Poage Lecture Will Analyze Congressional Friendships with the Austin-Boston Connection

March 22, 2011

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The annual spring lecture of W.R. Poage Legislative Library will feature Dr. Tony Champagne, political science professor at the University of Dallas, and Dr. James Riddlesperger, Jr., political science professor at Texas Christian University. They will discuss the "Austin-Boston Connection" at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 24, in Packard Auditorium of Marrs McLean Science Building on the Baylor campus.

For the more than 50 years that Democrats controlled the U.S. House of Representatives, leadership was divided between Massachusetts and Texas. If the speaker was from Texas, the majority leader was from Boston, and when the speaker was from Boston, the majority leader was from Texas.

Their book, The Austin-Boston Connection: Five Decades of House Democratic Leadership, 1937-1989, analyzes the importance of friendships and enmities within congressional delegations, regional affinities and the lynchpin practice of appointing the democratic whip.

Dr. Douglas B. Harris, professor of Loyola University in Maryland, and Dr. Garrison Nelson, professor at the University of Vermont, also helped author the book.

The book "describes the contests for party leadership positions in the words of the contestants and their contemporaries so that personalities, friendships strategies, deals, and deceits can be observed," according to Barry S. Rundquist of the University of Chicago.

Champagne, who has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois, has research interests in judicial politics and in Congressional history. He is the author of Congressman Sam Rayburn, Sam Rayburn: A Bio-bibliography, and Judicial Politics in Texas: Partisanship, Money, And Politics in State Courts.

Riddlesperger, who has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia, co-authored Texas Politics (Cengage, 2011). He co-edited Presidential Leadership and Civil Rights Policy, and Special Focus: Balance of Power between Congress and the President (New York: College Board, 2008). He also is co-author of the forthcoming Pick 'em Good: Power and Personality in the Texas Congressional Delegation (TCU Press).

For more information, visit the W.R. Poage Legislative Library website.

Marrs McLean Science Building is at 1214 S. Fourth St.

by Susie Typher, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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