Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Another Reason I Love Texas: Biker Day at the Texas Capitol

This picture encapsulates something I love about Texas: All types of people find a place at the table if they're smart about it, even (perhaps especially) the biker crowd. That's state Senator Elliot Shapleigh in the photo, via Vaqueros and Wonkeros, but I promise you on their biennial lobby day the bikers were welcomed, warmly, into most every office in the capitol. Truth is, because of their mobilized numbers, they actually have political clout.

Biker lobbyist Sputnik is a brilliant character and capitol regular who routinely can garner the personal attention of the most powerful figures in state government as ably as any straight suit from Hillco. He reports on his website meetings that day with the House Speaker and Ken Armbrister, the Governor's new legislative representative (who last session was a state senator from Victoria).

Sputnik, who must now be in his 70s, wears a mohawk and biker jacket to legislative hearings, boasts a tattoo across his forehead, and probably has more guns than fingers, if I had to guess: He's missing more than a few of the latter but boasts in committee hearings of owning quite an arsenal. Last year I heard him tell a legislative committee he always carried a gun with him on his motorcycle unless he expected trouble, in which case he would bring two.

I love Texas. Where else are you going to hear that? For those who can't make it to the capitol, here's a classic Sputnik look:



Anonymous said...

That's Eliot Shapleigh...not Naishtat.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Good catch, and corrected. One of the dangers of blogging. In the spur of the moment, you can get your Elliot's mixed up. :)

Anonymous said...

I'll never forget the 2002 Dem convention in El Paso, when the bikers felt they were getting the shaft as the convention was winding down (and the reason they felt that way was because they actually were getting the shaft). They stormed the stage. I didn't think Molly Beth Malcolm and Bob Slagle could get any whiter, but they both turned a couple of shades of pale, and the bikers' concerns were addressed. It was great.

Anonymous said...

does that mean if all probation officers were to ride motorcycles someone would listen to them?????

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"does that mean if all probation officers were to ride motorcycles someone would listen to them?"

Perhaps you also need to be armed, which might explain why the SA probation chief took away yall's guns! ;)