Talmadge L. Heflin

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Talmadge Loraine Heflin
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
In office
Preceded by Revised district
Succeeded by Hubert Vo
Alief, Harris County, School Board
In office
Personal details
Born (1940-01-16) January 16, 1940 (age 77)
Shongaloo, Louisiana, USA
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Janice Johnson Heflin
Children Gordon Lyle Heflin

(1) Former: Alief, Texas
(2) Current: Driftwood

Hays County, Texas
Occupation Engineer
Religion Southern Baptist

(1) Former State Representative Talmadge Heflin took over the Appropriations Committee chairmanship early in 2003 and worked to close a $10 billion budget shortfall without raising taxes but with new and increased state fees.

(2) Heflin grew up in central Webster Parish, Louisiana, but moved to Harris County after college.

(3) After his legislative service, Heflin served briefly as the executive director of the Republican Party of Texas.

Talmadge Loraine Heflin (born January 16, 1940)[1] is a Republican former member of the Texas House of Representatives from District 149 in Harris County. His service extended for eleven terms,[2] from 1983 to 2005.

Heflin is the current director of the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a free-market think tank based in the capital city of Austin.[2]


Heflin was born in rural Shongaloo, Louisiana north of Minden, the parish seat of Webster Parish. The youngest of Sam C. Heflin and Lucille Lee Heflin's three children, he has two older sisters living in Louisiana, Patsy H. McManus of Atlanta and Marie H. Hamby of Shreveport. Their parents are interred at Cotton Valley Cemetery in Cotton Valley, also in Webster Parish.[3]

In 1959 Heflin wed the former Janice Johnson (born c. 1941).[1] The couple has a son and daughter-in-law, Gordon and Rebecca Heflin, and two granddaughters, Shawna and Kristy, all of Houston. Talmadge and Janice Heflin reside in Driftwood in Hays County near San Marcos.[2]

Heflin was employed in petrochemical construction and engineering for 24 years, having been a design engineer and a consultant. He formerly owned a small business in Houston.[1] He is a former deacon at the Alief First Baptist Church and current deacon at the First Baptist Church of Dripping Springs.[2] He served for seven years on the board of trustees of the Alief Independent School District. An elementary school in Alief was named in his honor in 1982.[1]

Political life[edit]

Between January 1993 and January 2003, when Democrats had majority control of the Texas House, Heflin was the only Republican member to have served on both the Ways and Means and the Appropriations committees. Heflin became chairman of the Appropriations Committee in January 2003 and helped to close a $10 billion budget shortfall without raising taxes but with hundreds of millions of dollars in new and increased state fees.[2]

In 1985, Heflin was a founding member of the Texas Conservative Coalition, a bipartisan group of state legislators who support conservative issue positions, limited government, free enterprise, and family values.[1]

In 2002, Heflin won his last term in the House. He polled 13,144 votes (55.5 percent) to Democrat Andrew Tran, who received 10,530 (44.5 percent).[4]

By 2004, as chair of the Appropriations Committee, he was considered one of the most powerful members of the House[5][6] and the Republicans' leading expert on budget issues.[7] However, his district had become more ethnically diverse, and in 2004, Heflin was narrowly defeated for reelection by the Democrat Hubert Vo, the first person of Vietnamese extraction elected to the Texas legislature.[8][9] Vo polled 20,695 votes (50.03 percent) to Heflin's 20,662 (49.96 percent), a difference of 33 votes.[10] Heflin sought a recount[6] but then withdrew his challenge after an investigation concluded that Vo had won by at least 16 votes.[11]

Heflin failed to unseat Vo in 2006, a strongly Democratic year nationally but not particularly so in Texas. Heflin polled 10,632 votes (45.72 percent), or roughly half his raw vote from 2004, to Vo's 12,621 (54.27 percent) in a lower-turnout election.[12] Vo has since retained the House seat.

From August 2007 through March 2008, Heflin was executive director of the Republican Party of Texas. He succeeded Jeff Fisher in the paid position. In making the appointment, then Republican chairman Tina Benkiser cited Heflin's "conservative leadership" and his legislative and business experience.[13][14][15]

Heflin was a presidential elector for Republican candidate John McCain in the 2008 election.[16][17]

Upon his death, Talmadge will be eligible for interment at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, a prerogative of all Texas state legislators.[18]


  • Overspending the Biennial Budget in Texas: Appropriations vs. Expenditures. January 2006
  • Approaches to Establishing the Starting Point for the State Budget. November 2006
  • The Margin Tax Debunked: Dispelling Three Common Myths About Texas' Restructured Business Tax. December 2011


  1. ^ a b c d e Texas House of Representatives-Talmadge Heflin "Talmadge L. Heflin" Check |url= value (help) (PDF). Legislative Research Library of Texas. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Talmadge Heflin". texaswpolicy.com. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Lucille Lee Heflin". southernfuneralhome.com. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  4. ^ "General election returns, November 5, 2002". Texas Secretary of State. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  5. ^ Juan A. Lozano, "Vote count in tight Texas House race continues", Associated Press in The Victoria Advocate, November 8, 2004.
  6. ^ a b Steve Barnes, "National Briefing: Southwest: Texas: Loser Seeks To Overturn Results", The New York Times, November 25, 2004.
  7. ^ Ross Ramsey, "Parsing Votes", Texas Weekly, November 15, 2004.
  8. ^ 'Practicing Texas Politics,' Lyle Brown, Joyce Langeneer, Sonia R. Garcia, Ted Lewis, Robert E. Biles, Cengage Learning: 2013, p. 21
  9. ^ Pamella Collof, "Get Out the Vo", Texas Monthly, June 2005.
  10. ^ "General election returns, November 2, 2004". Texas Secretary of State. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  11. ^ Kristine Mack, "Heflin withdraws challenge to Vo after investigative finding", Houston Chronicle, February 7, 2005.
  12. ^ "General election returns, November 7, 2006". Texas Secretary of State. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Former lawmaker Heflin new executive director of Texas GOP". KTRK-TV. Associated Press. Archived from the original on May 14, 2014. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  14. ^ Clay Robison, "Talmadge Heflin picked to help lead state GOP", Houston Chronicle, July 31, 2007.
  15. ^ Richard Whittaker, "Talmadge Heflin: Not a Name To Forget", Austin Chronicle, July 31, 2007.
  16. ^ "Electors Cast Their Votes", KWTX-TV, December 15, 2008.
  17. ^ 2008 Presidential Election Electoral College Members, United States Electoral College at Office of the Federal Register (accessed 2014-05-15).
  18. ^ "Talmadge L. Heflin". Texas State Cemetery. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Revised district
Texas State Representative for District 149 (Harris County)

Talmadge Loraine Heflin

Succeeded by
Hubert Vo