Jim Hightower

From Academic Kids

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Hightower's book "Thieves in High Places"

James Allen "Jim" Hightower (born January 11, 1943) is a well-known populist activist and a former Texas Agricultural Commissioner.

Born in Sherman, Texas, Hightower came from a working class background. He worked his way through college as assistant general manager of the Denton Chamber of Commerce, and later landed a spot as a management trainee for the Commerce Department. He received a B.A. in government from North Texas State University and later did graduate work at Columbia University in international affairs.

In the late 1960s he worked in Washington, D.C. as legislative aide to U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough. He returned to Texas in 1976 to become the editor of the magazine Texas Observer. His first run for office was for the Democratic nomination for the Texas Railroad Commission (which regulates the oil industry), which he lost. Hightower was elected Agricultural Commissioner in 1983, serving in that capacity to 1991. During that time he was more noted for his support of Democrat Michael Dukakis' unsuccessful 1988 campaign for President against George H. W. Bush than for any accomplishments in office. He was defeated in 1990 by current Texas governor and former Democrat, Rick Perry, a Karl Rove client.

Since 1993, he has hosted a talk radio program, "Hightower Radio," carried by over 100 affiliates, although now it is just a 2-minute commentary. Recently, Hightower has been involved in a project called the "Rolling Thunder Down-Home Democracy Tour," a series of festivals in various communities throughout the United States with the goal of organizing grassroots political activism.

Hightower currently writes a column for the Austin Chronicle called The Hightower Report, as well as his own newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, (http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/) notable for in-depth investigative reporting and an unapologetically partisan tone in criticizing George W. Bush's presidential administration, which he rails against as beholden to corporations and extremist conservative political ideology.

Books

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  • There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos (1997; ISBN 0060929499)
  • If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote, They'd Have Given Us Candidates (2001; ISBN 0060932090)
  • Thieves in High Places: They've Stolen Our Country--And It's Time to Take It Back (2003; ISBN 0670031410)
  • Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush (2004; ISBN 0670033545)

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