Geren was surprised to learn Wednesday that he had made the list. "It is an honor, but I sure don't work any harder than the rest of these guys," said Geren, who headed the House Administration Committee this year and served on the Calendars, Licensing & Administrative Procedures, Redistricting and State Affairs committees. "I don't know why I made the list."
This isn't the first time that Geren made the magazine's top 10. The last time was in 2005, when Texas Monthly credited him for an amendment that doomed school voucher legislation. "In one of the key battles of the session, Geren carved up and reduced to mush a sweeping proposal for school vouchers backed by Gov. Rick Perry [and] Speaker Tom Craddick," the magazine said at the time.
Zedler, who couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday, was mentioned in the 2009 list, when he received a dishonorable mention. "Bill Zedler is a goofball," the magazine's political writer Paul Burka explained on his blog. "There's no other way to put it. He contributes nothing except to provide occasional comic relief."
Nelson, whose district includes portions of Tarrant County, last made the worst list in 1993, for reasons the magazine cited including partisan, ultraconservative activities.
"If I am out of step with Texas Monthly, then I am right in step with the people of my district -- who expect state government to meet our needs within the confines of what we can afford," she said Wednesday. "Our job as legislators is to listen to the people who sent us here to represent their priorities -- not the biased views of liberal magazine writers. I'm proud of our work this session, and I'm sure my constituents will see this designation as a badge of honor."
The magazine's list
The best: Reps. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, Geren, Will Hartnett, R-Dallas, Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, John Zerwas, R-Richmond, and Sens. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, John Whitmire, D-Houston, and Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo.
The worst: Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Reps. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, Wayne Christian, R-Center, Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, Zedler, and Sens. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, Nelson, and Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio.
Special honors: Two other awards were given -- The Bull of the Brazos to Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, and Rookie of the Year to Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston.
While the GOP held a strong majority in the House and the Senate, no Democrats were listed on the worst lawmakers' list, but three made the best list. The magazine publishes the list every other year, at the end of the Legislature's regular sessions. It was compiled by Paul Burka and Nate Blakeslee. Explanations of why lawmakers received the rankings they did are expected to be released in the magazine's next issue.