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The University of Texas at Austin


Texas House Speakers Oral History Project -
Gibson D. "Gib" Lewis

71st Speaker

Gib Lewis. Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Gib Lewis. Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

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.

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