Good Time Charlie Wilson Remembered Fondly Beyond Public Exploits

March 3, 2010

The recent passing of former Texas legislator and Congressman Charles Wilson brought a warm smile to those of us who knew him, stemming from  pleasant memories beyond his well-publicized Afghanistan exploits.

Blessed with a keen mind and no lack of self-confidence, Charlie was the epitome of a  handsome swashbuckling  Texan who enjoyed the good life–sometimes at his own peril.  As a young lawmaker, he was a bold voice  in the halls of the Texas State Capitol, first  as member of the House, then a state senator, and for 24 years a Democratic U.S. Representative from East Texas.

Reticent in expressing his views or taking action, he was not.  Back in the 80s, members of  Congress from the Northeast banded together in a Regional Caucus  to seek federal funding goodies (early day Earmarks).   Charlie countered by organizing the Southern Legislative Caucus as a tit for tat. His trusty aide Charlie Simpson and I had the adventure of working with him in that endeavor,  travelling around the South to spread the gospel and woo financial contributors.

 But many oldtime friends will tell you that Charlie’s greatest legacy was the unsurpassed standard he set for drop-dead attractiveness (and smarts) of  feminine staff members, known as Charlie’s Angels.  His Austin and DC offices still hold the record for volume of visitors who had no official business.

–Julian Read

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