Dolph Briscoe

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Dolph Briscoe

41st Governor of Texas
In office
January 16, 1973 – January 16, 1979
Preceded by Preston Smith
Succeeded by Bill Clements

Texas State Representative
for District 79
In office
January 13, 1953 – January 8, 1957
Preceded by Ligon L. Holstein
Succeeded by Jack Richardson

Texas State Representative
for District 77
In office
January 11, 1949 – January 13, 1953
Preceded by Britton T. Edwards
Succeeded by A.J. Bishop, Jr.

Born April 23, 1923
Uvalde, Texas
Died June 27, 2010 (aged 87)
Uvalde, Texas
Resting place Briscoe Rio Frio Ranch Cemetery in Uvalde County, Texas
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Betty Jane "Janey" Briscoe (married 1942–2000, her death)
Children Janey Briscoe Marmion
Dolph Briscoe, III
Cele Briscoe Carpenter
Residence Uvalde, Texas
Alma mater University of Texas at Austin
Profession Rancher, businessman

United States Army in World War II (1942-1945)

Religion Episcopalian

Dolph Briscoe, Jr. (April 23, 1923 – June 27, 2010), was an American rancher and businessman who was the 41st governor of his native Texas, with service as a Democrat from 1973 to 1979.

Because of his re-election following an amendment to the Texas Constitution that doubled the term of the governor from two to four years, Briscoe became both the last governor to serve a two-year term (1973-1975) and the first to complete a four-year term (1975-1979).

He was a lifelong resident of Uvalde, located eighty-four miles west of San Antonio. He served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1949 to 1957. He was considered a reformer and benefited from the political fallout of the Sharpstown banking scandal of 1971. He won the 1972 gubernatorial race over several major opponents, including fellow Democrats, sitting Governor Preston Smith and House Speaker Benjamin Barnes, and then the Republican state Senator Henry C. Grover of Houston. Texas grew rapidly in many sectors of the economy during the Briscoe years. In 1974, he won all but seven counties in his reelection bid against the Republican Jim Granberry, the former Lubbock mayor who supervised the reconstruction of that city following the deadly tornadoes of May 11, 1970. After his two gubernatorial terms, Briscoe returned to the ranching and banking business in Uvalde.

Briscoe lost his bid for nomination to a third term in 1978 to fellow Democrat John Luke Hill, who then was narrowly defeated for the office by Republican Bill Clements. Briscoe was the last Texas Democrat Governor to earn reelection to the office (his two successor Democrats, Mark White and Ann Richards, both lost their reelection bids, respectively, in 1986 to Clements and in 1994 to George W. Bush). Briscoe's political mentors included U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, Vice President John Nance Garner, a long-term Uvalde resident, U.S. House Speaker Sam Rayburn, and Governor Ross Sterling. In later years, he became personally close to Republican Governor Rick Perry.

Before his death, Briscoe established the Dolph and Janey Briscoe Fund for Texas History at the University of Texas at Austin. He also refurbished a Victorian mansion in Uvalde into the Janey Slaughter Briscoe Grand Opera House.