Ken Paxton

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Ken Paxton
51st Attorney General of Texas
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 5, 2015
Governor Rick Perry
Greg Abbott
Preceded by Greg Abbott
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 8th district
In office
January 2013 – January 4, 2015
Preceded by Florence Shapiro
Succeeded by Van Taylor
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 70th district
In office
January 2003 – January 2013
Preceded by David Counts
Succeeded by Scott Sanford
Personal details
Born (1962-12-23) December 23, 1962 (age 52)
Minot, North Dakota, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Angela Paxton
Alma mater Baylor University
University of Virginia
Religion Nondenominational Christianity

Kenneth "Ken" Paxton, Jr. (born December 23, 1962) is an attorney who serves as the Texas Attorney General after winning the post in November 2014.

From January 2013 until January 2015, Paxton was a Republican member of the Texas Senate for District 8, which includes the central-western portion of Collin County and parts of such surrounding cities as Allen, Frisco, and McKinney, Texas.[1] From 2003 to 2013, he was the District 70 member of the Texas House of Representatives.

Early career[edit]

Paxton attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, in 1981 studying Psychology. In 1985 he was elected Student Body President of Baylor University's Student Government Association.[2] He graduated the same year and continued his education at Baylor, attending the Hankamer School of Business earning his MBA in 1986. Paxton then worked for two years as a management consultant before returning to school in 1988. He enrolled at University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, and earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1991.

Paxton then joined the firm of Strasburger & Price, L.L.P from 1991 to 1995. He then went to work for J.C. Penney Company, Inc., as in-house legal counsel. In 2002 he left J.C. Penney to start his own firm specializing in estate planning, probate, real estate and general business matters and to run for office in Texas House District 70.

A resident of McKinney, Paxton serves or has served on numerous local organizations and councils. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce in Allen, Frisco, and McKinney. He is a director of the Centennial Medical Center. He is a member and former director of the Collin County Bar Association, a member of the Dallas Estate Planning Council, director at Marketplace Ministries, and a member of Rotary International in McKinney. Paxton is a charter member of the nondenominational Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, founded in 1998 by senior pastor Chuck Swindoll.[3]

Texas House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

2002[edit]

On March 12, 2002, Ken Paxton ran for his first nomination in the Republican primary for the Texas House in District 70 against five opponents. He captured 39.45% of the vote and moved into a runoff with Bill Vitz, whom he then defeated with 64% of the vote. He then went on to face Fred Lusk (D) and Robert Worthington (L) for the newly redistricted open seat. On November 4, 2002, Paxton secured his first win with 28,012 votes to Lusk's 7,074 votes and Worthington's 600 votes.[4]

2004[edit]

November 4, 2004, Paxton faced a challenge from the Democrat Martin Woodward after running unopposed for the Republican nomination. Paxton captured 76% of the vote, or 58,520 votes compared to 18,451 votes for Woodward.[5]

2006[edit]

On November 4, 2006, Paxton won his 3rd term to the Texas House of Representatives, defeating Rick Koster (D) and Robert Virasin (L). Paxton received 30,062 votes to Koster's 12,265 votes and Virasin's 1,222 votes.[6]

2008[edit]

On November 4, 2008, Paxton won House reelection by again defeating Robert Virasin (L), 73,450 to 11,751 votes.[7]

2010, the challenge to Speaker Straus[edit]

Paxton ran unopposed for re-election in both the Republican primary and the general election in 2010. On November 11, 2010, entering his last term as a state representative, Paxton announced that he would run for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives against Joe Straus of District 121 in Bexar County and fellow Republican Warren Chisum of District 88 in Pampa, Texas. Paxton expressed his feelings that,

On Election Day [2010], we witnessed a monumental shift in the political climate, and I believe that historic opportunities demand bold action in defense of our conservative values. Voters across Texas sent a clear message that they favor leadership dedicated to protecting our freedoms and fighting government growth. Texans have provided us with an historic mandate, and they expect us to use this mandate to honestly advance conservative principles and not simply protect the status quo. These goals can only be accomplished with a conservative Speaker.[8]

Straus was nevertheless elected to his second term as Speaker, and was reelected again in 2013 and 2015.

Tenure[edit]

Political action committees[edit]

After joining the House in 2003, Paxton was endorsed and supported by multiple non-partisan and conservative organizations. Paxton was one of six Texas House candidates endorsed by HuckPAC the official Political Action Committee of former Republican Governor Mike Huckabee.[9]

Paxton received endorsements and "A" ratings from the National Rifle Association[10] and the state affiliated chapter, Texas State Rifle Association.[11]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Land & Resource Management Committee, Texas House
  • Ways & Means Committee, Texas House
  • Fiscal Stability, Texas House[1]

Texas State Senate[edit]

Paxton was elected to the Texas State Senate in 2012, and served for two years, until January 2015, when his term as Attorney General began.

Attorney General of Texas[edit]

2014 election[edit]

Paxton was a candidate for Texas attorney general. Then-Attorney General Greg Abbott decided to retire from the office to successfully run for Governor, succeeding Rick Perry and creating an opening in the office of Attorney General.[12]

Paxton led a three-candidate field in the Republican primary held on March 4, 2014 and polled 566,114 votes (44.4 percent). State Representative Dan Branch of Dallas County received 426,595 votes (33.5 percent). Eliminated in the primary was Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman of Austin, who polled the remaining 281,064 (22.1 percent).

Paxton faced Dan Branch in the runoff election on May 27, 2014 and won with 465,395 votes (63.63 percent). Branch received 265,963 votes (36.36 percent).[13][14]

In the November 4 general election, Paxton defeated a Democratic attorney from Houston named Sam Houston. At a meeting of the sheriff's association in July, Paxton said that if elected he is committed to defending state laws and envisions Texas "remaining a beacon of freedom and liberty to the nation."[15]

Tenure[edit]

Paxton took office on January 5, 2015.[16]

On June 28, 2015, in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, Paxton issued a statement offering moral support for clerks with religious objections to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. His statement said in part that "numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs, in many cases on a pro-bono basis, and I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights."[17]

During this period in time he was also investigated for felony securities fraud for a case that is expected to go before a grand jury during July of 2015.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Texas House of Representatives : Representative Paxton, Ken". House.state.tx.us. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  2. ^ "Ken Paxton". LinkedIn. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  3. ^ "Project Vote Smart – Representative Ken Paxton, Jr. – Biography". Votesmart.org. 1962-12-23. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  4. ^ "Texas House official election results for 2002 and Republican Primary Election 2002". Elections.sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  5. ^ "Texas House official election results for 2004". Elections.sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  6. ^ "Texas House official election results for 2006". Elections.sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  7. ^ "Texas House official election results for 2008". Elections.sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  8. ^ "Rep. Ken Paxton announces bid for Texas House Speaker". The Ellis County Press. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  9. ^ "Huck Pac – Candidates". huckpac.com. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  10. ^ "National Rifle Association – Political Victory Fund, Texas". nrapvf.com. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  11. ^ "TSRA PAC – Voters Guide" (PDF). tcrapac.com. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  12. ^ "Republican primary election returns, March 4, 2014". team1.sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Texas – Summary Vote Results". Associated Press. May 28, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  14. ^ Grissom, Brandi. Tea Party Conservatives Win Top GOP Runoff Contests, Texas Tribune, May 28, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  15. ^ Philip Balli, "Two vie for state AG post", Laredo Morning Times, October 16, 2014, p. 3A
  16. ^ Blanchard, Bobby (January 5, 2015). "Top Texas Officials on Hand as Paxton is Sworn In". Texas Tribune (Austin, Texas). Retrieved January 6, 2015. 
  17. ^ Garrett, Robert T. (June 28, 2015). "Texas AG Ken Paxton lends moral support to clerks who refuse gay marriages". The Dallas Morning News. 

External links[edit]

Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
David Counts
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 70th district

2003–2013
Succeeded by
Scott Sanford
Texas Senate
Preceded by
Florence Shapiro
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 8th district

2013–2015
Succeeded by
Van Taylor
Legal offices
Preceded by
Greg Abbott
Attorney General of Texas
2015–present
Incumbent