20 Most Famous Texas Politicians (2023)

George H. W. Bush by an Unknown author from Wikimedia Commons

Diverse culture, magnificent landscapes, and a rich history are some of the highlights Texas is celebrated for. Besides that, the state is home to significant political figures with national and international influence.

President Lyndon B. Johnson, George H. W. Bush, and his son George W. Bush all hailed from Texas. Another noteworthy Texas politician is Sam Houston who served as the first Texas president. Barbara Jordan is also noted as one of the first African-Americans to serve in the Texas Senate.

Meet more prominent Texas politicians who have served in different political offices. Such as presidents, representatives, governors, senators, and mayors.

Here are the 20 Most Famous Texas Politicians.

1. Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson by Arnold Newman from Wikimedia Commons

As the 36th president of the United States, he was popular by the initials LBJ (Lyndon Baines Johnson). He was born around the Texas Stonewall area on August 27, 1908.

Additionally, the Democrat politician Johnson served in other elected offices in the federal government. He served as the 37th vice president under the regime of President John F. Kennedy. He held the vice president position from 1961 to 1963. After the assassination of Kennedy, he was sworn in as president.

In 1937, LBJ joined the national House of Representatives. Later in 1948, he was elected as US Senator from Texas. Hence he received the appointment as Senate Majority Whip in 1951.

His presidential administration is remembered for significant legislation that changed key sectors. Such as health care, civil rights, welfare, and education. He died on January 22, 1973.

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2. George H. W. Bush

The Texas politician is remembered as the 41st president of the United States. His regime spanned from 1989 to 1993. He served as vice president to Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1989.

This Republican politician started his political journey in 1967 as a U.S. House Representative. His other high-ranking positions were serving as the U.S. Ambassador to the UN (United Nations) starting 1971 up to 1973.

On top of that, from 1976 to 1977, he was the Director of Central Intelligence. He was born on June 12, 1924, and died on November 30, 2018.

3. Sam Houston

Samuel Houston by an Unknown author from Wikimedia Commons

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Samuel Houston was born on March 2, 1793, in Virginia. Afterward, he moved with his family to Tennessee but later shifted to Texas. From 1827 to 1829, he served as the 6th governor of Tennessee.

Moreover, he was the state’s(Texas) first president elected in 1836. His win came after his service in the Texian Army where he brought victory to Texas during the Battle of San Jacinto against Mexico. His term lasted until 1838 and ended due to term limits.

Houston was elected back to the position of Texas president in 1841 and he served in the role up to 1844. From 1846 to 1859, he was elected to represent Texas in the United States Senate.

His last political office was from December 1859 up to March 1861 when he was elected as the 7th Governor of Texas. Houston died in Texas aged 70 years on July 26, 1863.

4. George Walker Bush (George W. Bush)

The Republican politician is celebrated for serving as the 43rd president of the United States. His presidency ran for two terms from 2001 to 2009.

He was born in Connecticut but credits his growing up in Texas. His birthdate is July 6, 1946. He is the son of 41st US President George Herbert Walker Bush (George H. W. Bush).

Before he was elected president, he served in the capacity of governor of Texas from 1995 until 2000. As president, he is appreciated for tax and education reforms. Most evident were the tax cut program and the No Child Left Behind Act.

Furthermore, Bush received approval for his leadership response following the September 11, 2001, terrorist invasions. He is also applauded for achieving significant free trade agreements during his second presidential term.

5. Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan by Adam Cuerden from Wikimedia Commons

She was a Democrat and made the record as the first African-American in Texas Senate since 1883. Hence she served as a Member of the Texas Senate from 1967 to 1973.

To add on, after her senate service, she entered the U.S. House of Representatives in 1973 representing the Texas 18th district. She held the office until 1979. While in the House she was appointed to the House Judiciary Committee and the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

While she was a member of the House Judiciary Committee, she delivered a speech before the committee, which increased her political popularity. The speech was a support campaign for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. She was born on February 21, 1936, in Houston and died on January 17, 1996, in Austin.

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6. Lloyd Bentsen

His political fame stems from his four-year term as Texas Senator. He served in the position from 1971 until 1993. In Senate, he chaired the Senate Finance Committee from 1987 to 1993.

On top of that, Bentsen’s political career began in 1948. At the time, he was elected to represent the Texas 15th district in the House of Representatives.

From 1993 to 1994, he was tasked with the docket of the United States Secretary of the Treasury. Further, he was the Democratic Party nominee for the vice president office under the 1988 Michael Dukakis presidential ticket. He was born on February 11, 1921, and died in Texas on May 23, 2006, aged 85 years.

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7. Ann Richards

Ann Richards in 1992 by Kenneth C. Zirkel from Wikimedia Commons

The Texas politician is acclaimed for serving as the 45th governor of Texas. She led the state from 1991 to 1995. Yet her rise to national recognition in politics came when she was the Texas State Treasurer. A position she held from 1983 to 1991.

The Democrat lost her gubernatorial seat to George W. Bush during the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election. She remained active in politics until her demise. She was born on September 1, 1933, in McLennan County and died in Austin on September 13, 2006, at 73 years.

8. Rick Perry

Rick Perry by Ken Shipp from Wikimedia Commons

He is a prominent politician in Texas politics. He was born in Haskell on March 4, 1950. He started as a member of the Texas House of Representatives where he served from 1985 to 1991.

Over and above that, from 1991 to 1999, he was appointed the Agriculture Commissioner of Texas. From 1999 to 2000, he was tasked with the role of Lieutenant Governor of Texas. In 2000 he secured the election as the Governor of Texas where he served up to 2015.

During the Trump administration, he was appointed as the United States Secretary of Energy. He assumed office in 2017 and served in that capacity until 2019. Perry began as a Democrat but switched to the Republican camp in 1989.

9. Kay Bailey Hutchison

Hutchison is applauded for serving in the Texas House of Representatives from 1973 to 1976. She was appointed the Treasurer of Texas from 1991 to 1993. She also served as the United States Senator from Texas starting in 1993 until 2013.

From 2017 to 2021 the Republican was appointed the United States Ambassador to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). She was born on July 22, 1943, in Galveston.

10. Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz by U.S. Senate Photographic Studio from Wikimedia Commons

Cruz took over the Texas senate seat after Bailey Hutchison in 2013. He was the Solicitor General of Texas from 2003 to 2008. This Republican was appointed to the Senate Commerce Committee in January 2023. He was born on December 22, 1970, in Canada but his family relocated to Texas in 1974.

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11. John Cornyn

He assumed office as the United States Senator from Texas in December 2002. He works with Ted Cruz. While in the Senate, he has held both positions of Senate Minority and Majority Whip.

Furthermore, he chaired the National Republican Senatorial Committee from 2009 to 2013. He was also Chair of the Senate Narcotics Caucus from 2019 to 2021. The politician grew up in Houston and his birthdate is February 2, 1952.

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12. Greg Abbott

Greg Abbott by J Dimas from Wikimedia Commons

Abbott belongs to the Republican Party and has held top government positions. He was the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas from 1996 to 2001. From 2002 to 2015, he served as the 50th Attorney General of Texas.

In 2015, Greg took office as the 48th Governor of Texas. From 2019 to 2020, he was the Chair of the Republican Governors Association. He was born in Wichita Falls on November 13, 1957.

13. Dan Patrick

The Texas politician is applauded as the 42nd Lieutenant Governor of Texas since 2015, serving under Greg Abbott. He has seen re-election to the position in 2018 and 2022. Before then, he served as a member of the Texas Senate from 2007 to 2015.

Patrick is a journalist by profession and was born in Maryland on April 4, 1950. He became a significant figure in Texas through his role as a sportscaster with KHOU-TV in Houston. His unique stunts as a sportscaster grew his popularity as a Houston TV personality in the 1980s. Hence he leveraged such acclaim to seek political office.

14. Sam Rayburn

Sam Rayburn by Harris & Ewing, Inc. from Wikimedia Commons

He has a record of long service as the speaker of the United States House of Representatives. He served in this position for three different terms a period spanning over 17 years. His first term was between 1940 to 1947. The second term ran from 1949 to 1953 and the last from 1955 to 1961.

Additionally, Rayburn served as majority and minority leader in the House before his position as speaker. He was also a long-serving congressman. The Democrat was born on January 6, 1882, in Tennessee and his family moved to Texas in 1887. He met his demise on November 16, 1961, aged 79.

15. Wendy Davis

Wendy Davis by Gage Skidmore from Wikimedia Commons

The Texas politician Wendy Davis has served in the Texas Senate representing the 10th district. She held this position from 2009 to 2015. Before she was a member of the Fort Worth City Council from 1999 to 2008.

Her national fame was triggered by a filibuster she held on June 25, 2013, that stretched over ten hours. The filibuster intended to block the Texas Senate Bill 5(SB5). This Bill aimed at restrictive legislation on the Texas abortion regulations.

The Democrat ran for the 2014 Texas gubernatorial seat but lost to Republican Greg Abbott. She was also unsuccessful in the Texas 21st congressional district in 2020, losing to Chip Roy. She was born on May 16, 1963, in Rhode Island but her family relocated to Texas in 1973.

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16. Ralph Yarborough

The Texas Democratic politician Yarborough was born on June 8, 1903, in Chandler. He is remembered for serving in the United States Senate from 1957 to 1971. He was also a frontier in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. He died in Austin on January 27, 1996.

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17. Henry Cisneros

Henry Cisneros by an Unknown author from Wikimedia Commons

Cisneros is a headline Texan politician noted for his four-term political career as Mayor of San Antonio. He occupied this office from 1981 to 1989.

The Democrat’s national recognition came when he was appointed to Bill Clinton’s Cabinet. He was selected as the 10th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from 1993 to 1997.

Cisneros doubles as an entrepreneur hence he is very involved with housing development and urban revitalization. Cisneros home town is San Antonio where he was born on June 11, 1947.

18. Tom DeLay

DeLay joined politics in 1978. His first political office was as a member of the Texas House of Representatives. He was in office from 1979 to 1985.

Moreover, from 1985 up to 2006, he represented the Texas 22nd congressional district in the US House of Representatives. He was chosen as the Secretary of the House Republican Conference starting in 1993 and served in that position until 1995.

What’s more, from 1995 to 2003, he was the Republican Party House Majority Whip. Afterward, he was appointed as his party’s House Majority Leader from 2003 to 2005. He was born on April 8, 1947.

19. Sheila Jackson Lee

Sheila Jackson Lee by the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives from
Wikimedia Commons

The Texas female politician and lawyer by profession was born in Queens, New York on January 12, 1950. She became a noteworthy political personality in Texas when she was appointed as Houston’s municipal judge from 1987 to 1990.

In 1990, she secured a seat in the Houston City Council where she was a member until 1995. In January 1995, she assumed office as the representative of the Texas 18th district in the US House of Representatives.

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20. Ron Paul

Paul is a notable Texas politician who served as the representative of the Texas 22nd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He held this office twice. First from 1976 to 1977 and the second time from 1979 until 1985.

Ron’s last term in the House was from 1997 to 2013 representing the Texas 14th district. To boot, he has so far sought election as the president of the United States three times. His first attempt was in 1988 as the Libertarian Party nominee.

Furthermore, in 2008 and 2012, he was the Republican Party presidential candidate. He is a vocal critic of the federal government’s fiscal policies such as taxes. He was born in Pittsburgh on August 20, 1935, but moved to Brazoria County.

These highlighted popular Texas politicians have set the trend for politics in Texas and beyond. They have brought positive changes through legislation and steered development in the state and the country at large. Their footprints are a foundation and legacy for the present and future generations aspiring to serve in Texas or American politics.


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