Tryon D. Lewis

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Tryon Dexter Lewis
Texas State Representative for
District 81 (Andrews, Ector, and Winkler counties)
In office
2009 – January 13, 2015
Preceded byGeorge E. "Buddy" West
Succeeded byBrooks Landgraf
Judge of the Texas State District Court for the 161st District
In office
Succeeded byJohn W. Smith
Personal details
Born (1947-09-29) September 29, 1947 (age 72)
Kermit, Winkler County
Texas, USA
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Trudy Lynn Lewis
ChildrenEleanor R. Lewis
Annie Lewis
ResidenceOdessa, Ector County
EducationOdessa College

University of Texas at Austin

Baylor Law School

Tryon Dexter Lewis (born September 29, 1947) is an attorney and politician in Odessa, Texas. He is a Republican former member of the Texas House of Representatives from District 81 (Ector, Andrews, and Winkler counties), serving 2009 through 2015. He previously had served as a state court judge, from 1985 to 2006.

Early years and education[edit]

Lewis was born to Tryon E. "Bud" Lewis (1911–2003) and the former Erma Lea Beauchamp in Kermit in Winkler County. The senior Lewis was descended from a pioneer ranching family from Fort Stockton in Pecos County. His work in the petroleum exploration industry required several early moves for the Lewis family, who relocated in 1952 to Odessa, Texas in the oil-rich Permian Basin. Tryon D. Lewis has two sisters, Barbara and Ann Elizabeth. Both married. Their parents Bud and Erma Lewis retired to Fort Stockton in 1980.[1]

Lewis attended Odessa College, a community college, and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He obtained the Juris Doctor degree from Baptist-affiliated Baylor Law School in Waco, Texas. Since 1973, he has been a partner in the law firm Atkins, Hollman, Jones, Peacock, Lewis, and Lyon.

Lewis married Trudy Lynn (born 1949), an educator who graduated from Rice University in Houston. They have two daughters, Eleanor R. Lewis and Annie Lewis.

Among his civic activities is serving on the board of the Permian Playhouse, the Odessa Cultural Council, and Meals on Wheels.[2] The Lewises are promoters of the western art of Thomas C. Lea, III.[3]

Political career[edit]

Lewis has served as chairman of the Ector County Republican Party and as president of the Republican Men's Club.

From 1985-2006, Lewis was judge of the 161st State District Court.[2]

Judicial views[edit]

In 1989 he wrote a letter to Texas Monthly, challenging an article that had claimed prison overcrowding in Texas was caused by judges and juries sending convicted persons to the penitentiary for trivial reasons. Lewis wrote:

"No state is more lenient toward criminals than Texas. Every criminal with no prior felony conviction is eligible for probation. There are eight different kinds of probation. . . . Forty-five percent of all prisoners are repeat offenders. Thus there are very few nonviolent first offenders in prison, and nearly all of those have already failed the court's attempt at alternative punishment. The convicts in prison are there because they deserve to be. [While prison cells are expensive], not providing those cells is far more expensive. . . . A typical multi-offender inmate will commit 187 crimes per year, for a total crime cost to society of $430,000. With this comparison, the $25,800 cost of imprisoning criminals seems reasonable."[4]

Legislative service[edit]

Lewis maintained a constituent office in the Ector County Courthouse in Odessa.

Lewis was one of three candidates who challenged the ailing incumbent George E. "Buddy" West of Odessa in the 2008 Republican primary election; he led the field with 5,273 votes (44 percent) to West's 4,602 (38.4) percent.[5] As the district is majority Republican, the runoff attracts fewer voters. In the lower-turnout runoff primary, Lewis prevailed by a large margin, 5,181 (76 percent) to West's 1,637 (24 percent).[6] Lewis was supported by then Speaker of the Texas House, Tom Craddick of nearby Midland. At the time Craddick was at odds with West, his Republican colleague for the past fifteen years. Four anti-Craddick Republican legislators came to Odessa to campaign in the runoff for West.[7][8] West died some two months after the runoff election.

In 2009, as Lewis succeeded West, Moderate Republican Joe Straus of San Antonio was elected as Speaker of the House, defeating Craddick.[9] Lewis and Craddick remain neighboring House colleagues from Districts 81 and 82, respectively; neither had an opponent in the 2010 or 2012 general elections.

With his judicial background, Lewis was assigned to serve on the House (1) Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence and (2) Public Safety committees.[2] In the 2009 legislative session, Lewis supported the positions of Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum 71 percent of the time. He supported the positions of interest groups Texans for Fiscal Responsibility and the Texas Association of Business 85 percent and 90 percent of the time, respectively.[2]

Lewis did not seek a fourth House term in 2014. He was succeeded by Brooks Landgraf, an Odessa attorney.


  1. ^ "Obituary of Tryon E. "Bud" Lewis". Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d "Rep. Tryon D. Lewis (TX)". Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  3. ^ "Tom Lea Institute". Retrieved March 28, 2014.
  4. ^ Judge Tryon D. Lewis, 161st State District Court, Letter to the Editor. Google Books: Texas Monthly (April 1989), p. 14. April 1989. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
  5. ^ "Texas Republican primary election returns, March 4, 2008". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  6. ^ "Texas Republican runoff primary election returns, April 8, 2008". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  7. ^ "Very Busy Signals". Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  8. ^ "About 200 attend state funeral of Rep. Buddy West". Houston Chronicle, June 28, 2008. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  9. ^ Lisa Sandberg, "The Most Popular Guy at the Capitol", San Antonio Magazine, June 2009, p. 54
Preceded by
George E. "Buddy" West
Texas State Representative for District 81 (Andrews, Ector, and Winkler counties)

Tryon Dexter Lewis

Succeeded by
Brooks Landgraf
Preceded by
161st State Judicial District Court Judge

Tryon Dexter Lewis

Succeeded by
John W. Smith