Houston Newsmakers: James A. Baker III story headlines Barbara Bush Celebration of Reading

The Man Who Ran Washington, The Life and Times of James A. Baker III (Baker Institute for Public Policy-Michael Arthur Worden Evans)

HOUSTON – It’s entitled “The Man who Ran Washington, The Life and Times of James A. Baker III,” co-written by Peter Baker (no relation) and Susan Glasser. They and their book were one of the headliners at this year’s Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Celebration of Reading. They wrote that one of his unique qualities was his sense of loyalty to the party.

“Even if he had battles with conservatives within his own party he stuck with the party,” said Peter Baker, who, along with his wife Susan Glasser, wrote the book after seven years of research and interviews. James Baker was not a fan of former President Trump but voted for him anyway. “I’m still a Republican no matter what, even if my party has left me,” Baker said.

The times and the politics were different

Susan Glasser said Baker was unique for his time but was keenly aware of the measurement of success. “The incentives in politics was the reward system in that you weren’t winning office and then expected to sit there and yack about it on TV,” she said. “You actually had to have a record to run on.”

You can see the full interview with Peter Baker and Susan Glasser on Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall. A one-hour special on the Celebration of Reading will air on KPRC 2 Saturday, May 8 at 7 p.m.

Baker Institute director says “Preparation is the key”

Ambassador Edward Djerejian is the Director of the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and says one of the major keys to Baker’s success was his passion for preparation at every level of challenge. “He grasped policy issues very quickly,” Djerejian said. “He was fastidious in the manner in which he prepared for whatever challenges were in front him, be it Secretary of Treasury, White House Chief of Staff, or Secretary of State.”

Only Black-owned bank in Texas using partnerships to thrive

Laurie Vignaud is the President and CEO of Unity National Bank, the only Black-owned bank in Texas. Its significance is that it is often one of the few sources for loans in poorer communities. Vignaud says current partnerships with several major banks make their efforts more successful “It provides us with the money that we need in order to deliver new products and services, which we’re in the process of putting together to launch and we’re able to provide more loans and credit to individuals who need it more.”

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