Sam Biscoe

“But we adopted them (the pesticide regulations). Well, the big producers sued us. But the lawsuit was here in Austin. So we won that lawsuit. And for a short time, you know, some of the farmers had come around and farmworkers became accustomed to being protected in the fields. The other thing is that, the most frightening part of all of this, was that on occasion, the aerial applicators would apply pesticides when farmworkers were in the field. How dangerous can you get? So we outlawed it.”

Sam Biscoe worked as a civil rights lawyer, successfully suing the State of Texas to improve prisons and the Austin school board to desegregate their schools. He was recruited by Jim Hightower to serve as General Counsel to the Texas Department of Agriculture, negotiating with farmworkers and producers to develop enforceable pesticide regulations. Sam also had a hand in the landmark organic standards, enforcement of weights and measures, and groundbreaking trade agreements with Israel and several Mexican states. He was subsequently elected the first black urban county judge in Texas.

sam biscoe smiling for the camera