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The University of Texas at Austin


Briscoe Center Acquires the Papers of Mike Millsap

Mike mIllsap

L-R: State Rep. Mike Millsap with Governor Bill Clements ca. 1979

The Briscoe Center has acquired the papers of Mike Millsap, who served as a state representative from Fort Worth between 1979 and 1988. Millsap also worked as an election manager, advisor, and chief of staff for state Representative Gib Lewis, who served as the Speaker of the Texas House between 1983 and 1993 

“I’m especially grateful to have my papers archived at UT’s Briscoe Center—Dolph Briscoe was governor when I first came to Austin, and he was very good to me,” said Millsap. “I learned quickly that an officeholder is most effective if you study the issues, most of which don’t have simple solutions, and learn from those in the body more experienced and knowledgeable than you,”

Millsap was born in Fort Worth, the city he went on to represent in the Texas legislature. His father was a Methodist minister and his mother a classroom teacher. After graduating from Texas Christian University, Millsap enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1970. After basic training, he became an infantry officer assigned to the 1st Marine Division. In 1973, he began a career in the insurance industry. However, in 1976, Millsap became a candidate for the Texas House of Representatives. 

He served one two-year term before running Gib Lewis's campaign for Speaker of the House in 1980. (Lewis withdrew after Speaker Bill Clayton announced for re-election.) Millsap ran for state representative again in 1982 and was reelected to represent his Fort Worth district. Concurrently, Lewis was successful in his bid for the speakership, and Millsap continued to be one of his key advisors. Between 1983 and 1987 he served on many important committees including Appropriations, State Affairs, and Higher Education, as well as chairing the Committee on House Administration. 

Millsap announced he would not seek reelection to the House in 1988, planning to return to Fort Worth and the private sector. However, Speaker Lewis asked him to stay in Austin and become his chief of staff. Millsap accepted and served in that role for two more terms before returning to Fort Worth in 1991. That same year, University of Texas System Chancellor Dr. Hans Mark offered Millsap the position of vice chancellor for governmental relations, responsible for congressional and legislative relations. Millsap served as a UT System vice chancellor for almost nine years, working with three chancellors and over thirty regents before resigning in 2000 to return to the private sector.