Joseph Hugh Allen
|Joseph Hugh Allen|
|Texas State Representative from Baytown|
January 27, 1940|
Baytown, Harris County, Texas, USA
|Died||May 24, 2008
|Spouse(s)||Kitty Cowan Allen (married 32 years until his death)
Billye Williamson Allen (married 13 years until divorce)
|Children||Sydney Allen Seaman (deceased)
Sara Allen Abbott
|(1) Allen was a leader of the minority but powerful bipartisan "Dirty Thirty" in the Texas House of Representatives who pushed for ethics reform in the midst of the Sharpstown scandal.
(2) After his legislative service, Allen was a lobbyist for Getty Oil and then the former Enron Corporation.
(3) Allen represented Baytown in the legislature, an industrial area east of Houston.
(4) Allen was active in the state Democratic Party and served under appointments of both Governors Mark Wells White and Ann W. Richards.
Joseph Hugh Allen (January 27, 1940 – May 24, 2008) was a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives from the industrial city of Baytown, who fought for ethics reform. He was among the bipartisan "Dirty Thirty" lawmakers who in 1971 pushed for the ouster of Speaker Gus Mutscher of Brenham in Washington County, who was subsequently convicted of accepting bribes in exchange for the passage of banking legislation in what is known as the Sharpstown scandal. Their efforts prompted a regime change in Austin, ushered in Dolph Briscoe and William P. Hobby, Jr., as governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, and launched new ethics laws in the 1973 legislative session.
Early life, education, and military service
Born to James Viron Allen and the former Mary Azilea Ferguson, Allen resided his entire life in Baytown, which straddles the Harris and Chambers county lines. He attended public schools from 1949-1958. He graduated from Lee College, a community college in Baytown, where he served as editor of the Lee Lantern. Allen was inducted into the Lee College Hall of Fame and was later a member of the Lee College board of regents. He also attended the University of Houston, having studied economics and political science.
Allen served in the United States Army Security Agency from 1958 to 1961, with assignments in Japan and the Far East. He was named "Serviceman of the Year" in 1961 and received a Good Conduct Medal.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Allen was known in the legislature as a jokester and a natty dresser who chose bow ties and suspenders. As a legislator in 1974, Allen was automatically a delegate to the Texas Constitutional Convention, which came within three votes of adopting a new state Constitution. While he was a legislator, Allen chaired the House Committee on Administration, the Property Tax Investigating Committee, and the standing committee on State Finance of the House Ways and Means Committee. He left the legislature in January 1979, as a Republican Bill Clements was inaugurated governor, the first member of his party to hold the office in 105 years.
Allen's wife, Kitty, said that her husband maintained a passion for politics long after he left the legislature and became a lobbyist. He worked first for Getty Oil Company and then from 1984-2001 for the Northern Natural Gas Company, which became the former Enron Corporation in Houston.
In 1983, Democratic Governor Mark Wells White named Allen to the Interstate Oil Compact Commission; he was reappointed in 1991 by Ann W. Richards. Allen also served on Governor Richards' New Texas Foundation and on the Texas Democratic Leadership Council.
He was a member of several trade associations, including the Texas Intrastate Pipeline Association, Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners, Texas Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, Greater Houston Partnership, American Legislative Exchange Council, Center for Public Policy/University of Houston, and the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce.
Allen died at the age of 68 from complications related to Alzheimer's disease. His mother had died from the same ailment in the 1980s. He was also predeceased by his father and his only son, James Neal Allen.
In addition to his wife, Allen was survived by three daughters, Sydney Allen Seaman and husband, William Seaman, of Humble; Mary Katharine Allen Stukenberg and husband, William Stukenberg, of Houston; and Sara Allen Abbott and husband, Matthew Abbott of Arlington, Virginia, and two grandchildren. Services were held on May 27, 2008, at Faith Presbyterian Church in Baytown, with the eulogy delivered by former U.S. Representative Robert Gammage, who had also been one of Allen's "Dirty Thirty" colleagues. Interment was on May 28 at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.
Allen's death came only a few weeks after the passing of former legislators Russell B. Cummings, his colleague from Houston, and Lena Guerrero, who served from Austin, both of who are also buried in the State Cemetery.
Alzheimer's disease fund raising
In response to her father's affliction, Sara Allen Abbott sought out ways to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. Abbott believed that too many charitable organizations were raising money through formal black tie events. Along with her sister, she thought a powder puff football game that leveraged popular culture's blonde vs. brunette rivalry would be more appealing to a younger set of donors. In the fall of 2005, the first blonde vs. brunette powder puff football game was played at Hains Point in Washington D.C. and raised $10,000. Subsequently, the game found a new home at George Washington University’s Mount Vernon Athletic Field in 2009. The game is now played in 16 cities across the country. Abbott has received national publicity and multiple awards for her efforts in raising over $2 million for the Alzheimer’s Association.
- Joseph Hugh Allen
- The Non-Profit Times: “Blondes vs. Brunettes: Grassroots Effort Scores for Alzheimer's Association” September 15, 2010, page 7. Retrieved March 16, 2012 
- The Washington Post: “Athletes First, Stylistas Second” Nov 19, 2011, pg. A13
- The Washington Post “Hair’s The Thing: Blondes vs. Brunettes is a Win-Win” Retrieved March 12, 2012 
- MSNBC, The Daily Rundown with Nora O'Donnell: "Making a Difference With Powder Puff Philanthropy" aired December 30, 2010 
- The Alcalde, University of Texas Alumni Magazine: "Class Notes" (Sara M. Allen Abbott) December, 2010, page 90. Retrieved September 30, 2012.