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Beyond the Campaign Trail

... with Bill Wilson, FAIA

Photo by Julie Pizzo

by Laura N. Bennett, AIA

On the evening of Tuesday, July 31, 2012, a modest gathering of Bill Wilson supporters met at the Butter Churn Restaurant in Sinton to discover the results of a hard-fought Republican primary runoff election for the Texas Representative District 43 seat. After a long day at the office, I hopped in my car and sped to Sinton to join my colleague on this important night. I arrived toward the end of the gathering around 9:00 pm to find an anxious Bill pacing the lobby. He was on his cell phone conversing intently with a campaign consultant about the latest poll returns. One look at the expression on his face and I knew the outcome. At that moment I could only imagine the emotions he was experiencing. As I sat amongst his family and close friends, I was reminded of the recent Texas Architects Summer Board Meeting in Portland, Oregon, when it was announced that Texas Architects Committee (TAC) gave to his campaign the largest TAC contribution made to date. Bill was not in attendance at this meeting because he was “pounding the pavement,” working diligently up to this runoff election night. Numerous architects also contributed to his campaign outside of TAC. There were significant additional sources, including his own personal funds. Yet, his opponent —

J. M. Lozano — out-spent him by $300,000 to win by a margin of 54% to 46%. This outcome sheds new light on the importance of that annual TAC contribution. weren’t the only support Bill garnered from this experience. Shortly after I arrived in Sinton, Bill addressed the crowd, thanking them for their support and hard work. Others stood up and related stories they had from the campaign trail. I perceived from this crowd and from other architects how much these people believe in Bill. I know this fact is not lost on him. Even in this loss, Bill walked away a victor with the close friendships and support he gained. This was not an easy race. I asked Bill how he felt about it, and he responded that it was an interesting exercise. “When you get into politics, all these people put money on you and their faith in you and work so hard for you. People do things for you that you would never dream of asking,” he says. “They go above and beyond. And when you can just see votes trickle away ... in dealing with that you’re always asking yourself, ‘could I have done more?’ You beat yourself up.” Accustomed to challenges, Bill Wilson, FAIA, is a high achiever — a principal with WKMC

However, campaign contributions

11/12 2012

Texas Architect 65

Texas Architect - November/December 2012: Redevelopment