Lyle Larson

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Lyle Thomas Larson
Texas State Representative for
District 122 (Bexar County)
Assumed office
January 2011
Preceded by Frank Corte, Jr.
Member of the Bexar County Commissioners Court, Precinct 3
In office
1997–2008
Succeeded by Kevin Wolff
Member of the San Antonio City Council
In office
1991–1995
Personal details
Born (1959-03-25) March 25, 1959 (age 59)
San Antonio, Bexar County
Texas, USA
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Divorced
Residence San Antonio, Texas
Alma mater

Douglas MacArthur High School

Texas A&M University
Occupation Businessman

Lyle Thomas Larson (born March 25, 1959)[1] is a businessman from San Antonio, Texas, who is a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives from District 122 in his native northern Bexar County. He was first elected to the state House in 2010 to succeed fellow Republican Frank Corte, Jr.

Background[edit]

Larson was reared on a family farm at Thousand Oaks and Jones-Maltsberger Road; the location is now heavily urbanized. When his parents divorced, he lived with his father, a large-animal veterinarian. He has a twin sister and a total of four siblings. His sisters went to live with their mother when the parents' marriage ended, and he was hence separated from his twin. While working on the farm, Larson contracted paratyphoid from handling feed for hogs and not washing his hands before eating. He lost weight and remained thin during his time playing defensive end in football at Douglas MacArthur High School in the North East Independent School District in Bexar County, from which he graduated in 1977. In 1981, he obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M University in College Station, where Larson's father had obtained his veterinary degree. He married and divorced right out of college. Prior to starting his own company, American Consortium, which distributes industrial products for Polaroid, he worked for Nalen Chemical Company and Johnson & Johnson.[2][3]

Larson is a member of the United Methodist Church.[1] He is a quail hunter and bass fisherman. San Antonio International Ag Promotions, which he founded, hosts such trade expositions as the San Antonio International Farm and Ranch Show and the Texas Hunting and Outdoor Classic.[3] He takes an annual fishing trip to Lake Michigan with friends from high school and college.[2]

Political life[edit]

Larson was elected on a nonpartisan ballot in 1991 to the San Antonio City Council, on which he served from District 10 for two two-year terms under Mayor Nelson Wolff. In 1996, he was elected to the Bexar County commissioner's court for Precinct 3, a partisan position that he filled from 1997 to 2008. There are only three other commissioners and the county judge.

While on the commissioners court as the lone Republican member, Larson worked to lower property tax rates seven times during his twelve years in office. In 2005, he pushed the court to freeze property taxes for senior citizens and the disabled. He opposed pay raises for commissioners and refused to accept increases when they were approved. Larson worked to reduce the impact of the 2005 round of military base closings in San Antonio, which gained a reported 11,000 jobs despite the loss of 1,000 positions on the affected bases. Larson previously served on the San Antonio - Bexar County Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Alamo Area Council of Governments, and the Greater San Antonio Crime Commission.[3]

In 2008, Larson ran unsuccessfully for Texas' 23rd congressional district seat once held by the Republican Henry Bonilla of San Antonio. In the Republican primary election, Larson defeated attorney and banker Quico Canseco, formerly of Laredo, Texas. Larson then lost in the general election to incumbent Democrat Ciro Rodriguez of San Antonio in the Hispanic-majority district. The vote was 55.8 percent for Rodriguez and 41.9 percent for Larson, with the remaining ballots held by a Libertarian candidate.[4] In 2010, Rodriguez was unseated by Canseco, who won the Republican nomination that year, but Canseco served only for one term, having been defeated in 2012 by another Democrat, Pete Gallego, a state legislator from Alpine, Texas.[5] Gallego lost the seat in 2014 to the African-American Republican Will Hurd.

In 2010, Larson was elected state representative; he polled 56,702 votes (77.4 percent) to 16,576 (22.6 percent) for the Democrat Masarrat Ali.[6] His total of nearly 57,000 votes was the greatest number of ballots polled by any candidate for state representative in the entire state of Texas that year.[3] The runner-up, Republican Rob Eissler in District 15, received 52,550 votes.[5]

Larson is a member of the Texas House committees on (1) Natural Resource, (2) Culture, Recreation, and Tourism, and (3) Local and Consent Calendars. In his freshman year he was elected by the Texas Tribune as one of three "Rookies of the Year" of a class of thirty-seven new members.[3] Larson was unopposed for a second term in the House in 2012.[5]

Larson is personally and politically close to House Speaker Joe Straus, also of San Antonio. The two men are the same age, and their family connections go back for four decades. Larson's father provided care for the horses and cattle on the Straus farms. But Larson said in an interview that "sometimes" Straus "doesn't quite understand me."[2]

After the 2017 regular session of the legislature, Governor Greg Abbott vetoed five of Larson's bills, including measures dealing with brackish water and desalination efforts. Another Larson measure which would have prevented a governor from appointing members to a state board or commission if the nominee had donated $2,500 or more to the governor's previous campaign passed the House, 91-48, but it received no hearing in the Texas State Senate. Another Larson bill which would ensured that a parent has the right to view the body of a deceased child before the performance of an autopsy was vetoed because Abbott said that he had already signed a measure with identical language authored by Republican State Senator Donna Campbell of New Braunfels. Larson said that he believes Abbott "lacks maturity [and] can't separate policy and politics."[7]

On the eve of the special legislative session of 2017, Larson continued to express frustration with Governor Abbott: "The reality is, since the governor skipped class for four months, we've got ... summer school with him now to help him learn what we did."[8] Larson said that he is unlikely to serve in the state House much past 2020: "My ambitions are just to try to do the right thing. ... And then leave everything on the field, then walk away."[2]

Ethics controversy[edit]

Larson caused controversy within his own Conservative party after accusing Governor Greg Abbott of quid pro quo, or "pay for play", politics. According to Larson, people "have to pay large sums of money" [9] for state seats. However, opponents of Larson's comments were quick to cite the fact that Abbott has appointed 21 people from HD 122 (Larson's District) to positions on boards, including Larson himself who was named to the Southwestern States Water Commission. Of these 21 people, none of them gave more than $5000. [10] Greg Abbott himself was quick to respond saying, "Mr. Larson's fabricated comments are an embarrassment for someone who claims to be a champion of ethics reform. His comments are a disservice to his constituents, and even more so to the appointees from his district who selflessly serve the state of Texas".[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Representative Lyle Larson's Voting Records". votesmart.org. Retrieved October 26, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Peggy Fikac, "S.A. Rep. Larson is not scared by any governor," San Antonio Express-News, August 6, 2017, pp. 1, A23.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Lyle Larson Biography" (PDF). Legislative Reference Library of Texas. Retrieved October 26, 2013.
  4. ^ "Race Summary Report, General Election, November 4, 2008". elections.sos.state.tx.us. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c "Texas general election, November 6, 2012". elections.sos.state.tx.us. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2013.
  6. ^ "Texas general election returns, November 2, 2010". elections.sos.state.tx.us. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2013.
  7. ^ Mike Ward and Peggy Fikac, "Abbott veto tally highest since '07: Larson, who saw five bills axed, cites retribution," San Antonio Express-News, June 16, 2017, p. A3.
  8. ^ Peggy Fikac, "Curtain is rising on Act iI in Austin: Reputations are on the line in this Legislature drama," San Antonio Express-News, July 16, 2017, p. 1.
  9. ^ http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/Lawmakers-press-Gov-Abbott-on-ethics-his-office-11728284.php
  10. ^ http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/Lawmakers-press-Gov-Abbott-on-ethics-his-office-11728284.php
  11. ^ http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/Lawmakers-press-Gov-Abbott-on-ethics-his-office-11728284.php
Preceded by
Frank Corte, Jr.
Texas State Representative for
District 122 (Bexar County)

Lyle Thomas Larson
2011–

Succeeded by
Incumbent