Robert Nichols (politician)

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Robert Nichols
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 3rd district
Assumed office
January 9, 2007
Preceded byTodd Staples
President pro tempore of the Texas Senate
In office
May 29, 2017 – January 8, 2019
Preceded byKel Seliger
Succeeded byKirk Watson
Mayor of Jacksonville
In office
Member of Jacksonville City Council
Personal details
Robert Lee Nichols

(1944-11-25) November 25, 1944 (age 79)
Political partyRepublican
EducationLamar University (BS)

Robert Lee Nichols (born November 25, 1944) is an American politician who represents the 3rd District of the Texas Senate. A Republican, he was the senate president pro tempore of the 85th legislative session.

Early years[edit]

Nichols graduated in 1968 from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, with a degree in industrial engineering. He had a career as a small businessman before being elected mayor of Jacksonville, Texas, and served as mayor 1985-1989.[1]

Public service[edit]

During his tenure as mayor, Nichols streamlined the city government and helped to cut property tax rates. His service as Mayor eventually convinced then-Governor of Texas George W. Bush to appoint him to a six-year term on the Texas Transportation Commission in 1997. Nichols was appointed again in 2003 by former Texas Governor Rick Perry, and continued to serve until he resigned to prepare for a bid for the Texas Senate. According to his voting records, Nichols is the least conservative Republican member of the state Senate.[2]

2006 and 2018 elections[edit]

Nichols faced stiff competition in 2006 from Republicans Bob Reeves of Center; David Kleimann of Willis; and Frank Denton of Conroe in the Republican primary. Nichols secured a 54% win, thus avoiding a runoff. Nichols' primary win was tantamount to winning the general election, as he did not have a Democratic candidate run against him in 2006.

In the general election of November 6, 2018, Nichols defeated the Democrat, Shirley Layton, and the Libertarian Party nominee, Bruce Quarels. Nichols received 214,756 votes (78.3 percent) to Layton's 56,274 (20.5 percent) and Quarles' 3,280 (1.2 percent).[3]

Service outside the Texas Senate[edit]

Nichols served as a board member of the now defunct Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, Texas; the now defunct East Texas Medical Center (now University of Texas Health System, East Texas) and the Nan Travis Hospital Foundation, as chairman of the Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation.

Personal life[edit]

Nichols is wed to his high school sweetheart, Donna; they are parents of three children. Nichols is also the son of the co-founder of Nichols Industries, Inc., Talley Nichols, which was one of the largest manufacturers of toy cap guns in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Nichols is a member of First United Methodist Church in Jacksonville.


  1. ^ "Mayors of Jacksonville | Jacksonville, TX". Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  2. ^ "Analysis: The 2023 Texas Senate, from right to left".
  3. ^ "Election Returns". Texas Secretary of State. November 6, 2018. Retrieved November 13, 2018.

External links[edit]

Texas Senate
Preceded by Member of the Texas Senate
from the 3rd district

Preceded by President pro tempore of the Texas Senate
Succeeded by