||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2014)|
|Dan H. Branch|
|Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 108th district
2003 – January 13, 2015
|Preceded by||Kenn George|
|Succeeded by||Morgan Meyer|
March 5, 1958 |
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Alma mater||Douglas MacArthur High School (San Antonio)
Oklahoma Christian University
Southern Methodist University
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Dan H. Branch (born March 5, 1958) is a former member of the Texas House of Representatives from Dallas, Texas, U.S.A. First elected in 2002, as a Republican, Branch completed his sixth term in  District 108, which includes Downtown, Uptown, Historic East Dallas, Greenland Hills, Lower Greenville, The Village, as well as the town of Highland Park and the city of University Park.
On July 25, 2013, Branch officially announced his candidacy  for state attorney general in the 2014 Republican primary election. Branch finished second in the primary to State Senator Ken Paxton of McKinney, but because no candidate secured a majority vote, the two met in the May 27 runoff election, where Branch lost. Paxton led the primary field with 566,114 votes (44.4 percent); Branch followed with 426,595 votes (33.5 percent). Eliminated in the primary was Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman of Austin, who polled the remaining 281,064 (22.1 percent). Ken Paxton defeated Branch in the Republican runoff by a 26% margin and was elected easily in the general election as the next Attorney General.
Branch is a graduate of the Southern Methodist University School of Law (now the Dedman School of Law), where he served as an editor of the law review. He is an alumnus of the Institute on Comparative Political & Economic Systems at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and he holds Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees from Oklahoma Christian University, having graduated summa cum laude in 1980.
Branch won the seat in 2002, when the incumbent Republican Kenn George stepped down after two terms to run unsuccessfully in the Republican primary for Texas land commissioner, losing to Jerry E. Patterson, then a state senator from Houston. The 2002 race was Branch's first for state office and he has won every subsequent election in which he has run.
Branch served as Chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education from 2009 to 2014 and served on the Calendars, Elections and Redistricting Committees, as well as the House Select Committee on State Sovereignty. Branch also serves on the Legislative Budget Board. Prior to the 81st Session, he served three terms as the Chair of Budget and Oversight on House Public Education Committee and served as Vice Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.
In 2009, Rep. Dan Branch was selected by Texas House members from eleven north Texas counties to Co-Chair the Dallas Area Legislative Delegation (DALD), at the delegation's first meeting of the 81st session. Branch replaces retired member Rep. Fred Hill (R-Richardson) as the Republican co-chair. He was re-elected in 2011 to serve as co-chair.
During the 81st legislative session, Branch was the author of House Bill 51, also known as the "Tier One Universities" Bill. The bill announced that seven so-called emerging research universities would compete for extra funding in hopes of joining the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University as nationally recognized research institutions. These seven schools include the University of North Texas, the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas at El Paso, the University of Texas at San Antonio, the University of Houston and Texas Tech University. After signing HB 51 into law, Governor Rick Perry said "[House Bill 51] will go down in the history books as one that truly is improving education in our state."
Admissions Controversy at University of Texas-Austin
Branch became ensnared in an admissions ‘clout’ scandal at the University of Texas at Austin in 2013. Publicly available documents revealed that Branch and two other members of the House sent more letters to the president of the University of Texas on behalf of applicants than anyone else whose correspondence was included in a recent inquiry into admissions favoritism.
The University of Texas System retained Kroll, Inc. to investigate admissions practices at the University of Texas-Austin. The investigation was expanded in December, 2014 by former UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa.
Campaign for Texas Attorney General
Shortly following the launch of his campaign, Branch received the endorsement of six of Attorney General Greg Abbott’s top lieutenants, including former Solicitor General Jim Ho. Former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas R. Phillips and former Texas Supreme Court Justices Craig T. Enoch, Harriet O'Neill and Alberto Gonzales have endorsed Branch’s campaign for state attorney general.
A majority of the House Republican Caucus endorsed Branch in his bid for attorney general. Shortly after his announcement of candidacy for attorney general, Branch reported more than $4 million on hand, a considerably larger amount that that of his two opponents.
Meanwhile, two Republicans, Morgan Daniel Meyer (born 1974) and Chart Hampton Westcott (born c. 1984), met in the May 27 runoff election to choose a nominee to succeed Branch in House District 108. Meyer, an attorney, led a three-candidate field with 5,795 votes (47.1 percent); Westcott trailed with 3,709 votes (30.2 percent). The third candidate, Court Christian Alley (born c. 1979), held the remaining 2,787 ballots (22.7 percent). In the runoff election, Meyer defeated Westcott. he then prevailed, 61-39 percent in the general election over the Democrat Leigh Bailey.
In addition to his service in the Legislature, Branch is a corporate lawyer and shareholder of Winstead PC. He is a former judicial clerk to Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jack Pope and a former aide to the late U.S. Senator John Tower. Branch is a member of the bars of Texas, New York and the District of Columbia.
Branch is a member of the Mayor's Downtown Task Force in Dallas, a former president of The Dallas Assembly and a former Chairman of the Texas Public Finance Authority, appointed by Governor George W. Bush. In addition, he is the chairman of SMU's John Tower Center for Political Studies, named for the late Texas U.S. Senator John G. Tower, and serves on numerous boards, including The Fund for American Studies in Washington, D.C., the Boy Scouts of America/Circle Ten Council and the Southwestern Medical Foundation in Dallas.
In the fall of 2008, Branch joined Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa in leading "Operation Comeback", a statewide effort to stop 50,000 students a year from dropping out of high school.
Branch and his wife, Stacey, have five children: Daniel, Spencer, Catherine, Charles, and Sarah. They have lived and worked in Dallas for almost three decades.
- "Editorial: We recommend Branch in Texas House District 108" Retrieved on 2009-5-7.
- "Representative Dan Branch" Retrieved on 2009-5-7.
- Official announcement of candidacy
- "Republican primary election returns, March 4, 2014". team1.sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
- Texas Tribune Elected Officials Directory, "Elections Info" section. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
- "Rep. Dan Branch for lieutenant governor in 2014?" Retrieved on 2011-10-25.
- " Retrieved on 2011-8-18.
- "Tier One university bill is signed, uniting old foes Retrieved on 2010-5-6.
- Rep. Dan Branch announces bid for Texas attorney general for Texas Attorney General
- Branch endorsed by half dozen former Abbott aides
- Jim Ho.
- Texas Rep. Dan Branch announces support from 53 House Republicans in bid for AG
- Fundraising Reports Offer Chance to Stand Out in Crowded Field
- "DISD Taking anti-dropout effort into ex-students' homes City and school officials visit youths as part of statewide drive" Retrieved on 2009-5-8.
- John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies Board of Directors
- "http://danbranch.com/branch_family.html" Retrieved on 2009-5-7.
|Texas State Representative from District 108 (Dallas County)