Betty Andujar

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Elizabeth Richards "Betty" Andujar
Texas State Senator from District 12 (Tarrant County)
In office
Preceded by J. P. Word
Succeeded by Hugh Parmer
Texas Senate President Pro Tempore
In office
Preceded by H. Tati Santiesteban
Succeeded by Don Adams
Personal details
Born (1912-11-06)November 6, 1912
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Died June 8, 1997(1997-06-08) (aged 84)
Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas
Resting place Texas State Cemetery
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) John Jose Andujar (married 1935-1997, her death)
Residence Fort Worth, Texas
Alma mater Wilson College
Occupation Homemaker
Religion Presbyterian

Elizabeth Richards Andujar, known as Betty Andujar (November 6, 1912 – June 8, 1997),[1] was the first Republican woman, a homemaker by stated occupation, to have served in the Texas State Senate. From 1973 to 1983, she represented District 12 in Fort Worth, the seat of Tarrant County in North Texas.

Early years[edit]

Andujar was born in the state capital of Harrisburg in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, where her father was, according to information supplied by her family to the Texas State Cemetery, the state's chief justice.[2] However, there is no Judge Richards on the List of Justices of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania; perhaps "Richards" is not a maiden name but a middle name, or her father had another surname. Andujar received a bachelor's degree from the Presbyterian women's institution, Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, just north of the Maryland state line. In 1935, Andujar, who was Anglo, acquired her Hispanic name through her marriage to the physician John Jose Andujar (1912–2003).[1] The couple moved to Fort Worth in 1937, when Dr. Andujar was appointed laboratory director of Harris Hospital there.[2][3][4]

Political career[edit]

Andujar was listed in Who's Who in American Politics and in 1972 was among those receiving the title "Female Newsmaker of the Year".[5] A conservative within the Republican Party, Andujar in 1973 introduced an unsuccessful bill to remove prison terms for conviction of the possession of marijuana, claiming that the narcotic should be treated like that of alcohol abuse.[6]

Andujar was a delegate to both the 1972 and 1976 Republican National Conventions in Miami Beach, and Kansas City, Missouri, respectively. In the latter, she was part of the 100-member delegation from Texas, all of whom were committed to the unsuccessful insurgent challenge waged by Governor Ronald W. Reagan to sitting U.S. President Gerald R. Ford, Jr. Andujar was an early Reagan backer in contrast to U.S. Senator John G. Tower, who led the failed Ford forces in the Lone Star State but was not permitted to be a delegate. The Texas campaign was led by co-chairmen Ernest Angelo of Midland, Ray Barnhart of Pasadena, and Barbara Staff of Dallas.[7] In 1976, Andujar was elected to the Texas Republican national committeewoman, a position which made her a member of the Republican National Convention through 1982.[4] [8]

In 1977, during the 65th legislative session, Andujar was among four senators chosen to serve as the President Pro Tempore, the first Republican so honored by the chamber. The designation made her "acting governor" whenever both Governor Dolph Briscoe and Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby were out of state.[2] In the 1979 session, Andujar was included among the "Ten Worst Legislators" by Texas Monthly magazine. It was the only time she made either the "Ten Best" or "Ten Worst" listings.[9]

In 1988, the Andujars established the first permanent chair of pathology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She also worked to expand the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine into the University of North Texas Health Science Center. In 1996, Andujar became the first layperson to receive the Citation of Merit Award from the Texas Society of Pathologists for her earlier legislation requiring that county coroners be qualified pathologists. She was active in the auxiliaries of the Texas and Tarrant County medical associations. She served on the boards of the Medical College of Pennsylvania and the Texas Rape Prevention and Control Project. She was also active in the Association for the Prevention of Blindness and the American Cancer Society. In the Senate, she sponsored bills to allow physicians in Texas to remove corneas and to assist women in the collection of child support.[2]

Andujar was also the first Republican to represent Tarrant County in the legislature.[2] Due to health, she did not run for re-election in 1982. In 1982, the most recent year in which Texas Democrats swept all statewide offices: her husband Andy Andujar ran for her seat in the State Senate, only to be defeated by Hugh Q. Parmer, a former mayor of Fort Worth, who held the seat until 1991. Andy Andujar spent around $300,000, whereas Hugh Parmer spent a portion of said amount.[10] Parmer subsequently in 1990 lost the U.S. Senate election to incumbent Republican Phil Gramm. The Senate seat, which now includes part of Denton County as well as continued portions of Tarrant, is held by the Republican Jane Nelson.

The Andujars are interred at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Social Security Death Index". Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Elizabeth Richards Andujar". Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  3. ^ Fort Worth Star Telegram, June 9, 10, and 15, 1997
  4. ^ a b "Betty Andujar" (PDF). Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Betty Andujar Papers". Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  6. ^ "ABC Evening News, March 22, 1973". Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  7. ^ 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), pp. 77-89
  8. ^ "Index to Politicians: Andrey to Anthonis". Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Best and Worst Legislators (by year)". Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Cindy Rugeley, "GOP takes Tarrant as stronghold; More Democrats switching parties"". Houston Chronicle, February 4, 1990. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
Preceded by
J. P. Word
Texas State Senator from District 12 (Tarrant County)

Elizabeth Richards "Betty" Andujar

Succeeded by
Hugh Parmer
Preceded by
H. Tati Santiesteban
Texas State Senate President Pro Tempore

Elizabeth Richards "Betty" Andujar

Succeeded by
Don Adams