Patricia Harless

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Patricia Fincher Harless
Texas State Representative from District 126 (Harris County)
Assumed office
January 9, 2007
Preceded by Peggy Hamric
Personal details
Born (1963-11-13) November 13, 1963 (age 52)
Houston, Texas, USA
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Sam Harless
Children Samuel Justin Harless
Residence Spring, Harris County, Texas
Alma mater

Candlestick Christian Academy

LeTourneau University
Occupation Automobile dealer
Religion Southern Baptist

Patricia Fincher Harless (born November 13, 1963)[1] is a member of the Texas House of Representatives for Spring, a suburb of her native Houston. She has represented District 126 in northwestern Harris County since 2007 with relatively little electoral opposition.[2]

Harless was unopposed for her fifth term in the state House in the November 4, 2014 general election.[1]


A fourth-generation Texan, Harless attended public school in the Spring Independent School District but graduated from the private Candlestick Christian Academy. In 1995, she received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the private LeTourneau University in Longview in East Texas.[1]

Harless is the chief executive officer of Fred Fincher Motors, an independent dealership at 4700 Tomball Parkway in Houston. She is active in a plethora of civic groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce, the American Heart Association, the 100 Club of Houston, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and the Lone Star College System Foundation, a community college network in northwestern Harris County. In 1998, then Governor George W. Bush appointed Harless to the Texas Motor Vehicle Board; Bush's successor, Rick Perry reappointed her, and she remained in that post until 2005.[3]

Harless has also served in various Republican campaigns and party organizations, including the Northwest Forest Republican Women, and the Texas Tea Republicans. She is affiliated with the Champion Forest Baptist Church, a megachurch in the Champion Forest neighborhood of northwestern Houston.[1]

Harless and her husband, Sam, have a son, Samuel Justin Harless (born c. 1988).[3]

Political life[edit]

In 2006, when the incumbent Republican Representative Peggy Hamric did not seek reelection, Harless entered the party primary to succeed her. She defeated John Devine, 3,871 (52.4 percent) to 3,538 (47.8 percent).[4] In the 2006 general election, Harless defeated the Democrat Chad Khan, 18,112 votes (64.8 percent) to 9,114 (32.6 percent. The remaining 2.6 percent of the ballots was cast for the Libertarian nominee Oscar J. Palma, Jr.[5] In 2008, Harless again defeated Khan and Palma, 32,748 votes (59.4 percent) to 21,179 (38.4 percent), and 1,204 (2.2 percent), respectively.[6] In 2010, Harless handily defeated the Democrat Casey L. McKinney (born c. 1957) of Spring, 25,534 (68.1 percent) to 11, 938 (31.9 percent).[7]

Harless is the chairman of the House Environmental Regulation Committee and also serves on the State Affairs Committee.[1]

In 2013, Harless' husband, Sam, also a Republican, announced that he would run for the District 7 seat in the Texas State Senate vacated by Dan Patrick, a runoff candidate for lieutenant governor on May 27, 2014. Harless soon withdrew from the race because party insiders had lined up early behind Paul Bettencourt, the former Harris County assessor-collector, who won the nomination to succeed Patrick on March 4 by a wide margin.[8]

Legislative voting records[edit]

Representative Harless in 2013 supported the ban on abortion after twenty weeks of gestation; the measure passed the House, 96-49. She also 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 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, Harless supported two other anti-abortion measures. One forbids state funding of agencies which perform abortions. The other requires that a woman undergo a sonogram before procuring an abortion. This legislation 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] Despite her support for these measures, the Texas Right to Life Committee, according to Project Vote Smart, rated Harless only 36 percent favorable in 2013 and 71 percent in 2011.[11]

Harless supported legislation to provide marshals for school security as a separate law-enforcement entity. She also co-sponsored the successful bill to extend the franchise tax exemption to certain businesses. Harless voted for the adoption of the biennial state budgets in both 2013 and 2011. She voted to require testing for narcotics of those individuals receiving unemployment compensation.[9]

Harless co-sponsored the bill to prohibit the state government from engaging in the enforcement of federal regulations of firearms. She also co-sponsored the measure to allow college and university officials to carry concealed weapons in buildings and vehicles in the name of campus security. She supported the bill to reduce the time required to obtain a concealed-carry permit. She backed the redistricting bills for the state House and Senate and the United States House of Representatives. She voted for term limits for certain state officials. She co-sponsored legislation to prohibit texting while driving.[9]

In 2011, she voted against a resolution to reduce funding for state agencies. She voted to levy a sales tax on Internet transactions to match existing laws for brick and mortar stores; the measure passed the House 125-20. Harless voted to prohibit smoking in public places. She voted to establish eligibility for indigent health care. She voted for corporal punishment in public schools; the bill passed the House, 80-64. Harless voted to require colleges and universities to make student centers compatible with traditional family values. To guarantee the integrity of the election process, she supported picture identification of voters casting a ballot.[9] The measure finally took effect in October 2013 and was used widely without incident in the primaries on March 4, 2014.[12] In 2013, Harless 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 Harless 73 percent favorable in 2013 but only 24 percent in 2011. The Young Conservatives of Texas gave her a cumulative score in 2013 of 67 percent. The interest group Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, founded by Michael Quinn Sullivan rated Harless 50 percent favorable in 2013 and 38 percent in 2011. The Texas Association of Business, which awarded her a cumulative score of 88 percent, named her a "Champion for Free Enterprise". The Texas League of Conservation Voters rated her 86 percent in 2013; the Sierra Club, 42 percent in 2011. The Libertarian Party rated her 75 percent in 2009 on combined issues of economic issues and personal liberties. The National Rifle Association scored Harless 92 percent in 2012 and letter-grade "A" in her previous term.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Patricia Harless' Biography". Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Patricia Harless". Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "State Rep. Patricia Harless Burkett District 126 (R-Spring)". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Republican primary election returns, March 2006 (House District 126)". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  5. ^ "General election returns, November 7, 2006 (House District 126)". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  6. ^ "General election returns, November 4, 2008 (House District 126)". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  7. ^ "General election returns, November 2, 2010 (House District 126)". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Jayme Fraser, Harless withdraws from senate race, blames party leaders, July 25, 2013". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Patricia Fincher Harless' Voting Records". Retrieved March 25, 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 "Patricia Harless' Ratings and Endorsements". Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Texas Voter ID Officially Takes Effect, October 21, 2013". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 16, 2014. 
Political offices
Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Peggy Hamric
Texas State Representative from District 126 (Harris County)

Patricia Fincher Harless

Succeeded by