Best Democrat (2000)

Billie McClain Carr, the long-serving Democratic National Committeewoman from Houston

Seventy-two-year-old Billie Carr has finally retired from her DNC position, and she'll leave plenty of devoted fans behind, including her old friend President Bill Clinton. Having fought her way to the top through the ranks of conservative Democrats who once dominated the party, Carr, by necessity, also adopted many of their hard-fisted tactics. That has left plenty of moderates bruised and dismayed as the party moved to the left over the years. In the process, many of them switched ranks and helped Republicans to their domination of Texas, holding every statewide elected position. After fighting cancer to a draw through radiation and chemotherapy, Carr is now working on her memoirs at her southwest Houston bungalow, and predicts it's just a matter of time before the pendulum swings back to the Democrats. "We seem to go through seasons where people burn out, sell out or drop out, for whatever reason," reflects Carr. "And we have to go back and work some more, because there are certainly more Democrats than there are Republicans. We have a lot of work to do, and I think that we can do it." For sure, there's nobody who has clocked more hours over the last half-century on behalf of Texas Democrats than Billie Carr.

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