Gary Elkins (politician)

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Gary Wayne Elkins
Texas State Representative for District 135 (Houston)
Assumed office
January 10, 1995
Preceded by Dalton Smith
Personal details
Born (1955-03-15) March 15, 1955 (age 62)
Houston, Texas, USA
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Julie Ann Brown Elkins

Four children:
Crystal Boyd
Jeremy Ross Elkins

Grace and Rachel Elkins
Residence Jersey Village, Texas
Alma mater

Bellaire High School

Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Occupation Businessman

Gary Wayne Elkins (born March 15, 1955), is a businessman from his native Houston, Texas, who is a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives.[1] Since 1995, with the advent of the George W. Bush gubernatorial administration, Elkins has represented District 135 in Harris County.[2]

Elkins won his eleventh term in the state House in the general election held on November 4, 2014. He defeated the Democrat Moiz A. Abbas (born c. 1953) of Houston.[1] He won his twelfth term on November 8, 2016.


Elkins graduated in 1974 from Bellaire High School in the Bellaire section of Houston. He subsequently earned a Bachelor of Science in Practical Theology from the private Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxachachie in Ellis County in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. He has worked in real estate[1][3] and since 1985 has owned Personal Credit Corporation, which operates a dozen payday-lending locations in Houston. He is a long-term legislative opponent of attempts to regulate his own industry.[4]

Elkins and his wife, the former Julie Ann Brown, have four children, Crystal Boyd, Jeremy Ross Elkins, and Grace and Rachael Elkins, and as of 2014, four grandchildren. The couple resides in the Jersey Village section of Houston.[3] He is a member of the Faith Assembly of God Church in Houston.[1]

Political life[edit]

In 1994, the Republican representative from District 135, Dalton Smith, did not seek a fifth term in the office. Elkins and four others entered the primary election to choose a successor nominee. Elkins finished a strong second, with 3,348 votes (44 percent) to Patricia A. "Pat" Curran (born c. 1947), who polled 3,607 votes (47.4 percent). Three other candidates held the remaining 8.6 percent of the ballots cast.[5] In the runoff election, Elkins defeated Curran, 3,065 (51 percent) to 2,942 votes (49 percent). The second round of balloting drew 1,607 fewer voters than had the primary itself.[6]

No Democrat challenged Elkins in the general election of 1994. He instead overwhelmed a Libertarian Party nominee, Graham Bass, 25,985 (92.1 percent) to 2,236 (7.9 percent).[7] Elkins has rarely had opposition since his initial election to the House. In 2002, for instance, he defeated a Democrat, Eric Henry Krebs (born c. 1947), 17,186 (70.2 percent) to 7,280 (29.8 percent).[8]

Elkins is the chairman of the House Technology Committee and is a member as well of the Urban Affairs Committee.[1] With his long tenure in office, Elkins has previously served on such House committees as Ways and Means, Financial Institutions, State Affairs, Calendars, and Local Government.[3]

Legislative voting records[edit]

In 2013, Representative Elkins supported the ban on abortion after twenty weeks of gestation; the measure passed the House, 96-49. He voted for companion legislation to increase medical and licensing requirements of abortion providers,[9] a move which opponents said could lead to the closure of many abortion clinics in the state. These issues brought forth an unsuccessful filibuster in the Texas State Senate by Wendy R. Davis of Fort Worth, who in 2014 is the Democratic nominee for governor against the Republican Greg Abbott.[10] In 2011, Murphy voted to forbid state funding of agencies which perform abortions. He did not vote on the legislation which requires that a woman undergo a sonogram before procuring an abortion. This act is based on the view that a woman could change her mind about an abortion once she witnesses the development of the unborn child through the latest technology.[9] The Texas Right to Life Committee, according to Project Vote Smart, rated Elkins 78 percent favorable in 2013, 60 percent in 2011, and 100 percent in 2005. The National Abortion Rights Action League consistently has rated him 0 percent.[11]

Elkins opposed the implementation of the taxpayer-funded school breakfast program, which nevertheless passed the House, 73-58. He supported legislation to provide marshals for school security as a separate law-enforcement entity. He co-sponsored the successful bill to extend the franchise tax exemption to certain businesses. Elkins voted for the adoption of the biennial state budgets in 2011 and 2013. He voted to require testing for narcotics of those individuals receiving unemployment compensation.[9]

Elkins voted for the bill to prohibit the state government from engaging in the enforcement of federal regulations of firearms. He co-sponsored the bill to allow college and university officials to carry concealed weapons in buildings and vehicles in the name of campus security. He supported the bill to reduce the time required to obtain a concealed-carry permit. He backed the redistricting bills for the state House and Senate and the United States House of Representatives. He voted against term limits for certain state officials. He voted against the bill to ban texting while driving. Elkins voted against an "equal pay for women" bill,[9] which passed the legislature but was vetoed by Governor Perry.[12]

In 2011, Elkins supported a resolution to reduce funding for state agencies, which passed the House, 84-63. He voted to extend the sales tax to Internet transactions to match existing laws for brick and mortar stores; the measure passed the House, 125-20. Elkins voted against the prohibition of smoking in public places, which nevertheless passed the House, 73-66. He did not vote on the establishment of eligibility for indigent health care. He voted to establish corporal punishment in public schools; the bill passed the House, 80-64. Elkins voted to require that student centers at state colleges and universities in their construction and operation be cognizant of traditional family values; the measure passed the House, 110-24. To guarantee the integrity of the election process, Elkins supported picture identification of voters.[9] The law finally took effect in October 2013 and was used widely without incident in the primaries on March 4, 2014.[13] In 2013, Murphy supported related legislation to forbid a voter from turning in multiple ballots.[9]

Interest group ratings[edit]

Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, managed in Texas by Cathie Adams, a former state chairman of the Texas Republican Party, rated Elkins 83 percent favorable in 2013, 36 percent in 2011, and 84 percent in 2009. The Young Conservatives of Texas in 2013 netted him a lifeime score of 81 percent. The interest group Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, founded by Michael Quinn Sullivan, rated Elkins percent 73 favorable in 2013, 88 percent in 2011, and 85 percent in 2009.[11] TFA called Elkins a "Texas Taxpayer Hero" and a "Texas Taxpayer Advocate".[3] The Texas Association of Business gave him a cumulative score of 88 percent[11] and declared him a "Fighter for Free Enterprise".[3] The Texas League of Conservation Voters rated Elkins 64 percent in 2013; the Sierra Club, 29 percent in 2011. The National Rifle Association scored him 92 percent and "A" in all of his previous legislative sessions. In 2009, the Libertarian Party of Texas rated Elkins 67 percent on both personal liberties and economic issues.[11]

Election to twelfth term, 2016[edit]

Elkins won his twelfth term in the state House in the general election held on November 8, 2016. With 32,682 votes (54.9 percent), he defeated the Demcrat Jesse A. Ybanez, who drew 26,905 (45.2 percent).[14]

In 2017, Representative Elkins introduced HB 3418, which would make it more difficult for local governments to designate historic landmarks. According to the historic preservation group, Preservation Texas, Inc., the legislation would make it easier for the owners of previously-designated landmarks to uproot those facilities. It would limit public input in the zoning process and impede local governments in the passage of zoning regulations. Texas municipalities have long depended on zoning ordinances as well as historic resource surveys, and tax incentives to assist in the preservation of historic landmarks. The bill is pending before the House Urban Affairs Committee.[15]

In popular culture[edit]

One of Elkins's attempts to defeat payday loan industry regulation, in which Vicki Truitt pointed out his conflict of interest in being opposed to it while owning several payday loans himself, was featured in an episode 14, season 1, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, segment on payday loans.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Gary Elkins' Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Gary Elkins". Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "State Rep. Gary W. Elkins District 135 (R-Houston)". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Don't ban lobbyists from elected office" (opinion), San Antonio Express-News, April 8, 2017, p. A18.
  5. ^ "Republican primary election returns, March 1994 (House District 135)". Texas Secretary of State. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Republican runoff election returns, April 1994 (House District 135)". Texas Secretary of State. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  7. ^ "General election returns, November 1994 (House District 135)". Texas Secretary of State. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  8. ^ "General election returns (House District 135)". Texas Secretary of State. November 2002. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Gary Elkins' Voting Records". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  10. ^ M. Fernandez (June 25, 2013). "Filibuster in Texas Senate Tries to Halt Abortion Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Gary Elkins' Ratings and Endorsements". Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Legislative Session: 83 (R) Relating to unlawful employment practices regarding discrimination in payment of compensation". Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Texas Voter ID Officially Takes Effect, October 21, 2013". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 16, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Election Results". Texas Secretary of State. November 8, 2016. Retrieved December 18, 2016. 
  15. ^ "HB 3418", Preservation, Texas, Inc., March 28, 2017.
  16. ^ John Oliver (October 14, 2014). Predatory Lending: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) (Video) (YouTube). New York: HBO. Event occurs at 7:42. Retrieved June 4, 2017. 
Political offices
Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Dalton Smith
Texas State Representative for District 135 (Houston)

Gary Wayne Elkins

Succeeded by