John N. Leedom

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John Nesbett Leedom, Sr.
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 16th district
In office
1981–1996
Preceded by Bill Braecklein
Succeeded by John Carona
Texas State Senate President Pro Tempore
In office
1989–1991
Preceded by Robert J. Glasgow
Succeeded by Carl A. Parker
Personal details
Born (1921-07-27)July 27, 1921
Dallas, Texas, USA
Died May 31, 2011(2011-05-31) (aged 89)
Dallas, Texas
Resting place Restland Memorial Park in Dallas
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Betty Lee Leedom (married ca. 1955-2011, his death)
Children Joanne Leedom Ackerman

Judy Leedom Tyrer
Becky K. Trigg
Danny Kennedy
Linda Leedom Moore
John Leedom, Jr.

Alma mater Highland Park High School

Rice University

Profession Engineer; Author
Religion Grace Bible Church
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Battles/wars World War II
(1) After leaving the Texas State Senate, Leedom devoted his later years as an author and a lobbyist to seeking solutions to water shortages and weather modification research.

(2) Leedom was an early backer of Ronald W. Reagan for the presidency, including service as a delegate at the 1976 national convention in Kansas City, Missouri, and of George Herbert Walker Bush at the New Orleans convention in 1988. He was also a Bush elector in Texas in 1992.

John Nesbett Leedom, Sr. (July 27, 1921 - May 31, 2011),[1] was an engineer, businessman, and lobbyist from Dallas, Texas, who served from 1981 to 1996 as a Republican member of the Texas State Senate from District 16. He is best known as the author of the law which established the Texas "Rainy Day Fund."[2] From 1989 to 1991, he was one of several members designated as Senate President Pro Tempore in the 71st legislative session.[3]

A native of Dallas, Leedom was an Eagle Scout. He graduated from Highland Park High School in University Park, Texas. In 1942, he received his Bachelor of Science degree from Rice University in Houston[1] and was employed over his working career in the field of engineering.[4] He established Wholesale Electronic Supply, Inc., in Dallas.[1]

In 1964, Leedom supported the Republican gubernatorial nominee, Jack Crichton, in his unsuccessful race against the Democratic incumbent John B. Connally, Jr.[5]

State Senate career[edit]

Prior to his Senate tenure, Leedom served for five years as a member of the Dallas City Council, having chaired its committees on Finance, Public Safety, and Cable Television.[1]

Leedom's 16th District included portions of Dallas and Rockwall counties. Leedom served on several Senate committee, including Education (1981–1984), Human Resources (1981–1982), Intergovernmental Relations (1981–1996), Economic Development (1983–1996), State Affairs (1985–1996), and Redistricting (1990–1996). In addition, he served on several subcommittees, acted as the vice chairman of the Redistricting and Intergovernmental Relations committees, and headed the interim committees on Fees and Grants (1981–1982) and Agency Services Management (1985–1986).[6]

In the 1976 presidential primary, Leedom ran successfully as a delegate pledged to former Governor Ronald W. Reagan of California, who carried the state primary by a 2-1 margin over sitting U.S. President Gerald R. Ford, Jr. In the Reagan-Ford showdown, four delegates from each slate ran in each of the state's then twenty-four U.S. House districts. Leedom and Barbara Staff, the president of the Council of Republican Women's Clubs of Dallas County, led the GOP delegate totals in House District 3, then represented by Republican James M. Collins of Irving in Dallas County. Leedom received 41,911 votes; Staff, 39,030. One of the Ford delegate candidates was future U.S. Representative and Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett, who finished with 21,580 votes.[7][8]

After Ford won the nomination, Leedom, a former Dallas County Republican chairman, said that he would campaign vigorously for the national ticket: "We're going to work for the election of Republicans. We've got a lot at stake," referring to local races.[9]

Texas Monthly magazine named Leedom to the list of the "Ten Worst Legislators" in the 1981 session. Others negatively cited were Democrats Carlos Truan of Corpus Christi and E L Short of Tahoka in Lynn County in West Texas. Rated among the best in 1981 were future U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett of Austin, one of the Senate's more liberal members, Speaker Bill W. Clayton of Springlake in Lamb County, and Ray Farabee of Wichita Falls, all Democrats.[10]

Leedom was a delegate to the Republican National Convention held in New Orleans.[11] In 1992, he was a presidential elector for the Bush-Quayle ticket.[12]

In 1989, as Senate President Pro Tempore, Leedom authored a law intended to prevent security alarm manufacturers from recruiting business from recent victims of home burglaries. The law required government officials to withhold "information that serves to identify a person who appears to have been a victim of an offense that is a felony."[13] Some law-enforcement agencies interpreted Leedom's measure as justification to refuse to release any information about crimes to the media. Leedom said that the measure was "intended to prevent junk mail, that was all. It wasn't intended to be all this. We are trying to clear it up." Texas Governor Bill Clements called upon the legislature to reconsider the bill, which was an amendment to the Texas Open Records Act.[13]

In his last election to the state Senate on November 8, 1994, Leedom defeated a Libertarian opponent, Randal Morgan, 108,229 (87.1 percent) to 15,959 (12.8 percent), as no Democrat filed for the post.[14] Leedom resigned as senator in 1996 and was succeeded by the unopposed Republican nominee for the seat, John Carona, who received a boost in seniority by taking office early.

Author and lobbyist[edit]

In 1994, Leedom published a 275-page book, The Group and You: How To Be Effective in a Group, Develop Coalitions and Influence Government, through Odenwald Press in Dallas, ISBN 1-884363-05-9 (hard cover).[15]

In 2002, Leedom wrote Who's Water?, a study of water ownership and shortages.[4] In 2006, as a lobbyist for the interest group, the Weather Modification Association, Leedom attempted in vain to convince the Office of Science and Technology Policy to support a bill introduced by U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and then U.S. Representative (later Senator) Mark Udall of Colorado to establish the proposed Weather Modification Research and Technology Transfer Authorization Act. Leedom claimed that weather modification can lessen the impact of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, and hail. However, the bill went nowhere as the Office of Science and Technology Policy cited unresolved issues of foreign policy, national security, and liability.[16]

In 2003, Leedom informed Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst that conditions were right to use the Texas Economic Stabilization Fund, known as the Rainy Day Fund, to balance the state budget. Dewhurst replied that the constitutional amendment concerning the reserve fund stipulates that it be used primarily to either prevent or eliminate temporary cash deficiencies in general revenues.[2]

A trustee of the Grace Bible Church, Leedom died of natural causes in 2011 at his Dallas home at the age of eighty-nine. He was survived by his wife of fifty-six years, Betty Lee Leedom; five children, Joanne Leedom- Ackerman, a novelist and journalist from the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C.;[17] Judy Leedom Tyrer of Denver, Colorado; Becky K. Trigg of Houston; Danny Kennedy of Kansas City, Missouri; Linda Leedom Moore of Clifton Forge, Virginia, and John Leedom, Jr., of Dallas, and twelve grandchildren.[1]

He is interred at Restland Memorial Park in Dallas.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e John N. Leedom, Sr., obituary. Dallas Morning News, June 5, 2011
  2. ^ a b "Dewhurst and Zaffirini Discuss Budget, Rainy Day Fund, and Reducing Paperwork for Teachers, April 10, 2003". senate.state.tx.us. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Presidents Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate, 1846-present". lrl.state.tx.us. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Sallyport: The Magazine of Rice University". rice.edu. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  5. ^ Jack Crichton, The Republican-Democrat Political Campaigns in Texas in 1964, self-published, 2004, p. 50, ISBN 1-4184-2574-5 (paperback)
  6. ^ "Texas Legislature, Senate: An Inventory of Records of Senator John Leedom". lib.utexas.edu. Retrieved April 1, 2010. 
  7. ^ Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Republican presidential primary returns, May 1, 1976
  8. ^ Billy Hathorn, "Mayor Ernest Angelo, Jr., of Midland and the 96-0 Reagan Sweep of Texas, May 1, 1976," West Texas Historical Association Yearbook Vol. 86 (2010), p. 82
  9. ^ Carolyn Barta, "Texas GOP 'fire' wanes," Dallas Morning News, August 19, 1976, p. 6A
  10. ^ "The Best and Worst Legislators since 1973". texasmonthly.com. Retrieved December 14, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Index to Politicians: Lee-cho to Lehlbach". Political Graveyard. Retrieved April 1, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Historical Election Results: 1992 Electoral College Votes". Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b "Lisa Belkin, Texas Law Restricts News Coverage". The New York Times, June 30, 1989. June 30, 1989. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Texas Secretary of State, Election returns, November 8, 1994". sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved April 1, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Dayton Metro Library". hzportal.dayton.lib.oh.us. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  16. ^ Robert Jerome Glennon, Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis and What to Do About It. Google Books. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Joanne Leedom-Ackerman". crisisgroup.org. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  18. ^ "John Leedomn, who served on the Dallas City Council and in the Texas Senate, dies at 89". dallas.news.com. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
Texas Senate
Preceded by
Bill Braecklein
Texas State Senator
from District 16 (Dallas)

1981-1996
Succeeded by
John Carona
Preceded by
Robert J. Glasgow
Texas State Senate President Pro Tempore

John N. Leedom, Sr.
1989-1991

Succeeded by
Carl A. Parker