Wayne Connally

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Wayne Wright Connally
Texas State Representative from District 44
In office
1965–1967
Texas State Senator from District 21
In office
1967–1973
Preceded by Abraham "Chick" Kazen, Jr.
Succeeded by John Traeger
Personal details
Born (1923-03-19)March 19, 1923
Floresville, Wilson County, Texas, USA
Died December 20, 2000(2000-12-20) (aged 77)
Cody, Park County, Wyoming, USA
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Kay Connally (divorced) obituary
Children Wyatt, Wesley, and Pamela
Alma mater University of Texas at Austin
Occupation Rancher, Politician
Religion Methodist

Wayne Wright Connally (March 19, 1923 – December 20, 2000) was a Texas rancher, a Democratic member of both houses of the Texas State Legislature, and a brother of both former Governor and United States Treasury Secretary John Bowden Connally, Jr., and Merrill Lee Connally, Sr., an actor and a former county judge.

Early years, education, military[edit]

Connally was born into a family of eight children and reared in Floresville, the seat of Wilson County some thirty miles southeast of San Antonio. His father, John Connally, Sr., was a tenant farmer who once ran for county clerk. His mother, the former Lela Wright, gave him his middle name. After attending public schools in Floresville and San Antonio, Connally attended the University of Texas at Austin. He thereafter enlisted during World War II in the United States Army Air Corps, the forerunner of the Air Force.[1]

Legislative years[edit]

In 1964, when John Connally was handily victorious to the second of three consecutive two-year terms as governor, Wayne Connally was elected to the District 44 seat in the Texas House of Representatives. In 1966, Wayne Connally was elected to the state Senate from District 21 and served until January 1973. In the 1970 Democratic primary, he defeated the Hispanic activist, Erasmo Andrade.[2] With the increasing clout of minorities in Democratic primaries, Andrade was considered a serious opponent. Andrade questioned why Connally had voted against a state minimum wage proposal, a teacher pay hike, and in support of retaining the state sales tax on food. Wayne Connally, like his brother a protégé of Lyndon B. Johnson, retained his seat from the unexpected challenge.[3]

On October 7, 1971, Connally was honored as "Governor for a Day", a tradition among state senators.[citation needed] He was also named president pro tempore of the Senate in both a special session and for the fourth called session during his last two years in office.[4]

Wayne Connally worked with John Connally to lay the groundwork for the first upper-level higher education institution in Laredo, the seat of Webb County. Texas A&I University at Laredo opened in 1969. In 1993, the institution was expanded and relocated as Texas A&M International University.[5]

Connally's chief of staff was Laredo attorney Carlos Zaffirini, Sr., (born 1944). Zaffirni's wife, Judith Zaffirini (born 1946), has held Connally's former Senate seat since her first election in 1986. She was a part-time media aide to Connally.[6]

Death and legacy[edit]

Connally died in Cody, Wyoming, where he had relocated in his later years to be near his children.[1] Survivors included two sons, Wyatt Connally and Wesley Connally, and a daughter Pamela; four grandchildren; his brother, Merrill (who died the following year), and his sister, Blanche Connally Kline. The Texas State Senate introduced a resolution on March 19, 2001, on what would have been Connally's 78th birthday, to recognize his public service.[5]

Connally was cremated, his ashes were scattered on the family ranch in Floresville, and a cenotaph was erected in his honor at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.[1]

Ralph M. Hall (also born 1923 and hence the senior member of the Texas delegation to the United States House of Representatives) of Rockwall near Dallas served with Connally in the state Senate. The two also ran against each other for lieutenant governor in the 1972 Democratic primary. Both lost to William P. Hobby, Jr., whose mother, Oveta Culp Hobby, owned the former Houston Post newspaper.[7] Upon Connally's death, Hall introduced into the Congressional Record his personal tribute to his fallen friend: "He was a terrific Senator, totally dedicated ... so very capable of friendship, and ... always responsive to anyone in need. Wayne's over-riding goal was to uphold integrity and responsibility in government... Wayne embodied the Texas persona—and he leaves behind a legacy of faithful service to the people of his native state that he so loved."[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Texas State Cemetery: Wayne Connally (cenotaph)". cemetery.state.tx.us. Retrieved December 25, 2008. 
  2. ^ José Ángel Gutiérrez (May 4, 1970). "Mexicanos Need to Control Their Own Destinies". San Antonio, Texas: La Raza Unida. Retrieved December 25, 2008. 
  3. ^ Charles Ashman, Connally: The Adventures of Big Bad John, p, 172
  4. ^ "Texas state legislative leaders". lrl.state.tx.us. Retrieved December 25, 2008. 
  5. ^ a b c "U.S. Representative Ralph Hall of Texas, Congressional Record remarks, June 28, 2001". Retrieved December 25, 2008. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini, January 12, 2005". senate.state.tx.us. Retrieved December 25, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Statement of William P. Hobby, Jr.". Hobby Communications. Retrieved December 25, 2008. [dead link]
Political offices
Preceded by
Abraham "Chick" Kazen, Jr.
Texas State Senator from District 21

Wayne Wright Connally
1967–1973

Succeeded by
John Traeger