"Whether you agree or disagree with him on issues ranging from cap and trade to abortion, you have to give Michael Williams this: As one of three elected members of the Texas Railroad Commission for nearly nine years, he has accomplished an extraordinary amount despite, or perhaps because of, his particular combination of race and ideology. Like the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court Wallace Jefferson, like the Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Clarence Thomas, whom he succeeded as Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights under George W. Bush, Williams is that exceedingly rare thing: a black Republican. And not just any black Republican, but a hyperconservative one, sincere and unwavering in his conviction, and, in the spirit of his former boss Ronald Reagan, a sunny one to boot -- a truly engaging and charming conversationalist and combatant on the field of public policy play -- think Alan Keyes will a personality transplant. By virtue of these facts, the 56-year-old is a national brand in the making, one election shy of destiny, which is why, perhaps, he has decided to put everything on the line, everything he's worked for since entering public life 25 years ago, to run in an uphill battle of a campaign for the United States Senate, for a seat that may not come vacant for three years. Of course, if he listened to the cynics and the pessimists, he might still be back in Midland, his hometown, having never earned bachelor's, masters, and law degrees at the University of Southern California, having never served with distinction in state and federal office -- having never become the first African American ever elected statewide in Texas." - Evan Smith, Texas Monthly Talks, Broadcast 01.21.10

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