Senate Floor Speech
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
April 27, 2005 -- Page: S4392
TRIBUTE TO CONSTABLE BILL BAILEY
MRS. HUTCHISON. Mr. President, there is something in the Texas soil that produces colorful characters. From Judge Roy Bean, the law west of the Pecos, to Admiral Chester Nimitz, to racecar driver Richard Petty, Texas has raised up men and women whose achievements and personal flair have made our world not only a better place, but more interesting.
One of Texas' most popular people is Harris County constable Bill Bailey. Constable Bailey heads up a big operation, with 77 employees and a $4.3 million annual budget. He has been a constable for 21 years, whose leadership was recognized when he was named president of the Texas Association of Counties.
This is a big achievement for anyone.
But Bill Bailey is not just anyone. Born Milton Odom Stanley, he was always a gregarious attention-seeking youth. Before he graduated from high school, he landed his first job on a radio station in Temple. He called himself ``The Lone Wolf.''
When he graduated from high school in 1957, his career began to take off. He was hired by a station first in Round Rock, then in El Paso, where he enrolled at Texas Western College. Radio was so good, he dropped out of college and took a job with a chain. He ended up in Des Moines, IA, broadcasting as Lee Western. During his job there, he had his first child, who was born over Texas soil even though the birth took place in a Des Moines hospital. Bill Bailey's mom sent him some dirt from his hometown which he wrapped in sterile cloth and placed under the delivery table. That is an authentic Texan.
On New Year's Day, 1960, he tuned in to listen to the University of Texas play in the Cotton Bowl.
``They cranked up `The Eyes of Texas,' and I just cried,'' Bill said. ``I came home to Texas without a job.''
Later, he walked into Houston radio station KTHT to apply for a position. The station had recently hired a man from St. Louis by the name of Bill Bailey and had invested heavily in a promotion using the song, ``Won't you come home Bill Bailey, Won't you come home?'' The problem was, the new man decided after two weeks to do just that and went back home to St. Louis.
The station was desperate to recoup the cost of the advertising, so the deal presented to young Milton Odom Stanley was to become Bill Bailey. He kept the name ever since.
Two years later, Bill Bailey was hired by KIKK, known as KIKKer Country in Houston, not long before the Urban Cowboy nationwide country music craze. By 1979, Bill Bailey was honored as the number one country music broadcaster in a major market, and Billboard magazine named him Program Director of the Year.
At the top of his profession, Bill Bailey noted that radio personalities were beginning to coarsen their acts to get higher ratings. This went against the grain, because he knew young girls and grandmothers would listen to his show. Since he was opposed to using off-color humor, Bill Bailey began looking for a way to switch careers.
The opportunity came when a vacancy opened for constable in Harris County Precinct 8. By this time, Bill had a law enforcement commission as a reserve officer in the Galena Park Police Department. In this respect, he was following in the footsteps of his great, great, great grandfather, Williamson County Sheriff Milton Tucker, who captured the legendary outlaw Sam Bass in 1878 the day after Bass had been mortally wounded by Texas Rangers in Round Rock.
After winning a run-off election, he worked hard to make his office more professional and improved every aspect of its operations. Bill started many initiatives in his office, not least of which is guarding the homes of astronauts while they are in space.
Another measure was to provide powered impact wrenches with all his patrol cars so deputies can rapidly change tires for stranded motorists.
``I've gotten more mail from citizens who have had flats fixed than all the other cops-and-robbers stuff we do,'' he said.
I have known Bill for years. We rode horses together on the Salt Grass Trail and in the Houston Rodeo. He is a fine and good man.
Bill Bailey's other activities include serving part-time as an announcer at the Texas Prison Rodeo for 15 years, and calling the calf scramble and grand entry salute at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. He has been active in that charity for 43 years.
It is no surprise that a man this talented has had so many names: Milton Stanley, ``Poogie'', his nickname as he grew up in Galena Park, ``Lone Wolf'', Lee Western, Buffalo Bill Bailey and, finally, plain old Bill Bailey.
Constable Bill Bailey may have had many names, but he has always been a devoted family man, a believing Christian and a colorful credit to our State. Please join me in congratulating him as the City of Pasadena and the Pasadena Rotary Club host Bill Bailey Day on April 29, 2005
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