In late January, the Clements alumni gathered at the Governor’s Mansion to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Governor Clements’ first election as Governor of Texas. Since Governor Clements ran 3 times and won 2 out of 3, there were a lot of staffers. But even accounting for that, for 80+ people to show up says a lot about their relationships and their admiration of and loyalty to Governor Clements. 40 years is a long time ago, no doubt.
Among the many attendees present were former Secretaries of State George Strake, George Bayoud and Geoff Conner, former ClementsChief of Staff Bayoud, and assistant press secretaries Rossanna Salazar and Jay Rosser. Other notable staffers present were Barry McBee, Todd Olsen, Pat Oles, David & Dealey Herndon, and many others. Rita Clements’ daughter Bonnie Smith and her husband Peter attended, and Governor Clements’ granddaughter Pauline Neuhoff, and great-granddaughters Nancy Seay Neuhoff and Elizabeth Everman Seay, all took the time to attend from Dallas.
Most people don’t take the time to visit about the past or reminisce. This reunion was the exception. Unlike the governors to follow, the Clements administration was truly historic, as the state had been Democratic really since inception. Having a Republican Governor was a seachange in Texas politics.
The high attendance, fond memories, poignant speeches by George Strake and George Bayoud, and compelling camaraderie were all a testimony to the bonds built by all who served on the Clements team, all that Governor Clements meant to them, and an unusual appreciation in the group for the importance of history and precedence. A good reminder for all of us to live in the present, while at the same time never forgetting the important lessons of the past, and working towards an ever brighter future.