Education Commissioner Michael Williams is a big presence. His deep, hearty laugh and his 6-foot frame fill the room as he talks school policy with educators who came to hear him speak last week.
If voters had chosen differently, the 59-year old lawyer and former Texas railroad commissioner -- the first African-American elected to statewide office -- would be sitting in Congress. But he lost the Republican primary last year. Then his close friend, Gov. Rick Perry, appointed him education commissioner.