’, singin’, laughin’ and conversation throughout the evening. Lesley Gilbert chaired the event and was assisted by a group of fellow TSS members.
“Margarita Night” was the theme of our get-together on November 13 at the Dallas-based Canyon Cafe in Chevy Chase. Food stations provided ample tastings of quesadillas, tequila chicken and tacos and, no doubt, made many of us homesick for Texas. Liz Elkins coordinated the evening and some 150 TSS members enjoyed the festivities.
The Texas State Society began its social calendar with the Annual Meeting and Election of Officers at the original Smithsonian Institute building, better known to many as the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. The evening’s guest speaker was Mr. Ron Stone, noted Texas Historian and Houston News Anchor. The outgoing TSS Board and President Jim Greenwood, handed over the reins of leadership to the 1998 – 1999 officers. Elected to serve were: Amanda Bullard, President; Rick Meyers, 1st Vice President; U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, 2nd Vice President; Jennifer Brown, Secretary; Julie Turner, Treasurer; and Katherine Graham, Historian.
The board members for the year include: Trudi Lewis Boyd, Shannon Davis, Lesley Gilbert, Jim Greenwood, Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, Tim Isgitt, James Johnson, Mark Malone, Diane Morales, and Alisa Malechek Sell. Janet Slaughter Eissenstat served as Newsletter Editor, Brian Thomas served as Membership Director and Becky Hebert served as the Board’s Executive Secretary.
A perennial favorite event – the annual Father’s Day Picnic was hosted at Fort McNair. Even though the day was very hot, everyone enjoyed this new location on the Potomac, enjoyed the live music, competitive softball games, bingo, line dancing, cold drinks and so much more. On August 29th, TSS hosted its annual tribute to President Lyndon Baines Johnson, at the granite monument in the LBJ Memorial Grove. TSS President, Amanda Bullard provided an insightful welcoming address. The guest speaker was Mr. Harry Middleton, Director of the LBJ Library in Austin. Mr. Middleton spoke about the newly released collection of President Johnson’s secretly recorded tapes of private conversations from his first day in office. U.S. Senator Chuck Robb & Ms. Lucinda Robb were in attendance, as we all relished from the vocals of TSS’ own, Floyd Miles of the Washington Opera, as he sung in tribute “God Bless America”. This anniversary marked President Johnson’s 90th birthday. As winter set in, TSS honored the Texas Congressional Delegation on January 28th, at the Texas Congressional Reception in the Cannon Caucus Room. The longstanding success of this event is due to tremendous Delegation and TSS Members attendance and the generous support of our many corporate sponsors. This year Nick “Capital Q” Fontana’s, restaurant catered traditional Texas Style Bar-B-Que. Other events sponsored by TSS included the Official “Thank You” Reception that honored our many Corporate Sponsors, the Congressional Staffers “End of the legislative Session” Round-Up Reception on October 28 at Tortilla Coast, and a night out at the ball park for the Texas Rangers vs. Baltimore Orioles in Camden Yards.
Also in October, after a two year hiatus, the Collegiate Tailgate Chili Cook off returned with a vengeance. Over 15 Texas alma maters were represented and the competition was as stiff as some of the chili. Thanks to Jan Veeder from SWSTU for keeping this event alive. The winners were Mr. & Ms. Claiborn & Carol Crain, who went on to represent TSS at the National Kidney Foundation’s Annual Chili Cook off in Washington, DC.
In November membership turned out in masses for the Terlingua Two Step Shin-dig at the Birchmere. Jerry Jeff Walker provided the entertainment and lotsa dancing was required.
President Bullard involved TSS, for the first time with the Washington National Cathedral state day’s program.On November 15th, it was Texas State Day at the Cathedral, a day of worship and prayer for Texans and the Lone Star State, lead by Very Rev. Nathan Baxter, Dean. Congressmen Ken Bentsen, Martin Frost and Silvestre Reyes participated as scripture readers and President Bullard served as a gift bearer. Also in from Texas were Rt. Rev. Wallis Ohl, bishop of Northwest Texas, the Rt. Rev. Leopoldo Alard, suffragan bishop of Texas and the 30 member choir of Christ Church Cathedral from Houston. Nearly 300 Texans were in attendance and fellowship together during a reception where President Bullard recognized the guests and thanked everyone.
Other significant activities from this TSS Board were the adoption and kick off of the official TSS website, www.texasstatesociety.org. Kudos go to Howard Satori, TSS member for his initial forethought to develop this site, James Johnson and President Bullard who steadfastly worked to register the domain and provide other improvements, which culminated into bringing TSS into the 21st century.
TSS also renewed its relationship and membership with the National Conference of State Societies, whereby the search was on for a Cherry Blossom Princess to present at the upcoming Annual Meeting.
This TSS Board worked tirelessly on behalf of the membership to maintain the annual events, to create new events, and to update our record keeping ability with the (long overdue) purchase of a new PC and other office equipment. We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity.
As winter set in, TSS honored the members of Texas’ congressional delegation on January 28th, at the Texas Congressional Reception in the Cannon Caucus Room. As always, the success of this event is due to many generous corporate sponsors.
At the Annual Meeting (Election of Officers) and Cherry Blossom Reception, the outgoing TSS Board and President Amanda Bullard passed the newly dedicated gavel and leadership on to the newly elected officers. Elected to serve for the 1999-2000 year were: Rick Meyers, President; Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, First Vice President; Alisa Malechek Sell, Second Vice President; Jill Dowell, Secretary; Julie Turner, Treasurer; and James Johnson, Historian. The Board of Directors for the term include: Congressmen Kevin Brady and Charlie Gonzalez, Barry Brown, Amanda Bullard, Jennifer Gerber, Tim Isgitt, Diane Morales, W. John Nichols, Todd Rogers, Bill Shute, Trudi Lewis Boyd, and Brian Thomas, while Janet Slaughter Eissenstat continued her service to the Society as Newsletter Editor.
Amanda Bullard also continued as TSS’ delegate to the National Conference of State Societies and chaired the Cherry Blossom selection committee and the annual meeting along with Diane Morales. Ms. Alison Priebe was selected and presented to the membership as TSS’ 1999 Cherry Blossom Princess. She received the traditional necklace and Texas shaped charm and a beautifully designed congratulatory letter from Governor George W. Bush. This was the first time in several years that TSS sponsored a representative to the traditional Washington event.
Ms. Priebe was escorted to the annual Cherry Blossom Princess Congressional Reception by Mr. Bill Christian, a Midlander from the staff of U.S. Senator Phil Gramm. Ms. Bullard also renewed the TSS Service & Membership Award. This 2nd annual awarding was presented to Ms. Sarah McClendon and Ms. Elizabeth Hutchinson. They also received from Governor Bush’s office of the, “Yellow Rose of Texas” citations.
As the TSS Board kept the activities coming, President Rick Meyers was also deep in the organizational planning process for the upcoming Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball. Many praised Rick’s leadership and juggling abilities, as this was no easy feat.
The 1999 Annual Father’s Day Picnic was held for the first time at the Pavilions of Turkey Run in McLean, Virginia. The event occurred on June 20th, and the new location—with its wealth of shade trees in Washington’s notoriously hot summers—was a huge hit.
The RBIs of Texas, the softball team sponsored by Senators Phil Gramm and Kay Bailey Hutchison, won the coveted Picnic Softball Tournament trophy.
The Collegiate Tailgate Chili Cook-Off went official this year by teaming with the Chili Appreciation Society international, Inc. (CASI). This event was held on October 23rd at Jones Point Park in Alexandria, Virginia. Amanda Bullard and Jill Dowell successfully organized this event. Our winners, Dan & Janie Bauer, represented TSS at the National CASI competition in Texas.
The Terlingua Two-Step, featuring Texas’ favorite son Robert Earl Keen, was held at The Birchmere in northern Virginia on November 11th. Many Texans were on hand to two-step the night away, and the consensus was clear: Robert Earl Keen was a resounding success. This successful event was organized by Rebekah Hamilton.
November also saw a major transition for the Texas State Society, as Becky Matthews Hebert retired as the organization’s Executive Secretary after nearly ten years of service. Formerly with Congressman Ralph Hall, Becky turned over the reins to another former Texas Congressional staffer, Lois Auer. Earlier that year, Lois—a native of Runge, Texas—retired as Administrative Assistant for Congressman Charles Stenholm. Becky relinquished her responsibilities to Lois on November 15th. About the same time, James Johnson decided to resign as Historian for the Society, and Bill Christian was elected to fill the remainder of James’ term.