Todd Staples

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Douglas Todd Staples
11th Texas Agriculture Commissioner
In office
January 4, 2007[1] – November 16, 2014
GovernorRick Perry
Preceded bySusan Combs
Succeeded bySid Miller
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 3rd district
In office
January 9, 2001 – January 4, 2007
Preceded byDrew Nixon
Succeeded byRobert Nichols
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 11th district
In office
February 17, 1995 – January 9, 2001
Preceded byElton Bomer
Succeeded byChuck Hopson
Member of the Palestine City Council
In office
Personal details
Born (1963-08-24) August 24, 1963 (age 59)
Anderson County, Texas, US
Political partyRepublican
  • unknown – divorced.
  • Janet Wendel Staples née Thorn (1994-present)
Alma materTexas A&M University
OccupationReal estate, ranching

Douglas Todd Staples (born August 24, 1963)[2] is the former two-term Texas Commissioner of Agriculture. He unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in 2014.

On September 18, 2014, Staples announced that he would resign by mid-November to become president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association, following a controversy surrounding his views on a "Meatless Monday" campaign being adopted by some Texas schools.[3]


Staples was reared in Palestine, the seat of government of his native Anderson County in East Texas. He graduated from Palestine High School, where he was an active member of the Future Farmers of America. While in college, he served from 1981 to 1982 as state vice-president of the FFA. He attended Texas A&M University in College Station and graduated magna cum laude in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics.[4] He started a plant nursery and later became involved in cattle ranching with his family. He also owned a real estate business. For a time, he was an instructor at Trinity Valley Community College in Palestine.

Staples has two adult children from his first marriage, which ended in divorce.[5][6]

Staples is a Southern Baptist deacon in his local church.

Political career[edit]

Staples served on the non-partisan Palestine City Council from 1989 to 1991. In February 1995, he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives District 11 seat in a special election to replace Elton Bomer, who had been appointed state insurance commissioner by newly elected Governor George W. Bush. In a contest against two Democrats, Staples avoided a runoff by about sixty votes, having collected 50.6 percent of the vote.

In 2000, Staples entered the race for the District 3 seat in the Texas Senate, vacated by Drew Nixon. Despite personal scandal surrounding Nixon, Staples held the seat for the Republican Party, having received more than 60 percent of the vote in the general election. He represented Anderson, Angelina, Cherokee, Hardin, Henderson, Jasper, Nacogdoches, Newton, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby and Tyler counties, and portions of Montgomery and Smith counties.

In the Senate, Staples was the chairman of the Transportation & Homeland Security Committee, the Workers Compensation Select Interim Committee and the Texas Senate Republican Caucus. Staples sponsored and helped to pass a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. He was the vice-chair of the State Affairs Committee and the Veteran Affairs & Military Installations Committee.

Staples was unopposed for the Republican nomination for Agriculture Commissioner in 2006 when the incumbent Susan Combs instead was elected Texas Comptroller to succeed Carole Strayhorn. Staples defeated Democrat Hank Gilbert and Libertarian Clay Woolam in the November 7, 2006, general election. He received 2,307,406 votes (54.77 percent), a margin of 547,000 votes over Gilbert.[7]

In 2010, Staples ran for re-election as Agriculture Commissioner and won with more than 60 percent of the votes, again against Democrat Hank Gilbert.[8][4]

Staples explained that in his role as commissioner he is compelled to tell the story of agricultural success: "It's up to us to engage with consumers because we know there are those who do not appreciate the work that's being done and what that means for available and affordable food supply."[4]

On September 18, Staples announced his resignation to become the president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association.

2014 primary for lieutenant governor[edit]

Though Staples enlisted baseball great Nolan Ryan as his campaign chairman, he finished third in the primary for lieutenant governor with 235,981 votes (17.8 percent).[9][10][11]


Same-sex Marriage[edit]

In 2003, Staples sponsored a bill that prohibited the State of Texas from recognizing same-sex marriages, then again in 2005, sponsored and campaigned for another bill that successfully amended the Texas Constitution to limit marriage to one man and one woman.

Electoral history[edit]

2014 Texas Lieutenant Governor Republican Primary Election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dan Patrick 550,769 41.45
Republican David Dewhurst (Incumbent) 376,196 28.31
Republican Todd Staples 235,981 17.75
Republican Jerry Patterson 165,787 12.47

Texas general election, 2006: Texas Commissioner of Agriculture[4] Party Candidate Votes  % -Republican Todd Staples 2,9573,406 60.82% -Democratic Hank Gilbert 1,738,456 35.79% -Libertarian Clay Woolam 164,035 3.37%

Turnout 4,856,266

Texas general election, 2006: Texas Commissioner of Agriculture[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Todd Staples 2,307,406 54.77 -4.77
Democratic Hank Gilbert 1,760,402 41.79 +3.97
Libertarian Clay Woolam 144,989 3.44 +2.26
Majority 547,004 12.98 -8.74
Turnout 4,212,797 -4.85
Republican hold
Texas general election, 2002: Senate District 3[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Todd Staples 119,993 88.23 +27.59
Libertarian Michael Carter 16,001 11.76 +11.76
Majority 103,992 76.47 +55.18
Turnout 135,994 -45.92
Republican hold
Texas general election, 2000: Senate District 3[14]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Todd Staples 152,514 60.64 +10.55
Democratic David Fisher 98,976 39.36 -10.55
Majority 53,538 21.29 +21.10
Turnout 251,490 +20.88
Republican hold
Republican primary, 2000: Senate District 3[15]
Candidate Votes % ±
Van Brookshire 4,875 11.08
Les Tarrance 8,816 18.05
Todd Staples 20,367 70.15
Majority 21,522 52.10
Turnout 29,183


  1. ^ "Looking back". Palestine Herald.
  2. ^ Office of the Secretary of State (Texas) (2002-09-13). "State Senate Candidates for 2002 General Election". Archived from the original on 2008-02-13. Retrieved 2006-12-26.
  3. ^ Gubbins, Teresa (September 15, 2014). "Texas ag commissioner belly aches about Meatless Monday program". CultureMap Dallas. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "Beth Brown, Agriculture commissioner says industry isn't getting message across". Bryan-College Station Eagle. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  5. ^ "Peggy Fikac, "Despite experience, Staples still defining himself for voters," February 14, 2014". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  6. ^ "Frank Lee Wendel". Retrieved February 23, 2014.
  7. ^ "Texas Roundup". Archived from the original on January 2, 2010. Retrieved October 12, 2009.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2006-12-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Beth Brown, "GOP lieutenant governor candidates reach out to Bryan-College Station voters," January 9, 2013". Bryan-College Station Eagle. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  10. ^ "Republican primary election returns, March 4, 2014". Archived from the original on March 7, 2014. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  11. ^ "Texas Oil & Gas Association Welcomes Robust Oversight by Experts at the Railroad Commission". Texas Oil and Gas Association. August 22, 2016. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  12. ^ "2006 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2007-01-02.
  13. ^ "2002 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2007-01-01.
  14. ^ "2000 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2007-01-01.
  15. ^ "2000 Republican Party Primary Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2007-01-01.

External links[edit]

Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from District 11 (Palestine)

Succeeded by
Texas Senate
Preceded by Texas State Senator
from District 3 (Palestine)

Succeeded by
Preceded by Texas Agriculture Commissioner
Succeeded by