Fred Lundgren

“Reagan Brown (incumbent Ag Commissioner) was planning a news conference to talk about fire ants. So, not to be outdone, we set up a competing news conference for State Rep Dan Kubiak to do the same thing. Dan was chairing the Select Committee on Fire Ants and running for Land Commissioner. From our point of view, talking about fire ants would help Dan’s campaign and also Jim’s campaign, but we never imagined how Reagan Brown would react.

We scheduled Dan’s news conference one hour before Reagan’s news conference. During Dan’s news conference, he announced that Governor Clements had allocated $500,000 of the State’s Emergency Fund for fire ant control. Dan’s announcement totally overshadowed anything Reagan Brown had planned to say. To insure maximum press attendance at our event, we let it be known around the Capitol that doughnuts, coffee and soft drinks would be served to everyone in attendance…not just the press. It worked perfectly. Reagan Brown’s news conference failed miserably because the press did not attend. Instead, they were at Dan’s event, eating doughnuts, filming, recording and taking notes.

Reagan totally lost it that day. He announced a second news conference to be held on the State Capitol grounds, and there, with cameras rolling, he stuck his arm in a fire ant mound.”

Fred Lundgren was a member of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM). He was jailed for participating in the tractor blockade of the International Bridge in Hidalgo in 1978. AAM was protesting that Othal Brand and other big American farmers who had operations in Mexico would bring their produce across the border labeled as “Product of Texas”.