Skip to NavSkip to Content

 
The University of Texas at Austin

Projects

Texas House Speakers Oral History Project -
Biographies and Resources - Index -
Guide to 71st through 80th Speakers

Guide to 71st through 73rd Speakers

GIBSON D. "GIB" LEWIS
(1936–)
71st Speaker
(1983–1993)

Presided over

The 68th Legislature's regular session, January 11 to May 30, 1983; the 68th Legislature's 1st called session, June 22 to June 25, 1983; the 68th Legislature's 2nd called session, June 4 to July 3, 1984.

The 69th Legislature's regular session, January 8 to May 27, 1985; the 69th Legislature's 1st called session, May 28 to May 30, 1985; the 69th Legislature's 2nd called session, August 6 to September 4, 1986; the 69th Legislature's 3rd called session, September 8 to September 30, 1986.

The 70th Legislature's regular session, January 13 to June 1, 1987; the 70th Legislature's 1st called session, June 2 to June 3, 1987; the 70th Legislature's 2nd called session, June 22 to July 21, 1987.

The 71st Legislature's regular session, January 10 to May 29, 1989; the 71st Legislature's 1st called session, June 20 to July 19, 1989; the 71st Legislature's 2nd called session, November 14 to December 12, 1989; the 71st Legislature's 3rd called session, February 27 to March 28, 1990; the 71st Legislature's 4th called session, April 1 to May 1, 1990; the 71st Legislature's 5th called session, May 2 to May 30, 1990; the 71st Legislature's 6th called session, June 4 to June 7, 1990.

The 72nd Legislature's regular session, January 6 to May 27, 1991; the 72nd Legislature's 1st called session, July 15 to August 13, 1991; the 72nd Legislature's 2nd called session, August 19 to August 25, 1991; the 72nd Legislature's 3rd called session, January 2 to January 8, 1992; the 72nd Legislature's 4th called session, November 10 to December 3, 1992.

Born in Oletha in Limestone County in east central Texas on August 22, 1936, Gib Lewis grew up in nearby Mexia. He graduated from Cleveland High School in 1955 and enrolled at Sam Houston State College in Huntsville, located in the East Texas County of Walker. He transferred to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth around the time he enlisted in the United States Air Force.

Assigned to the Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Lewis returned to civilian life after four years. The Olmsted Paper Company hired him as a sales representative in 1961. Just three years later, Lewis opened his own firm, Lewis Label Products, Inc., which specializes in manufacturing pressure-sensitive labels and decals.

Lewis entered politics in 1969 when he won election to the River Oaks City Council. Fort Worth-area voters elected him to the Texas House of Representatives in 1971. Speaker Price Daniel, Jr., named Lewis chair of the important House Committee on Natural Resources in 1973, and he chaired the House Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs for four sessions, starting in 1977.

Elected speaker for the first time in 1983, Lewis became the first to hold that office for five terms. He played a key role in securing passage of the state's 1984 education reform bill. The bill raised teachers' salaries substantially but at the same time required all teachers to pass so-called "competency tests" to ensure their mastery of basic academic skills. The package of laws also instituted a no-pass, no-play policy for public school extra-curricular activities. He also steered passage of the 1985 comprehensive Texas Water Plan. An avid hunter who is also interested in wildlife conservation, Lewis wrote legislation creating "Operation Game Thief" and was co-author of the Uniform Game Management Act of 1983.

After a long series of controversies surrounding Lewis' campaign finances, and a 1992 conviction on misdemeanor charges of violating the state's financial disclosure laws, Lewis stepped down from the speakership in 1993. Married to Sandra Majors and the father of two daughters, he currently works as a lobbyist and legislative consultant in Austin.

University Materials Related to Speaker Lewis

Books:

The Texas House of Representatives: a pictorial roster, 1846–1992. Edited by Charles E. Spellman with a foreword by Gibson D. (Gib) Lewis. Austin, Tex.: The House, c. 1992.

- Q - JK 4878 T48 1992 Center for American History. Use in library only.
- Q - JK 4878 T48 1992 Center for American History TXC-ZZ Collection. Use in library only.

Presiding officers of the Texas Legislature, 1846–1982. Prepared by the staff of the Texas Legislative Council. Austin, Tex.: The Council, 1982.

JK 4830 P737 1982 Center for American History. Use in library only.
JK 4830 P737 1982 Center for American History Copy 2. Use in library only.
JK 4830 P737 1982 Center for American History Copy. Use in library only.
LAW JK 4866 P73 1982 Law Library

Presiding officers of the Texas Legislature, 1846–1991. Prepared by the staff of the Texas Legislative Council. Austin, Tex.: Texas House of Representatives, 1991.

JK 4830 P737 1991 Center for American History. Use in library only.
JK 4830 P737 1991 Center for American History TXC-Z Collection. Use in library only.
LAW JK 4866 P73 1991 Law Library

Presiding officers of the Texas Legislature, 1846–1995. Prepared by the staff of the Texas Legislative Council. Austin, Tex.: Published by the Council, 1995.

JK 4866 T48 1995 PCL Stacks
JK 4866 T48 1995 Center for American History. Use in library only.
LAW JK 4866 P73 1995 Law Library

Presiding officers of the Texas Legislature, 1846–2002. Prepared by the Research Division of the Texas Legislative Council. Austin, Tex.: The Council, 2002.

TXDOC L1400.5 P926O 2002 Center for American History Reference Collection. Use in library only.
LAW JK 4866 P73 2002 Law Library

Documents:

Guide to redistricting. Prepared by the staff of the Legislative Council. (The UT catalog lists Gib Lewis as an author.) Austin, Tex.: The Council, 1990. Series: Information report (Texas. Legislature, Legislative Council) no. 90-1. Notes: "(E)xplains the redistricting process in Texas, briefly outlines requirements of a redistricting plan, and provides an account of the history of Texas redistricting in the 1980s"–P. i.

LAW KFT 1620.85 A6 A25 1990B Law Library

Procedures manual for joint select committees. Prepared by the staff of the Texas Legislative Council. (The UT catalog lists Gib Lewis as an author.) Austin, Tex.: The Council, 1991.

LAW KFT 1621.5 R8 T49 1991 Law Library

Fair Share School Finance Plan. (Authors filed in catalog as Ann Richards, governor; Bob Bullock, lieutenant governor; and Gib Lewis, speaker of the house.) Austin, Tex.: State of Texas, 1992.

LB 2826 T4 T44 1992 Center for American History. Use in library only.
LAW KFT 1590 R52 1992 Law Library

Enactments of the 72nd Legislature: regular session, first, second, and third called sessions, 1991–1992. Prepared by the Texas Legislative Council. (The UT catalog lists Gib Lewis as an author.) Austin, Tex.: The Council, 1992.

LAW KFT 1215.2 1992 Law Library

Scrapbooks and Vertical File:  (Briscoe Center for American History)

Scrapbook: 2/74 to 2/92. Lewis, Gibson D.

A lengthy May 30, 1980, Fort Worth Star-Telegram story, "Coincidence or not, Lewis is in the lead," reports that Lewis, a House member from Fort Worth, had been contemplating running for speaker even before incumbent Bill Clayton's Brilab difficulties had started. Lewis, a conservative, said he considered running because he had heard of Dallas liberal Democrat John Bryant's campaign for the speakership and "I didn't think he was the right man." The article provides a sketch of Lewis' political career and notes a conflict between him and longtime Arlington mayor Tom Vandergriff. The article notes that Lewis is likeable and that even his political opponents have nice things to say about him, but that he has a reputation for not being very bright. Stories from mid-August report that Gib Lewis had received a $500 check from pari-mutuel betting interests that was meant to buy gold-colored watches for the 12 members of Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, which Lewis chairs.

The committee, the story reports, is deliberating a controversial proposal to legalize gambling on horse races on a local option basis. Lewis charges that the man providing the $500, Tom Russell, is working for John Bryant, Lewis' chief rival for the speakership. Another controversy fills press accounts from early September 1980 when critics accuse Lewis of violating House rules by having a full-time employee for the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, Bekki Lambert, work on his campaign while drawing state paychecks. Lewis said Lambert works part-time for the legislative committee, receiving half her pay from his campaign funds and state pay for the four hours she works each day for the committee.

Stories from late October 1981 concern an incident when Soviet police placed Lewis under house arrest for five days in Moscow when he returned to that city earlier from a Mongolian hunting trip than his Soviet internal visa permitted. Lewis had been on an around-the-world hunting expedition and was hoping to shoot a trophy ram.

Lewis declares victory in the speakership race in the November 12, 1981, Fort Worth Star-Telegram article "Speakership his, Lewis says." The Fort Worth representative says that he has pledges of support from 113 of his 149 colleagues. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports another Lewis hunting mishap in "Lewis nearly bags legislator," from its November 24, 1981, issue. The story reports that Lewis, hunting quail in Duval County with fellow members of the Legislature, fired at a flock flying overhead and rained buckshot upon his companions who sat 100 to 150 yards ahead in a four-wheel drive vehicle. Witnesses first feared that State Rep. Hugo Berlanga of Corpus Christi had been shot, but he had bailed out of the hunting vehicle in time and escaped unhurt. He landed on a reporter and broke the man's sunglasses while another man suffered a bloody cheekbone when struck by a pellet, but did not require hospitalization.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in its January 1, 1982, article, "Lewis raises almost $100,000," reports Lewis' success at collecting donations for his speaker campaign, a 15-1 advantage over his nearest opponent. Lewis' largest single supporter was Fort Worth oilman Perry Bass, who gave Lewis a total of $10,000. Previous stories in the scrapbook noted generous donations to Lewis by a wide assortment of lobbyists. A July 2, 1982, Dallas Morning News feature, "Speaker of the outdoors," details Lewis' global hunting adventures. The story includes a color photo of Lewis in his trophy room.

As he approaches his first term as speaker, Lewis speculates on action in the coming Legislature in the August 3, 1982, Dallas Morning News story, "Lawmaker doubts Texas drinking age will be raised to 21." The proposal comes from Republican Gov. Bill Clements' task force on traffic safety, but Lewis tells reporters he sees no groundswell of support for a higher drinking age. The Legislature in the previous session raised the drinking age from 18 to 19. In a November 13, 1982, Fort Worth Star-Telegram article, "Lewis outlines three priorities of Legislature," the likely speaker calls for tougher drunk driving laws, a long-range water plan for the state and adequate funding for state agencies, where he says there is an intense competition for funds. Lewis suggests that the Legislature might have to transfer auto sales tax revenue from the general fund to the highway fund and increase registration fees for cars and trucks. The Houston Post reports Lewis' apparent success at capturing the speakership in a December 12, 1982, story, "Pledges mean speaker's post for Gib Lewis." Press accounts now indicate that Lewis has received 141 pledges of support from other members of the 150-person body.

Lewis captures the speakership in a 144-2 vote, with one member voting "present." In the January 12, 1983, Fort Worth Star-Telegram story, "Speaker Lewis hopes to avoid raising taxes," Lewis announces that he only wants to serve two terms as speaker (he ends up serving five). Lewis tells reporters that he hopes that an improving economy will produce greater state revenues and that this will eliminate the need for higher taxes. In additions to priorities he has already announced, stories from mid-January 1983 note that Lewis also wants to increase teacher salaries and find a funding mechanism for colleges and universities that aren't part of the University of Texas or the Texas A&M systems. Lewis also hopes to revitalize the state highway system and meet federal court requirements regarding prison conditions.

A January 20, 1983, Dallas Morning News story, "Lewis puzzled by charges," gives vent to claims by critics that Lewis has already grabbed dictatorial power over the House. The story notes that the House, with little dissent, has granted Lewis unprecedented powers to not only appoint committee chairs, but to fire them, as well as the power to fire, with the concurrence of the House Administration Committee Chair, the employees of other House members. One former speaker, Robert W. Calvert, who held the post in 1937, declares that in his time, "there was no such thing as the speaker and his close friends completely dominating the process in the House. There were too many strong-willed, strong-minded people who were totally independent. It seems to me today that the 'good ol' boy' philosophy is dominant."

A controversy over Lewis' campaign donations breaks out in early March. The Houston Post, in a March 3, 1983, story, "Lewis says holdings unreported," reveals that Lewis, accused of sabotaging liquor-related bills by referring them to committees stacked with hostile members, admits to having holdings in a firm whose partners have liquor interests. Lewis, in a press conference, admitted that he had omitted mention of this investment along with his stake in three other companies in his 1981 financial disclosures to the state. Lewis is described in later stories as a business partner to a beer distributor and the owners of a liquor store chain. Failure to file an accurate statement is a Class B misdemeanor, the newspaper reports. Among the liquor bills to be considered by the Legislature are ones which would raise the drinking age from 19 to 21, ban open alcohol-beverage containers from motor vehicles, and strengthen laws against driving while intoxicated. Lewis, saying the omissions from his disclosure forms represent a "mistake," not a deliberate deception, amends the financial statement and tells reporters that he had never read the state's disclosure laws. In response, Common Cause calls for a permanent state ethics commission.

Even more controversy erupts from continuing revelations regarding Lewis' financial holdings in mid-March. A March 11, 1983, Fort Worth Star-Telegram story, "Ethics panel will study Lewis' omissions," reveals that Lewis Label Products, the firm headed by Gib Lewis, supplied labels to nine state agencies in 1980, 1981, and 1982 even though Lewis said he had instructed his staff to not take state business.

The House Ethics Subcommittee, meanwhile, announced that it would investigate Lewis' failure to fully disclose his business interests. Another flurry of stories concern public statements Lewis makes that "at this point" he probably couldn't get re-elected to the House from his home district. Lewis responds to press coverage of those comments by claiming the remarks were made "in jest." Multiple stories from April discuss the merits of creating an independent ethic commissions for the state Legislature that would enforce conflict-of-interest laws. Among the supporters, newspapers report, are current Speaker Lewis and his predecessor Billy Clayton.

Lewis changes positions and publicly supports raising the state drinking age to 21 and banning open alcohol containers in moving cars, as reported in the April 27, 1983, Fort Worth Star-Telegram story, "Drink bills get a push by Lewis." Lewis also says that he will no longer stick to his "no new taxes" stand and support a tax increase to fund teacher pay raises. That depends, Lewis says, on whether a study shows that pay hikes will improve the quality of schools, as reported in the June 2, 1983, Dallas Morning News story, "Lewis says he will recommend special legislative session."

In an attempt to clear up a lingering political controversy, Lewis on May 27 pleads no contest in state district court to a misdemeanor charge and pays an $800 fine for failing to fully disclose his financial holdings on required state forms. As a result, the House Ethics Committee votes unanimously to drop its investigation, as reported in the July 20, 1983, Dallas Morning News story, "State ethics panel drops Lewis probe." Subsequent coverage notes that Lewis went on a trip to New Mexico paid for by horse racing lobbyists.

A September 6, 1987, Fort Worth Star-Telegram feature story, "Outdoors is Gib Lewis' retreat," details Lewis' passion for hunting, fishing and other sports. These hobbies cause political troubles, however, as described in a March 9, 1989, Austin American-Statesman story, "Rules overlooked in stocking of Lewis' ranches with deer." Texas Parks and Wildlife crews, the newspaper reports, stocked 137 deer on two of Lewis' ranches over the past four years without the formal written agreements and on-site inspections required of landowners by state law. In addition, Lewis apparently did not pay for 71 of the deer.

Subsequent stories quote Lewis as saying he will return the deer and elk he received from the Parks Department in order to "put questions to rest." Lewis denies receiving special treatment from the agency. Undeterred, Lewis announces his political plans in the May 31, 1989, Austin American-Statesman story, "Speaker Lewis to seek 5th term of office." The stories note that a fifth term as speaker would be a record, breaking the previous longevity mark set by Lewis' immediate predecessor Clayton Williams.

Another financial disclosure scandal is outlined in a September 7, 1990, Austin American-Statesman article, "Lewis says he didn't know he owned part of company." The story reveals that Lewis had not reported on 1989 disclosure forms that he owned $119,000 worth of stock in N. W. Investments Inc. Travis County prosecutors confirm that they are investigating the matter, a possible misdemeanor.

Lewis stirs controversy once more when he is accused of threatening the heads of three social service agencies who criticized his public comments regarding the possible dissolution of the Southwest Conference, as reported in the September 7, 1990, Austin American-Statesman. Lewis, hearing that the University of Texas and Texas A&M were planning to leave the athletic conference based in Texas in order to join the higher-prestige, more lucrative Big 10, and concerned that these departures would harm Southwest Conference member Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, told reporters that he would do "everything in my power" to keep the conference together and would move to slash the academic budgets of departing schools. Questioned by reporters, four social service advocates said Texas faced more pressing issues than the alignment of athletic conferences and noted that Texas is among the stingiest states in the country regarding services for the handicapped and other needy residents.

Lewis responded with a letter that said, "In my opinion, there is little room in the legislative process for those who so irresponsibly attempt to mislead the public about the Legislature's position and accomplishments on issues as important as the ones espoused by your organization." The letters went to officials for Texas Mental Health Consumers, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, the Texas Alliance for Human Needs and the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities. The letters continue to say that Lewis will deal with issues of concern to these groups "without the benefit of insight from your organization." The leaders of the groups saw the letters as thinly veiled threats.

As Lewis seeks his record-setting fifth term as speaker, he earns negative press when a gun emporium he owns in Fort Worth goes bankrupt still owing the state $24,000 in sales taxes. On top of that, Lewis must contend with one more investigation into his finances. Travis County investigators are probing whether the law firm of Heard Goggan Blair & Williams used campaign donations, free trips and other gifts to Lewis and other legislators in order to influence legislation. The gifts, prosecutors will allege, were aimed at influence the Legislature's action on bills affect the law firm's near monopoly on government contracts for collecting delinquent property taxes, according to the December 11, 1990, Austin American-Statesman story, "Gib Lewis hires lawyers, publicists to help in inquiry." Regardless of this, Lewis is reelected as speaker by a 146-1 vote, as reported in the January 9, 1991, Statesman. Gib Lewis is subsequently indicted on two misdemeanor charges that he allowed the Heard Goggan law firm to pay a portion of a tax bill owed by Lewis-owned corporation while the firm had pending business before the state Legislature.

These developments are covered in the December 28, 1990, Statesman story, "Gib Lewis is indicted." Lewis is forced to post bond and submit to fingerprinting in Austin, according to press accounts from February 1, 1991. Later press accounts indicate that Lewis' trial is delayed until the end of the current session and then for the summer's special session. The state, meanwhile, faces a budget crunch because of the national recession and is seeking $5.2 billion in savings to prevent the need for a tax hike or the creation of a state lotto to pull in extra revenue.

Judge Bob Perkins revokes Lewis' bail when he fails to appear for a court date as recorded in "Gib Lewis jailed: Speaker fails to appear for pretrial hearing" in the October 2, 1991, Daily Texan. Lewis spent four hours in jail. As the speaker's legal problems mount, would-be successors emerge, as reported in the October 6, 1991, Austin American-Statesman story, "House members circle stealthily for speaker's post." The article speculates that House members Pete Laney, Bruce Gibson, Jim Rudd, and David Cain are leading prospects to be the next speaker. A January 3, 1992, Statesman story, "Lewis says he remains undecided," reports that the speaker has not yet decided whether he will run for re-election to his House seat and if he will seek another term as speaker. Lewis announces his decision in the January 9, 1992, Austin American-Statesman story, "Lewis hangs up speaker's gavel," which reports that Lewis will not seek re-election to the House next year. The Statesman provides an evaluation of Lewis' career as speaker in a January 9, 1992, story, "Lewis legacy gets mixed reviews."

Lewis' legal fate is revealed in an article in the January 23 issue, "Lewis enters pleas to lesser charges," which reveals that the speaker has pled guilty to two financial reporting violations and has agreed to pay $2,000. Lewis faced a possible maximum sentence of 18 months in jail and $3,000 in fines. Press accounts from the time of his departure from the House reveal that Lewis has almost $1 million in unspent campaign contributions which he can pocket. The January 29, 1992, Statesman carries the story, "Prosecutors says Lewis' retirement was a condition of his plea bargain."

Vertical File:  Lewis, Gibson D.

File contains a small number of clippings and a collection of Christmas cards from 1986, 1988, and 1990 sent by the speaker. The cover of the 1990 card is a color photo of the speaker, his wife Sandra and their four grandchildren. The file also holds an excerpt from the January 8, 1990, House Journal that includes speeches nominating Lewis for speaker and his remarks accepting the post.

Among the small, random set of clippings, which extend from 1980 to 1996, is a cover feature story from the October 2, 1983, edition of the Dallas Times Herald's Westward magazine, "Power Among His Peers." The story reports that most of his peers, including his opponents, perceive Lewis as a nice guy. Critics describe him as not bright, but supporters argue that any man who went from birth on a poor farm to become a millionaire must be intelligent. Critics quoted in the story also charge that the same lobbyists who crowned Clayton as speaker handpicked Lewis, a charge that Lewis denies.

The file also contains a critical editorial from the Texas Observer from its January 11, 1991, issue relating details of a 1987 trip to a Mexican coastal resort in which Lewis used an assumed name and was accompanied by a former topless dancer. The editorial outlines the long list of allegations concerning Lewis' financial dealings and argues that Lewis is unethical and controlled by lobbyists. A January 26, 1992, Austin American-Statesman editorial, "TPWD needs to hook Lewis," endorses Lewis' appointment to a spot on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. A retrospective on Lewis' career is provided in the January 4, 1993, Statesman article, "Legislator looks back on 22 years."

Audiotape:

Gib Lewis and Debbie Mitchell Interview, 2004.

Interview with Gib Lewis and Debbie Mitchell in his Austin office conducted by Dr. Patrick Cox and Dr. Michael Phillips of the Texas House Speakers Oral History Project. The interview covers Lewis' childhood in Mexia, his time as a student at Sam Houston State University and Texas Christian University, his career in the Air Force and as the founder and president of Lewis Label Products. Lewis also describes his time as a city council member in River Oaks and he discusses his House races in the 1970s. Another section of the interview deals with the state's education reforms in 1984. Lewis describes his feelings about H. Ross Perot, the Dallas businessman who chaired a citizens committee that studied school reform and the reaction of the state to implementation of the so-called "No Pass, No Play" rule governing junior high and high school athletes. Lewis also discusses his career as a hunter and his actions as speaker regarding fish and wildlife. He describes his struggles with investigations over his business dealings and his campaign financing and analyzes the relationship of House speakers with the press since the 1960s.

Audio. Center for American History Copy 1. Use in library only.
Transcript of interview. Center for American History Copy 1. Use in library only.

Prints and Photographs Collection: (Briscoe Center for American History)

An official portrait of Lewis from his speakership.

Top


JAMES E. "PETE" LANEY
(1943–)
72nd Speaker
(1993–2003)

Presided over

The 73rd Legislature's regular session, January 12 to May 31, 1993.

The 74th Legislature's regular session, January 10 to May 29, 1995.

The 75th Legislature's regular session, January 14 to June 2, 1997.

The 76th Legislature's regular session, January 12 to May 31, 1999.

The 77th Legislature's regular session, January 9 to May 28, 2001.

Born on March 20, 1943, in Hale County, James E. "Pete" Laney graduated from Hale Center High School in 1961.  He earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics at Texas Tech University.  He became a successful cotton farmer and first won election to the Texas House of Representatives in 1972.  Named to serve on the key Committee on Administration as chairman, he held that post for four terms and then became chair of the Committee on State Affairs for a decade.  His peers unanimously elected him speaker in 1993.

Following his unanimous election to the House's top post, Laney oversaw massive reforms in state government. Laney increased the appointment of women, African Americans and Mexican Americans to committee chairs and to positions of responsibility within the House.  Laney guided initiatives on education, water, transportation and healthcare during his tenure.  

Laney also made improving the efficiency of House operations a top priority. Under his direction, the House adopted a new system of deadlines for legislation to prevent a backlog of bills from being submitted in the closing days of sessions, as had frequently happened in the past.   Many observers believed that his management of the House calendar enabled the Legislature to finish its business by the end of each regular session.  Special sessions became the norm during the 1980s, but not a single one was called during Laney's decade as speaker.  House members widely considered Laney a "member's speaker," lauding him for his efforts to ensure that House authors of legislation got full credit for their work.

Starting in his second term in 1995, Laney established a close, collaborative relationship with new Republican Gov. George W. Bush while maintaining his longstanding relationship with Democratic Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock.

The night when George W. Bush was declared the winner of the hotly-contested 2000 presidential election by the United States Supreme Court, the Republican president-elect made a national address from the Texas House chamber and asked his Democrat colleague Laney to introduce him.    

Among his honors, Laney served as Chair of the Southern Legislative Conference and President of the National Speakers Conference.  He received the Outstanding Texas Leader award, given by the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute and the Helen Farabee Leadership Award for the Texas Perinatal Association.  He is the recipient of the Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturalist Award.  Texas Tech University named him a Distinguished Alumnus and Wayland Baptist University has conferred on him an honorary doctorate.
 
Married to Nelda McQuien, Laney and his wife live in Hale Center on the Texas South Plains and have three children, KaLyn Laney, Jamey Laney Phillips and J Pete Laney and five grandsons, Austin James Phillips, Grant Alexander Phillips, Gavin Anderson Phillips, Holden Laney Phillips, and Clayton Jack Laney.

– Interviewed by Patrick Cox

University Materials Related to Speaker Laney

Books:

Guide to the Texas Legislative Council. Prepared by the staff of the Texas Legislative Council. (The UT Catalog lists Laney as an author).Austin, Tex.: The Council, 1994.

LAW JK 4874 T49 1994 Law Library

Guide to the Texas Legislative Council. Prepared by the Research Division of the Texas Legislative Council. (The UT Catalog lists Laney as an author) Austin, Tex.: The Council, 1996.

LAW JK 4874 T49 1996 Law Library

Guide to the Texas Legislative Council. Prepared by the Research Division of the Texas Legislative Council. (The UT Catalog lists Laney as an author).Austin, Tex.: The Council, 1998.

LAW JK 4874 T49 1998 Law Library

Research on the World Wide Web: a directory of resources. Prepared by the Research Division of the Texas Legislative Council; Gov. Rick Perry, chairman, Speaker James E. "Pete" Laney, vice chairman. Austin, Tex.: The Council, 2000.

LAW KF 242 A1 R47 2000 Law Library Reference. Use in library only.

Guide to the Texas Legislative Council. Prepared by the Research Division of the Texas Legislative Council. (The UT Catalog lists Laney as an author).Austin, Tex.: The Council, 2002.

LAW JK 4874 T49 2002 Law Library

Presiding officers of the Texas Legislature, 1846–1995. Prepared by the staff of the Texas Legislative Council. Austin, Tex.: Published by the Council, 1995.

JK 4866 T48 1995 PCL Stacks
JK 4866 T48 1995 Center for American History. Use in library only.
LAW JK 4866 P73 1995 Law Library

Presiding officers of the Texas Legislature, 1846–2002. Prepared by the Research Division of the Texas Legislative Council. Austin, Tex.: The Council, 2002.

TXDOC L1400.5 P926O 2002 Center for American History Reference Collection. Use in library only.
LAW JK 4866 P73 2002 Law Library

Audiotape:

James E. "Pete" Laney Interview, 2004.

Interview with James E. "Pete" Laney at his office in the state Capitol conducted by Dr. Patrick Cox of the Texas House Speakers Oral History Project. The interview covers Laney's childhood in Plainview, his pre-speakership career in the House, his election as speaker, his relationship with Governor George W. Bush and Lt. Governor Bob Bullock, and their work on educational and tort reform, the state's welfare system and the juvenile justice system. He also discusses his reactions to the Republican Party takeover of the House in the 2002 election.

Audio. Center for American History Copy 1. Use in library only.
Transcript of interview. Center for American History Copy 1. Use in library only.

Vertical File: Laney, Pete  (Briscoe Center for American History)

 Clippings covering Laney's speakership from Texas Monthly and other publications.

Prints and Photographs Collection: (Briscoe Center for American History)

An official portrait of Laney from his speakership.

Top


Tom Craddick
(1943–)
73rd Speaker
(2003–2009)

Presided over

The 78th Legislature's regular session, January 14–June 2, 2003; the 78th Legislature's First Called Session, June 20–July 28, 2003; the 78th Legislature's Second Called Session July 29–August 26, 2003; the 78th Legislature's Third Called Session, September 15–October 12, 2003; the 78th Legislature's Fourth Called Session, April 20–May 17, 2004.

The79th Legislature's Regular Session, January 11, 2005–May 30, 2005; the 79th Legislature's First Called Session, June 21, 2005–July 20, 2005; the 79th Legislature's Second Called Session, July 21–August 19, 2005; the 79th Legislature's Third Called Session, April 17–May 16, 2006.

The 80th Legislature's Regular Session, January 9, 2007–May 28, 2007.

Tom Craddick's rise to the Speaker's seat parallels the growth of the Republican Party in Texas. On January 11, 2003, he made state history when, subsequent to his 34-year tenure in the Texas House of Representatives, he became the first Republican Speaker—after helping gain the Republican Majority in the House—for the first time in more than 130 years.

Craddick's leadership gave the 78th Legislature, which began as one of the most challenging in history, much of its impetus for success. Although his first session as speaker was marked by an unprecedented $10 billion budget deficit, Craddick helped the state overcome the budget shortfall while producing model ethics, insurance, tort and transportation reforms. Given his successes in these arenas, Craddick was overwhelmingly re-elected Speaker in 2005.

During the 79th 3rd Called Special Session, Craddick was also instrumental in cutting property taxes and reforming the financing of public schools in Texas while also adding some urgent reforms to the educational system itself. Craddick led the House to pass legislation that reformed the state's franchise tax giving taxpayers needed property tax relief. He also supported legislation that provided a $2,000 state-funded pay increase for teachers, encouraged the creation of locally designed incentive plans to increase teacher performance, and the requirement for high school students to take four years of science and math.

Craddick's political journey has been one of determination, perseverance and bravery. When he was a Ph.D. candidate at Texas Tech University, he decided to seek office in the Texas House of Representatives as a Midland Republican. Given the environment at that time, even his father warned him against it. "Texas is run by Democrats," the Midland businessman, R. F. Craddick told him. "You can't win." But the younger Craddick proved him wrong, and at the age of 25, he became one of only nine Republicans in the 150-seat House.

Tom Craddick has spent his adult life serving his fellow citizens in the Texas House of Representatives. His tenure has been characterized by landmark events. His initial years at the Capitol were focused on revitalizing the Texas GOP, but in 1971 he gained respect from both sides when he joined a bipartisan group of reformists dubbed "The Dirty 30" that was pushing for changes in House Ethics. In 1975, Speaker Bill Clayton appointed Craddick as the first Republican committee chairman in 100 years, and he continued to hold chairmanships under Clayton's successors, Gib Lewis and Pete Laney. Since his election as Speaker, Craddick has demonstrated an appreciation for diversity and bipartisanship by appointing a record number of women and minorities -- including 12 Democrats -- as chairmen.

Speaker Craddick is also a successful businessman. He is a sales representative for Mustang Mud, an oilfield supply company, owns Craddick Properties, a Midland investment business, and is president of Craddick, Inc.

Craddick holds both a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration from Texas Tech University. In 1995, his alma mater honored him with a prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award. He is also an Eagle Scout who has held numerous civic posts in his hometown of Midland.

Craddick married the former Nadine Nayfa, a native of Sweetwater, in 1969. They have two children, Christi and Thomas Russell, Jr. Their son, Tommy, married the former Laura Parker in 2004. The Speaker and Nadine have a six-month-old grandson, Tripp.

University Materials Related to Speaker Craddick

Audiotape:

Thomas and Nadine Craddick Interview, 2004.

Interview with Thomas and Nadine Craddick conducted at the speaker's apartment in the state Capitol in February 2005 by Dr. Patrick Cox and Michael Phillips of the Texas House Speakers Oral History Project. The interview covers the Craddicks' experiences growing up in West Texas, Tom Craddick's memories of being a member of the "Dirty Thirty," recent memories of Craddick's first term as speaker, descriptions of the speakers' apartment and the residence's historical significance.

Audio. Center for American History Copy 1. Use in library only.
Transcript of interview. Center for American History Copy 1. Use in library only.

Vertical File: Craddick, Thomas (Briscoe Center for American History)

Newspaper clippings and Texas Monthly articles covering Craddick's first two terms as speaker.

Prints and Photographs Collection: (Briscoe Center for American History)

An official portrait of Craddick from his speakership.

Top