Back in 1990, Clayton Williams, Jr. was in the news a lot as he ran for governor in Texas. His campaign famously imploded over insensitive good-ol’-boy comments made to a weekend gathering of media. He was rich, but there didn’t seem to be much else to recommend him. I always thought it odd to go by the “Clayton Williams, Jr. Alumni Center” at the TAMU campus.
But it appears I need to seriously revise my assessment of Williams. The Austin-American Statesman reports that Williams had some extraordinarily good advice for Texas Governor Rick Perry (which Perry obviously and promptly ignored):
Williams, a wealthy Midland oil man, wrote to Perry as the State Board of Education was starting the debate over new science curriculum standards. He warned Perry to stop any effort by the board to include creationism or intelligent design in those standards.
“If Texas enters into a debate on the teaching of fundamental religious beliefs in public schools, it will tarnish our strong academic reputation, set our ability to attract top science and engineering talent to Texas back decades and severely impact our reputation as a national and global leader in energy, space, medicine and other high tech fields,” Williams wrote.
He continued: “Governor, this is a very important issue for Texas. I urge you to quell this issue quietly, firmly and permanently.”