Tribpedia: Ben Barnes

Tribpedia

Democrat Ben Barnes is a former Texas House speaker and lieutenant governor who remains active in Democratic politics.

Barnes was first elected to the Texas House in 1961. He became one of the youngest House speakers in state history when he was elected in 1965 at the age of 26.

He was elected to two terms as lieutenant governor, presiding ...

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Texas Ethics Reform: A Long, Tortured History

A portrait of power in Texas in 1970: House Speaker Gus Mutscher, Governor Preston Smith, former president Lyndon Johnson, and Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes, at "Gus Mutscher Day" in Brenham, August 17, 1970.
A portrait of power in Texas in 1970: House Speaker Gus Mutscher, Governor Preston Smith, former president Lyndon Johnson, and Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes, at "Gus Mutscher Day" in Brenham, August 17, 1970.

From Gov. James "Pa" Ferguson's impeachment to the Sharpstown scandal, Texas has weathered some mighty ethics controversies. While reforms were passed in the wake of Sharpstown, the Legislature still faces criticism over lax disclosure rules and cozy ties with lobbyists.

Calvin Trillin's 1972 Profile of Sissy Farenthold

As a gift to Trib readers this holiday week, we're pleased to reprint Calvin Trillin's New Yorker profile of 1972 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Frances "Sissy" Farenthold — one of a dozen and a half articles and poems that will be published early next year in Trillin on Texas, a new anthology from the University of Texas Press. A staff writer at the magazine since 1963, Trillin has long seen the state as a rich source of material; elsewhere in the anthology are meditations on subjects ranging from Texas barebecue to the fictional film critic Joe Bob Briggs. He also considers Texas to be a part of his ancestral narrative, as several members of his family arrived in the United States by way of Galveston. "Yes, I do have a Texas connection," he writes in the introduction to the anthology, "but, as we'd say in the Midwest, where I grew up, not so's you'd know it."