Ron Givens

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Ronald Dean "Ron" Givens
Texas State Representative for District 83 (Lubbock County)
In office
1985–1989
Preceded by Froy Salinas
Succeeded by Delwin Jones
Personal details
Born (1952-03-17) March 17, 1952 (age 66)
Place of birth missing
Nationality African American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Margie Martin Givens (married 1991)
Parents Octavia Middleton and R. J. Givens, Jr.
Residence Lubbock, Texas, USA
Alma mater

Dunbar-Struggs High School

Huston-Tillotson College
Occupation Real estate
Military service
Service/branch United States Army

Ronald Dean Givens, known as Ron Givens (born March 17, 1952), is a real estate agent from Lubbock, Texas, who is a Republican former member of the Texas House of Representatives from District 83. Elected to the first of his two terms in 1984, Givens was the first African American Republican member of the state House since the Reconstruction era.[1][2]

Background[edit]

Givens graduated from the historically black Dunbar-Struggs High School in Lubbock; the institution, an entity of the Lubbock Independent School District, closed in 1993 and became a junior high school. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the historically black Huston-Tillotson University in the state capital city of Austin. His father, R. J. Givens, Jr., also graduated from the then Huston-Tillotson College. His mother, the former Octavia Middleton, graduated from Peoples Business College in Austin. R. J. and Octavia Givens founded Givens Real Estate in Lubbock. R. J. also worked for thirty-two years for the U.S. Post Office in Lubbock and became the first black to serve on the editorial board of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Mrs. Givens in 1965 was named the first black cashier of what became Excel Energy in Lubbock. In 1970, she became the first black female affiliated with the Lubbock Association of Realtors; in 1974, she founded Givens Employment Agency in Lubbock.[3]

Givens attributed his interest in public affairs in part to one of his Huston-Tillotson professors, Harriet Murphy, who "insisted that all of her students go into the community to work in some part of government." Givens set his interest in the Texas House, which he visited as a high school junior as part of the 1969 Boys State convention. The House is within walking distance of Huston-Tillotson.[2]

Givens did substitute teaching and served a stint in the United States Army before he launched his brief political career in Lubbock.[2]


Political career[edit]

Givens ran as a Republican, he said, because his overall political beliefs fell on that side of the aisle because of his business background.[4]Givens unseated the four-term Democratic Representative Froy Salinas of Lubbock in the 1984 general election.[2] On that same ballot, Ronald W. Reagan was reelected U.S. President, and Phil Gramm was first elected to the United States Senate from Texas to succeed fellow Republican John Tower. In both House terms, Givens served on the House Cultural and Historical Resources Committee; in the second term, he was also assigned to the Public Health Committee.[5]Givens and State Senator John T. Montford of Lubbock worked to create a new county court at law judgeship for Lubbock County. The new court relieved case loads from the five state district courts within Lubbock County.[2]

At the end of his first legislative session, Texas Monthly magazine awarded Givens its annual "Bum Steer", derided him as "new furniture", and of "little consequence during his first term."[2]Representative Paul Ragsdale of Dallas, the chairman of the Texas House Black Caucus in 1985, termed Givens "a boll weevil looking for a home."[2] Givens said that his dozen black House colleagues, all Democrats, "didn't know how to take me ...I chose to vote on the issue and how it would best help my constituency. They saw my position as a threat because of that."[2]

Givens did not seek a third term and was succeeded in 1989 by former state Representative Delwin Jones, a Democrat-turned-Republican.[5]Givens left the House because of the low compensation of lawmakers. He once said that one really needed to be "rich or a lawyer" to serve in the legislature.[2]

After leaving the legislature, Givens taught school in Angelton in Brazoria County in the Houston metropolitan area and served a four-year compensated term on the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. He and his wife, the former Margie Martin, who married in 1991, returned to Lubbock in 1995, where he remains in the real estate and tax-preparation business.[2]

Givens was not the first black Republican since Reconstruction to win office in Lubbock County. In 1982, Justice of the Peace McKinley Shephard became the first black to win office as a Republican in the county. Two other Republicans, Joan Ervin and T. J. Patterson, thereafter won seats on the nominally nonpartisan Lubbock City Council.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New Lubbock legislator Givens optimistic about new session: Givens the first black Republican legislator in 103 years", Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, January 7, 1985
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Danette Baker (March 12, 2000). "Ron Givens". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Event Honorees". orgs.ttu.edu. Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
  4. ^ Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, February 17, 1985
  5. ^ a b "Ron D. Givens". Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Froy Salinas
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from District 83 (Lubbock)

1985-1989
Succeeded by
Delwin Jones