Charles Matthews (Texas politician)

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Charles Ray Matthews
Texas Railroad Commissioner
In office
Preceded by James E. Nugent
Succeeded by Elizabeth Ames Jones
Chancellor, Texas State University System
In office
Preceded by Lamar Urbanovsky
Succeeded by Brian McCall
Mayor of Garland, Texas
In office
Personal details
Born (1939-05-19) May 19, 1939 (age 75)
Waco, McLennan County
Texas, USA
Resting place Texas State Cemetery in Austin (upon his death)
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Julia Freeman Matthews
Children Four children
Residence Aquilla, Hill County, Texas
Alma mater University of Texas at Dallas

Texas State University-San Marcos
University of Texas at Austin

Occupation Businessman; Educator

Charles Ray Matthews (born May 19, 1939) is a former member and chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission and the chancellor-emeritus of the Texas State University System. Based in Austin, Texas, his service on the Railroad Commission extended from 1995 to 2005; as chancellor, from 2005 to 2010.[1]


A native of Waco, Texas, Matthews received his higher education later in life, having graduated with a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies in 1994 from the University of Texas at Dallas. In 1999, he received a master's degree in public administration from Texas State University in San Marcos, then known as Southwest Texas State University. In 2006, he was awarded a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Texas at Austin.[1][2]

Political career[edit]

From 1984 to 1986, Matthews was the mayor of Garland, Texas, a nonpartisan position in which he worked to reduce the tax rate and to cut municipal expenditures. In 1986, he lost a race for county judge in Dallas County.[2]

In 1994, he unseated veteran Democratic Railroad Commissioner James E. Nugent. Matthews outpolled Nugent, 2,046,614 votes (49.8 percent) to 1,978,759 (48.1 percent). Another 84,769 votes were cast (2.1 percent) for the Libertarian Rich Draheim.[3] In 2000, Matthews won reelection to the Railroad Commission without Democratic opposition. He received 3,633,901 votes (77 percent), with the remaining 23 percent split between two minor party contenders.[4]

As railroad commissioner, Matthews supported more exploration for natural gas to meet future electricity needs.[5]

TSU System chancellorship[edit]

Early in 2005, Matthews stepped down from the Railroad Commission to succeed Lamar Urbanovsky as the university system chancellor.[6] Matthews served on the Texas Turnpike Authority under appointment from Republican Governor Bill Clements.[7] He is a former director, president, and chief executive officer of the Texas Municipal Power Agency.[8]

Originally established in 1911 to supervise the normal schools of Texas, the TSU system, which Matthews headed for five years, consists of nine institutions: Texas State University-San Marcos, Angelo State University in San Angelo, Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Lamar University in Beaumont, the Lamar Institute of Technology, Lamar State College-Orange, Lamar State College-Port Arthur, Sul Ross State University in Alpine, and Rio Grande College of Sul Ross State University. These schools enroll more than seventy thousand students.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Matthews is the former president of Housing Administrators, Inc., president and CEO of M Mortgage Company, a director of Southern Bank and Trust/Texas Commerce Bank, and the owner/operator of Matthews Investments. He is a former member of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and the National Coal Council.[1]

Matthews has been active in Rotary International, the Lion's Club, Young Men's Christian Association, and the Boy Scouts of America. He served as chairman of the Garland Chamber of Commerce and received the highest honor of the Garland business community, the Tall Texan Award. He and his wife, the former Julia Freeman (born January 19, 1945), a native of McAllen, Texas, reside in rural Aquilla near Hillsboro, Texas. They have four children.[1][7]


  1. ^ a b c d "Charles R. Matthews". Retrieved February 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Voter's Guide, 2000". Retrieved February 25, 2012. 
  3. ^ "General Election returns, November 8, 1994". Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  4. ^ "General Election returns, November 7, 2000". Retrieved February 25, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Matthews touts increase in gas production". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, October 30, 1999. Retrieved February 25, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Railroad commissioner tapped as finalist for Texas State chancellorship, January 7, 2005". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved February 25, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Biography of Charles R. Matthews". Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Railroad commissioner tapped as finalist for Texas State chancellorship, January 7, 2005". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved May 15, 2012.