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Saturday, October 24, 2020

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Hobby focuses on education legacy at memoir discussion


William “Bill” Hobby, former lieutenant governor of Texas, visited UH to discuss his new memoir with his former chief of staff and co-author Saralee Tiede at the University Hilton on Thursday evening.

“How Things Really Work: Lessons From a Life in Politics,” provides insight into Hobby’s vision for education, and he presents it in a humorous fashion.

“Saralee and (Hobby) have worked on this pretty regularly for five or six years, and they finally got it done,” Hobby’s public relations manager Margaret Justus said of the project.

“Saralee, she’s like our secret weapon. She’s fabulous. She knows the governor so well because they’ve been friends for 45 years.”

During the discussion, Hobby said that his father has “always been (his) role model,” and he describes his political disposition as a “genetic defect.”

Hobby was born into a political family and he followed in his father’s footsteps as an advocate for education.

“I think he’s got a really big brain and a really big heart to go along with it,” Justus said. “I think that’s what Texas should know about Bill Hobby.”

UH’s Center for Public Policy was renamed in May 2010 in honor of Hobby. Hobby Center director Jim Granato introduced Hobby on Thursday evening.

“The political world, as Hobby sees it, needs to be in print,” Granato said of the memoir.

Hobby served as lieutenant governor of Texas for 18 years. His father, William Hobby, Sr., was the 27th governor of Texas, serving from 1917 to 1921. Both men were champions of higher and public education during their political careers.

Hobby helped pass House Bill 72, a historic school finance bill of 1984, which allowed state funds to be redistributed among school districts in Texas. It also created the “no-pass-no-play” rule, which requires students involved in extracurricular activities to pass their classes in order to participate in athletics and other activities.

The legislation also included the biggest pay raise for teachers in Texas history. Hobby said he considers the bill the most significant piece of legislation he passed during his time in the Texas government.

Along with serving the people of Texas, Hobby also served as Chancellor of the UH System from 1995 to 1997.

The Hobby family once owned and ran the now-defunct Houston Post. Hobby served as the publication’s president for 20 years until the Post was sold in 1983.

Hobby now works as a research associate and sits on the advisory board of the UH Hobby Center for Public Policy, continuing his philosophy that involvement in education is “the most important thing the government does.”


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