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February 28, 2001     (512) 463-0300

Ratliff Announces Committee
to Study Statewide Run

AUSTIN - Lt. Governor Bill Ratliff on Wednesday announced that he is forming an exploratory committee to gauge support for a possible statewide campaign to keep the job he has held since December.

Ratliff was elected by the members of the Senate on December 28 to replace Rick Perry, who resigned as lieutenant governor to succeed George W. Bush as governor.

His election was a first in the history of Texas. He continues to represent the First Senatorial District, although as lieutenant governor, he does not serve on any committees, sponsor legislation and generally does not vote when bills come up in the senate.

As lieutenant governor, Ratliff serves as the presiding officer of the Senate, which he said takes priority over a campaign during the legislative session.

"I felt like it was just necessary that we kind of separate that process from the duties of being lieutenant governor," Ratliff said, "so that the staff can concentrate on the things that are necessary for us to get through this session and have a successful session and provide the leadership that I am expected to provide to this body."

Ratliff said the committee will make its recommendation to him after the session. The last day of the 77th Regular Session is May 28. He said he and his wife, Sally, will make the decision after that.

In session, the Senate voted final passage of five bills, including a proposal sponsored by San Antonio Sen. Frank L. Madla aimed at reducing the demand for illegal drugs.

The Committee Substitute for Senate Bill (CSSB) 558 would create a Drug Demand Reduction Advisory Committee. The committee would coordinate Texas' efforts to counter illegal drug use.

Also in session, the Senate recognized a champion, North American Boxing Federation super featherweight champion Jesus Chavez, who scored a technical knockout win over Tom "Boom Boom" Johnson last Friday in Austin.

The Senate is at recess until 8 a.m. Thursday, when it will take up the Local and Uncontested Calendar, then adjourn until 11 a.m.

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